Your One-Stop Guide for Successful Sales Operations

What are Sales Operations?

The operations and techniques in sales companies that keep sales teams efficient and effective are referred to as sales operations. In other words, sales operations refer to the actions and processes that enable a sales department to sell more effectively and achieve its objectives. Sales operations teams are responsible for the administrative and technical activities that would otherwise be assigned to salespeople. The Sales Operations team, which uses big data and the most sophisticated sales tools to support the rest of the department, executes these tasks and processes. In order to boost sales efficiency and offer salespeople more time to engage with clients, a sales operations team optimizes processes. The specific tasks will differ from one company to the next, depending on the sales department's makeup and needs. In essence, sales operations get a sales force up and running.

Sales Operations vs Sales Enablement

The border between sales operations and sales enablement is hazy. Many people use the phrases interchangeably, and the tasks of each team frequently overlap. Each team's ultimate purpose is the same. Its goal is to boost sales effectiveness and efficiency to generate more income.

So, what's the difference between the two?

Each organization defines each team and its roles uniquely. Sales enablement teams often focus on assisting sales reps on the ground, especially in the early stages of the sales pipeline. On the other hand, sales operations are responsible for higher-level support tasks, including territory mapping, tech and sales management, and reporting, focusing on enabling sales later in the sales cycle. Sales operations and sales enablement teams have different structures and duties depending on the company.

Tips and Strategies for Successful Sales Operations

An effective sales operations leader must be adaptable to the sales market. Traditional sales approaches have become less effective as consumer behavior has changed, pushing sales leaders to rethink their strategies. Sales leaders who do not examine changing buying dynamics will result in wasted investments, missed crucial efforts, and restricted performance gains. Sales operations directors must acknowledge that the team they formed today will need to develop to be successful over the next several years since the people and skills required to be productive are constantly evolving.

In collaboration with key stakeholders such as sales operations managers, sales operations leaders must catalog the main strategies required for future performance, analyze existing availability, and devise a plan to close gaps.

1. Determine and State the Goal

You'll need to consider how your sales operations department will operate. What duties must they complete, and how will they do so? Your responses will benefit you later if you answer this question first. Creating a map is tough if you don't know where you're going. You'd recognize that, at the end of the day, sales operations' most important function is to ensure that, in addition to the resources, tools, and processes they require, they have the correct purpose to aim for to be productive. Everyone on the sales operations team should have clearly defined and measurable goals for their respective tasks and sales performance.

As a result, all duties performed by sales operations, whether directly or indirectly, should complement and feed into this goal. Each plan component should be linked to a specific sales operations goal and accompanied by a well-defined approach demonstrating how the goal will be achieved. As you can see, the sales operations team will add great value to your sales force. But, because assembling a team capable of performing in those areas is no easy undertaking, you'll also need a strategy for forming the correct team. Refocusing on what matters most may entail re-evaluating time-consuming duties or expressing no occasionally, but whatever it takes to ensure that sales operations' top priority is constantly met.

2. Create a Charter for Sales Operations

It's critical that everyone on your sales operations team and the rest of your sales team is on the same page. Your sales operations team will fail without a clear purpose and mission. Leaders in sales operations should understand why the team exists and what success looks like. Create a mission statement outlining your goals and objectives, then distribute it throughout the firm. The purpose and vision of your organization's unique sales operations goals will be clarified by breaking these into two basic, repeatable statements. For a more effective position in the organization, this mission will influence the team's strategy, decision-making, and functions. On a quarterly or yearly basis, teams can assess their progress by assessing how closely they adhere to these statements.

Creating sales operations without a clear goal will result in the organization taking on additional work and diverting important resources away from the tasks and initiatives that require it the most. These elements should be documented in a charter and shared with other corporate functions. As a result, there is more clarity around the team's scope, which helps to avoid miscommunication or project unpredictability. Stated goals can be a little hazy at times. Outline a few methods your team intends to accomplish its purpose as one strategy to fight this. Remember that a successful sales operations team identifies and commits to its objective, especially when hiring and partnering with other teams like sales enablement. It's easy to get carried away with showy phrases like sales operations. Make sure your sales operations team has a mission statement and key objectives in place.

3. Ensure Sync among Operations, Enablement and Marketing

Sales and marketing misalignment is nothing new, but good communication and collaboration between the two are critical to your business's success. Sales operations teams can assist in the development of a better channel structure when they collaborate closely with marketing teams. Check in with sales enablement, marketing, and sales regularly to ensure you're doing the appropriate job, addressing the relevant issues, and not redoing anything you've already done. While it's necessary to keep sales enablement and sales operations distinct, it's also critical that neither team operates in isolation.

That's why getting these groups on the same page is the first step in developing a sales operations plan. This is something that technology can help with. Sales operations can collect data-driven insights that marketing teams can use to gauge lead effectiveness. Furthermore, aligning marketing and sales operations safeguards the confidentiality of your account information and prospect handling. The sales operations teams should be in constant contact with the rest of the sales team and have a strong grasp of pain points and difficulties, from working jointly on a mission statement to conducting frequent meetings to collaborate.

4. Don't be Afraid to use Technology to your Advantage

Use technologies to assist salesmen in optimizing as much as possible. Manual processes take time away from selling, are also bad for morale, and lead to costly blunders. Implementing and maintaining CRM and any other systems, tools, or technologies that aid the sales team's efforts should be part of a sales operations strategy. You'll need the correct tools for the job if you want to improve your sales and operations strategy. While many tools are available to keep your salespeople informed and productive, Incentivate is a must-have in your sales operations toolbox. This entails ensuring the accuracy of all data entered into these systems. It could also entail assessing and implementing time-saving tools such as automation.

Technology can help your sales force work more efficiently, but not if they're switching between twenty or more tools. If you compel your reps to employ a burdensome or too complex toolkit, they will simply refuse to use it. Your sales staff requires technology to interact successfully with one another and the sales operations team, as well as tools to communicate with customers. Incentivate, as previously noted, encourages the type of teamwork and data sharing we're discussing.


Sales operations, as we all know, is the process of putting a company's sales force into action. Sales operations executives, like marketing and business operations leaders, must discover and design solutions for business activities and processes that enable sales organizations to do this. To be successful, a sales operations strategy must identify major human, tool, technology, and process deficiencies and present a strategy to the sales organization leader to overcome those shortcomings. Salesforce sizes are frequently lowered if teams aren't boosting profits through successful sales methods. Therefore, this must be done with buy-in from decision-makers in the C-suite.

About Author

Sumeet Shah

Chief Growth Officer @Incentivate, has over 15 years of experience in management consulting, product engineering, and analytics, working with clients across multiple countries, functions, and domains.