This week, I heard from a sales leader in Atlanta, Mary Ford. She wrote to me:


“I’ve been developing an opinion that the concept of “sales operations” needs a re-invention – the function has grown in scope and complexity and would benefit from a rebranding.”


Mary’s skill set is wide ranging.  As is the case with most Sales Ops leaders. It stands to reason that the role would grow and become more complex.  As the role adapts, the expectations and measurement become misaligned.  This is causing pain for the Sales Ops team.


SBI’s 8th Annual Research Report identifies Sales Ops core problem as such:


“The Role of Sales Ops has become corrupted. It is a catch-all job function without a defined role and without set expectations.”


For more insight from the report, sign up for our Workshop.


Sales Ops leaders are too often viewed as tacticians of someone else’s programs. They view themselves as strategic leaders of the org’s vision. The role corruption leads to 3 outcomes:


  1. Less authority than necessary to be effective.
  2. Less than fair compensation considering impact and expertise.
  3. More times let go, as executives struggle to measure impact.


It’s a Sales Ops identity crisis. And it’s running rampant. Download the Sales Ops Branding Checklist. It will help you avoid these 3 outcomes.


Here are the 5 Worst Sales Ops Brands out there. Which do you think is the worst?


Mission Control-Less

Why it might be the worst:  You’re qualified to be the brains of the sales org. You just don’t have the authority to own it. Directing traffic from HR, Finance, Marketing, Sales etc. takes clout. And no one seems to get it.


The Guru

GurusWhy it might be the worst:  Being a guru would be great. Except for the deluge of ridiculous questions people bring you. Sales Ops is not a help desk. One more request for reports on buying patterns of wild geese, and I’m leaving!



Why it might be the worst:  You thrive on efficiency. And everyone knows it. If you need something done right quickly, give it to Sales Ops. Training, system support, pricing, forecasting. And have them roll out a new comp plan that everyone will love.


Doctor of Technology


Why it might be the worst:  It’s not that I don’t love our systems. And when you need unique business insights from those systems, I’m around. But I won’t come running each time we can’t populate a contact field correctly.


Counter of Beans


Why it might be the worst:  I once considered becoming an accountant. But then I didn’t. How much time do you expect me to spend following a money trail? Let me hire someone to do that. I’m busy identifying where the next dollar is coming from.


The problem with these is they don’t help the sales team make the number. They are necessary roles, but not for you.


If your VP of Sales needs help understanding how to leverage Sales Ops, send them this invitation. A 1 day workshop would identify how the best Sales Ops teams are structured.  



So what is your Sales Ops brand today? And what do you want it to be next year? Send your ideas my way. We can build this out to the top 10 Worst Brands. Or be optimists and identify the top 10 Best Sales Ops Brands. What are your thoughts?




John Kearney

Helps clients adopt emerging best practices to help them make their number.

John has been with SBI since 2011. He has worked with executives in Executive Education, Media, Telco, IT Services, and others. Under his leadership, organizations have successfully grown revenue and improved Sales and Marketing Effectiveness. With a focus on aligning strategies across functions, John has delivered strategic solutions that are actionable and executable. Prior to SBI, John earned his MBA from the University of Notre Dame.


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