Nancy: How has Sales Ops evolved and where is the future of Sales Ops heading?
Dharmesh: Sales Ops is on a transformative journey. It originated as a commodity function and has evolved to be a capability. As it continues to play a role in strategy and growth, it’s now starting to be considered a competitive advantage. As a commodity, Sales Ops was designed to handle non-selling burdens so sales reps had more customer-facing time. Sales Ops managed data entry and administrative burdens. But in the SaaS world, there is rising complexity of sales resulting in more role specialization. Sales has become more sophisticated and as companies start to scale, growth takes priority. The lense for sales as a cost center has changed into sales as an investment. Companies have established true partnerships and relationships between both sales and sales operations which is why sales leaders and companies see sales operations as a capability. They realize they need functional expertise around systems, reporting, process, and compensation. Sales Ops no longer serves as a generalist role. It now requires subject matter expertise to drive business effectiveness. As this function continues to grow, companies will see Sales Ops as a competitive advantage. Mature Sales Ops teams are undergoing this transformation. There are advances in technology, access to big data, and even greater complexity in sales organization as companies become more account-based. Sales Ops is becoming a strategic weapon that allows companies to use sales operations as a driver of growth beyond just marketing, sales, and customer success.
Nancy: As Sales Ops manages more business growth, how do you see role specialization developing?
Dharmesh: Roles specialization no longer only happens in field facing functions like inbound sales. There is also complementing role specialization in sales operations. Sales Ops used to be where you moved anyone not talented in sales. Now, that role is specialized and you need people with deep data knowledge who can understand business and strategic growth. It is now a core competency, not simply operationally doing whatever a company needs. The diversity of titles and roles we now see within Sales Operations demonstrates that increasing specialization.
Nancy: The big trend in business now is consolidating marketing, sales, and customer experience under a new umbrella called “Revenue Ops.” Describe this trend and its impact on Sales Ops.
Dharmesh: At the end of the day, business is not only about generating revenue, but also profitability. You can create revenue but not growth. That is why GrowthOps has also emerged as a trend in addition to revenue ops. Both Revenue Ops and GrowthOps result from businesses realizing the strategic nature of growth. It’s no longer just about sales, but building a repeatable, scalable growth driving machine. If you were a VP of Sales with infinite money to invest, you used to invest in a sales role over a back-office function. The backend guy was viewed as a cost. But now, sales thought leaders no longer look at Sales Ops as a cost but a wheelhouse to grow revenue. Sales Ops empowers companies to win bigger deals, make deals faster, and renew more deals. This is the crux of Revenue Ops – using process and data to drive strategy and create lasting growth.
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