[Editor's note: Enjoy this special guest blog post from OpsPanda — a special thanks for joining us at EXCEED 2017!]
Members of our team recently attended Clari’s EXCEED conference, focused exclusively on the Sales Operations profession. It was a great opportunity to network with like-minded professionals, share experiences and understand how others have taken different approaches to solving challenges shared across the Sales Ops community.
On the opening night, we were treated to an inspiring fireside chat with three amazing female gold medalists who shared what drives their achievements, how to deal with adversity and overcome limits, as well as the importance of mentoring. It was a great stage-setter for the focused discussions to come the following day.
Throughout the conference, there were several topical keynotes and lecture highlights, as well as lively roundtable discussions. While there were many lessons to be learned, here are a some key takeaways we observed.
Sales Operations is a multi-faceted role
The career path and professional opportunities for Sales Ops professionals continue to evolve. A few short years ago, Sales Ops was often viewed as a “support and report” function for Sales that was largely focused on ensuring good, consistent sales processes and conducting post mortem analysis. Today, with increasing focus on analytics and methodology to improve sales productivity, the role is becoming more strategic. Many organizations now rely on Sales Ops’ analysis work, not only to plan, monitor and measure, but to predict financial performance and proactively implement sales performance improvements.
Leadership opportunities are on the rise
While for several years, it’s been possible to move into senior-level operations roles, for some, new career advancement opportunities are arising in customer-facing roles. For example, leadership roles in Sales and Customer Success are opening up for those who develop a deep understanding of what drivers really affect sales performance and understand customer engagement and the keys to great customer relationships. One way to ensure you’re continually honing your craft and developing a keen understanding, is to stay abreast of the latest Sales Ops enablement technologies by attending learning opportunities such as the EXCEED conference.
Tools vs. tribal knowledge are the key to consistent forecasting
Accurate forecasting remains a challenge. Many companies still manage their pipeline and forecast processes with a combination of spreadsheets, CRM systems and tribal knowledge. There are now some great tools out there that allow you to take some of the subjectivity out of the process, objectively measure past performance factors and use that knowledge to more accurately predict future performance across all levels of the sales organization. When you implement such tools, it is a great opportunity to drive process alignment across your organization, which can lead to greater consistency in forecasting.
New methodologies propel Sales Ops forward
Although the scope of Sales Operations’ responsibilities varies from company to company, there are some common threads. For example, most Sales Ops roles touch on forecast and CRM management, sales enablement, capacity planning and sales process management. But as important as those responsibilities are, many are taking it to the next level by making sales as predictable, consistent and repeatable as possible by implementing new methodologies. By adopting new tools to ensure more accurate forecasting, thinking big about your career aspirations and elevating your role as strategic partner, Sales Ops professionals are poised to be even more influential to the bottom line.
Attending Clari’s EXCEED was a great experience and tremendous opportunity to see how the Sales Ops profession continues to evolve and increase relevance as a key contributor to their organizations’ success. Here at OpsPanda, we couldn’t be more excited about the bright future in store for Sales Operations and are grateful for companies, like Clari, who light the way.
To stay abreast of tips and tools to help propel your Sales Ops career, visit www.opspanda.com.
A Note About the Author
Kelly Cole, VP of Customer Experience at OpsPanda
Kelly applies over 25 years of leading and transforming Sales Operations, Field Operations and Customer Experience organizations to his role at OpsPanda. Born in California and raised in the South Pacific, Kelly attributes his career growth in part to a couple of strong mentors who challenged him to take on opportunities outside of his comfort zone. He enjoys mentoring others and has worked at companies of different sizes and stages of growth and understands the challenges that companies face at different points on the growth curve. He lives in San Jose, CA and enjoys traveling internationally with his wife whenever they have the opportunity.