Sales Operations Specialist: roles, responsibilities, salary and hiring

Have you ever gone to an orchestra where every musician was playing from different sheet music? 

Imagine it for a second. 

A cacophony of trumpets, drums, grand pianos, and violins all playing a disorganized, noisy, and screeching symphony in front of a well dressed but confused and horrified audience. 

That’s your sales team without sales operations. 

And your sales operations specialist is the conductor helping the entire sales team work together in harmony to achieve your company’s sales goals. 

Without them it’s anarchy. 

Let’s break down (almost) everything you need to know about this fast-growing and increasingly important sales role and whether or not you should hire a sales ops specialist in-house or if it makes more sense to hire a RevOps agency for your growing company.

What is a Sales Operations Specialist?

A sales operations specialist is a member of the sales or RevOps team who specializes in designing and optimizing sales processes and systems that help the sales team achieve their goals and operate more efficiently.

They also play a critical role in organizing, analyzing, and synthesizing sales data and creating accurate reports to help leadership make better-informed decisions.

Anyone working in a sales ops role will have to balance both strategic and operational duties. For example, identifying issues in a company’s sales funnel, like inefficient manual data entry, then setting up automations within the company’s CRM to address the problem. 

“The number of new [Sales Operations roles] around the world increased by 38% between 2018 and 2020.” – LinkedIn Report: The State of Sales Operations, 2021

What are the Responsibilities and Duties of a Sales Ops Specialist?

Sales Ops Specialists are increasingly tasked with more and more responsibilities, but their main duties are: 

It can be tempting to say that one of the roles of a sales ops specialist is to “audit” the sales team, but their role is much more about helping them achieve their sales goals and driving efficiency. 

Must-have Software for a Sales Ops Specialist

The software a sales ops specialist will use depends on the task at hand. Here at Iceberg we use a variety of software to handle different tasks like CRM management and forecasting. 

Top Software used by Sales Ops Specialists 

Average Salary of a Sales Ops Specialist

Here’s a breakdown of what a sales ops specialist can expect to earn on average in a variety of countries and cities based on data from Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and other open data sources.  

USA:

  • New York: $75,987
  • San Francisco: $73,649
  • Chicago: $58,798
  • Austin: $63,194 

Europe:

  • Spain: € 30.904 
  • France: €45,517
  • Germany: €31,329
  • Ireland: €47, 644
  • Sweden: 367.486 kr
  • Poland: PLN 5,500

UK:

  • London: £46, 472
  • Bristol: £42,500
  • Edinburgh: £40,000

Australia

  • Sydney: AUD $143,423
  • Melbourne: AUD $83, 975

How to Hire a Sales Ops Specialist

When it comes to welcoming a sales ops specialist onto your team you have two options: hire in-house or contract an independent RevOps agency.

If hiring a full-time sales ops specialist would be stretching your budget too tight, then hiring a revops agency would be the smartest move as it means you’ll only pay a fraction of the cost of hiring a new employee. 

Another added bonus of hiring an external RevOps team is that you’re getting access to a team of experts, not just one person, who can establish great operational foundations for a new hire further down the road.

But if your company is ready to bring on a new hire then you can start your search by looking close to home. 

Do any of your current sales team members show a great aptitude for analyzing data, spotting issues in your workflows and processes, and forecasting sales performance?

Then they might be in for a promotion. 

Investing resources in upskilling your current team can pay back dividends, especially as your new hire already has extensive knowledge about your company, customers, and what issues may be holding back the sales team. 

But you need to make sure that your new hire has someone to learn from: do you already have an experienced Sales Ops specialist on your team? Who will train them?

Remember you can’t just throw a new hire at your operations issues without guidance and training or else you’re basically asking them to build the plane while they free-fall.

If you’d rather get an external hire then you can advertise for the position on a variety of platforms, usually for a small fee. 

Here are just some suggestions:

But before putting out ads for the new role you’re hiring for, you have to know what to put in the job description. 

Don’t Hire for a RevOps Role Before Reading This Guide

When you’re ready to hire in-house for operations, what should you look for? What combination of skills will make the biggest impact? How can you make a smart hire today and support a long-term hiring strategy? This white paper steps through:

  • Categories for a first operations hire
  • Recommended interview questions
  • The exact evaluation matrix Iceberg uses to hire for its own team

Sales Operations Specialist Job Description Template

Your sales ops job description isn’t just a place to dump a lot of facts about requirements and aptitudes, it’s also a great opportunity to highlight your brand values to help you attract the best-fit candidates. 

Your job description should include 4 sections: 

  • Introduction about your company 
  • Duties and Responsibilities 
  • Requirements and Qualifications (we like to break these up into ‘essential’ and ‘nice to have’)
  • Benefits of working at your company 

Here’s an example from one of our very own job posts for a Salesforce Consultant.

Company Description

Iceberg is a fast growing Revenue Operations consulting firm that serves (mostly) SaaS startups that are building their first dedicated sales and marketing teams. Most of our clients are VC-Backed Seed, Series A, or Series B companies.

Job Description

We are looking for a Salesforce Consultant with a focus on Sales Operations to partner with project managers and systems admins to develop the best possible tech stack for clients. You will be responsible for working directly with client teams, identifying operational gaps, and marshaling internal resources to solve them. Because your work will impact all Revenue teams (marketing, sales, customer success), communication and collaboration are core to the role.

This is a strategic role, so it is not simply completing tasks that are assigned to you. You will be both a technical expert and an advisor to our clients. Help them understand what they should do — not simply do what they ask without considering the operational implications of their requests.

You’ll enjoy a flexible work schedule with the option to work 100% remote. You’re a great fit for the role if you’re entrepreneurial, data-driven, and enjoy helping others succeed.

What you’ll do:

  • Interview clients to understand their specific needs. The process is: discovery, requirements gathering, project planning, documentation, testing, deployment.
  • Advise and manage roadmaps for fast-growing companies to optimize their revenue generation process, with a focus on the tech stack, insights, and operations/enablement across the entire revenue engine (marketing, sales, success).
  • Create processes, automation and dashboards in Salesforce as well as other systems connected to Salesforce. Examples include: HubSpot, Pardot, Outreach.io, ZoomInfo, LinkedIn Sales Nav).
  • Create project plans and marshal resources internally to ensure that high quality is delivered on time

What you’ll get:

  • Competitive compensation.
  • Flexibility (100% remote)
  • Constant training and development from some of the best minds in revenue operations.
  • A new set of skills. There are more Salesforce and CPQ administrators every day, so you’ll learn a set of skills that will help you differentiate yourself from the crowd.
  • Internal opportunities to advance.
  • A chance to build a strong resume. The operations professionals we’ve worked with in the past now work at some of the most exciting companies in the world.

Qualifications:

Must have:

  • 2+ years of Salesforce Admin experience
  • Experience supporting sales teams
  • Demonstrated aptitude to execute sales operations functions, including forecasting and sales process optimization
  • Ability to map business processes, flows, and data models; configure workflows, fields, and objects; and take requirements for other team members to execute
  • High attention to quality and detail
  • Strong organization and communication skills
  • Adaptable – we’re growing quickly and need your flexibility

​​​​​​​Nice to have:

  • Experience working as a consultant where you’ve seen operations across many different companies
  • Advanced Salesforce Certifications
  • Experience with both large and small sales teams
  • Knowledge and experience with other sales and marketing tools:
  • Sales engagement (Outreach, SalesLoft, Etc)
  • Salesforce native apps (LeanData, Distribution Engine, Etc)
  • CPQ tools
  • Telephony systems
  • Marketing automation

Feel free to copy + paste this template and alter it for your own needs.

What does a Sales Operations Specialist have to Say? Meet Iceberg RevOps team member Ryan Hiatt

We stole a quick interview with our very own Ryan Hiatt  to give you greater insights into the roles and responsibilities of a sales ops specialist. 

What tasks are you usually working on a day-to-day basis?

As an ops specialist there is a wide-range of projects day-to-day.

Common tasks are: strategic client calls, project updates, building and testing automations, deploying solutions from sandbox environments, building reports, and scoping out projects for other team members to build.

What core skills does someone need to be a great sales ops specialist?

Time management and strong communication skills are critical for a sales ops specialist.

Both of these traits also pair with attention to detail – both in setting aside time to do proper testing, and for clearly communicating expectations and deliverables.

Ryan Hiatt – Sales Ops Specialist at Iceberg RevOps

What does a successful day in your role look like?

A successful day is working with a client in delivering a successful project update and discussing future work to be done. Success to me is value delivered.

This value can come in several ways: a successful deployment of a solution, adequate testing for a build, project scoping, and client alignment. Success is working towards providing a solution for a client – whether it’s a project completion that day or not. 

What challenges does your role help solve?

User adoption, data insights, and operational efficiency.

How We Help Sales Ops Specialists

1 in 4 sales operations specialists said that poor CRM data quality makes it hard to do their job effectively. – LinkedIn Report “State of Sales Operations, 2021”

Due to their growing list of responsibilities, sales ops specialists can feel like they’re constantly playing whack-a-mole by responding to problems as they arise and never finding the time to fix the root cause of their ops woes.

That’s where we step in.

We work side by side with sales ops specialists to set up efficient systems that are aligned to their sales team’s strategy so they can stop putting out fires and focus on improving the sales team’s performance.

Iceberg can help your sales ops team with a wide variety of tasks such as:

Think of Iceberg as a strategic partner who can help you build efficient sales operations by filling any gaps in your internal team’s skill set.

Reach out to see how we can help. Nine out of ten times we can help you, but if we can’t we’ll point you to the right people who can. 

To Hire or not to Hire a Sales Ops Specialist?

Could you run an opera without the conductor? 

Would you trust every individual musician to keep time and tempo without any guidance? 

Probably not. 

Sales operations are a must for any scaling company who’s outgrown the manual way of doing things and is fed up with working from data and reports that just don’t make sense.

While it’s easy to say you should hire your own sales ops specialist right away, it also might not be feasible for your budget right now. If that’s the case for your company, then contracting a sales operations specialist (or a whole team of them) may be the smartest move. 

But what’s clear is this: if your company is scaling and your systems are struggling to keep up, then it’s time to invest in sales operations.

FAQs about Hiring a Sales Ops Specialist

What skills does someone need for sales operations?

Strong analytical, time management and communication skills are crucial to anyone’s success as a sales ops specialist. They should also excel at spotting potential problems, analyzing them, and coming up with solutions that pay close attention to the finer details. Proficiency in certain CRMs like Salesforce are also very important. 

What’s the difference between a sales ops specialist and a revenue ops (rev ops) specialist?

Both of these roles share a common goal: to drive revenue in a company. However, a sales ops specialist can be said to be one branch of revenue operations that focuses solely on the sales department. 
Whereas a revenue ops specialist brings together and optimizes a variety of departments’ operations like sales, marketing, and finance. Check out this article for a deeper breakdown of the difference between sales ops and rev ops

What are the benefits of hiring a sales operations specialist?

Above all, ensuring that your company is working with good data so you can make important sales decisions with more precision. 
This includes: sales forecasting, better lead tracking, and freeing up sales reps from time-consuming admin tasks that can be automated so they can focus more on selling.

Keep Reading and Improving your RevOps Knowledge