There are many different job titles and career paths in the sales operations field. It is a very diverse and exciting industry, which can be challenging at times but never dull. This article will explore some of the most common jobs in this industry, what they entail, and why it’s such an attractive place to work for people with all types of educational backgrounds.
1. What Is Sales Operations?
Sales operations are the people who have the incredible responsibility of keeping all parts of a business running smoothly. They keep their finger on the pulse of what’s working, what isn’t, and how to fix any problems they see before they become significant issues. There are many different job roles within these departments. Still, standard titles are sales operations analyst, sales operations manager, entry-level sales operations role, etc.
The roles can include anything from client services to sales operations analyst to account management.
The primary purpose of a sales operations role is to facilitate the growth and relationship between a business and its clients while making sure that everyone receives the proper training and support. They also increase operational efficiency by streamlining tasks and driving process improvements across all areas of its sales and service functions. This enables a business to focus more on revenue generation and less on internal operations.
Most companies use this department to gather details about clients, including how long they’ve been a customer, who their main point of contact is, what stage they’re at in the buying process, etc.
The core responsibilities of a sales operations role vary depending on the company you work for and the industry it’s in. For example, one company may need its sales operations team to focus heavily on revenue growth and account development. In contrast, another may need them to put extensive focus on productivity and process improvement.
2. What Does a Sales Operations Specialist do?
This is perhaps one of the largest areas for growth in our industry which requires individuals skilled at automating processes and solving problems. Today, many of the most successful sales operations leaders have incredible technical knowledge paired with excellent people skills. They can understand how things work across operational areas and determine where potential points of failure might be; they’re always looking for ways to improve efficiency, utilization, throughput, etc. It’s an incredibly fast-paced environment as well as the industry as a whole is growing and changing daily.
3. The Most Common Responsibilities of this Role Include
1. Client Engagement and Retention
This might include things like creating win plans, creating client reports on activity and status, creating sales and customer success team scorecards, managing the budgeting process for client-specific resources
2. Business Growth and Revenue Generation
This might include things like creating account plans, maintaining the annual business plan, forecasting opportunity pipelines according to aligning activities vs. budgets
3. Organization Structure
Typically, this includes things like training, performance management, and collaboration
4. Process Improvement
This might include implementing workflow tools to automate manual tasks, looking at where process problems or bottlenecks might be occurring, etc.
5. Resource Management
This can include activities like forecasting resource needs based on account growth within an organization, creating activity plans for client-specific resources, budgeting the utilization of shared resources across teams.
4. Sales Operations Career Paths
As stated above, there are many different roles within this industry. The most logical first step is often to become a sales operations specialist. These individuals work within the day-to-day operation of all customer service and order fulfillment areas. After becoming comfortable in this position, you would often become a sales operations manager after gaining some experience.
There are also entry-level positions that allow recent graduates to work within the industry. These positions can provide valuable skills and training for up-and-coming individuals who might be interested in continuing their careers within the field of sales or customer service. The most common entry-level positions are sales operations assistant or analyst; often, you will see these positions paired with other titles such as customer service representative, call center representative, etc.
5. Different Career Paths Available With Sales Operations
A few other career paths available in sales operations are:
1. Sales Operations Manager
Managers in this position have a strong analytic background and are skilled with process improvement. They work closely with the C-suite to align sales operations objectives with corporate goals. It’s not uncommon for managers to partner directly with executives to facilitate growth through strategic planning, tactical execution of strategy, etc.
2. Sales Operations Analyst
This position is an entry-level job that allows individuals to gain valuable skills and training to advance into more senior roles in the organization. As previously mentioned, this might be paired with other job titles such as customer service representative or call center representative, etc.
3. Entry Level Sales Operations Role
This role will provide a strong foundation for individuals who wish to continue their sales or customer service careers. They would typically work with other departments to ensure that customer needs are met across all channels, including phone, email, chat support, etc.
4. Sales Manager Assistant
These individuals work under sales managers and provide day-to-day support to make selling efforts as efficient and successful as possible. They assist with many aspects of the sales process, including lead generation, account management, customer service, etc.
5. Sales Operations Specialist/Manager for Entry Level Associates
This is often a transitional role intended to provide a strong foundation for up-and-coming sales operations professionals. Individuals in these roles will often have other titles such as customer service representative, call center representative, etc.
6. Business Transformation Leader
This role requires individuals who can understand how different teams within the organization operate and can assist with projects which require some change management.
7. Customer Engagement and Education Leader
This role requires detail-oriented individuals who can work in a fast-paced environment and ensure that customer service processes are getting done efficiently and effectively. This also requires the individual to be familiar with different roles within sales operations such as business analyst, project manager, etc.
The sales operations industry is growing at a breakneck pace, creating more opportunities for skilled individuals in the areas mentioned above. Career paths within this area are often very fluid. They can allow employees to transition into different roles after gaining some experience under their belt.
6. Salary of a Sales Operation Specialist
A sales operation specialist typically earns a salary that ranges from $40,000 to $60,000 per year. Incomes can vary depending on the level of experience and skill the specialist has and the size of the company. A specialist may also earn commissions, bonuses, and other forms of compensation.
Salaries will also vary due to geographical location. For example, some jobs listed in this guide show $60,000 on the East Coast while others report $50,000 salaries on the West Coast.
Entry-level candidates with less than three years of experience can expect to earn an average salary of $45,000 to $50,000 per year. An experienced professional with five or more years of experience can expect to have an average salary of about $50,000 to $65,000 per year. Highly qualified specialists with strong backgrounds and extensive training may earn over $100,000 on the West Coast or approximately $80,000 to $90,000 on the East Coast.
7. The Job Outlook for a Sales Operation Specialist
Sales operation specialists are in high demand these days. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will grow by 28 percent over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. That’s because companies realize how important it is to have someone to manage and optimize their sales processes.
Of course, one of the first things that a sales operation specialist does is generate leads. But they’re not out on street corners with a briefcase full of “hypothetical money,” as a recent Monster blog post puts it. These professional marketers already know what specific audiences are looking for and where to find them online.
They’re experts at developing and monitoring marketing campaigns, choosing the best keywords for their ad groups, bidding on them intelligently. Hence, they get enough impressions to have a high click-through rate while still being affordable and analyzing results to see how well each campaign performs. Then they adjust as needed so that their advertising budget goes as far as possible.
With the increase in online advertising, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to have someone who can monitor and manage their ad campaigns. That’s why so much responsibility is being put on the shoulders of sales operation specialists, making this an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to take their career in a new direction.
8. How to Become a Sales Operations Specialist?
Sales operations specialists are the unsung heroes of every sales team. They’re the ones who take care of all the little details that make it possible for your company to stay in business. And they’re also one of the best-paid positions in many industries, with median salaries often exceeding $100,000 per year. Here’s how to become a sales operations specialist and get ahead at work:
1) Start by finding out what kind of skills your employer is looking for (e.g., strong interpersonal skills, administrative experience). If you don’t know where to start, talk to someone on your team or look up job postings online until you find something that seems like a good fit for you.
2) Once you’ve figured out what your employer is looking for, research all of the skills and qualifications that such a position would require (e.g., a solid understanding of basic accounting principles). After all, there’s no sense in continuing if you’re not qualified to apply!
3) Develop a resume that highlights those specific skills and qualifications. It should be clear, impressive, and concise – no more than a page or two at most.
4) If you plan on working for an organization in the future (e.g., college), consider joining relevant clubs or getting involved with volunteer work to improve your chances of standing out when you apply. Your resume will already list those activities as “work experience,” and your prospective employer will appreciate such an addition.
5) Once you’ve got your resume in order, look for open positions that match the requirements mentioned earlier. The job market is extremely tight right now; if there aren’t any advertised openings at all, try approaching a hiring manager directly to get your foot in the door.
6) Finally, once you’ve landed an interview, follow up with a phone call or email after it’s over to show that you’re still interested in the job. This will demonstrate that you’re eager and proactive – two traits that were hiring managers appreciate in prospective employees.
9. The Benefits of Being a Sales Operations Specialist
Some of the benefits of being a sales operations specialist include:
1) A chance to learn a variety of skills that can be applied in many business areas.
2) Exposure to all aspects of the company’s operations, from finance and marketing to customer service and product development. This increased understanding of how everything works together can put you ahead in your career.
3) The opportunity to network with people who can help you get ahead. After all, everyone in your company is there because they want to do something meaningful. If you show them that you’re willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to help them succeed, you could find yourself on their good side before long!
4) The ability to multitask and be self-directed. Since sales operations is often a very demanding job, you’re going to need to stay on top of several things at once and do what needs to be done regardless of whether or not someone tells you.
5) Experience in the field of sales (preferably for more than ten years)
10. Top Recruiting Companies for a Sales Operation Specialist
Many great companies are looking for sales operations specialists. Some of the top recruiting companies include:
- Salesforce – a leading cloud computing company that provides software-as-a-service (SaaS) products to businesses of all sizes
- Oracle – one of the largest software companies in the world, with a wide range of software products for businesses of all sizes
- IBM – one of the oldest and most prominent technology companies in the world, with an extensive portfolio of software and hardware products
- Workday – a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources
- Sales Loft – a leading provider of marketing automation software
- Oracle – one of the largest software companies in the world, with a wide range of software products for businesses of all sizes.
- IBM – one of the oldest and most prominent technology companies globally, with an extensive portfolio of software and hardware products.
11. Best Colleges to Study Sales Operations
Many colleges offer degrees in sales operations. However, not all of these colleges are created equal. Some colleges are better than others at preparing their students for a career in sales operations.
Here is a list of the five best colleges to study sales operations:
- Harvard University
- Stanford University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Bab son College
- Northwestern University
Sales operations careers are in high demand, and for a good reason. With so many avenues to explore, the sales operations field provides endless opportunities for advancement. Sales professionals who want to grow their careers should consider exploring this role. There’s never been a better time than now!