What I Do as a Sales Operations Program Manager at Microsoft

One of the most popular questions that I get asked is “So, what do you do as a Sales Operations Program Manager?”

To be honest, my Sales Operations Program Manager (SOPM) roles and responsibilities are quite different from that of my counterparts. Our team has many different SOPMs and some are more focused on actual sales operations. My particular team is less-so, and more focused on business operations.

Today, I’ll break down my particular role into 3 key priorities and elaborate on each. Keep in mind that everyday is different and that many other people with the same position title may have drastically different scopes of work!

1. Orchestrate the “Rhythm of Connection” or “Rhythm of Business”

For those of you wondering what I’m talking about, this is totally Microspeak that I also did not understand until I joined. To be honest, I didn’t realize that orchestration was such an important skill until I joined Microsoft. The reason why this skill is important is because Microsoft is such a complex organization. There are so many different teams, stakeholders, and processes that we need to work with. Orchestration aims to simplify the complex and make it predictable.

  • Orchestrate = Plan, align, and execute among many different stakeholders
  • Rhythm of Connection (or Business) = A regular and recurring business cadence usually between our business leaders for strategic alignment

Fun Fact: In my first week at Microsoft, I had like 30+ hours of meetings (so crazy)!

2. Analyze and Present Insights

A key part of my role is looking at our dozens of Power BI dashboards and analyzing our business performance against internal targets and scorecard metrics. I personally look after the Modern Work & Security solution area (think Teams, Office, and Endpoint Manager) and collaborate closely with our team of Product Marketing Managers.

When it comes to analysis, the goals are to:

  • Forecast where the team will land at the end of the quarter or fiscal year against our performance targets
  • Quantify the impact of blockers and the help, support, or resources needed to overcome these blockers
  • Share relevant details that may not be obvious and can drive impactful business decisions and outcomes

Fun Fact: Within my first 2 weeks at Microsoft, I was told that I would have to present business performance insights to our Canada Leadership Team (our most senior leaders in Canada). It was intimidating, but a tremendous learning experience!

3. Manage Programs & Projects

Within my Business & Sales Operations team, there are always different programs, projects, and initiatives throughout the year. Fiscal Year Planning is one of the biggest programs that takes place every year, and there are so many moving pieces that my team has to lead. I support in different capacities depending on the project or initiative, and it’s one of many things that we need to balance with all of our other ongoing activities.

When we’re not planning, we’re executing. As the “nucleus” of our organization, we’re often looped into a lot of other teams’ initiatives. I sit in a lot of V-Teams, which all come with their own set of meetings and priorities. It’s great to get visibility across the organization and understand what some of our leadership teams’ priorities are, but I also need to speak up and identify opportunities for consistency, alignment, and optimization.

Fun Fact: At any given time, I am juggling at least 3-5 different projects (and this does not even include my many extracurricular projects)!