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The Importance of Soft Skills in Sales Ops with Robert Muñoz of Forrester Research

In this episode, we are joined by Robert Muñoz, the Principal Analyst for Sales Operations Strategies at Forrester Research.

With almost a decade of experience in sales operations, Robert discusses the key fundamentals and sales operations best practices that lead to optimization of sales for a company.

In the end, Robert discusses the trends affecting sales operations as we enter 2021.

The evolving passion from technical sales to sales operations 

When Robert joined Hewlett Packard in 2010, he had a dual role which began from the application sales, leading an application consultant team. Then during the latter half, he transitioned to sales operations, to which eventually he became dedicated.

His primary background has been technical sales, consisting of sales engineering, pre-sales support, and leading sales teams from across large enterprises. Over time, his passion shifted from technical sales towards getting over to the business side of things. He realized new representatives were coming on board with seasoned employees needing the guidance and key support in knowing their targets. 

From sales to sales operations 

Robert was always more attracted and passionate about operations than sales, which led him to shift his focus completely to operations. In his role, he was mainly focused on generating the insights to leverage the technical teams, product teams, and sales teams such that all the teams are working in perfect sync operationally and strategically. 

Learn soft skills 

Soft skills are a vital skillset and cannot be foregone as they help enhance personality. 

Those who are in the midst of their operations careers and are looking to grow should focus on developing soft skills, communication skills, networking skills, etc. 

Developing soft skills is an investment that truly helps a person reach the highest peak in their career, especially in sales operations. 

Negative feedback can also work as the key factor that ensures a person keeps improving by knowing what is working and what isn’t.  

The new face of sales operations in 2021

COVID-19 has a major impact on transforming the trends. 

In the B2B environment, the buyers of the realm want a personalized experience to choose specifications according to their preferences. And this behavior may change daily. One day a buyer might want to talk to a specific person to deal with him to better understand and communicate his needs before making a decision. On the very next day, it’s possible that the buyer may want to get things done himself and be rather straightforward about his needs. This is where time is of the essence, and it becomes highly important to get things done ASAP. 

B2B buyers are increasingly getting more aware and are now disliking being Sold” on a product. Instead, their focus is on communicating their problem or bottleneck to the seller and finding a solution. This shift requires not only technology enablement, which is necessary especially under current circumstances but also the ability to effectively communicate with the current toolsets that are available to the teams. It becomes highly important to understand and leverage the best practices that are being followed throughout. 

Organizations need to be more adaptive. While most plans are already in place with prudent organizations, it does not necessarily have to be cast in concrete. 

Organizations need to know when to make certain changes to their plans in accordance with the trends. If the route towards an achievement requires a detour, it’s important to know when to take it. 

Sales ops teams need to look for new ways that enable us to adapt, which in turn requires innovative ways of analyzing and planning. 

Organizations that can “adjust and ride the tides” will benefit best and will consequently be much more competitive and have a lower cost of acquisitions and serving to lead to a better lifetime value. 

#1 sales metric; syncing up objectives, alignment, and communication

Alignment and clear communication play a vital role in optimizing operations and therefore… sales. The goal-setting process should sync up the key objectives into a single goal that contributes towards the imminent success of the organization. 

Who would Robert like to take out for lunch in the sales ops world?

  • Elon Musk – Founder & CEO of SpaceX and CEO & Product Architect at Tesla

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