At times, it’s easy to get revenue operations and sales operations roles confused, especially if your startup is just up and running and you don’t have a ton of sales experience. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find that they’re two entirely different aspects of the business serving their own purposes. But just what is the difference between revenue operations and sales operations roles? We’ve got the answers below. 

What is a sales operation role?

We’ll start with the sales operation as it’s more commonly known in the business world. A sales operations team supports the sales department at the top end. This includes general reporting around sales, territory mapping and even tech management. 

The sales operations team is primed to empower sales later in the cycle, although it differs from sales establishment teams. Sales operations aim to improve sales performance by taking on sales enablement, sales data and strategic planning responsibilities to allow sales reps to focus on what they do best – sell. 

The job of a sales operation team involves using data analysis and sales forecasting to help organise a sales strategy. The typical day-to-day of a sales operations team member includes the following: 

  • Manage the sales tech stack, such as adopting and customising CRM
  • Improve performance by identifying KPIs, managing leads and evaluating measures for success
  • Lead ​​product and sales training, contracts and service-level agreements, employee onboarding and offer knowledge base management
  • Implement a vision and strategy so that the team meets sales goals. 

Sales operations teams primarily work with sales departments. They can, however, collaborate with other departments – like marketing – to help with brand messaging and to ensure the relevant content is created. 

What is a revenue operation role?

The lesser-known of the two, revenue operations roles aren’t as established as sales operations positions. In fact, it’s a pretty new concept as far as other jobs go. Despite not being around as long as sales operations, its importance continues to grow.

The role is essentially more rounded than sales operations and involves assisting sales teams, marketing departments, customer success and finance operations. Anything that helps drive revenue is likely to fall under the remit of a revenue operations team. A typical revenue operations day-to-day includes:

  • Covering operations management and working across micro and macro levels to deliver strategic business objectives
  • Sourcing the right technology to use across marketing, sales and customer service
  • Removing friction within the sales, marketing and customer service teams to enable them to reach targets
  • Provide daily insights to aid the long-term strategic analysis, all of which are based on extensive data points across all business functions. 

Revenue operations enable other departments, such as sales, marketing and customer service, to maximise their performance and build revenue. Essentially, a revenue operations team identifies operational roadblocks in internal processes and helps remove them.

Summary: revenue operations versus sales operations

While sales operations focus on managing processes and systems across sales, revenue operations are more encompassing. The role creates efficiency across the entire team. It’s not uncommon to focus on sales operations in the early stages of startup life, although your business will hopefully feature both departments as it grows.