Sales Operations Manager 101

sales operations manager

What is a Sales Operations Manager, really? Everyone seems to have a title in the sales industry, but the job description doesn’t always match. Whether you’re thinking about hiring a Sales Operations Manager/Revenue Operations Manager or want to become one, the first step is to understand what it takes (and what you’ll be doing). Oh, and there’s the not-so-insignificant matter of money. We’ll talk about job duties, salaries, and more, so you can see what it takes to be a top-notch SOM.

What is a sales operations manager?

Once upon a time — think the 1970s — those in “sales ops” had a relatively narrow purpose. Managers would analyze data and pass on those insights to sales reps. The role was simpler because the data itself was simpler. In the half-century since, sales operations management has become far more comprehensive.

Today, Sales Operations Managers are the puppet masters of a company’s sales and marketing departments. Their number one goal is to make the sales process as easy as possible for salespeople and prospects alike. SOMs supervise sales reps and other operational specialists to ensure things run smoothly. As part of their ongoing analysis, SOMs identify challenges, and find solutions.

You’re likely to find sales operations managers in larger companies or small companies looking to scale quickly. That’s because the amount of customers and revenue directly correlates to how complicated the sales process becomes. The amount of KPIs you need to track multiplies, there are more revenue streams to look over, and on it goes. Bringing in a SOM ensures there’s someone to take care of the minutiae, allowing your sales team to concentrate on selling.

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What makes a good Sales Operations Manager?

The best Sales Operations Managers are people who think in systems. The job is all about creating sales processes, implementing them, and then continually revisiting and refining. Familiarity with CRM software and other technological tools is a major advantage as well.

Most successful Sales Operations Managers will have the following qualities and skills:

  • Attention to detail. Sales strategies have a lot of moving parts. It’s important to be able to manage them all without letting anything fall through the cracks.
  • Communication. Conveying objectives and coaching sales reps is a big part of the job.
  • Technologically adept. It’s impossible to succeed in sales ops/revenue ops in 2020 (and beyond) if you can’t navigate the right software.
  • A knack for long-term planning. SOMs are responsible for designing the sales team’s purpose and mission, so it’s important to use current data to plan for the future.
  • Agility. Long-term plans are great, but lots can happen between now and your strategic milestones. Being able to pivot as needed will help the team thrive.
  • Organization. All those processes and standards a SOM sets need to be documented. A great sales operations manager provides order.
  • Leadership. For a sales strategy to work, reps have to listen to the messaging and respect the person sharing it.

Day-to-day activities of a sales ops manager

A Sales Ops Manager has a lot of duties, including:

  • CRM management and oversight
  • Overseeing crucial components of the sales process, such as territory alignment and customer profiling
  • Creating and implementing sales and revenue generation strategies
  • Structuring compensation plans
  • Commission calculation and sharing
  • Tracking and analyzing data

Some tasks occur less frequently but are no less important. Sales Ops Managers might oversee product training when it’s almost time to launch a new campaign. They often take care of hiring and onboarding talent as needed, too. They also might conduct quarterly reviews of incentive compensation plans, sales reps’ individual targets, and team goals.

What is the average Sales Operations Manager salary?

According to Glassdoor, Sales Operations Managers make an average base pay of $83,332 per year. Low-end salary sits at about $48,000, while those sitting on the high end of the scale make as much as $132,000 annually. Google has advertised sales operations manager positions with an average salary of just under $200,000 per year. At Bank of America, the average SOM salary is just over $90,000. All this indicates that salary can shift dramatically, depending on the industry.

Of course, the base salary is only one part of the pay mix. Sales Operations Managers are often part of the sales team. As such, they can certainly have a generous compensation package that includes commission, bonuses, and other perks.

Career track of a Sales Operations Manager

Sales Ops Managers come to the role with a wealth of experience. Many have a background in sales, operations, finance, or a combination of all three. For instance, a Revenue Operations Manager makes a great SOM because of their experience with similar strategies and software systems. Educational requirements have similar overlaps — almost all will have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, and many will hold an MBA.

It’s common to meet Sales Operations Managers who have worked their way up. From a starting role as a sales rep, SOMs can have long, happy careers at the operations management level or continue to rise. The next level up is a VP of Sales Operations or a Sales Operations Director position.

If you’re aspiring to be a Sales Operations Manager, take advantage of your company’s training programs and look for mentorship. The more you learn about sales processes, forecasting, CRMs, and creating strategies, the better off you’ll be. If you’re already a SOM, make your life easier with commission tracking software from QuotaPath. For more information on how you can streamline earnings and performance measurement, create your very own workspace.

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