The #1 Sales Ops Hiring Mistake Startups Make

(And how to avoid it)


The Mistake: Hiring a technician when the needs extend beyond technical skill.

Done right, sales ops forms the backbone of sales execution - it drives the efficiency that makes every rep more money and gets the team to exceed targets consistently.

You don't get that kind of outcome with just technical mastery.

While there are plenty of wonderful people on the market who have experience with platforms like Salesforce and HubSpot, very few of them have significant real world selling or buying experience.

This means that when it comes to the design of the systems they're charged with building, maintaining, and optimizing, they're at best order takers and at worst reducing rep productivity.

How do you get this first hire right?

Rather than optimizing for cost, optimize for fit and impact.

Try this exercise:

  1. Get all your sales stakeholders together and create a "sales ops wishlist." This should contain everything you wish someone would do to make the selling and buying experience better at your company.
  2. Work with senior leadership to prioritize the list into four buckets:
  3. Urgent + Impactful
    1. Urgent + Not Impactful
    2. Non-urgent + Impactful
    3. Non-urgent + Not Impactful
    4. Download the list as a PDF
  4. Open ChatGPT, upload the PDF, and feed it the following prompt:
    "My company is hiring a sales operations professional to help us with the tasks in the attached PDF. We are primarily concerned with the tasks that are Urgent and Impactful. Give me a breakdown of the qualities a new hire would need in order to be successful in accomplishing these tasks including strategic expertise, technical expertise, familiarity with specific technologies, and other key skills. If you need further clarification before answering, ask me follow up questions to generate the most useful response."
  5. Once you're satisfied with the feedback from ChatGPT, assess what type of hire you need to make. They may fall into any of these categories (or even multiple):
  6. Part-time technician
    1. Full-time technician
    2. Multiple full-time technicians
    3. Part-time strategist / systems designer
    4. Full-time strategist / systems designer
    5. Discuss your options for this hire including contractors, outsourced ops teams (like NFS), and internal employees.

Now there's no excuse for hiring technical talent when you need more. And if it turns out all you need is a technician, you can ask ChatGPT to write the job description!

Happy selling,