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What do sports teams, ship crews, and orchestras have in common? They all have strong leaders at the helm—coaches, captains, conductors—who help them navigate, strategize, and execute their endgame. Without them, the players, sailors, and musicians might be able to function on an individual level, but as a group, chaos would surely ensue (and you can kiss those winning plays, successful voyages, and beautiful symphonies goodbye).

Now, we’ll let you in on a little secret: It’s the same for salespeople and marketers, too. Except their North Stars are none other than sales and marketing ops teams. These particular operations teams encompass the strategy, tactics, and leadership needed to guide sales and marketing down the path to success, not just individually, but as a whole.

How do they do it? We’re peeking behind the curtain when it comes to the roles of sales and marketing ops, tricks of the trade, and why working together is key for future success.

The Roles of Sales and Marketing Ops Teams

While their titles sound similar, the responsibilities of sales and marketing ops professionals differ from the roles of salespeople and marketers. Ops teams like these do the “big picture” thinking: They manage, strategize, forecast, organize, support, and train. Here’s the breakdown:

  • The Role of Sales Ops: Sales operations professionals are responsible for a list of things that, according to HubSpot, includes cross-functional collaboration, sales data management, lead generation, sales forecasting, sales strategy, sales team communications and organization, technology management, and more. While salespeople are in the weeds with selling and closing deals, your sales ops team is managing all of the processes that help those people do their job better, faster, and more efficiently.
  • The Role of Marketing Ops: Often known as MOPs, marketing operations is similar to sales ops in the sense that they provide support for the systems and processes in place that help marketing teams run smoothly and successfully. Responsibilities of MOPs could include campaign planning, creative process management, technology management, data and analytics, and more.

With the roles of sales and marketing ops teams defined, it’s time to take a look at what makes those sales and marketing ops teams successful.

Secrets and Tips for Successful Sales and Marketing Ops Teams

Secret #1: Successful sales and marketing ops teams know how to communicate (and collaborate) effectively. As cross-functional teams, communication is critical for these two entities. Sales and marketing’s roles are traditionally siloed, but the emergence of RevOps has brought them together, requiring effective communication and collaboration that benefits all parties. They’re often using the same fields to run separate automations across different systems. Best-in-class teams not only use tools to track their ongoing projects, but also collaborate on documentation to keep processes from breaking. The result is a reduction in miscommunication, errors, and missed opportunities across the board.

Secret #2: Successful sales and marketing ops teams understand the importance of good data and how to use it. Data is everything, and leveraging it is instrumental in the success of both sales ops and marketing ops. Using data-driven insights, sales ops can forecast and strategize, and marketing ops can build high-performance campaigns. Other examples of data use include optimizing customer targeting, developing new sales opportunities, retaining customers, and increasing productivity. The constant addition of new tools improves the granularity of data, but it can also increase the number of fields and objects used, creating a lot of tech debt. Top sales and marketing ops teams prioritize getting rid of that tech debt, keeping their data clean but also allowing leadership across their organizations to get accurate reports and metrics on demand, ultimately empowering everyone to confidently make decisions.

Secret #3: Successful sales and marketing ops teams have the right tools in their tech stacks. How B2B and B2C companies learn about, evaluate, and purchase solutions continues to evolve, which in turn, presents new challenges for sales and marketing alike. Companies are buying new tech, and ops teams are faced with the challenge of evaluating and implementing it. Utilizing platforms like Sonar can help sales and marketing ops teams navigate their constantly evolving ecosystems, mitigate the risk of implementing new tech incorrectly, and eliminate blind changes that could otherwise cause serious disruption and impact the ROI of those new tech purchases.

The Future of Sales and Marketing Ops Teams

What does the future hold for sales and marketing ops teams? According to the latest research, plenty of good things, in particular, growth. Forrester reported that 74% of CMOs plan to add headcount to their marketing operations function over the next 12 months, while Salesforce indicated that the role is becoming increasingly important, with 89% of sales professionals reporting that sales ops plays a critical role in growing the business. If sales and market ops teams can continue to lead with strategy (and their “secrets,” of course) they’ll undoubtedly continue to see success now and in the years ahead.