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Wearing the Right Sales Ops Hat

What hats do you and your team wear within your organization?

Most sales ops teams begin with a heavily tactical focus. They are doing the gruntwork — managing the CRM, running the reports, entering data, and doing all the other tasks that the folks in sales just don’t want to do.

But while it’s usually impossible — and perhaps even undesirable — to eliminate this tactical work altogether, smart sales ops practitioners soon realize that they could bring much more value to the organization by wearing some more strategic hats. Over time, they might grow to take an additional roles, such as

  • Analyst — Strategic sales ops teams not only collect and report on data, they draw intelligent conclusions from it. They make sure the organization is asking and answering the right questions.
  • Investigator — When something goes wrong, sales ops practitioners are uniquely positioned to figure out why it happened. Your proximity to the data and your analytical skills make you uniquely qualified to uncover the root causes of issues.
  • Engineer — No, we aren’t suggesting that sales ops folks should be designing bridges or writing code. However, sales ops pros often excel at “engineering” processes. Once you have found the root cause of an issue, you can put on your engineer hat to put together a solutions that the team can actually implement, measure, and improve over time.

As essential as all of these roles are, there is one more hat that the best sales ops practitioners wear: influencer.

Don’t get us wrong — we’re not asking you to step up your Instagram game or to start advocating the coastal grandmother aesthetic. This isn’t that kind of influencer. When we’re talk about being an influencer within a B2B context, we’re talking about your ability to convince other people in your organization to do the things that you recommend.

At most organizations, a whole host of people outside sales ops are involved in the sales process — the sales team, marketing, pricing, finance, product management, HR, and many others. And in most organizations, sales ops has management authority over exactly zero of these other teams.

As a result, you have no power to force anyone to make any changes to the ways that they are doing things. Instead, you’re going to have to rely on your power of persuasion, and that’s where the influencer hat comes in.

One of our favorite sales ops quotes comes from a team leader that we interviewed:

Someone with pretty good technical skills, who can get their ideas across and get others to change their behaviors, will almost always outperform a technical wizard that no one pays any attention to.

Now if you’re a technical wizard with limited people skills, you might find that sentiment a bit disheartening. Fortunately, the skills necessary for the influencer role are learnable skills. And naturally, SellingBrew has some resources to help.

The best place to start is probably with the Essential Sales Ops Roles webinar. It digs a little deeper into each of the roles that we discussed in this blog post, including the influencer role.

After that we recommend a trio of resources:

All three are full of tips for improving your team’s visibility and reputation within your organization. They also offer advice on persuading other groups to make the changes necessary to improve operations.

If you work in sales ops for long you will almost certainly find yourself wearing many different hats, including some that aren’t listed here. And if you want to be successful in sales ops, at least one of those hats needs to be that of influencer.

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