What Is Sales Operations? A Complete Guide
Discover how sales ops leads to faster, smarter selling for your entire team.
When J. Patrick Kelly invented sales operations at Xerox in the 1970s, he described it as “all the nasty number things you don’t want to do, but need to do to make a great sales force.”
Fast forward to today, and sales ops has gone from doing number things to doing all the things. Eighty-five percent of sales professionals agree that sales ops is more and more strategic, according to our “State of Sales” research report. Once the unsung hero, now sales ops is stepping into the spotlight — responsible for bringing data and technology to every corner of the sales process, so sales can do more with less.
It’s a lot. But help is on the way. Below we share how sales operations can thrive — not just survive — as its responsibilities grow. You’ll discover the secrets of a great sales ops team, and how to build one yourself.
What you’ll learn:
What is sales operations?
Why does sales operations matter?
What does a sales operations team do?
🕝 Make the sales process more efficient.
🏆 Find and scale best practices.
🎯 Report on sales performance.
Set aggressive sales forecasts — and hit them.
🌍 Lead sales planning.
What are the roles and responsibilities of a sales operations team?
What are the most important tools for a sales operations team?
🔎 CRM Software
📈 Sales Enablement Tools
📍 Territory Planning Tools
Maximize sales opportunities with better territory planning.
Learn how territory planning can help you design balanced territories in hours, not months.
Watch the demo and discover how to assess territory coverage, model possible scenarios, and deploy with ease.
How do you measure the success of sales operations?
To measure the success of sales ops, use sales reporting tools that show you the most important information at a glance — for example, the amount of revenue earned per rep and the speed of the sales cycle. When these are built into the CRM, you can dig in and take action on the fly.
Here are the most important metrics to watch out for:
- Average quarterly revenue per rep: This metric describes how efficient a sales team is. To calculate the average revenue per sales rep, divide your total quarterly revenue by the number of sales reps.
- Average selling time of a sales rep: This metric is a marker for productivity. It measures how much time your sales rep spends selling versus non-selling tasks like logging call notes. A CRM can help calculate this metric by classifying and measuring customer-facing tasks on a sales rep’s calendar.
- Forecast accuracy: This is a critical metric that shows how well you tracked to the forecast you set. To calculate forecast accuracy, determine the percentage difference between your predicted revenue and actual revenue.
- Average sales cycle length: This is the length of time that passes between when a sales rep opens up a line of communication with a prospect and when they finally close the deal. A CRM can track this for you.
- Win rate: This refers to how many customer deals you close. It’s a marker for how successful your sales enablement is: Effective onboarding and training means reps are likely to close deals faster. Calculate win rate by dividing the number of closed/won deals by the total number of opportunities in your pipeline.