February 26, 2016

Finding the Next Sales Ops Hero: Part II

Ari Klionsky

Ari Klionsky

Ari Klionsky
Ari Klionsky

SVP, Sales and Business Operations

Exceed 1380X600E

What’s the Best Way to Become a Sales Ops Hero?

In my previous post, I gave a little primer on how Sales Ops people spend their time, the questions your sales team will ask you, the questions you should ask yourself, and the qualities you need to be successful — with your ability to collaborate as most critical.

Switching gears, now I want to focus on the profile of a Sales Ops hero.

A sales ops hire typically started as a business analyst, sales rep, or financial analyst. The best people combine elements of each position.

Great business analysts have a critical eye. They’re used to working cross-functionally, processing massive amounts of data, and extracting the information they need from colleagues. But the pace of sales is usually new to them. End of quarter and end of month deadlines can be grueling, especially when someone demands an answer “now.”

What about former sales reps? It’s a common path since reps already know how to go fast, prioritize, juggle, and be professional and ruthless at same time. But they quickly learn that sales ops is less about art and more about process. Sales reps can manage with some ambiguity. But when you’re in sales ops, the numbers must add up.

Financial analysts are usually disciplined workers and have already done many of critical reporting and forecasting tasks. They understand the impact that revenue, liabilities, and risk exposure have on the business. What can be an adjustment for them, though, are the sales timelines and the need to think creatively.

You might be surprised that my best Sales Ops hire ever came from finance. Her strengths weren’t in critical thinking or making Excel “dance.”  She brought something more valuable: company cred. She was a Swiss army knife who could execute. You can teach someone how to build a spreadsheet and to break down and document steps of a process. What you can’t teach is how to get things done.

What am I missing for a sales ops hero? I want to know. Together we can help strengthen sales ops teams by ensuring new team members are a perfect match.

Ari is the Vice President of Global Sales Operations for Five9 and is responsible for leading his team in support and growth of Five9’s sales teams. He brings over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development and strategic initiatives and holds degrees in computer science and economics from Brown University.

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