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Career in Sales Operations: What is Your Next Employer Looking For?

Data for this analysis was provided by sales operations job postings found on DataFox. This article is the second installment of our five-part Sales Operations Series. The complete analysis will be featured in our upcoming Sales Operations Ebook. Pre-register for your copy, today!

Tasked with “all the nasty number things that you don’t want to do but need to do,” today’s sales operations professionals handle CRM administration, building the tech stack, and setting sales strategy.

From the Sales Operations job posts we analyzed, we surfaced nine key responsibilities of sales operations, which showed that sales operations is now equal parts data analysis and sales strategy. Given the rapidly evolving nature of the role, how should today's sales operations professionals prepare for tomorrow's career moves?

To answer this question, we then analyzed the same job listings to see which skill sets were desired in early, mid, and late career hires. The job listings provide a clear roadmap for anyone pursuing a career in sales operations.

We defined career levels as:

Early: <3 years of experience

Mid: 3-10 years of experience

Late: >10 years of experience

The graph below shows the percentage of job postings that mention a particular skill, at each level of experience:

Early Career

Those just starting out their career in sales operations must have an excellent understanding of Salesforce — 90 perfect of job postings at that level cited Salesforce as a responsibility. At this level, learn how to evaluate products and make purchasing decisions, as well as how to integrate those products within the ecosystem of the sales workflow.

Distinguish yourself by finding new products that work better, are more affordable, or replace two or more other tools in the stack.

Knowing how to build a solid data foundation and support sales technology is critical to growth in this role.

Mid-Level Career

At this level, you will likely not be just recommending improvements to sales processes, but playing an active role in sales team management. The most-desired skill for mid-career sales operations is the ability to communicate within and between teams.

Use responsibilities that involve reporting as a chance to practice: communicating clearly with different stakeholders and demonstrating monthly, quarterly and annual success. By doing so you’ll serve as the VP of sales' right hand, making the sales team run as efficiently as possible.

As MBA’s are often a prerequisite for being an executive at an organization, you may also want to consider getting an MBA. Over 50% of late career descriptions preferred business school graduates, compared to just 15% in less experienced roles.

Late Career

Increasingly, sales operations has a seat at the executive table. With ten years of experience, leading sales strategy will be not only in your wheelhouse, but your primary responsibility.

Job postings for professionals with 10 years of experience mentioned “strategy” as a responsibility 3x more frequently that mid-level (for beginning, strategy was not mentioned at all).

At this level, interdepartmental communication will be a primary responsibility. Aligning sales and marketing behind a common goal will be a significant portion of your role.

One major way to distinguish yourself in this role is to consistently predict and evaluate the characteristics of top-performing sales reps that generate the most revenue. Use your experience in data-analysis to identify predictors of success, and seek out candidates with those traits.

Want to learn more about how to move your sales operations career forward?

Be sure to attend our monthly sales operations MeetUp and stay tuned for the next segment in our Sales Operation Series. Next week’s installment will cover Quarterly Planning.