Non-Sales Functions Dominate Sales Reps’ Time
As the scope of sales operations expands, professionals in that discipline report dedicating almost three-quarters (73 percent) of their time to supporting non-sales functions, up from 39 percent in 2019, according to a survey by Gartner.
The survey found that in 2022, just 27 percent of sales’ support time was allocated specifically to the sales function, down from 61 percent in 2019. In 2022, the majority of time spent (68 percent) was allocated to non-client-facing functions, including supply chain, enterprise analytics, finance, human resources, and IT.
“For many organizations, these shifts in support time are intentional as they transition to a revenue operations model or prioritize cross-functional alignment to enable more effective workflows across previously siloed go-to-market functions,” says Greg Hessong, senior director of advisory in the Gartner Sales Practice.
As a consequence of this new discipline, the skills that are seen as important for sales jobs today have also changed. Gartner’s research revealed that more than 70 percent of sales operations leaders see science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and MBA skills, such as statistical analysis, stakeholder management, and analytic problem solving, as “slightly to much more” important for the future.
“The need for operations talent with strong analytical skills, business acumen, and institutional knowledge is growing as SalesOps’ remit expands,” Hessong says.
Skills that support analytical insights, such as data visualization and analytic problem solving, were identified as top priorities for 2023 as sales operations expands its ability to guide sales leaders and sellers on key performance drivers and decisions. Project management, effective oral communication, and sales compensation administration round out the top five most important skills as the sales function takes on more strategic initiatives, that survey finds.
For SalesOps leaders looking even further ahead, statistical analysis, application development, strategic planning, and performance management were identified as skills that will be highly important in 2027.
The only skill identified in the top five for 2023 and expected to remain a top five skill in five years is data visualization.
“In the future, sales becoming more data-driven will require bringing insights to life in order to guide strategic decisions and next best actions for maximizing revenue performance,” Hessong says.