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Are We in the Golden Age of Sales Operations?

By Greg Hessong | November 09, 2022 | 0 Comments

SalesSales Operations

While the pace of change in today’s world continues accelerating, some things seem to move much more slowly. Sales operations (SalesOps) used to fall into this category, as its purpose remained relatively stable year after year. This is all changing. There are big shifts underway that have major implications for the future of SalesOps. Visionary leaders that embrace these changes see SalesOps playing a much more strategic role in their organizations. For these leaders, this is shaping up to be the golden age of SalesOps.


Here are 3 big shifts underway right now that deserve serious attention:


Sales processes are changing, because B2B buying has changed


You’ve no doubt heard this before, but the landscape of B2B buying and selling has reshaped itself dramatically over the last few years. The traditional B2B sales process, guided by seller activity, is giving way to a selling process characterized by a mix of digital and human interactions, with digital becoming more and more prevalent. Gartner research shows only 31% of surveyed buyers rely solely on sellers for learning while making a purchase. The other 69% interact with suppliers via either a mix of rep-assisted and digital channels, or solely through self-navigated digital channels. This doesn’t make sellers irrelevant, but it does make them more reliant on buyer insights to influence buying decisions.


The implications for SalesOps: sellers require more insights they can act on. SalesOps must leverage more data from more channels and sources. Sellers must be more situationally aware of each prospects’ unique buying situation and the nuanced needs of individual stakeholders on the buying team. Better situational awareness is critical if we hope to have any chance at enabling sellers to contextualize their interactions with buyers and positively influence buyer decisions. 


Sales operations talent requirements are evolving faster than new talent can be hired


Another big shift involves changes to sales operations’ core responsibilities, partly driven by new capabilities enabled through emerging technology. This has created new talent requirements that impact the design of operations teams. Emerging skills that make up the typical SalesOps profile are shifting from process and support to advanced analytics, deal risk, and complex scenario planning. SalesOps must expand proficiencies in new technologies and become more effective at helping sellers unlock the potential of new technology investments.


SalesOps leaders also need to future-proof their teams. This means assessing talent profiles to ensure the function is equipped to adapt to future needs. It’s a near certainty that talent gaps will surface. Talent recruitment strategies must evolve in order to compete with global talent demand. Org design will also become more critical to establish teams that are resilient in the face of talent attrition and resource availability.


The footprint of SalesOps is expanding more and more


SalesOps has provided support for other functional departments for some time, but this has expanded substantially as organizations work to reduce internal silos and integrate sales, marketing, service and other functions into a consolidated, end-to-end revenue process. The data requirements of non-sales functions are expanding as a result, putting increased pressures on SalesOps to deliver. SalesOps is being called upon to help shape or even lead this transformation. 


Some SalesOps organizations have been more purposeful about their expanded remit by formally referring to themselves as a RevOps team. Whether you call yourselves RevOps or SalesOps is beside the point. You’re likely already feeling the impacts of these expanded responsibilities. 


A golden opportunity, indeed

A golden age is upon us. These changes create huge opportunities for SalesOps to increase their impact in 2023. Leaders who embrace the opportunities these changes create will find themselves in a much different position with greater levels of influence, an increased strategic role, and expanded responsibilities, to lead their organizations to new heights. The future of sales operations is now.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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