[00:00:00] Warren Zenna: Hi and welcome to the CRO Spotlight podcast. I'm Warren Zenna from the CRO collective and I'm here with my co-host Lupe Feld. Hey Lupe.
[00:00:15] Lupe Feld: Hey Warren. This is Lupe Feld, and I'm glad to be here with you.
[00:00:19] Warren Zenna: So this podcast is really for aspiring CROs and CEOs and current CROs whom are interested in learning from not only us, but the great guests that we're going to have.
[00:00:28] Lupe Feld: We're here to tell you that there is other areas of the business that can drive revenue and we're going to look and inspect and come up with some great ideas for us to bring in as much revenue as we can, and drive some meaningful change for the business.
[00:00:41] Warren Zenna: So tune in, we have some exciting opportunities coming up for a really amazing conversations and any B2B leaders I think you're really going to enjoy it. So thanks for tuning in and we look forward to seeing you.
[00:00:58] Warren Zenna: Okay, and welcome to this episode of the CRO Spotlight Podcast. Hi at Lupe.
[00:01:03] Lupe Feld: How you doing? I'm doing great. Nice to see you, Warren.
[00:01:05] Warren Zenna: You too. You too. I feel like it's like, I don't know. Why does it seem like it's been a while since we've done an episode? I don't know if some reason, I don't know. It just feels like I haven't seen you anymore.
[00:01:13] Lupe Feld: It does feel like I, I think we took a week off, maybe a week, and we did one last at the end of the week.
[00:01:18] Warren Zenna: How important you are. To me, a week goes by and it feels like a month. That's what happens.
[00:01:22] Lupe Feld: Yes. Well that makes me feel special. Thank you.
[00:01:24] Warren Zenna: Thank you. You're welcome. So yeah, there's so much going on. Just to kind of kick things off, I think an important thing that, to reiterate, which I don't think we do enough. is, you know, this podcast is for three people, right? It's for aspiring CROs who are interested in the job. Maybe they think the CRO role is their next job and they're kind of exploring it, maybe even interviewing for once, and we wanna bring some insights to the roles to help them make that decision more successfully.
The other one is the Cro, who's in the job maybe experiencing some of the challenges that Lupe, you and I both know so well, are really difficult and they wanna figure out ways to help be successful or just get insights just to help them do the job better. And then there's the CEO of a company who's either looking for a CRO or is managing one right now and wants to understand better ways that that role can help.
When properly appointed and supported activate their business. And so that's what we're kind of doing. And to that end we have a great guest today. I'm really excited to have Eddie Reynolds, who's the founder and CEO of Union Square Consulting. Right. And Eddie is we had lunch together.
I'm always jawboning on LinkedIn, as you know, Lupe and Eddie and I found a very like-minded kind of perspective on life and business and so we've been talking a lot and I thought it would be a great thing to have on.
So, Eddie, welcome and thanks for being here.
[00:02:42] Eddie Reynolds: Thanks for having me. I'm excited to get into it.
[00:02:44] Warren Zenna: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So you know, Eddie, we be great. If you could share a bit about, I guess a couple things. One is like, what is it you're focusing on right now? What, what is the area that of your not only your business but yourself and what you're trying to accomplish and maybe some thoughts on some of the things that you and I have already talked about, just to kind of get the juices flowing with the conversation a bit?
[00:03:07] Eddie Reynolds: Yeah, absolutely. So our business offers revenue operations as a service, and what we focus on is really serving CROs or anybody that is in a revenue leadership role or an executive leadership role that is trying to grow revenue. And we do that by trying to help them get the systems and the process and the metrics and the strategy for revenue operations in place so that you can have a revenue engine that enables the sales, marketing and service team to execute.
So I sometimes think of that like we're the chief of staff to the cro. And I think one of the challenges that we run into a lot things that we see in the market, which is I think how you and I bonded Warren, is that CRO means something different to different people. Mm-hmm. , in my mind, a CRO should be managing sales, marketing, and customer success.
But so oftentimes we don't see that even when we do, that person can only have a really strong background in one of those area. Usually sales, sometimes marketing, far less so in customer success. Mm-hmm. . And so if we're talking about people that are wanting to aspire to be a cro or CEOs that are trying to manage the, the revenue team without a CRO or looking to bring one on.
I think what's relevant in our world and the thing that we're always thinking about is how can that person come in and hit the ground running and be very successful, leveraging only at best one third of that job as their, you know, experience. And I think for us, the big thing is really having a data driven strategy and data driven target.
And so what I mean by that is, is that we will so oftentimes see sales targets, revenue targets, sales quotas, head count onboarding targets that are made up purely based on hopes and dreams based on the number they feel they need to hit in order to please their venture capital investors and not based on reality.
When we evolve from founder led sales where we have one or more founders that are selling into their own personal network and speaking about a problem that they've oftentimes faced for 10 or 20 years and thought really long and hard about the solution to that, and now they're saying, How do we go and hire an account executive that's half their age, has a fraction of their experience and is not calling people that they have no relationship with, and they should be able to close even more deals because they have more time.
And it's just not reality. And so what we need to do is start to set a foundation for having adequate and accurate and reliable data so that we can see how long it actually does take to ramp up a sales rep, how many calls they actually need to make in order to book a meeting. How many meetings it really does take to generate real pipeline and having a clear definition of what that pipeline is and what that sales cycle and close rate and average dollar amount is going to be.
So we can set sales targets and quotas and onboarding plans and ramp plans accurately with real information. And that's on the sales side. And you could extend the same thing to the marketing and the customer success side. So I think. From my position in my own narrow view of the world where CROs can be really, really successful is when they have a very concrete plan that's grounded in facts and not just grounded in hopes and dreams.
[00:06:18] Warren Zenna: Love it. And Lupe, I know you're thinking
[00:06:20] Eddie Reynolds: Completely agree.
[00:06:21] Warren Zenna: I know you got some thoughts on that.
[00:06:23] Lupe Feld: Yeah, I, I am thinking one of the things that comes to mind is typically a that's brought in is the chief rescue officer. And so they're putting out fires, they're trying to fix what's gone wrong, and they're supposed to wave their magic wand, but they just keep having ideas, implementing ideas, and there's really not a lot of fact, And you're absolutely right.
You know, having worked for a couple of founders, myself, It's very difficult for a non founder and AE to go in and try to drum a business without the relationships, without the credibility, without all of those things. And so there has to be a model in place that's legitimate, that's organized and and pressure tested.
And so I like everything that you said. I think it's brilliant.
[00:07:17] Eddie Reynolds: Yeah. And it's just, I think part of the reason that's top of mind is that I was going over. A hiring and onboarding plan with a CRO yesterday. Somebody I really respect, but it's just interesting the company's so early stage that we're quota.
Cetera, et cetera. Then we're gonna have this, and this is how we get, you know, from 1 million to 10 million. And then we're both kinda laughing and it's like, yeah, like this is all great in theory, but like where, where does this stuff come from? Right? Yeah. And you know, to be fair to him and the company that he's working with, that's all they have right now.
And I can negate everything I just said by saying, A lot of the customers we work with, they don't have any data. They don't have a sales team, they don't have any marketing that's working, like they don't have a crm. We're setting it up for the first time for them the day, you know, first day that we engage.
So we've got nothing to work. But we wanna start to build that foundation. Let's start to test those theories so that we're not a year or two years down the road and we're saying, Yeah, like you know, your quota is a million dollars. Cause that's a nice fat round number. And if you can't hit it, like let's just hire a bunch of people, see who hits the number, and if they don't hit, let's just fire.
Let's not worry about whether they have an adequate territory, whether the total addressable market is adequate, what they actually have to do to succeed in this role, what resources they need, what systems and tools they need, what data they need, what we need to do to support, nurture them and coach them.
And in my mind, that's what a really, really great sales leader or CRO does. And then again, I'm completely ignoring marketing customer success. We can extend all of that to those two two teams as well.
[00:08:46] Warren Zenna: Yeah, that, that's good point. I wanna ask you a lot of things about. We just discussed. So first thing is what Lupe and I find we talk about a lot here, and I think it's an important one, is I, I, everyone seems to agree when I talk to them about the topics we are discussing here and the basic philosophies that it all makes sense.
Very few people say, Oh, that's stupid, or I'd never do that. Right? You don't ever hear that. You always hear like, Yep, yep. So a pervasive question we have for people in your situation is, why is it then, if something is so logical that it's so difficult for companies to implement things, why? Why are you necessary?
Why am I ne, Why is Lupe necessary? Why? Why don't companies just sort of naturally make these logical integrations with, what is it in that you're observ? Is having companies struggle with what seems to make just logical sense?
[00:09:43] Eddie Reynolds: Well, we're not necessary. I'm not necessary. You're not necessary. But I think the companies that you guys work with and the companies that we work with, they wanna grow a rocket ship.
We don't have a cro, we don't have revenue operations internally. We're not a rocket ship. As a founder myself, there's so many things that make logical sense. You know, we shall get outta the house and you know, run a couple miles every day. Like basic things like this that we all know and we don't do.
It's all prioritization. And I think that for a busy founder, it's really difficult to know, like, Okay, I know there's a hundred things I have to do, but what's the thing that we absolutely have to do? And in my mind, if you wanna grow a rocket ship, you have to have the engine to support it. Anybody that has a really great product can hire a couple sales people and a couple marketers and find a way to grab more customers.
But that's not a rocket ship. And if you get your sales and marketing working really well, things start to break down and you just are like, you have so much money, you're leaving on the table by not having an efficient revenue engine, or you're just constantly plugging holes. And we see companies every day that do this and do it successfully.
But is that. Because they have such a great product or because they have some secret sauce. But at the expense of like, they're fighting themselves. You know, I see so many companies where they just like can't get outta their own way. And sometimes they have such an amazing product that, that they still succeed despite it.
But wouldn't it be better to have a really formulaic and systematic process to grow and hit your targets? Especially when, again, if you're trying to grow a rocket ship, revenue growth is the North star. Hmm.
[00:11:21] Warren Zenna: I was just gonna say, you think it's a mindset thing, a priority thing. They don't know what's important.
[00:11:26] Eddie Reynolds: I mean, think about the things that we do just in our personal lives that we can all relate to that like we just don't do like eating healthy, exercising, like going to your like annual checkup with your doctor. Like how many of these things do we not do even though we know they're important?
[00:11:40] Warren Zenna: I agree.
[00:11:41] Lupe Feld: Yeah. I also think there's a layer of your own life experience, and let me explain what I mean by that. And so if you've worked in a corporate world, And maybe one day you wake up and you're fed up and you want to go into a business that's either your own that you're starting or you go to work for a startup.
Then you bring with you your baggage, your baggage of how many calls it took. To make a sale, how many people you typically need, what kind of a goal they should have, et cetera. If you're just coming out of school, tried working and said, You know what? I can't do this. Especially in this current time in place that we are now, where people are choosing their own, you know, business or in the gig economy.
And if you have that, then you don't have that life experience of knowing what to measure. . And so I think all of those things kind of muddy the waters a little bit for everybody as well.
[00:12:42] Eddie Reynolds: Yeah, I couldn't agree with that more. I mean, when I think about, cuz you know, I'm not just a consultant. Like I have my own company that has a team and revenue and we think really hard about how to grow it.
And you're absolutely right. Like I leverage all the experience that I've ever had in my entire career and I bring my own baggage with that. I don't know what else to say. Like, I, I completely agree with what you're saying.
[00:13:03] Warren Zenna: So what's the right way to. Or what's a effective way to influence that thinking?
So you've got our, let's say, market out there that we're looking to support A, because we have an interest in helping build better businesses, and B, because we've developed the business that we want to grow ourselves, right? When you're talking to your clients, what are the things that they're wrestling with and what do you find are the things that generate changes in their behavior that have them look at things differently.
[00:13:33] Eddie Reynolds: I think to the point you guys made earlier, it's different for every company and it's different for every leader. And to the point you just made. It's different to their, their baggage. I mean, we have one customer that's really, really early stage, but the founder is literally a data analyst.
I mean that, that's what he's done his whole career. And he built a product around data analytics, and then we go to him and we say, Hey, you should analyze your data. And he's like, Yeah, I'm with you, . Like, I don't, we don't need to convince him of that, right? Mm-hmm. Then you have somebody else that, you know, they've carried a bag their whole career, but they've managed, I mean, I came from finance where.
You see people that will make literally eight figure income by just spending 40 years managing 200 relationships. It's like the number of people that show up at your wedding. Those are the only people that've ever talked to their whole life for the most part. And they've made like tens of millions of dollars doing that.
And, and to be fair to them, like I don't really think they made a really sophisticated sales engine to continue to do that. But as you go into a different environment, you need a different, different way of approaching it.
[00:14:32] Lupe Feld: Yeah, I think too. Surrounding yourself with areas that you don't have expertise in is a humbling thing.
You know, I remember early in my career, I, I really hadn't leaned into the analytics component of things, and I hired a great analyst and it was like a masterclass for me. Just watching him work, he could look at things in a way that I never looked at. I got better and more interested in analyzing things as a result of that.
But it's humbling to admit that you don't know when you don't have that skill. I think that's also an ego thing too, maybe.
[00:15:17] Eddie Reynolds: Yeah. And perhaps I have that baggage myself. Cause I, I was a math nerd growing up and I started my career both in sales and financial analysis as a banker. I I think what I would add to this though, to take this conversation in a slightly different direction is that, to answer your question, Warren, like how do you approach this?
I have more recently become a big believer in OKRs or objectives and key results. Mm-hmm. . So if anybody listening is not familiar with that, it is a methodology that was popularized by John Doer, famous venture capital investor of Kliner Perkins and Google and many other companies and individuals that have implemented this methodology.
After and before they did it. And it's simply a framework for strategic planning where you sit down and you say, Our objective is to improve our product or to land more customers. And our key result is this very specific and measurable thing that we want to improve our latency in our product by 27% and we wanna grow our existing customers by, you know, 15%.
And then you have initiatives that come in under. And you say, Well, in order to achieve this result, our hypothesis is, and I'm also a really big believer in separating inputs and outputs. Mm-hmm. But we can all just like come up with these random goals, but we don't actually have control over that. The only thing that we can do is try stuff and see if it works.
Hmm. And so we come up with these initiative to say, Well, if we hire eight sales people and execute this onboarding program and set up Salesforce for them, then maybe they'll come in and they'll produce. This desired sales number. And so I think. One, having that literally is sitting down on a piece of paper, enables you to focus your energies and say, Okay, this is what's most important.
I know I should do these 15 other things, but this is what we've all mutually decided that we're gonna focus on. And then separately, once you do that, then now you've, you've set the exact metrics that you wanna measure, and now you can look back on it and say, Well, did hiring those eight sales people produce.
Sales target that we wanted or did launching this marketing campaign or channel produce that desired result? and why, why did it produce it? Or why did it not produce it? What, what part of that worked and what part of that failed. Now, as we go into the next quarter to come up with our, our, our next set of objectives and key results and our next set of initiatives, we can have a more informed viewpoint to try and achieve those goals.
[00:17:44] Lupe Feld: So a question for you with regards to that, because I'm a huge fan of, you know, setting that framework in place, a lot of investors. You know, are focused on KPIs and that's how things have run. And you know, you can have a ton of KPIs, but if there's not a framework for them to sit in, they're meaningless cuz you're chasing rabbits down different holes.
Mm-hmm. , how do you, as a, as a ceo, as a cro, how do you influence kind of the investment world that is feeding a lot of these companies to think along those lines? Because it does test and learn. Takes time and time Seems to be, you know, that lit fuse that's running out most of the time.
[00:18:33] Eddie Reynolds: Well, I don't influence VCs. I wish I did. I wish I was that important, but I'm not there yet in life. Here's the best way I'll try to answer that though. I recently did a podcast with the head of sales operations. Are, are very recently former head of sales operations at HubSpot who just absolutely blew my mind. Really serious numbers guy.
And he talked about the idea that you really need to be formal and thoughtful and systematic in the way that you test new ideas. Meaning that you're gonna launch a new marketing channel, for example. You need to sit down and decide, okay, what is the desired result that we think we're gonna achieve with this?
And how long do we wanna give this in order to achieve that result? Now, I can't speak to how that's gonna be received by any random VC investor, like all things that are good investors and bad investors. But I would think that if you go to them and say, Look like this is our action plan to get to our number, these are the things that are working really well.
These are the things that we think are gonna work really well and what we're gonna try doing that, that would be better received than to simply go to them and say, Well, our plan is to hire 10 account executives and to pour, you know, $200,000 into marketing. We hope we can get a bunch of white paper downloads and make, you know, 10,000 cold calls and books and meetings and pipeline.
But I can't tell you that I sit down with VCs and, and tell them how they should manage their companies very often. Right.
[00:19:56] Lupe Feld: Yeah, no, it was more about like, you know, kind of thought provoking and, and. , obviously we all love that we could sit with VCs cuz I think we could fix a lot of the, you know, lifetime of the role of a cro. I think because sometimes they're brought in for the wrong reasons, et cetera, but I, I think there's, I think there's a lot of merit to. Thinking through the plan and putting, I love the timeline that you're putting on some of these things that you're testing. They just can't be open-ended because you, you'll waste a lot of time.
[00:20:32] Eddie Reynolds: So, Yeah. And I mean, I think recently an idea that's been thrown out, if you guys follow Chris Walker or Refine Labs.
[00:20:37] Warren Zenna: Yeah, I do.
[00:20:38] Eddie Reynolds: You know, he's been really heavily promoting this new ID he has, which he calls revenue research and develop. Which I think is kind of a spin on what everybody should have already been doing, but still interesting and valuable in, in breaking down each initiative or channel that you want to go at in terms of revenue and looking at it in.
The viewpoint of a product life cycle where you have a mature revenue channel or initiative that you know is working need not working you in.
And patient to allow them to either succeed or fail and be really thoughtful about how you do that. And this is another thing that like I hear this idea and I'm like, that sounds nice. Like you should definitely do that. Are we actually sit down and write out like the revenue research and development life cycle paperwork and sit down and meet about it once a week?
I think it would be a great idea. But it's another thing like you mentioned, like, okay, how does that get prioritized among all the other things that we need to do? Do we do that or we do, do we try to hire that next account executive that we're supposed to have like in the seat tomorrow? But I do think that this is a really great framework for looking at things.
[00:21:48] Warren Zenna: Yeah. You know, Chris talks about, obviously his focuses marketing. How do, what are your thoughts on the way sales and marketing has evolved? I, I'm curious to know your thoughts on my opinion if, if, if you would give yours. The SDR model, like my view is that it's sort of like trying to do what marketing is supposed to do.
It's like sales taking over a marketing function. I, I know that the SDR model is very popular now, particular for some certain types of businesses. Obviously there's certain types of business that it's more appropriate for, but I'm curious to know what, when you're looking at companies and you see that particular methodology being used in a sales channel, what, what, what's your thoughts on it and what's your kind of perspective on a way a company should. Maybe someone considering that model right now.
[00:22:31] Eddie Reynolds: I don't really think it has evolved. My first sales job ever was selling vacuum cleaners door to door when I was 16 years old. And we had scr, we had people hammering cold calls, setting up like free, like I'll cleaner living room with my vacuum cleaner, and then I'd go show up.
You know, I think that the only thing that's really evolved is the technology and the data. But unfortunately there are good practices and bad practices, and I think that we've seen such an incredible over investment in two things. One, SDRs and two marketing qualified leads, as Chris Walker talks about every day.
And I think if you put yourself in the shoes of a prospect or even an sdr and you sit down and you say, Okay. There are going, whatever side of the table you're on, there's gonna be a hundred, 200, 300 phone calls that are made today, either to a prospect list that was pulled off a Zoom info, or a bunch of people that just wanted to download a white paper and reluctantly put in their information.
It's an incredibly inefficient use of time for both parties involved. Mm-hmm. . And so I have always been the believer in quality over quantity. If I were. Going to be an account executive again, and this is what I did my whole career. I never made more than maybe 20 cold calls in a day. And for an SDR that does it all day long, maybe 40.
Hmm. Maybe you double that with emails and people say, I do 80 activities a day. It's like, yeah, you call, you leave the voicemail and you send an email to, to, to. Back ended, but that's one activity in my mind. I think that that's about the limit to where you can actually have quality, where you can sit there and sift through the list and find really good prospects and narrow them down by very, very specific criteria.
And then like share relevant messaging with them. And there might be people smarter than me that can figure out how to do that a hundred times a day. Hundred 50 times a day, but I had an SDR call me from a very well known tech company. And of course, like she didn't know anything about me. I did have a nice conversation with her and she told me that she was making or logging 600 activities.
Like seriously, like what, what is the point in that?
[00:24:36] Warren Zenna: It's, it's amazing. No, I get it.
[00:24:39] Eddie Reynolds: Well, and you know, a lot of this is just like pressing send all in outreach. And then I think that you look at it and it's like people always wanna cut corners. So you have marketing that says, Okay, let's down this list, download this list, and just span people, which is illegal.
And I get 10 or 20 of these emails every single day that I absolutely did not sign up for. And it's like, okay, that's not only ineffective, but it's also illegal. And then they say, Well, what if we just slap a, a salesperson's like signature on that. That'll be effective. And it really was for a little bit of time when that was more rare, right?
And all of a sudden, you know, people are opening it and they're saying, Oh, this didn't come from marketing. This came from an actual sales rep. Like, but maybe I'll pay a little more attention to it. And now I think we've all been coached into this stage where you see the email from the sales person, you're like, Yeah, I know this is automated.
Like, you're not even narrowing down to my industry. Mm-hmm. , let alone like the size of company that I run, the particular type of company, the role that I have, the challenges that I have. I, I don't expect people to like go to my website and spend six hours like studying me, but like, is it too much to ask that somebody spends literally two minutes and just says like, Hey, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, Here's three things I see, or one thing I see, this is why my message is relevant for you.
And people talk a lot about relevancy at scale. And I think it's a combination of really tight, you know, revenue operations or tech process where we get great lists and we filter them down really carefully. But then also allowing sales reps time to research further and have just a little bit of personalization.
Cause I think that that earns all the trust in the world with prospects and can turn like 40 activities into like four really good meetings instead of 600 activities into like maybe four. I mean, they're not booking four meters a day, so what am I talking about? But even if they. Probably not great meetings.
You know, I talked to this SDR that's doing 600 activities a day and she's like, Yeah, like, we really hope we can book 10 meetings a month.
[00:26:32] Warren Zenna: Yeah. It, it's crazy. I, I, I see this and this is where I think maybe where I was kind of poking around before when I said it evolved. That's what's happened. You know, it's become this sort of, Virus, you know, And the technology has made it evolve because people can do it differently, right?
I did the same thing. I was a telemarketer type guy in college, and I called people up to get money from people, and I was softening the channel for someone else to come in and stuff. But I think in SDR I see it as sort of a, there's an entire industry for it now. There's technologies for it. Now there's training for it.
And there's a reliability on it now for what I believe is a vanity pipeline, you know, fulfillment, right? And what's happened as a result is it's just kind of turned customers into, they're really just like cannon fodder, right? For, for people. I mean, I, I probably get in my inbox, I don't know how many I like you, and I'd say nine out of 10 of them are just completely wrong.
Someone just before. Just podcast wrote me and said, I've been looking at your Amazon products and what I mean, I've never sold an Amazon product in my entire life, you know, so for some way these people are ascertaining some very loose parameters around why it was appropriate to send that message to.
And you know, now I don't know who they were. But you're right. What ends up happening is customers have become trained to not listen to this stuff anymore, and they're making it even harder now to get people on to have, be engaged.
[00:27:57] Eddie Reynolds: Yeah. And I wouldn't set the bar that high. I mean, if somebody sent me an email and just said, as the CEO of a.
Small business with less than, you know, 20 employees or whatever filter they wanna run. Like, just that alone would get my attention. Mm-hmm. , and I mean, you could fully automate that. So it just, it amazes me when I will get messaging from folks that are just like, well, as a. As a leader in your industry, what and what's really funny is like I'll go and like rip every in a while post on sdr.
And so, you know, I don't usually do this to like junior SDRs, but sometimes I'll say they're an SDR cause it makes for a better post. And in reality, like today I really ripped into this guy because he used to be a VP of sales and he has like 37 years experience. And he just sent me one of these like, canned messages that his virtual assistant had just blasted out.
I'm just like, come on man. Be better than this. It used to be in VP of sales. Really?
[00:28:58] Warren Zenna: It's cra I know. It's crazy. So I, I, I kind of switched gears a bit on something because I wanna talk about Rev op. You mentioned something that I agree with, with is that it's like the chief of staff, of the chief revenue officer.
I don't know if it's viewed that way, but I've been seeing the rise of something coming up lately that I'd like your opinion on people who are being called like the Chief Revenue Operations Officer, which is like taking the revenue operations person and elevating them into the c. , what's your thought on that trend?
I think it's gonna become popular in my opinion. I just wanna know what you think cuz I know it, it's your, in your wheelhouse.
[00:29:32] Eddie Reynolds: Yeah, I don't have a strong opinion on that. I think I'm as curious as everyone else. I think it makes sense. I mean, we have a chief operations officer. And I honestly would really like to understand what that is in the context of a startup.
And I don't, I don't mean that tongue in cheek because we, you know, you see a lot of folks ins and I'll say, I really don't understand as well as like, despite the fact that've I've done podcast with Rachel and talked about that a bit. I don't know where the line is between rev ops. I mean, I kind of do and BI ops, and then just ops.
Ops, like what is the difference between like a head of biz ops and a coo. But ultimately, I do think it's interesting to remove the operational element from the CRO role because I see. Rev op, especially in an early stage startup. I mean, if we're talking about Microsoft, I don't know about that. Hmm. But if we are talking about an early stage startup to have an objective, unbiased view for the entire executive team.
I mean, if you're the CEO of a company doing million in revenue or 10 million in revenue, or even 50 million in revenue, And you've raised venture capital, the only thing you're thinking about is how do I grow revenue? Mm-hmm. . And so to think that the person that's responsible for all of the analytics, all of the operations, all of the systems, the enablement, so many things that go into like enabling the entire revenue team to perform is like multiple levels below.
Mm-hmm. , I, if it were me as a ceo, I would love to like have my CRO sitting there with my Chief Revenue Operations officer sitting there and comparing notes together. Hmm.
[00:31:18] Warren Zenna: Well then how would you distinguish the roles in that scenario?
[00:31:20] Eddie Reynolds: Well, I think that CRO should be doing what, what they're good at, which is building teams and managing those teams and setting the strategy.
And I think that the ops person at a very senior level should be validating that strategy and helping to execute. So, I mean one of the first things that we always do in early stage companies that we have to do is just set the foundation for data. Most of don't that, so that set, which is a lot heavy lift times.
Not just from like a tech perspective, but also just getting people on board, getting people following the right process, doing things, and then waiting for time to come in. Once we have that foundation established to start leveraging that data to validate like, Okay, we have this, this strategy and, and what is strategy?
Strategy is, I did this thing before and I think it'll work again. Or I read about this thing and I think it'll work. Or I came up with this idea in the shower this morning and I think it'll work. We don't have a crystal. So why don't we put numbers around that and validate it and say, Is this actually working?
And I don't think a CRO should be like sitting their heads down crunching numbers like you guys tell me. Building a team across all of sales, marketing, and service and managing them effectively at helping them grow in their roles and take on more responsibility and perform is a monumental task in and of itself.
Is it not?
[00:32:41] Warren Zenna: Look, I, I, I agree there. I see a distinction between the two roles. I'm just seeing, it's being crunched a lot. I think that the Lu and I were talking about this last time was do you hire a science focused CRO or a relationship focused cro? Cuz you know, the role sort of needs to ostensibly encompass both sides of the brain to be successful and You know, it, it's, it's not an easy question.
I think every business has their own reasons why they make these decisions. But the reason why we ask is because we're very much around the idea of what's the right criteria. When you're hiring a chief revenue officer, how do you know someone has the right competencies for the job? Right. It's a very important question people ask.
I know it's bespoke to some degree based on your business, but there are general competencies. Some people. Better at certain things than others. And that's why the rev op role is an interesting one because it, as you said, it's a very scientific based thinking. Whereas a CRO who's really good leader is someone who you're right, knows how to manage a lot of psychology a bunch, a lot of different groups and functions.
And I don't think those brains are necessarily similar. It's a tough one to find a unicorn like that.
[00:33:47] Eddie Reynolds: I mean, I would also add, I think it depends a lot on volume. So if you are like closing these giant enterprise deals and you're like, Oh, our goal is to close five deals this year, then I think the relationship guy is far more important than the scientific guy.
And the contrary is true if you're like, We need to close five deals a day. That's where the science and the technology become much more powerful, and then there's like a lot of gray area in between. Would you agree?
[00:34:14] Warren Zenna: Yes. I think that's a hundred percent correct and I, I think that it, a lot of it is based on the type of business you're in, but at the same time too, most people hire CROs who were salespeople.
That's the pathway to the. , and I'm just wondering whether that's the right pathway to the job or not. I'm, I'm not saying I know the answer. I'm saying I'm questioning it for the first time.
[00:34:36] Lupe Feld: I was gonna say, I think they're both important. I, I almost feel like it should be kind of a fraternal twin. You know, you have to have that position next to you, whether it's at the same level or under you.
I think they're both key. And important, I think the relationship piece and the training piece and the, the sales piece and the marketing piece are important, but the kind of the analytics and the operational is so important that you, it's very difficult to find a person has both and has the bandwidth to do both.
[00:35:13] Eddie Reynolds: Yeah. And I think especially as you like, evolve just from sales to encapsulating all of sales, marketing and service. I mean, I'd be curious what your guys' experience is when you take a VP of sales and they walk into the CRO role, how do you advise them to approach marketing something they've never done?
[00:35:29] Warren Zenna: Yeah, that's a great question. And but the thing that I, I think that has to happen for someone to make the evolution from, let's say, running a big sales team to being a cro. Yeah. Assuming that the role is, is, is appointed properly. Right. Let's just make the assumption that the CEO does the job correctly and says, I want you to oversee these three things.
Cuz it doesn't happen a lot. Well, let's say it does. Okay. So what we would say to that particular, Or that evp, whatever you wanna call it. The first thing you need to do is you're certainly not gonna become some expert marketer overnight. That's just, that takes time in years to do so and, and I think the expectation shouldn't be that when you walk in that you should be an expert in marketing when you walk in the door, but you do have to understand really well how marketing and sales work.
You have to have an understanding of it and relationship between the two functions. And in order to do that, you need to be sitting down with marketers a lot more than you probably are right now. You need to be in their world, in their meetings, right, in their conversations, watching the decisioning that they make around investments and the way that they measure, the way that they're gonna measure their results.
And then the handoff portion of how sales relates to those results. And when you start to start to get a better understanding of that relationship, certain things should start to happen. What'll probably happen is, like you and I have spoken about, you'll probably start to understand that a lot of the ways that marketing is.
Being directed to generate results is not necessarily the way that they should be and that MQL is, and other things like that are many times just not really related. Well, my advice would be almost kick the tires on the way your current marketing and sales functions work together to see how the metrics could be changed to make them more related to each other and that they're shared.
So it might be a formula, like figure out a way in which you can create metrics that marketing and sales have to both adhere to so that they're forced to have to work together to make them successful. And see how that changes the dynamic within those two teams. Because now if you get a CRO role, you're gonna.
Likely be appointing someone to oversee marketing and that's the way that you want that person to run that team. Is it in from an integrated model? So that's sort of the way that I look at the world.
[00:37:38] Eddie Reynolds: So tell me your thoughts on this, but my viewpoint on this would be that you do exactly that and that metric, that North Star is revenue or even better lifetime value if we wanna go that far.
[00:37:50] Warren Zenna: Yeah, that's what I think it should be. Should be lifetime value.
[00:37:52] Eddie Reynolds: And then cuz we're ignoring CS in this conversation and we shouldn't, but we certainly are. But, Now you sit down and you go to Rev op and you say, Okay, like, help me understand which of our marketing channels are really helping us to bring in revenue to the best of our ability because marketing attribution, Far from an exact science.
Yep. There's a bunch of different ways to do it and none of them are even close to perfect. But what can we know about these different marketing channels and how they're performing to not just get people to give up their information or show up to a meeting, but to get into qualified pipeline Pipeline that closes at a high percentage, 20%, 30%.
So that we can then go back and say, Okay, like it looks like the podcast and events and email are working really well. Now let's sit down with marketing and ask how we can, how, how we can improve that. But I think the problem that we see so often is that marketing is chasing the wrong goal. They're going after that mql.
Yep. As a result, they do what creates the most MQL through things like white paper downloads and bunch of paid ads that that capture information. And then they say, We got a lead and they pass it over to sales. And then sales is like, I got a bunch of people to call that don't wanna hear from me, and they're not even the right people and it's not even the right contact inform.
I'm better off just downloading a list of the right people with the right contact information from Zoom info and hammering out pure cold calls than calling down on this list.
[00:39:16] Warren Zenna: Yeah, well that's mainly Mo mostly has to do with manage. because those marketing people have been given those directives to fulfill on those MQL because they fulfill on somebody else's need for some metric or some visualization or some other reality that helps to support some emotional relationship they have with certain outcomes, right?
I mean, these are very much driven by those sort of things. So if I was running, if I was a cro, I'd be asking, Why are you. Chasing those mql. In other words, what was the origin of those initiatives to begin with? What drove that? In other words, why was that given to you as a metric matter? If I find out that it was, Well, you know, in order for us to satisfy our investors, let's just say if we have a certain number of downloads or white papers or something like that, it makes.
Been bored, feel comfortable that we're getting activity in the marketplace that they could speak to in the marketplace that makes them feel like they, whatever. Right. And you know, those are empty things, but there are reasons why marketing does this stuff cuz they've been told to for various reasons.
[00:40:16] Eddie Reynolds: Yeah. I don't mean to knock marketing,
[00:40:18] Warren Zenna: You know, me either. I'm not saying marketing is doing anything wrong. As a matter of fact, they're stuck in a prisoner's dilemma because they're being forced to do things that many times don't make sense. And I've spoken to many, many marketers who know they're kind of running on a, like a bit of a rabbit wheel.
Because they were told to right. And they wanna keep their jobs and keep the marketing funding coming because marketing gets cut first. So the first thing as a CRO is you sort of have to do an uncomfortable job of challenging a lot of the current ways in which the company's driving results and why.
And then be willing to go to the board with different results that say, Look, instead of us keeping to give you all these MQL every month in your or our quarterlies, instead, we're gonna give you this. And this is why that's important. And my rev op person is gonna provide some data to support the reason why these results, while they may not be emotionally satisfying to you, are gonna be from a business perspective, better for you, right?
It goes back to your quality versus quantity conversation. And I do think that this is a leadership part. This is where the CEO needs to be able to be someone who can sort of change the thinking of the company by providing a different perspective on things and reorganizes the way the revenue function works so that people don't have that sort of, I'd say, knee jerk or standardized way in which they look at results.
And that's not an easy job. That's that requires a great deal of courage and leadership. And it also requires a relationship that you have with your CEO who's willing to have you do that sort of thing. And I think there's a lot of factors that go into.
[00:41:43] Eddie Reynolds: Yeah.
[00:41:43] Lupe Feld: And you need data too.
[00:41:44] Warren Zenna: Yeah.
[00:41:45] Lupe Feld: To back up your hundred hypothesis.
[00:41:48] Warren Zenna: Yeah. So yeah, you have back facts. Yep.
[00:41:50] Eddie Reynolds: And then if we extend this to Cs.
[00:41:53] Warren Zenna: Yep.
[00:41:53] Eddie Reynolds: Even if sales and marketing are working in perfect harmony, if we're bringing in the wrong customers, we have churn. We have low lifetime value and and this all goes back to incentives. So we can knock marketing for chasing MQL and then we can knock sales for chasing closed deals at any cost.
[00:42:12] Warren Zenna: No doubt. They're, they're, they have the same issues they're up against. Right? Probably worse because pipeline fulfillment is like the, like, you know, it's, it's, it's companies subsist on, on this. And fattening up a pipeline. , it's food for an organization many times sugary, unhealthy food, right? But it's carby, you know, it's fulfilling.
And so it makes the company feel like satisfied. And I think you're right. I think sales needs to be managed better to know, like to your point, right? You, you, you tie these things together. It's like, what is the most qualified lead that we get outta marketing? In other words, where, when are they at, like, let's say 20 or 25% more likely.
Like have a conversation as opposed to just they like they, they took some stupid action and then. Of those people that are in that 20 to 25% likelihood budget, how many of them match the kind of customers that we want? Have we identified that profile? Do we know that customer profile is the budget they have, the size of their company, their appetite for, you know, our products and services, the likelihood that they're gonna upgrade or renew, right?
These things all have to be baked. The, the stressors on the company are, many of the companies that we're talking to are at a stage at which they've become so comfortable with the metrics they're working with that challenging them is really disruptive. They don't want to, you know, there's a lot of resistance to this.
So that goes, you know, kind of almost dovetails back to the original question, which is just like, what are the kind of barriers that get in the way of people thinking about doing things differently? It's so, a lot of it's just legacy systems. Everyone sort of subsistent on for a long period of time.
[00:43:50] Eddie Reynolds: Well, and I think that that's a really great example of how, you know the, the Chief Revenue Operations Officer and the Chief Revenue Officer and the CEO can all work together.
Regardless of what the hierarchy is. Yep. To say, Well, we, we think that our ideal customer profile and our buyer persona is this, but now that we've been doing this for a year or two, what does the data actually tell us? And compiling that data to say, Okay, we need actual data on the customers that are paying us money right now.
Not just their names and websites and addresses, but like what is their sick code and NIAC code. What is their actual revenue employee head count or whatever it is that's relevant to you. When I worked in private equity, we cared about assets under management. Like you're not gonna get that outta Zoom info.
Right, right. So compiling that and then saying, Okay, like, let's look back at which customers did we, did we. Get in, get his leads. Which of those converted into actual pipeline? Which of those converted into actual customers? Which of those customers stuck around and bought more? And there's a different answer for each of those questions.
Yep. Which had shorter sales cycles, which had higher dollar amounts. And when I worked at Salesforce, they had figured this out, unsurprisingly. And I remember like in the very beginning, Somebody coming to me like on a silver platter and just saying, Here's the report you need. Here are the sick code at NI a codes of all the people that buy the most from Salesforce.
Not a big surprise, b2b, SAS companies, right? And then of that, here's all the companies that are in your territory that are not customers that fit this criteria. Guess who I wanna call first? And then when I do call them, guess what messaging I'm gonna bring to them? Something that's really relevant for that very narrow niche, cuz I've got this nice list that Rev op has provided me and I've got some messaging that someone else has provided me and it's relevant to this really narrow niche.
And then when I'm exhausted that, which you do pretty quickly obviously, and then you say, Oh wow, you know, advertising and media also buys from Salesforce a lot. Where's the list of those folks and what's the messaging that's relevant to. And that helps you with a much more effective outbound strategy.
And I think that's a really great example of how Rev op can really help move the needle and not just manage systems.
[00:45:56] Warren Zenna: Agreed. So before we close up, cuz this has been really good. You had mentioned when we first started talking that you had some thoughts on certain topics that you may feel passionate about.
So in like maybe the last couple minutes, if you just wanted to, I don't know, maybe expound on something that you're in the middle of dealing with right now, or something that's particularly important to you or what you're seeing would be really great.
[00:46:15] Eddie Reynolds: Ooh, I don't remember what was on my mind at that exact moment in time.
I think a lot of this comes down to. Prioritizing building the revenue engine over just hiring people and trying to execute and sitting down and thinking about like, Okay, we want to get from 1 million to 10 million. It's the strategy needs to be more than, Well, we're gonna hire this many AEs and they're gonna sell this much, and then that's how we get to 10 million.
It needs to be. What specifically are we going to do when we hire those first five AEs? Like what's step one, step two, step three in their onboarding program? What's step 1, 2, 3, when they start to go outbound or as they field leads for marketing? What. Tools do we need in place for them? What data do we need in place?
What reports do we need to run when we go six months forward and we're gonna look at an account executive or a marketing channel and decide how well they're performing, how are we gonna evaluate that? Now this is a situation that so many companies find themselves in. They wait until that moment and they're like, Oh man, Joe's not producing.
Well, I mean, I think he's making a lot of calls. I, I don't really know cuz like nobody logs anything in Salesforce. I guess we'll just have to fire Joe. Not only do you. Potentially terminate somebody that could be really good. But you, you don't even have like the ability to really have an informed viewpoint to coach them as opposed to saying, Okay, we thought really long and hard about the exact people you should be calling and here's your territory and we plan that out really well.
And here's, you know, what you need to do to be successful and this is what's been working in the past. And then first question, is Joe doing that or. If, if he's not doing that, then like, yeah, okay, that's, that's pretty good grounds to like coach somebody outta that organization. But if he's doing that and it's not working, then where specifically do we coach Joe?
Or if that marketing program's not working, what do we do specifically there? And then if that still doesn't work, then, then we have a much more justified reason to go out. Like, I don't think Joe is cut out for sales. But so oftentimes we just say, Wow, Joe didn't hit quote. I guess we're just gonna figure rid of him.
[00:48:15] Warren Zenna: Been there, been there too many times with that one. Well, great. Look, look, this has been really great. We could probably get into this stuff for another hour. So, but I want to thank you for the time and all the insight cuz this has been really interesting topics and ones that people chew on.
There's no easy answers here. I think that's the bottom line, right? It's just. Constant, constant experimentation and analysis. And I think that the diligence and the right people in place is critical to make sure that your business is running smoothly instead of just hoping and praying that the metrics that you created work.
[00:48:46] Eddie Reynolds: A hundred percent.
[00:48:47] Warren Zenna: Great.
[00:48:47] Eddie Reynolds: Lupe any final thoughts?
[00:48:48] Lupe Feld: No. It's been a very informative hour, so I, I really appreciate the time. Great to meet you and much success to. How do people find you?
[00:48:57] Eddie Reynolds: Likewise? Oh, everywhere. Primarily on LinkedIn. We've got a YouTube channel, a TikTok channel, everything Branded, Union Square Consulting, or website, union square consulting.com.
And you can book a meeting with me right on the website if you wanna talk about Rev.
[00:49:11] Warren Zenna: Great Union square consulting.com. Eddie Reynolds, thank you so much for being here today and we'll, I'm sure you and I will be talking again soon.
[00:49:20] Eddie Reynolds: Thanks for having me.
This episode was digitally transcribed.