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How to Become a Better Sales Operations Manager

Posted in:  Sales and Marketing Management, Sales Enablement Strategy, Sales Training, Coaching, and Onboarding

Sales operations managers are the unsung heroes behind a high-performing sales team. They design sales processes, sift through sales data, and predict futures. Their role is to set up the sales team for success. Yet, their path to success is paved with challenges that require exceptional leadership skills, agility, and business acumen.

Whether you’re new to the role or looking to improve your skills, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and tips to succeed. Read on as we delve into the sales ops manager role, essential expertise, and challenges you must navigate to excel.

What Does a Sales Operations Manager Do?

Sales operations managers ensure sales teams work efficiently, adapt to market needs, and remain productive. This position is broad in scope, from planning and data analysis to pricing, technology, and process management. Their ability to anticipate change and adapt sales processes helps maintain a competitive edge.

While the job descriptions of sales operations managers may vary per company, the responsibilities often include:

1. Streamline and Enhance Sales Processes

Sales operations managers work to smooth out kinks in the sales process, allowing the sales team to concentrate on their primary job: selling. They look at the big picture, analyzing sales, from lead generation to closing deals, and considering all internal and external inputs to pinpoint problem areas. The goal? To improve sales outcomes.

2. Select and Implement Sales Automation Solutions

Sales operations managers find, evaluate, and implement automation tools. These may include CRM platforms like Salesforce, email marketing software, and metrics dashboards. These tools intend to automate mundane tasks, improve customer communication, and make sales data accessible. The goal of this integrated planning is to improve sales productivity.

3. Optimize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Data

CRM data management is the backbone of successful sales operations. It involves accurately collecting customer information and interactions. Sales operations also work to integrate CRM seamlessly with other business tools, creating an ecosystem that informs sales planning and actions.

4. Conduct Revenue Forecasting

To predict future earnings, sales operations managers look at past sales, trends, and what’s happening in the market. Understanding revenue expectations helps the entire business plan for growth, decide where to use resources, and determine the best market strategy.

5. Supporting Sales Team Performance

Sales operations managers help the sales reps remain productive. They provide tools, information, and support to ensure the team members can focus on selling. This includes sales tools and the correct customer data.

6. Collaborate With Leadership

Sales operations managers collaborate across the organization. Working with the director of sales and other department heads ensures that sales strategies align with the broader business objectives. This holistic approach ensures all teams are working towards the same goals.

Related Resource: Five Ways to Modernize Your Sales Strategy

Skills Needed to Be a Successful Sales Operation Manager

Success in sales operations relies on years of experience and a skill set that combines technical expertise, strategic foresight, planning, and strong leadership qualities. Here are skills every sales operations manager should hone:

Organizational Skills

Organizing skills enable sales operations managers to juggle multiple tasks and projects in unison, keeping the sales process moving and aligned with business goals. These skills ensure that the sales team is operating at peak performance.

Problem-Solving Skills

Sales operations managers need strong problem-solving skills to analyze issues, such as declining sales figures and operational bottlenecks. They must swiftly implement solutions to maintain sales effectiveness and profitability.

Business Acumen

Sales operations managers need broad knowledge of the business’s structure, processes, and overarching goals. This enables them to integrate sales operations within the wider business context. They work hard to build strong relationships with department leaders to ensure cohesive action across the company.

Sales Management

Sales ops can use their in-depth management experience to interpret sales data and provide advice. Sales management will then have the key metrics and data to inform processes and sales activities, including pipeline management and sales forecasting.

Project Management

Project management skills are essential for implementing new complex initiatives, from sales process improvements to the rollout of new tools. These skills ensure that projects are on time, within budget, and have the desired impact on sales teams.

Financial Management

Sales ops need solid knowledge of financial principles to forecast revenue, track KPIs and metrics, and recommend business strategies. Their expertise also guides staffing or investment decisions. This financial insight allows them to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of initiatives, influencing the company’s health and long-term success.

Tech Proficiency

Tech proficiency is a non-negotiable sales ops’ skill. They must stay current with the latest advancements and integrate the right tech stack into the sales process. By keeping abreast of new technologies, they ensure the sales organization remains competitive and efficient.

Communication and Collaboration

Strong collaboration and communication skills foster teamwork, especially with the need for interaction across departments, partners, and stakeholders. These skills help build relationships with a focus on common sales goals.

Leadership and Team Management

Sales operations managers are often responsible for managing a team of sales operations specialists. Beyond overseeing daily tasks, they inspire their team to support the sales department. They do this by equipping sales representatives with tools, resources, and guidance to effectively engage with prospects and customers.

Influential sales leaders create a culture of excellence and continuous improvement within and beyond their sales operations team.

Overcoming Challenges in Sales Operations Management

Sales operations managers face hurdles that can impede the sales process. For instance, managing large volumes of customer data and integrating new sales technologies can disrupt established workflows.

Below are some of the most common sales ops challenges and tips to overcome them:

Data Management

Handling massive quantities of data is daunting. The sheer volume and need for precision can overwhelm even the most organized sales ops teams. For example, ensuring CRM and integrated systems accurately reflect customer interactions requires careful oversight.

To overcome sales data analysis and management hurdles, ops leaders can implement tools that automate data collection and provide easy access. Utilizing CRM systems that offer real-time insights into customer behavior can drastically reduce the manual effort required for data upkeep and support data-driven decision-making rather than manual data handling.

Process Optimization

Sales processes can become cumbersome and prohibitive to selling when there are too many steps or bottlenecks. An example of this challenge is the lead qualification process, which can become lengthy and inefficient without regular updates.

Identifying irregularities helps pinpoint areas that need improvement. Remaining agile with process adjustments will keep sales operations functioning and enhance overall sales performance.


Sales operations leaders face a crucial decision amid rapid AI and ML advancements: get new hires or invest in new sales technologies. While tech innovation promises efficiency, it also poses risks to current processes, such as potential slowdowns from new tools. A survey highlights that 82% of salespeople face challenges adopting new technologies due to a lack of integration or training programs.

Careful selection and intentional implementation of new tools will help overcome disruption. By choosing solutions that align with the team’s needs and simplify their work without adding unnecessary complexity, operations managers can ensure technology serves to enhance, not hinder, sales efforts.

Team Adoption and Adaptability

Encouraging the team to adopt new sales methodologies or technologies is often resisted. The comfort of familiar routines makes the transition to new practices, such as adopting a new sales enablement platform, appear risky.

To overcome the adoption challenge, it’s important to communicate the benefits of the new tools or processes and provide effective onboarding, sales training, and coaching. Building a culture that values innovation and flexibility, supported by executive backing, can facilitate a smoother transition and a more adaptable sales team.

Empower Your Sales Operations Team with Highspot

The challenges facing sales operations managers—from internal demands and external pressures to the relentless pace of tech change – are not going away. Yet, it’s their response to challenges that will truly showcase their skills and value. By honing skills in data management, process optimization, and technology adoption, sales ops managers can boost team performance and fuel revenue growth.

Utilizing cutting-edge tools like Highspot’s sales enablement, AI, and analytics platform provides the edge needed to excel in dynamic sales operations roles. Request a Highspot demo today!