What Is Sales Operations and Why Is It Important? [Guide]

Sales Operations is the process and tools used to support sales activities for a company. In order to effectively support sales activities, Sales Operations needs to be managed effectively by the sales team. This means that all members of the sales team need to understand and adopt the Sales Operations process, clearly understand their role in the process, and be able to apply the processes effectively.

Sales operations provides the key to success in the modern sales world. Through effective sales operations, anyone can deliver sellable products and services to customers. It is a structured process for planning and managing the sales activities of a business, and is an important factor in closing sales and producing timely revenue.

Everyone is selling something. Whether it is a product or a service, your organization is selling something, and hopefully it is profitable. Sales help determine the bottom line of your organization and help generate an income that can fuel your business objectives. Sales Operations is the process by which the products and services of your organization are sold to customers, and it is one of the principal components of your organizations marketing mix.. Read more about sales operations roles and responsibilities and let us know what you think.

Sales operations, including KPIs, responsibilities, models, and procedures, are covered in this guide. We’ve provided links to assist you browse through this tutorial to make it simpler to understand.

What is the definition of sales operations?

Within a sales organization, sales operations refers to the unit, position, activities, and procedures that support, allow, and motivate front-line sales people to sell better, quicker, and more efficiently. Sales operations leaders allow sales representatives to concentrate more on selling in order to achieve company outcomes by carefully implementing training, software tools, and engagement methods.

Sales operations, more than anything else, provide a method for selling. This department, which is often ignored and underappreciated, utilizes data to guide strategy, best practices to guide training, and technology to hack success.

The sales operations department has become a key and essential component of a mature sales organization, particularly in the enterprise, SaaS, and B2B sector, due to its wide reach and profound effect on both top line (productivity) and bottom line (efficiency) performance.

What Are the Primary Purposes of a Sales Operations Team?

Sales Ops has grown to include almost all activities that offer strategic insight to a sales force in order to achieve long-term development.

Although the structure, hierarchy, and main purpose of sales operations vary by industry and even by comparable companies of varying sizes, many of today’s sales ops executives execute a basic set of functions:


Originally, sales operations consisted of a small group of number crunchers who carried out financial analysis, reporting, and sales forecasting. Sales operations has developed into a more sophisticated data analysis and reporting unit that can offer vital insight in the following areas as the amount of company data has exploded:

  1. Optimization of the Sales Process
  2. Analyses of Performance Metrics
  3. Creating an Incentive Program
  4. Assessment of Sales Team Training Requirements
  5. Sales Methodologies Evaluation and Adoption
  6. Enablement Software and Other Technology Tools Selection
  7. Assignment of Sales Territory and Growth Forecasting


Sales operations experts take on administrative and operational responsibilities so that hard-core salespeople may concentrate on what they do best: selling.

  1. Recruitment, Onboarding, and Training using Salesforce
  2. Implementation of the Compensation and Incentives Program as Recommend
  3. Accounts and Sales Territory Allocation
  4. Communication and Collaboration Channels Must Be Maintained
  5. Management of the Contract Lifecycle

Processes and Results

Sales operations arose as a means of improving sales success. To do this, sales operations personnel assist in the streamlining of procedures in order to shorten the sales cycle and allow salespeople to complete more transactions.

Understandably, this is where the ability of sales operations analysts to crunch numbers has the most effect.

  1. Choosing Which Key Sales Metrics to Use
  2. Training & Development (Coaching and Mentoring)
  3. Sales Process Optimization and Implementation
    • Workflows
    • Activities Related to Sales
    • Creating Leads
    • Rates of Conversion
  4. Sales Frameworks and Methodologies are being implemented.
  5. Sales Tools, Knowledge Base, and Other Assets Optimization
    • CRM
    • Automation
    • Analytical Data
    • Contract Administration
    • Templates and Forms
    • Client Engagement & Outreach

Adoption and Optimization of Technology

what is sales operations

Today’s sales teams use big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to boost performance and ensure profitability in the future. However, since tool complexity may lead salespeople to get distracted, sales operations should be in charge of the stack.

Here’s what Sales Ops executives should know about the IT stack:

  1. Defragmentation & Integration of Technology Tools
  2. Platform for Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  3. Services for Business Intelligence
  4. Software for Data Analysis
  5. Tools for communication and conferencing
  6. Sharing and Managing Content
  7. Management of the Contract Lifecycle
  8. Automated Email
  9. Software for Managing Performance

An Agile Sales Operations Unit’s Structure

It’s almost difficult to nail down the optimum structure for sales operations, given the wide range of organizational structures even across similarly sized competitors in the same sector. Even so, you may use organizational models and structural templates to get started.

Matt Cameron, managing partner at Sales Ops Central, wrote an outstanding guide on how to create a sales operations unit for a fast-growing company.

Matt outlined the various phases at which businesses should employ sales operations personnel, depending on annual recurring revenue (ARR).

According to his matrix (see below), businesses with an annual revenue of less than one million dollars may recruit a number of tech-savvy employees, analysts, and administrators to:

  1. Manage the customer relationship management system.
  2. Reports must be created, analyzed, and presented.
  3. Organize your compensation.

The business should employ a “Sales Effectiveness Manager” to oversee personnel onboarding, training, and certification only when ARR regularly reaches $1 million.

When ARR reaches $10 million on a regular basis, a distinct unit led by a new Sales OpsDirector may be established.

sales operations management matrix table

The newly established Sales Ops team will be responsible for the following duties in addition to technical and sales enablement responsibilities:

  1. Go-to-market strategy & planning
  2. Sales growth and a business strategy
  3. Deals table
  4. Designing a territory
  5. Compensation strategy
  6. Forecasting
  7. Enforcement of the sales procedure

Typical Sales Manager vs. Sales Operations Manager

project management collaboration

A sales operations unit’s goal is to assist sales managers in not just achieving their goals, but also in optimizing the talent pool (i.e., the sales floor) under their supervision.

To do so, a sales operations manager takes on many of the administrative and operational responsibilities that come with running a sales organization.

This frees up the sales manager’s time to concentrate on motivating salespeople to achieve targets and making tactical and strategic choices for long-term success.

Sales operations managers may head the following processes/areas, depending on the maturity of the organization:

  1. For strategy planning, generate data-driven insights and predictions.
  2. Recruit, hire, and train salespeople.
  3. Management of content and knowledge bases
  4. Management of the customer contract life cycle
  5. Set up a pay and incentive plan.
  6. Processes, methods, and performance matrices must all be followed.
  7. Manage, coordinate, and optimize the technological stack, which includes CRM.

The Sales Operations Methodology

The design, implementation, and execution of an effective sales process that guides the whole sales organization is one of the main advantages of having a functioning sales operations unit.

When the road ahead becomes foggy or a new issue appears unexpectedly, established procedures serve as templates and reference points for salespeople.

In early-stage sales organizations, the gateway (i.e., demand) for sales operations may arise at several stages in the sales process or in their structural and functional composition.

Sales operations, for example, may develop to help the sales leader with:

  • Administrative responsibilities
  • Functions of technology
  • Responsibilities in terms of strategy.

In many mature companies, sales operations takes full responsibility of administrative and technical tasks while providing analytical assistance to sales executives when formulating strategy and other key decision-making situations.

Here are a few places where sales operations may have a big effect on the process:

  1. CRM management and optimization
  2. Other tools in the technological stack are integrated and synchronized.
  3. Sales process optimization and implementation
  4. Workflow and accuracy improvements in reporting
  5. Automated sales and non-sales tasks
  6. Knowledge base and content asset management
  7. Talent development and remuneration are within your control.

Common Sales Operations Metrics & KPIs

sales reporting process

Metrics that are preferred by different teams and organizations are different. These important indicators offer information to sales operations not just on how to increase win rates but also on how to improve the whole process.

The following are just a few of the numerous measures that many sales operations units employ to assess previous performance and continually enhance long-term organizational results:

The Salesforce Quota Achievement Rate is the proportion of salespeople that met or exceeded their quota within a particular time period.

The ratio of closed-won transactions to the total number of won and lost deals is known as the average win rate.

The average amount of time it takes to complete a transaction is known as the average sales cycle duration.

The average transaction size that sellers are handling at any given stage in the process is known as the average deal size.

When compared to other activities such as internal meetings, training, and administrative labor, time spent selling is the real time spent selling.

The time it takes for a lead to react favorably to a pitch or call to action is known as lead response time.

The projected value of the pipeline at a particular point in the process, which is used to generate profit/loss predictions, is known as Weighted Pipeline Value.

Pipeline Efficiency is a metric that assesses how well sellers manage their pipelines.

Forecast Accuracy measures the difference between previous predictions and actual outcomes or performance.

Number of Prospect Meetings per Period is a prospecting activity metric that compares the number of meetings that particular salespeople were able to arrange in a specific time period.

Sales Enablement vs. Sales Operations: What’s the Difference?

salesperson vs artificial intelligence

Although the terms “sales operations” and “sales enablement” are frequently used interchangeably, they are not synonymous. They do have a lot of things in common and have a lot of the same objectives. Both seek to substantially enhance a sales organization’s performance.

Sales operations will focus on the whole company, including its structures, procedures, people resources, and technology, while sales enablement will concentrate only on the efficiency and performance of sellers, as well as customer happiness and experience.

You might conceive of sales enablement (which came much later in history) as a subset of sales operations in this sense.

Many businesses have sales enablement departments that fall under the sales operations umbrella. This isn’t always the case, however. Some sales organizations operate the two divisions as co-equal branches.

As a matter of thumb, modern sales operations handle the operational aspect of selling when both are present (including territory planning, deal and account assignments, transactions management, compensation, and overall management of systems and technologies used by the organization).

Sales enablement, on the other hand, focuses on factors that have a direct effect on the performance of salespeople (including staff training, sales communication, customer engagement tools, and process efficiencies).

Best Practices in Sales Operations

The sales operations section was created to integrate system, science, and best practices into the selling industry.

While sales operations has become an important component of the sales team, there are differences in structure, function, and execution across companies and sectors, thus one method of operating a sales ops team may be ideal for one firm but not for another.

Corporate culture, size, target markets, and sales maturity are just a few of the variables that go into determining the best sales operations structure for your company.

SAVO Group has released a detailed study on best practices for mature corporate sales operations. The following are some of the most important points:

Key Insight #1 – Sales operations and sales leaders should cooperate on strategy formulation by developing short- and long-term game plans based on sales leaders’ field experience, market empathy, and domain knowledge, as well as data-driven insight from the sales ops unit. The following important inputs may be provided by sales operations:

  • Performance and outcomes are more predictable.
  • Key Performance Metrics (KPMs) must be identified and implemented (KPI)
  • Analysis of the account assignment strategy and region allocation.
  • Sales procedures and salesforce organization are being evaluated.
  • Formulation of a long-term compensation strategy
  • Methodologies and methods for going to market are evaluated.

Key Insight #2 – When it comes to executing the entire sales plan, sales operations can nurture talent and allow salespeople to provide greater value. Sales operations may take charge of the following procedures in this regard:

  • Onboarding and recruitment
  • Product education
  • Methodology for selling
  • Market preparation

Key Insight #3 – Sales operations may improve the productivity and motivation of sales teams. They may do this by overseeing the following functions:

  • Internal communication is important.
  • Prior to broadcast/transmission, review external, customer-facing messages.
  • Enhancements to the process
  • Routine, non-core activities may be automated.
  • CRM and other tools administration

Sales operations may collaborate with marketing to fine-tune brand message and content. Because sales operations has access to a wealth of client behavioral data, they may work with marketing colleagues on:

  • Development of a funnel structure
  • creation of content

What Does a Sales Operations Manager Do?

The aim of sales operations is to reduce friction in the sales process so that salespeople may be effective in their work. A sales operations manager’s responsibilities include supervising a team of sales operations specialists, setting objectives and KPIs, creating revenue projections, and assisting in the optimization of the sales process, all of which require leadership abilities.

1. Obtaining a Clear Picture of the Sales Team’s Performance

The manager must keep track of the whole team’s performance and report on its development. Monthly, quarterly, and annual objectives should be established by each member of the sales team. Should you, however, establish KPIs and objectives for the whole sales team?

Although specific objectives for each team member are important, establishing goals for the whole team will allow you to monitor their progress and identify areas where they need to improve. Three elements are required to successfully manage team goals:

  1. A successful sales procedure
  2. A excellent customer relationship management system
  3. A method to keep track of how well sales reps are doing.

2. Be in charge of the sales funnel

It is your job as the sales operations manager to control the sales funnel. You should make sure that all of your leads flow seamlessly through the company’s sales funnel.

You’ll want to look at conversion rates at each step of the sales funnel and evaluate all relevant data to determine how they affect sales velocity. The study’ findings will assist you in making suggestions for how to enhance the funnel.

3. Improving the Selling Process

A sales operations manager’s responsibilities include auditing and optimizing the sales process. Your company most likely already has a sales procedure in place. However, have you reviewed your sales process to ensure its effectiveness and make any necessary improvements?

A sales manager can help you identify areas in your sales process where you’re losing money. Aside from detecting problems with your sales process, the sales operations manager may also offer recommendations for improving it.

4. Choosing and Managing Automated Sales Tools

The role of the sales operations manager is to offer the technical stack, which includes tools and capabilities that assist your sales staff in their work.

In addition, the manager should examine to determine whether your company is getting the most out of the technology it currently has. To guarantee success, they should assess their skills and tool use.

5. In charge of sales forecasting

Each member of your team may be focused on achieving their own objectives. They should, however, be aware of the larger objectives for which they should work. It is feasible to assess everyone’s performance using precise forecasting. As a result, you’ll set attainable team objectives that are both practical and challenging.

6. Picking and Keeping Sales Tools

Sales operations tools include CRM and other sales tools selection and maintenance. Choose a CRM that your sales representatives trust to get your team to work together. Reps may evaluate the quality of their prospects with the assistance of a transparent CRM.

7. Sales Operations Managers who are at the top of their game

It may be difficult for one individual to handle all sales operations problems in a big and complicated company. Having a strong team of sales operations experts produces the greatest outcomes. Sales operations managers guide their teams in completing sales operations duties and responsibilities.

What is the function of Sales Operations?

The sales operations department includes sales operations, often known as sales ops.

The department is in charge of a range of duties and activities, including growth creation and maintenance. Sales training, sales strategy, lead management, sales process optimization, and data handling are all responsibilities in sales operations.

What Is the Best Way to Improve Sales Operations?

In five simple steps, you may create a sales operations department in your company:

1. Establish a Sales Operations Process

You must determine how your sales rep team will operate, their duties and responsibilities, and how they will do them in this stage.

Digital asset and knowledge management, sales process optimization, and CRM administration and optimization are some of the duties and responsibilities of your sales operations team. It may also aid in the development and optimization of your pay plan, as well as the display of sales reports, sourcing, and tool management.

2. Agree on KPIs for Sales Operations

You should decide on the KPIs you’ll use to assess the success of your sales team after defining the sales operations process. Average deal size, sales forecasting accuracy, average deal size, lead response time, and other sales operations KPIs may be used.

3. Your Team’s Structure

The following are some of the profiles you should employ in your company:

  • Manager of sales effectiveness
  • Advisor on technical operations
  • Analyst for sales operations

4. Training in Sales Operations

When you have assembled your team, you should ensure you get the necessary training to carry out their responsibilities. Proper training also gives the team the inspiration and motivation to carry out various responsibilities and tackle challenges.

5. Tools for Sales Operations

Providing your staff with the appropriate tools and technology to help them achieve their objectives is critical to their overall success. The proper tools and software also guarantee that sales operations results are accurate.

What Makes Up a Sales Operations Team?

A successful sales operations team must include the following five components:

1. Information Management

A well-maintained database is critical to the success of your sales activities. Furthermore, effective data management may aid your organization’s success by ensuring that you have all of the information you need to make informed decisions.

2. Reporting and Analytics

The proper data will show you which business sectors are thriving, where you are most likely to fail, and where you have the most potential for success. Analytics and reporting aid in the evaluation of successes and failures, as well as decision-making.

3. Predictions

Without appropriate forecasting, a company may either spend too much and lose profit, or spend too little and miss sales opportunities. Forecasting can assist you in succeeding depending on your expectations for sales in the next quarters or two.

4. Proposal and Pricing Operations

Proper price standards and proposal processes are critical. The recommendations should be accurate, informative, and intended to provide sales operations with useful information.

5. Responsibility

One of the most common reasons of failing sales operations in a company is a lack of accountability. Lack of accountability results in higher expenses, lower margins, and lower revenue. A sales operations manager may hold sales representatives responsible for their results while also motivating the whole team.

4 Key Points for Managing a Sales Operations Team

Managing a sales operations staff is a difficult job. You may, however, put the following recommended practices to the test:

1. Create a formal mission statement for the team.

There is no obvious route to success if you don’t have a defined goal and purpose for your sales operations. At best, you’ll be diverting critical resources that might otherwise be utilized elsewhere in the company. It will also result in the company having to do extra work that isn’t required.

As a result, when forming a sales operations team, make sure you have a clear mission statement and goals in place to lead them. The team’s decision-making, strategy, and roles in the organization will be influenced by a clearly stated goal and purpose.

2. Define the roles of sales operations and sales enablement.

Sales enablement and sales operations have comparable goals and responsibilities. As a result, the two roles may cause some misunderstanding.

To prevent this, make sure each team’s particular tasks and responsibilities are clearly defined. They may work together more effectively for the benefit of the sales department by outlining the responsibilities of each team and each team member.

3. Develop scalable processes and best practices

Managing and scaling processes is one of the contributions of the sales operations team in the sales department. Sales operations should be the center of your company’s best practices and standards.

The best practices in sales operations should be documented, evaluated, communicated, and implemented in your company. This will guarantee that everyone is on the same page and regularly follows best practices.

4. Ensure Customer Retention and Success

Not only should the finest sales operations model assist your representatives in obtaining the greatest leads, but it should also aid you in keeping current clients.

Because they have comprehensive understanding of the client base, sales operations are more equipped to guarantee customer retention. During pricing disputes and difficult discussions, the sales operations team has the required information and data.

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Sales operations is the process of planning and implementing sales activities within a business. Sales operations can be defined as the strategic planning and implementation of activities to support and achieve sales objectives. Sales operations include the process of identifying and acquiring prospects, developing a detailed understanding of customer needs, forecasting sales, and arranging for the regular delivery of goods and services.. Read more about sales operations examples and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is sales operations responsible for?

Sales operations is responsible for the sales of products in a company.

What department is sales operations?

Sales operations is a department that handles the sales of products.

What is another name for sales operations?

Sales operations is the process of selling a product or service.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • sales operations
  • sales operations functions
  • sales operations best practices
  • sales operations team structure
  • sales operations model