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What is Sales Operations and how does it differ from Sales Enablement?

If you haven’t heard of Sales Operations, otherwise known as Sales Ops, before, you’re probably wondering what it is?

Sales Operations is the set activities, and procedures within a sales team that supports, enables, and drives them to sell better, faster, and more effectively. Sales Ops executives enable salespeople to focus greater on selling in order to achieve company goals by providing training programs that are strategically used software tools and engagement approaches.

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Perhaps most of all, Sales Operations provide a framework for selling. This overlooked but important department uses data to shape strategy and best practices to educate people.

In a nutshell, Sales Ops and Sales Operation Management is focused on providing the support systems that have been developed for a company’s reps to succeed. This includes manual tasks such as contract review, proposal creation, CRM administration, and performance management via forecasting and sales analytics. By providing sales reps with the right resources and tools to become true sales experts, Sales Managers can better manage their teams.

How does Sales Operations compare to Sales Enablement?

Sales Enablement is simply an umbrella term for any training or information designed to help sales reps enhance their selling techniques and strategies. This may include sales management overviews, best practices, product-specific presentations, competitive sales insights, sales methodologies, sales scripts and sales coaching.

Sales Ops differs from Sales Enablement in that sales ops is the function of the company that actively supports sales, typically with reports, analytics and other sales systems. Sales Ops isn’t only providing sales reps with information on products or sales insight, but also has a key role in supporting salespeople with the sales tools and sales tech.

So, to summarise, Sales Ops provides sales reps with the tools, resources and tech to succeed. Sales Enablement, on the other hand, is a sales resource that sales reps can access for information and training to enhance their sales skills.

Why do companies need it Sales Ops? 

Sales Ops involves the process of planning, organising, checking and controlling the performance of an organisation, their sales team and sellers. Businesses without Sales Ops are often burdened by poor digital capabilities, clunky processes, and inefficient activities.

Sales Ops is the set of activities that support the company’s business strategies, objectives and plans for current and future growth. It’s essentially a company-wide support system that strengthens every aspect of the way companies do business, including: 

  • Sales process optimisation
  • Data organisation and analysis 
  • Sales team development
  • Product and service design and delivery 
  • Marketing and sales campaign effectiveness 

But how does all of that work together? 

Without Sales Operations Management, companies wouldn’t be able to maximise the impact of their sales teams. Sales Ops ensures that the right resources are available to support the sales team at every stage of their process. 

With a clear company strategy and set of objectives, you can then ascertain what resources are required to achieve those goals (talent, technology, data, and so on). Following that, you can determine how to maximise each of those areas, while monitoring progress and continually optimising performance. Sales Ops is a full-scale, continually evolving activity. 

Businesses who embrace it are a fluid, streamlined, productive and effective outfit. The outcome is better conversion rates, more effective salespeople, a healthier CRM, happier customers, and more.

Steve Lindsey
Steve Lindsey
National Sales Conference Event Director, Growth Hub Founder, Trustee for Alopecia UK and Fundraiser for Hospice in The Weald by Swimming, Cycling & Running #MAMIL

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