3 Takeaways from LinkedIn’s 2021 State of Sales Operations Report

LinkedIn published its State of Sales Operations Report 2021 for which Nielsen surveyed 500 Sales Operations professionals in the United States. The report is rich with insights from the survey data it collected.

Joi lee

June 9, 2021

LinkedIn published its State of Sales Operations Report 2021 for which Nielsen surveyed 500 Sales Operations professionals in the United States. The report is rich with insights from the survey data it collected. We’ve selected three of the insights and describe how they manifest in our advisory work.

The software and healthcare industries are hiring Sales Operations professionals faster than other industries.

The software and healthcare industries have been growing rapidly for years, so this comes as no surprise. In both industries, companies have access to and collect large quantities of data creating a need for experts to make sense of it all. Enter sales operations.

Some of the most challenging sales operations problems we encounter come from the software and healthcare companies. Within these industries and the sub-industries within, competition is fierce; thus, so is innovation in products and processes. For example, we have worked with software companies in their transition from being a sales-led company to product-led company or hybrid. An astute sales operations team is extremely critical in such a transformation as workflows, metrics and communication must change and then optimized over time.

33% of sales operations professionals say their sales planning is not data-driven.

We’d wager to say that 100% of sales operations professionals would like their sales planning to be data-driven. What’s stopping them?

Recruiting and retaining sales operations talent and building out a team that has the right capabilities is difficult. Sales operations professionals come from many different backgrounds - from operations, former SDRs or AEs, developed in-house. They don’t always have the expertise to make data-driven recommendations with a strong confidence level.

Nor do companies want them to make recommendations based on their data if the data is low quality. Sales operations professionals fight data integrity battles on a daily basis. Where is this number from? What if you segment the data this way? When companies don’t feel confident in the quality of their data, they are less likely to allow the data to inform sales planning decisions. When companies don’t have data readily available, they have no choice but to make sales planning decisions without data.

The scope of sales operations professionals’ responsibilities is broadening.

According to LinkedIn’s report, sales operations professionals have 14 key responsibilities - sales operations, digital literacy, data science, business management, leadership, project management, inside sales, communication, advertising and digital marketing. If this feels like a lot, it is because it is a lot.

As a sales operations consultancy, one of the problems we help companies solve for is the required breadth of expertise to tackle specific challenges. We are either serving as a central knowledge base for companies or providing expertise in one specific domain to help fill a gap in their existing team.

There are many more thought provoking insights in LinkedIn’s State of Sales Operations Report 2021, and we recommend you take a look.