What is a Sales Operations Manager?

This might be operations, but it's not brain surgery. Promise. 

But without knowing exactly what a sales operations manager is, it might all seem a bit complicated. But don't stress, we've got you. 

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So, what is a sales operations manager? Well, in simple terms, a Sales Operations Manager, also known as a sales manager, is tasked with maximising the effectiveness of an organisation's sales team by overseeing sales targets, forecasts, and procedures.

So, their responsibilities encompass devising and implementing sales procedures, supervising the sales team or sales operations specialists, and formulating strategic plans to achieve sales objectives.

But let's take a deeper dive. 

Want more on sales operations? Check out our What is Sales Operations eBook, here!

Before we can know what a sales operations manager is, we've got to understand sales operations. So let's ask:

What is Sales Operations?

Sales operations are focused on the day-to-day management and optimisation of the sales process. This can include managing the sales pipeline, forecasting revenue, and setting sales targets. It is also responsible for creating the infrastructure and processes that allow the sales team to work efficiently.
It is often mistaken for sales enablement, which focuses on providing sales teams with the tools, training, and content they need to effectively engage with customers and close deals - everything they need to be successful in their role.
This can include creating sales collateral, developing sales messaging and positioning, and providing training and coaching to sales reps.

What are the roles of a sales operations manager?

A Sales Operations Manager should have the ability to handle a broad range of tasks related to the organisation's sales operations.

Their primary responsibility is to ensure the optimal functioning of sales processes and teams. Some of their daily duties include:

  • Developing and implementing sales processes for sales teams, specialists, and other representatives.
  • Conducting research and analysing data to generate sales forecasts.
  • Collaborating with other departments and senior management to identify business objectives.
  • Recruiting, hiring, and training sales representatives.
  • Identifying customers and sales opportunities by analysing sales data and consumer trends.
  • Creating and managing automation tools to improve the efficiency of sales processes.
  • Implementing and managing CRM tools to maximise opportunities and cultivate customer relationships.

What skills should a sales operations manager have?

The job description of a sales operations manager can encompass a variety of responsibilities, as this role demands a combination of technical expertise and interpersonal skills while collaborating with both management and sales professionals.

These can include:

Generating Leads

Lead generation is the process of converting prospects into potential clients or customers: individuals who are interested in your company's product or service.
Anything that piques people's interest in your business can be considered lead generation, such as job applications, events, online content, and similar activities.
Sales operations managers should take the lead in generating these leads so that salespeople can focus on selling.

Sales operations managers need to be well-organised and detail-oriented in order to generate leads.

They will have to coordinate with sales and marketing teams to design the business's strategies and processes. They must also be prepared to handle administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing transactions, and preparing contracts.

Forecasting Sales

Sales operations managers should also possess the ability to accurately forecast sales. Sales forecasting is the process of estimating what your business's sales will be in the future, using past data and performance trends.
For example, if a sales forecast indicates that there will be a 30% increase in sales next quarter, a sales operations manager can notify management. This allows the company time to prepare, as they may choose to invest in more machinery or hire additional staff to meet the demand.
Sales forecasts are valuable as they enable operations managers to identify potential issues for resolution, set realistic goals to challenge sales teams, assist sales leaders in making data-driven decisions, and design effective sales strategies.

Monitoring a Pipeline

A sales pipeline is a visual representation of the stages a prospect progresses through from being a lead to becoming a customer.
It allows a sales operations manager to streamline each complex stage a sales representative encounters before closing a deal. Creating a pipeline around your process can improve conversions, shorten cycles, and maximise success.

A sales operations manager monitors each sales stage and adjusts it according to the needs of the sales team. As a sales pipeline is built from the perspective of a sales representative, a sales operations manager can identify the pain points of a team and provide assistance where needed.

From the pipeline, they can help a sales representative connect with more prospects, consistently log data, and route inbound callers to the appropriate representatives.

Managing a Sales Team

A sales operations manager should also possess the ability to manage a sales team, set goals for them, and drive their growth. Managing sales teams involves effective communication and organizing them in a manner that encourages healthy competition.

Sales operations managers are responsible for creating a fair compensation structure, which includes rewarding both individual and team achievements with incentives and designing a process to acknowledge and address underperformance. Training new hires may also be part of a sales operations manager's role, as they have years of sales experience and are well-versed in the sales process.

Analysing Data Through CRM

An important goal for an effective sales operations manager is the successful implementation of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems.

With optimal CRM analytics, a sales operations manager can measure and evaluate sales data to determine the success of a product, process, or campaign. In addition to evaluating internal information, a sales operations manager may also use CRM to study the external market and conduct competitor research.

CRM can also be utilised by sales operations managers to organise lead lists, manage custom fields, ensure data accuracy, handle lead assignment rules, and automate administrative and marketing tasks.

A sales operations manager should have experience in using CRM, presenting its data and analysing how the findings can benefit the sales teams.

What makes a good sales operations manager?


Most successful Sales Operations Managers in the UK will possess the following qualities and skills:

Attention to detail. Sales strategies involve numerous components, and it's crucial to manage them all efficiently without overlooking any crucial aspects.

Effective communication. Articulating objectives and providing coaching to sales representatives is a significant part of the job.

Proficiency with technology. In the modern era, it is essential to navigate relevant software to thrive in sales operations or revenue operations.

Ability to engage in long-term planning. Sales Operations Managers are accountable for designing the purpose and mission of the sales team. Thus, utilizing current data to plan for the future is vital.

Agility. While long-term plans are valuable, it is important to adapt and adjust as unforeseen circumstances arise between the present and strategic milestones. This agility allows the team to thrive.

Organisational skills. Documenting all processes and standards established by a Sales Operations Manager is crucial. A competent sales operations manager provides structure and order.

Leadership. For a sales strategy to succeed, sales representatives must listen to the messaging and have respect for the individual delivering it. Therefore, effective leadership is vital.