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Just as offensive line protects the quarterback in football, a company’s operations function protects each line of businesses. It’s the ops team that makes it possible for the go-to-market function to, well, function. Ops allows marketing to know where to source the best leads, reps to trust they’re assigned the very best accounts, and leadership to enjoy complete visibility into pipeline health.

Because effective ops pros set up others for success, the role tends to be unheralded. Worse still (and also like offensive linemen) ops often receives recognition only when something goes wrong.

We want to change this scenario.

This week we are hosting the most influential sales ops professionals at Ramp by InsightSquared, where we’ll discuss the role, sales, data and analytics. The conference is sold-out but several speakers offered their advice ahead of the event to shine light on how sales operations professionals can become (even) more strategic within their organizations.

Dana Therrien, Research Director, sales operations strategies at SiriusDecisions: Sales operations teams are perceived by sales and other organizations the way that they perceive themselves. If sales operations views itself as a group of tactical administrative responders, than that’s how they act and that’s how they will be perceived. Their role will be minimized and taken for granted. But, when sales operations teams view themselves as a strategic differentiator for sales, then they devote adequate time and resources to strategy and planning, to producing actionable board-worthy sales intelligence, to process optimization, and to the other strategic accountabilities SiriusDecisions identifies in is Sales Operations Sunburst Model. The organizational culture shifts and the organization behaves differently. It starts with setting aspirations and thinking big.

Matt Cameron, Managing Partner at Sales Ops Central: By anticipating the what will be important in three quarter’s time for your head of revenue, because chances are you will need to start solving for it now.

Doug Landis, Growth Partner at Emergence Capital: Sales ops professionals become strategic when they can anticipate what changes need to happen in the sales organization and guide their sales leader to options. A great sales ops professional should be considered the co-founder of the sales org but that only happens when they are perceived to add significant value to the sales org beyond the everyday tactics of comp plans, quotas, CRM hygiene and more. A great sales ops leader understands where the business is going and based on that understanding can identify opportunities for growth — they choose to dig into the data to identify customers that are financially valuable versus customers that are costing the business money (based on renewal rates, usage and customer support calls). A great sales ops leader will then use this data to direct the sales leadership towards accounts that are overall better for the business thus tweaking the original Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

Follow #RampFenway on Twitter this week for sales operations resources and advice from industry experts from Salesforce.com, Kraft Analytics Group, Apttus, Boston Red Sox and more.

Erin Rohr
Director, marketing communications
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