Leore Spira was an aspiring lawyer before she discovered her true passion for sales, marketing and strategy. Her subsequent move to sales operations gave her a reputation as the family risk taker, but she hasn’t looked back since. I wanted to find out how Leore drives success in her current role as Sales Operations Manager at Anodot. We discussed Leore’s experience of being the first sales ops hire at Anodot, the joys of change management, which metrics she uses to measure success, and more. After talking me through her controversial decision to move away from law, the interview began…
Rory Brown (RB): Can you tell us more about Leore and your path into sales operations?
Leore Spira (LS): I was born in the US but grew up in Tel Aviv. I am from a family of lawyers and accountants, so my future as a lawyer was in the cards according to my Dad. I studied law, but after passing the Bar exam I realised it wasn’t my dream career. So at the age of 27, I changed my path, much to my family’s dismay. (I’m known in my family as the one who takes risks!)
I started working at an NGO in the Marketing and Sales Department, where I was able to nurture my creativity and think outside the box.
After almost two years there, I undertook a Masters degree in Diplomacy, Strategy and Marketing. I then joined Diebold Nixdorf, an American Company who had a branch in Israel, as marketing and sales support and from there, the CEO encouraged me to take the sales operations path. I wasn’t aware of sales operations before that, but I was immediately hooked as it gave me great exposure to negotiation, strategy, sales process, data analysis and so on. I’ve been in sales operations ever since and now I’m at Anodot, an Israeli startup.
I was the first sales operations hire in the company so it was an opportunity for me to build the sales ops function from scratch. I was able to advise management on how to implement and create a process, how to connect it to the sale process, how to improve what they already had here at the company and how, by doing all that, we can increase revenue.
RB: Brilliant. Thank you very much for that introduction. It would be great to hear more about your experience of being the first sales ops hire. How did you decide what to tackle first?
LS: When I joined Anodot almost seven months ago, they had a sales process that was managed in a marketing attribution platform. We then moved to Salesforce. So the first and biggest challenge was to understand what their ideal sales process looked like. And then how to take their current model and transform it into a more efficient language and process.
We had to re-define not just the process itself, but also the stages that we wanted the prospect to move through. We also looked at touchpoints the reps have with the prospect throughout the buyer journey and how we qualify it, how we decide that this is a good lead. Those were some tough decisions. And since they already had a process, it was very difficult to reverse it or change it because the team was used to working in a certain way. That’s where the education part of sales ops comes in. You have to be patient with people and really believe that what you are doing is going to make their lives easier.
RB: The next thing you mentioned was change management, and judging by your smile I’m detecting that it’s an interesting topic for you. What have you learnt from your experience of implementing a new process?
LS: I’m a big fan of change. However, I’m also a big believer of planning and strategising before any change is made.
It was a great challenge and experience for me to not just create something new, but also to make something that the company already thought was working more efficient.
We are a growing startup, so our processes will keep evolving and changing. In a year or maybe even a few months, we could be looking at another process change because the company will grow, the teams will grow, and we will have more reps. At first we think small, but we want to move forward and make the picture bigger.
Speaking of the reps, one thing I did when I joined Anodot was make sure they had access to dashboards and reports. I believe in transparency; everyone should know everything about the company.
RB: Yes, great. You mentioned a recent seven-month move away from a marketing CRM to Salesforce for the first time. A lot of people reading this will probably be doing something similar if they are joining growing companies, or at least moving from a more junior sales CRM to Salesforce.
How have you found that journey?
LS: I have experience with Salesforce from previous roles. Along the way I became a Salesforce Admin, which was an added value for myself and for my career. I think every sales operations leader should have that experience because it gives you a deeper understanding of Salesforce. And it gives you ideas on how to improve and make the processes automatic and more efficient.
A key learning from my experience is not to rely on Salesforce for everything. It’s a great tool, but some of the features are missing and you have to look for another solution that integrates.
When your processes become more complex, you understand that sometimes you have to think outside the box; look for an external tool or be creative, just to get a bigger picture or a different picture.
Luckily, there is a Salesforce community here in Israel, which I’m part of. The knowledge sharing that goes on within the community is really helpful.
RB: What is success in sales operations? Do you think there are key metrics to measure success or is it more qualitative feedback?
LS: I am looking at conversion rates, how to increase revenue by creating sales and marketing funnels, productivity and activity of our SDRs and sales reps etc. I am not just providing the data and creating the platform – reporting and dashboards – I am also part of the process of the actual sales analysis and sales cycle. It’s about not just creating the process but also understanding, analysing and being part of the process.
RB: That’s a really good point and it ties to my next question. We’re always reading about insights, but the importance lies in making sure those insights are actionable.
How does that process begin for you?
LS: At Anodot, we have a global sales meeting every three weeks to understand our pipeline, we analyse activity. If we see low numbers, we understand that we have to re‑think our moves, re‑think the process or see how we can improve, whether that’s investing more money in marketing activities or change our sales strategy etc. A recent example is we have decided to create a new onboarding programme for our SDRs.
RB: Fantastic. Thank you.
Who do you find yourself working with the most?
LS: At Anodot I have the opportunity to work with every department equally.
Our sales process touches all of the other departments, whether that’s with sales, marketing or with finance, or customer success for example. My background in law also means that I am helping with the contracts and the process.
RB: So you are enabling departments just as much as you are enabling sales people.
RB: I like that a lot.
Want to get more insights from sales ops leaders? Check out our other posts in the sales ops interview series.