Members of the Ops community are always so willing to learn, share ideas and learn best practices, but where do you turn to achieve that? There is no degree in Sales Ops, or a Rev Ops book. We learn on the job, and we learn from talking to each other. The QuickFire Question series aims to harness that information, keep it safe so the brilliance that comes with the conversation is not forgotten, and to create a space to learn, form connections and share ideas.
Want to share your story? Get in touch with Emma (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tom (email@example.com) to find out how you can be featured in QuickFireQuestions.
Here are some of the QuickFire Question Emma and Tom hosted recently.
Anthony Lam with Tom Wallis
“How do we trickle down skills from veteran closers to SDR’s?”
When upskilling reps, Sales Ops folks are faced with the task of knowledge osmosis.
I chatted with Anthony Lam, Director of Sales Ops at OPSWAT, to find out how he does it.
“It’s through standardization, practice….and a lot of coaching”
But, Anthony tempers a superb standardized process with individual seller personas. This requires Ops Folks to form relationships on the sales floor.
“My background has always been figuring out where people are, and how to unlock their true potential”
To do this, Anthony utilizes knowledge osmosis, like group pitching sessions.
And backs them up with awesome processes.
Pitch meetings become refined, week after week, winning formulas distinguished and defined. Lessons implemented.
And the variation in individual selling personas is simplified by thinking about shared challenges
“They all have to pitch, they all require product knowledge, they all have to overcome objections”
These are things you can train. And Anthony aces rep upskilling because he ties personal selling styles with strong, overriding processes – backed by superb relationships.
Anthony, thank you for sharing your best practice with the #OpsCommunity!
Scott McNabb with Tom Wallis
What does preparing for a nuclear apocalypse teach us about forecasting during a global pandemic?
Scott McNabb, CRO from Exponea discussed how US Airforce training helped him pivot during a landscape of crisis – and reflected on how sales leadership is changing.
Scott follows the philosophy of ‘Servant Leadership’.
“Our role as leaders is to uplift those we manage”. Ultimately, we serve them – and must help them achieve their goals.
When sellers feel part of a movement that is changing the world, they feel empowered, inspired. Uplifted.
Scott’s forecasting process during COVID-19 is especially interesting.
Scott had to focus on the propensity for prospects to be in a position to buy.
A dive, survive or thrive methodology.
However, the unpredictability of Covid threw curve balls at projections.
And this is where leadership training for a nuclear catastrophe in the Air Force came in handy.
Scott explained the methodology of situational awareness; “SI”.
Understanding where you are, at all times, in a fighter aircraft – will save a pilots’ life. And it’s the same for the CRO.
Scott moved the business from quarterly to monthly closing motions to keep on the pulse and predict well ahead of the curve.
Scott, thanks for sharing your #BestPractice with the community.
Richard Wasylynchuk with Tom Wallis
Visibility across the Revenue Function requires aligning behaviours, trust and data proof points
“The worst scenario is for 4 separate people to be producing 4 separate reports.”
“We track what’s going on from a marketing campaign standpoint, but key in sales is understanding what it takes to convert that prospect into a meeting.”
Granular metrics surface the touchpoints required from Marketing through Sales – and the behaviours required to generate pipeline from campaigns.
Data gives Richard full visibility throughout this process.
However, Richard notes the human component in this.
“You have to align behaviours” – which isn’t necessarily the same as just aligning people.
It’s a challenging interpersonal balance; a give and take from both sides of the fence, and change management in working patterns to get folks working in unison.
But for Richard, using data as proof points is the key to doing this.
“Surfacing data and insights start to build trust”
And clarifies the role each team places in driving revenue; from adding pipeline, to increasing velocity.
Courtney Holmberg with Tom Wallis
“Everything is a partnership”
And aligning revenue teams should be viewed as such.
In Ops, “the business is our customer”. So, how am I serving the rest of the business?
The wheel isn’t gonna work if the cogs aren’t there and the spokes aren’t turning.
We get there by being a partner, showing up every day, with an awareness of the value that each component of Revenue brings to the conversation.
But, how do we provide help in the Ops seat without being overburdened?
Courtney points out Ops is like poker: you only get 5 cards. If you have to pick up a card, you have to give one away.
So she uses a qualification process for requests: ask how, or why.
And repeat after each answer, until you get to the root of the issue – it might reveal a simple solution.
Or show you that the person asking the question might not be the right one to be talking to if they can’t provide the answers.
This helps builds partnerships – work becomes collaborative.
And Ops becomes integrated with the teams they’re helping – rather than being pulled in multiple directions.
Emel Idriz with Emma Bryant
It seems the Ops role overlaps with project management skills as you look to keep everyone in the loop and avoid disconnection throughout…
💥💥Communication is not just about the Ops team providing ongoing information across the revenue function, it’s also about knowing when they will be impacted themselves by other teams.
They have to stay flexible and up to date in order to gauge which processes will be the most beneficial and relevant to the rest of the commercial team at the time. 👌🏻⏰
💭When building a revenue collaboration culture, two of the most important factors are:
1️⃣surrounding yourself with the right team + 2️⃣understanding where the influence lies
Particularly within a scaling company, you aren’t going to get everything right first time – you have to allow for things to go wrong.
🚀So, the team have to bear with the process, do right by each other and keep in mind the good of the global org 🚀
Always remember the 3 “F”s ➡️ Be FAST, FRIENDLY + FLEXIBLE !
Jessica Thomas with Tom Wallis
How do we tackle siloed reporting?
Demand gen and marketing have their numbers; “here are the number of MQL’s that I bought in”
Sales are going to have their numbers; “here’s my win/loss rate”
CS have their numbers; “onboarding time frame, churn score”
However, those things are interconnected, this is a constant feed from one place to another.
So, for inter-departmental metrics, each leader needs to understand how each other’s numbers impact them.
Sales have to understand the types of leads coming in, their conversation rates, and whether this will give them adequate pipeline coverage.
To CS, who have to understand the leads that sales are closing, their industry, how long that would take to onboard, and the likelihood of churn.
Jessica recommends taking a step back.
“What interest are we drawing at the top of the funnel, and how will this move and ultimately affect Customer Retention?”
This connectedness and visibility allow your revenue function to move in unison, to make changes at the top of the funnel based on how it impacts the rest.
Mike Parry with Tom Wallis
When you start to talk about having a data-driven strategy
And how it impacts the overall sales cycle and sales strategy, you need to consider “what’s in it for me?”
How’s it going to add more to your pipeline, closed bookings…what’s going to contribute most to the cash in your hand?
“Here’s our average deal cycle, here’s the amount of pipeline we’re adding on a consistent basis, here’s the reason we’re adding the pipeline.”
The last one is important. For Mike, the use case is an important predictor of a deal closing.
Especially for companies in high growth – typically, you’ll have issues with data cleanliness, and a lack of historic data to make decisions from.
That’s why when data is lacking, use cases and comparing prospective to current clients is a great way of predicting quarterly revenue during high growth.
This lets you track the entire history of closed-won opportunities, and expose the commonalities that you can actually measure.
Jishnu Thakuria with Emma Bryant
⭐️ A couple of weeks ago I had a great chat with Jishnu Thakuria over at The Predictive Index all about measuring the success of the Ops team as well as harnessing individual talents to boost productivity 👊🏻
Particularly within scaling organisations 📈, growing Ops teams must prepare for changing roles and responsibilities. If everyone is doing everything and attending all of the meetings then engagement will actually take a hit!
So, Jishnu outlined the awesome process of optimising individual talents as a way of maintaining motivation and engagement across the team.
💡If everyone is deploying their own, unique skillsets in their work then they are an extraordinarily valuable resource to the Ops function. It’s a two-way street between the org and the individual – the org can help with personal development while simultaneously boosting team productivity💡
Another practice to implement in a growing team is documentation📚💯
➡️ When passing on projects to other team members, it’s really valuable to be able to display the thought process – understand how the process came into fruition and why…
With this, everyone can understand the logic and stay aligned around the overall goal 🥅 !
Mathieu Cognac with Tom Wallis
“To create alignment, you need to create a shared vision that people can get behind”
When the CRO builds a high-level strategy and vision, this needs to be translated into actionable objectives.
The vision takes shape and makes sense once it is broken down into actionable goals. Mathieu’s teams create a collaborative document where the key tenants of the strategy are translated into OKRs.
Supported by a cadence of cross-functional meetings, where they’re discussed and tracked.
Agree on what’s expected from each division – attached with names and dates to create accountability.
That’s translating strategy into action.