The Revenue Engine

Defining Revenue Operations with Evan Liang, CEO & Co-Founder of LeanData

March 9, 2021
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The Revenue Engine

Each week, Revenue Operations expert Rosalyn Santa Elena shines the spotlight on founders, CEOs, and Revenue Leaders from hyper-growth companies and dives deep into the strategies they implement to drive growth and share their learnings. Rosalyn brings you inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators and disruptors, as well as Revenue Leaders in sales, marketing, and operations.

I am so excited to share this episode of The Revenue Engine Podcast where we chat with Evan Liang, the Co-Founder and CEO of Lean Data. LeanData helps organizations improve the buyer experience, accelerate time-to-revenue and increase operational alignment.

When I was asked to start the Revenue Engine podcast there were a handful of inspirational leaders that immediately came to mind. Given what I know about Evan and about LeanData, of course I reached out to him and asked him to be a guest!

Timestamps:

00:35 - Introducing Evan Liang
02:39 - Solving the issue of poor data & launching LeanData
05:40 - Defining the term "Revenue Operations"
06:42 - LeanData's mission & where the market category is heading
11:41 - The role of data & operations play in revenue growth
14:55 - How did LeanData position itself as the market leader?
18:53 - The importance of listening to the customer
20:34 - Recognizing Ops Professionals: the idea behind Ops Stars
27:27 - The challenges posed by COVID on LeanData
30:31 - The Key elements that have contributed to LeanData's high growth and key lessons
34:07 - Two things we didn't know about Evan Liang

Connect with us:

LinkedIn: Evan Liang
LinkedIn: Rosalyn Santa Elena

Don't forget to subscribe to The Revenue Engine Podcast.

Thank you to Sales IQ Global who help to power The Revenue Engine Podcast!

Evan Liang
CEO at LeanData

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Welcome to the revenue engine podcast. I'm your host, Rosalyn Santa Elena. And I am thrilled to bring you the most inspirational stories from revenue, generators, innovators, and disruptors revenue leaders in sales, in marketing. And of course, in operations together, we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers the revenue engine. Are you ready? Let's get to it.

As a long time, go to market operations leader. I've always been a big fan of Evan Liang, the CEO and co-founder of Lean Data. Very grateful to him for being a guest on the revenue engine podcast. Why have I been such a big fan? Well, there are many reasons, but here are just a few one. Evan is a huge supporter and believer in operations as a function, as a role and as a key differentiator in your go to market.

In fact, in our discussion, he highlights his belief that the ops persona is going to be the future star of the go-to market. Love it too. Evan has brought an amazing product to market that is changing the way companies are managing their lead to account processes as a three-time customer. I'm a huge fan of the Lean Data platform.

Three, Evan believes in the power of data as an operations leader. I know that everything starts with accurate, comprehensive, real time data. And the biggest reason he's just an awesome person and our discussion, Evan shares his original vision for Lean Data and how it has evolved and changed over time.

He also shares how they have been able to carve out a new market category and what they have done, right. That has helped them establish themselves as the market leader. And what is the one thing about Evan that others would be surprised to learn about them? Well, take a listen and find out. So excited to be here today with Evan Liang, the co-founder and CEO of Lean Data, the leader and optimization of your lead to account processes.

When I was asked to start the revenue engine podcast, there were a handful of inspirational leaders that immediately came to mind. Given what I know about Evan and about Lean Data, of course, I reached out to him and asked him to be a guest. So welcome Evan. And thank you for joining me. Thank you glad to be here.

Right? So let's maybe get started with just sort of the launch of Lean Data. So, you know, when you and your co-founder Calvin decided to launch Lean Data, it stemmed from a very personal experience and business issue with having poor data. I always say, you know, everything starts and ends with you. You set out to solve a common business problem that not only you are facing, but likely all companies were facing.

Can you share more about your vision when you first started out and how has your vision for the company evolved and changed over time? If at all?

Evan Liang: Absolutely happy to. So, uh, this was about a decade ago, um, basically at the start of the marketing automation revolution. And so I was a general manager, uh, at a company and I had an inside sales team and we really wanted to add the lead nurturing as kind of a go to market emotional top of what was it?

Outbound process. And so we brought in more kedo and started implementing it and like a lot, many companies at that early stage, we started running into some problems with our kind of our process around it. It was just hard getting it going in as efficient as in getting the gains and savings that we expected.

Um, and when we dug into it, um, so, uh, I'm a kind of a process and product guy by background. And really noticed that the data, uh, manual data was really getting the way. So whether it be deduce or for us, parent-child hierarchies, uh, different corporate hierarchies and, and those things kind of made our processes not as efficient as I want it to be.

And we weren't getting the value we needed to, uh, out of our marketing automation systems. And so that's when I dug in, uh, we did some. Clever things to fix those data issues and make that process a lot more efficient. And that's when the light bulb moment came out for me, which was basically, I bet you, a lot of companies are going to struggle with this just like we did.

Uh, and they may not have the product and process or resources that I had at my disposal because in addition to being a general managers, I was the head of the product for my last company. Uh, caring.com. And so I realized that I saw this trend around companies, increasingly building more sophisticated stacks on combining CRM with marketing automation or order to cash.

And they were going to really bring these systems together and the data was going to be a lifeblood. And so if we could. Also it's better. I started realizing there would be a really, really big opportunity to help these companies really drive their sales and marketing motions to be much more efficient.

And having been in that role, I realized that there was lots to be gained for that. Uh, and this was going to be a really big basket of opportunity. So that's how it all started, was like he's dead around. So with data issues, but, uh, how it's really morphed and become much bigger than we originally thought when we first.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: It's interesting how you can have just, somebody has a problem and they go out to solve it. And then it becomes, you know, it's obviously a problem for a lot of other folks and you're able to go out and really build a company and a platform around it, the solution. So thank you. Um, you know, as a go to market and revenue operations leader, you know, I often find myself educating others right on the term of revenue operations.

You know, when I think about the term. There are a few different facets, right? There's the actual revenue operations function, right? The function within an organization that enables drives, optimizes the revenue process. Then there's obviously the revenue operations role, right? The people or the person that manages the function.

So these are all the experts and the professionals and all things operations that really helps support the revenue engine, but there's also. Emerging market category, right called revenue operations. And you, um, you've had a vision of this for several years now, right? Well ahead of many others, which is one of the reasons I was so keen to, you know, sit down and talk with you today.

Although it has, uh, matured over the past few years, there's still a lot of work to be done, to provide thought leadership and really educate the industry on the value and importance of this new market category. Can you, um, share a little bit with us about how you were thinking about Lean Data's mission as it relates to defining that market category.

And I guess to pile onto that, you know, what have you actually seen in the market in terms of trends? Like how has it evolved and where do you see it going?

Evan Liang: Yeah, absolutely. So I think again, where we started with is really kind of thinking about the, the, the objective that these team, the sales and marketing teams are trying to accomplish.

And what we all ultimately saw was that these, the revenue process needed to become much more aligned. And there was a lot more similarities around how people were running these things and move towards centralization made a lot of sense. You had to break down these silos that sat between the sales stack and the sales ops people.

More marketing on marketing ops teams. And that it just naturally made sense that if you really want to be efficient from your sales and marketing, in order to go to market process completely that these teams started needs to be a much more aligned and you need to have one single process one across it.

So that was our problem statement and leaned out of where we sat. We oftentimes were never very neat in the sales stack or the mark tech stack. Brought in by one or the others to try to conduct a process that involved multiple handles all around us. And as we took a step back and looked at it, we realized, Hey, you guys, this isn't that different.

And when we talked to our sales ops or mark ops customers, you guys are actually a lot more similar than you think you guys are solving similar problems and they kind of cross the different companies. They sit in different places, but they're all very, very, very similar. And so for us, we started off thinking like, This needs to be one cohesive at the end chain and people need to manage around it all.

And the idea though, the rev ops as more of a strategy and mentalities, where we started with is really saying, Hey, look, think about the whole chain together. The best in class companies are already doing that. I would highlight that. Like Octa, which was calling it, go to market operations or business operations, but that's basically the concept they did.

They had a chance to look at it from the ground up. And we started realizing that they needed to have this notion of rev ops and they needed to have this and in that journey and they drove massive efficiencies for that. So that's really where we started was thinking about what it should be, was the end goal, looking at our best in class customers and seeing that those guys were already.

Thinking of there, but there wasn't a term around this. And that's where we started coalescing around this trauma was that, Hey, this idea of working together, thinking about, add, thinking about the business process and the fact that the ops team were much more similar, they're always problem solving driven.

And if they work together, you're going to have a better revenue engine. So that's what we started. What, what, what what's transpired. From a trend line perspective over that it is probably the role, uh, I would say so that the role has kind of taken on this meeting and the role of people are really, really gravitating to this notion of kind of rev ops as a wall.

Uh, that, that that's an interesting trend line and I'll be honest. Surprises quickly people have coalesced around it. Um, but I do want folks not to focus on just the wall because that could be a double-edged sword, especially for folks coming from like the Markoff world. Uh, they kind of view like, Hey, this is way for sales ops to kind of take on rev ops and take over mark offs.

I don't think it needs to be the whole goal of this original thing was to break down silos and for people to work together. And I don't want people to get stuck on titles as a hint. Really adopting what's is the right process and really the best experience for the end users and customers. If we focus on that as the ad objective, I think we're going to end up in a much better place and how organizations deal with the walls.

It's going to be up to your structure actually depends on your go-to-market, right? Uh, how, how you, how you will lie. Um, but I think people should focus on really defining what is the best user experience, and that will define what robots means for each company.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah, that is excellent. I love that. Um, I get asked that quite a bit, you know, having been in, go to market ops and sort of, as you said, it used to be called go-to-market market ops.

It's not that it didn't exist. Right. Somebody was running it and now we're calling it rev ops. But I get asked that question a lot right around the organization. Does it, who should it report to? How should it be structured? And it really depends on your business. You know, I hate giving that answer, but I always do.

I always say it depends because it depends on your business, your selling motion, who your buyers are, right. Who your customers are, what that journey looks like. Um, but most important, like you touched on is the alignment right around your processes, breaking down the silos and, and making sure that you have alignment wherever the people.

Or the people sit. It's the processes you being aligned in the processes, the objectives, the systems, right? The data, especially. So that's great. Yeah. I love that.

Evan Liang: My finally actually solved sales and marketing. That's right.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Exactly. Exactly. So, you know, it's kind of talking a little bit about the data and, you know, operations kind of that Lyman that we're talking about. I watched a video where you were being interviewed, where you talked about Lean Data and said, you know, you mentioned that more C-level executives are really realizing the role, that data, as well as operations plays in accelerating or potentially inhibiting revenue growth.

And, you know, I really love that. Um, you know, how has, how has that realization by more and more executives really contributed to the success of Lean Data.

Evan Liang: Absolutely. I think one of the biggest trend lines we play on is kind of the rise of bots and really watching the ops organization really helps you go to market, come from an arts, right.

You know, you had the, um, meat, eating sales reps who, you know, can sell ice to Eskimos and turn it like more like data driven. Monitored, you know, process efficiencies. And I think the ops role is critical around that. I talked a little bit about it in our kind of annual conference runoff stores, which is like, Hey though, I think the ops folk persona is going to be the future superstars of the go to market.

Right. And it's important for the executives to realize that they want to make their companies more data driven. They've got it right. The ops people, an opportunity to really, you know, uh, step up and have a seat at the table and really help the companies make that evolution. Uh, I think there's still a lot of companies that think of ops as, you know, your Salesforce admin or your mark pedal, you know, it's just like the systems people.

Um, and so I really see in my best in class customer, Uh, that those posts are just the admins. They're much more problem solvers. And then in my, in my future, I think the ops people will be the cha will be the folks designing the systems, using AI technologies and systems of insights really drive it. And that's an exciting future in my mind, because as we all know, Sales and marketing systems and processes are still pretty inefficient today.

Right? There's a lot of waste on the marketing side. There's a lot of waste on the sales side, whether it be marketing, spend that isn't being followed up with it. And on the sales side, you know, uh, uh, you know, uh, quarter capacity, you know, underperforming reps, right. There's like, um, and so we really want to make just more efficient.

Better for the companies, quite frankly, better for, for our economy, if, if we're more emotional route that, so that's where I'd tell, tell C-level executives, Hey, this is where the puck is skating to, uh, um, you know, to, to, to, to jump on this bandwagon, hire some great ops professionals. And that's why you see so much.

Rascal and companies for offs, uh, hire those folks. The good ones are,

it's kinda like, uh, you know, if there's someone young coming out that I think has this right mentality go into ops, right? Uh, there's a bright future ahead for you. And, uh, you know, good executives are going to be looking for those business partners that can help, will help make their organizations much more data driven, uh, and drive insights.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. I love that. And, and make sure that, you know, I didn't pay you Evan for talking about how great opposites is and how it works. Oh, it's rolling.

But that was perfect segue into a lot of the conversations, a lot of things that I've been talking about too. So, um, let's talk a little bit more about, you know, the product, um, you know, you raised your series C back in March of last year. Have two, or excuse me, of 2019 after doubling your revenue. Right.

And the prior year, and as I shared with you, I'm a three time customer, right? So I'm not surprised, right? There's so many great tools as you mention. Tons of tools now for all things revenue, but from my perspective, there's really nothing. There's nothing really out there that does what Lean Data does the way it does it.

How has your product offering and differentiation really helped in accelerating your revenue growth and expanding your customer base? Like, what are some of the things that you feel like you did, right? From this perspective that really helped establish yourself as the market leader.

Evan Liang: Yeah, so we've done it from the beginning has always been around solving the business problem.

So it wasn't the market. We ended up doing, going into kind of category creation, which I have to say is, uh, I think we're probably way through those. Those it is, uh, is probably a lot harder than existing category. You know, like I think someone like Eric had already built a web conference, each built it better at zoom, higher revenue.

Here's a little bit of education and pain. Uh, but that being said, what we did first was just really focused on the business problem and really focused on our customers. So internally we say. Our number one core cultural value is customer first and we really want to live up to that. Um, and so the way the evolution of the company is it's just getting really close to our customers, having an open mentality and mindset and always asking why.

So, uh, one of our biggest earliest innovations around lead to account matching, that's not what we originally set out to do. Uh, we already said that. So data problems, but what happened was a couple of customers came to us early days to add highlights, more kennel, Palo Alto networks. They said, Hey, we love your matching over here.

Can you apply it over here? And a lot of companies, if you're set on what you do. Instead of asking the, why would have been like, no, that's not, that's not what we built.

We were just like, no cure. Then you just have this sense of curiosity. And we're just like, what do you mean by that? Well, why are you trying to do that? Uh, and that led us really be like, that was our first, really big breakthrough in innovation was around that because we're like, wow, this is a really big cross.

Our other customers. Aren't talking about that. Right. So you probably have the same problem. So we went back to them and they were like, yeah, dude, nobody wants to solve that. And so that's kind of how you kind of drive that innovation insights. Uh, one of the things we did early on for some of the early stage companies that I would definitely do again, is when my first head of product came aboard and he's still with us.

Um, I said, you can't run my product roadmap on the less our customer success and implementation team report into, we were really small. They they're split apart, but I was like, oh, I need you to be in there solving our problems with our customers. Don't try to automate or try to build things too fancy until you actually know what these guys are working on.

And so patient customer success reported into them for a couple of years until we define the product much more. And then we split it out. But I would do that again at the earliest stages. He had ideas of what he wanted to do. And then when he started working with our customer, he's like, yeah, no, that's, does that make sense?

We need to focus on this first. And I was like, absolutely. Right. So, so, so, so that tight integration with, uh, between our, our customer success team and product teams still happens today, those things are still very, very tight. I will leave that gives us much more of an interesting product insights and allows us to have that focus all around our customers around that.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. Well that, well, that definitely answers sort of my next question was around customer success and customer value. And I think you've definitely answered that question. Now. I completely understand your philosophy around why your customers are so happy with you and why they are successful because you're constantly listening to them and figuring out how to make the product better to solve their real life issues.

Evan Liang: I think that it starts like a customer, my customer, and what generally, what you want to speak to is that there's generally these lighthouse customers. How are they kind of your true innovators that you just want to gloss to invest a little bit more on? And they kind of lead the way for other people.

The hard thing around this is just that as you get bigger, you just need to. Noise, right. You can't go off on every single tangent because some customers are they the edge case, or then they're being tastes. Are they just ahead of the curve or, you know, that you sometimes solve? Is it, it's not a perfect science and that's where, you know, I think, uh, the data analysis and, you know, the intuition that comes from, from, from your executive teams have to have the common place.

Uh, uh, but it's always a constant evolution. I think we're at the same scale where. You know, the next layer for us around customer success is adding a data insights and it really investing in that and really looking across our customer base for the insights that we can drive around that, and maybe giving that insights back for our customer.

And, you know, here are what the best in class or companies are doing. Here's the benchmarks that you'd want to do all around that. And, and that's a big area of a renewed emphasis for us because we want to continue to be. Pushing the envelope for our customers on behalf of all of them. And that's part of the value of why people, I think, work with.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. Absolutely. I'm excited to see that as a customer, I'm excited to be able to be part of that. So one of the things that you kind of touched on earlier when we were talking about rev ops and sort of the operations professionals kind of being of the future, right. Um, one of the things that you, that lean data puts on is the ops stars event.

Right. So can you, um, tell me a little bit about, you know, because I think, I mean, obviously the ops ops piece, I think. Maybe, let me step back a second here. So I think with the, you touched a little bit on the ops, um, professionals, right. And sort of them being the future. And I think that lean data does an amazing job, right.

And recognizing ops professionals. Right. And helping to really elevate that function overall. Um, you spoke to it a little bit without me even prompting you or asking about it. So it's obviously a firm belief that you have personally. And obviously as I chat with you, you know, I've been on a personal mission.

Self to really try to elevate the function. Um, so can you tell me a little bit about the idea behind ops stars? Like how did that idea come about, you know, what were sort of the initial goals that you had set out to achieve with the event? And then I guess, how would you like to see the event evolve over time?

Evan Liang: Absolutely. So, uh, I think there's the term, you know, necessity's the mother of all invention, right? So OnStar is interesting and this was a true story, driven by some folks in our marketing team fully give them credit. It was not actually. The original goal was just to have a presence at Dreamforce and being a small scrappy startup.

It's real expensive to be a dream force. And so we started off with the idea of just having a lounge so we could gather and have our customers together. And so someone on my marketing team. He actually came up and said, Hey, you know, this is a restaurant. We can rent out the restaurant for three days.

It's not exact order that people typically think about for Dreamforce. It's about a block and a half away it's on new Montgomery. It was a restaurant culture, Gnomon shave. Actually, they got impacted by the pandemic and actually really sad about it. Because I really liked that restaurant. Uh, and so we just rented out the restaurant and the idea was to give a place for a meeting.

And since we had the place for three days, we decided, you know what, let's just have some speakers to, to draw. And I think the big thing around the speaking slots was we wanted it for ops ops. So we were like, okay, we don't want to pitch sessions. We have for partners, it's gotta be useful for our ops folks.

That was the main criteria we told our partners and ourselves is no kitchen. You have to bring up real customers and they have to talk about what they, what, what, how they're solving their problems. Um, and so this was the part that was interesting because my bet was people were going to come there for the food

because they really want to leave

afterwards. And it was amazing. Like, yes, the food was a draw for the content. They were like, we got like the NPS score was like nine out of 10. Everyone was like, this was way better than what you see at Dreamforce because that content isn't really for us, you know, three, four, some got so big and troop was a great event, but it was just got so big.

And so spread out, they were like, this was a small intimate sessions where you can really learn from our peers and there isn't a place for that. So we th th th this is of value to us, and we were like, wow, we're onto something here. And so from then on off stars, we just wanted the content to be great, no pitches.

We really want people to come to a session to really learn. And that's kind of evolved from a small restaurants to two restaurants, to the San Francisco mint, which is like 90,000 square feet and just continues to grow at all for us. We really see our mission is really again, helping the ops professionals, helping the rise of ops.

Giving them a forum to come together. And the big thing that we see is OBS professionals, uh, have some unique uniqueness, uh, to them. You know, sometimes they feel under appreciated. This is chance to highlight them. So OBS stars awards is a really big deal. We rally really want to recognize the best in class people give people role models to look up to and just continue to share great content.

We really. Workshop context. So really hands-on ways for ops professionals to learn. That's really the, the mission of the group. We keep it it's, um, you know, we keep it as an industry event. We love to invite, uh, other partners, uh, from day one, actually, apparently Paul startup at that point in time, when we did our first officer's, we couldn't really afford the whole restaurant all week.

So we had an apartment down there and we liked that mentality. You know, we even have like quasi competitors. It's not just, it's not a stars by lead data, but we're the main sponsors, but we want to help the arts professional in general. So hopefully then, you know, what they don't with Paul's is kind of the model we really want to do for CSL is to really grow this.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. I love it. I love that event. And you know, to your point, there's not there aren't enough. Like that. And I've learned throughout this year by sharing just sort of my background and sort of my knowledge that there is a huge appetite by other ops professionals to be able to have that community kind of be able to network, be able to learn from each other.

Because a lot of times in a lot of specialists that are smaller company. The ops teams are lean, right? You may be one or two people and a team. And so you don't have a lot of that. You know, being able to tap somebody on the shoulder and ask questions, you know, and turn around and ask people questions. So you go outside of your company or your organization, and just knowing that other people are going through the same challenges that you are and that you can.

There's multiple ways. And just to try to learn best practices from others is huge. So I really love that event. I just appreciate an account, wait for it to count, wait for when we can actually do it in person again, too. And

Evan Liang: even the best osteopaths are always can learn from each other. What we find. The guys we consider off stars, they'll be like, well, how can I learn from other people?

There's other ways, better ways to do this problem solving that makes the office community so great. And you know, so. You know, this is proprietary IP to me. I don't want to share, uh, the us folks aren't that way. They're just like, if there's a better way to solve this. Uh, and they're, they're, they're, they're proud of sharing and, and helping others it's so it just makes it a really nice, easy going community.

As you said, we are, we can't wait to bring people. Folks back in person has been nice, you know, uh, you know, hopefully. Brent brought it out our geographic region, but there's nothing like random connections. People meet it. People make relationships that last, like for the rest of their careers. It's pretty awesome.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Absolutely love it. Love it. Love it. Thank you. Um, so you talked a little bit about, um, COVID unfortunately with the restaurant being impacted by COVID and I think a lot of businesses have, um, you know, obviously we have all been impacted by COVID whether from a business perspective. Or from a personal perspective, you know, just being, um, you know, working from home and, you know, school's closed.

And as you said, small businesses being impacted, how have you seen, um, COVID impact your business? You know,

Evan Liang: Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, it's, it's somewhat similar to the, to the broader economy in the sense that it's kind of a K right. We see some of our customers like zoom and DocuSign is absolutely blow up.

Right. And their volumes and their revenue and their stock prices have done really, really well. And they're growing really, really fast. Uh, on the flip side of that, we've seen other customers. You know, uh, we do have customers then that service, uh, co-working spaces or, you know, the restaurant industry. And so for us, we've seen both on both ends.

We've seen a high growth in certain sectors, uh, but we've also worked with some of our customers that have been COVID impacted. Uh, and you know, we, we worked up tips to restructure because we want to, we think of these relationships, the long-term relationships. And one of the things we are proud of is.

You know, even sometimes where we've had to take some churn and down sells, we haven't lost. And you know, we're willing to make that investment with our customers because we understand that we're looking at, uh, you know, growing with them over a five-year time horizon five, 10 years, uh, not just about, uh, year.

Maximizing revenue in the short term. And so those two things balance out. So where I, I think as a company, uh, we are completely COVID accelerated, but we continue to grow nicely, accurate logos and work with our customers really well. And so as a company, I think we're going to come out stronger on the other end of COVID, um, and are excited about kind of, you know, seeing that customer growth and, uh, working with our customers over the long period.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's awesome. Yeah. And I think with, um, with the teams working remote, if anything, I would think with, with a product like yours, revenue leaders are actually feeling the fact that it is a must have right. Much more than just a nice to have, because now you have visibility across all of the, your sales and marketing kind of what's happening in your funnel.

So it's amazing.

Evan Liang: No actually, you know, our, our, our, uh, the biggest Testament is if a customer is not doing well and they still keep, you know, they're cutting out. A lot of other, we spent a lot of time focused on, on actually both ends of the spectrum. The customers are growing like crazy. They had that, they brought their own challenges.

We had to really scale with some of those guys, but the other customers that we work with, uh, you know, You really forged some strong relationships for us and being a customer first company. Uh, that's important that we, we want them to know we're there for them, uh, when they're going through tough times, because we want to grow with them when they bounce back up.

And I think they will.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. So as I think about, um, the revenue engine right in this podcast, right. I hope others will be able to really learn right. How to accelerate revenue growth and power that revenue and yeah. So from your perspective, like what are some of the key elements that have contributed to the high growth that lean data has experienced?

You know, you talked a little bit about, you know, obviously solving problems, being very customer centric. Are there things that you think about like, oh, wow, these are the things that, you know, I've really did, right? Or maybe some of the things that you wish maybe you knew earlier, or maybe that you would do differently.

Evan Liang: Yeah. So I think on the stuff that we did, right. It is customer first and really driving that morale. And so you mentioned your three top. That's actually not a rare story. I do go, I appreciate it. Customers will bring us from place to place to place. Right. That's one of the things we really love is, you know, we serve our customers.

We think about lifetime value. I tell folks it's not even about that account. We're seeing those customers will be well because they do, they then will take us to other places. So the LTV is higher, right? Because that just makes it easier for us to get places in some of the larger enterprise, multiple customers.

Multiple companies all at the same place, even though we were having a hard time trading initially when they all come congregate together, uh that's when the kind of magic happens and you know, this is like multiple people. So I definitely think that customer-first mentality is something that I kinda instill it.

We talk about it in our onboarding new employees and that's something that we did absolutely bright, um, things that I probably would. Do a little bit differently is, uh, yeah, like I think I needed to, you know, as a founder really needed to drive it horns, and I understand that in the category creation space, more of that vision messaging and an elevator pitch.

Uh, and so I, you know, sometimes I think, uh, you know, sometimes we, we bring in folks with relevant experiences, uh, and we're just like, okay, Do what you did there over here. And those experiences may not manifest itself because we're kind of in the category creation space. So I have various points of time.

I get much more involved. Um, and this is one of those cases where, you know, I am much more involved with kind of some of the messaging and elevator pitches around when he got up. And I think I should have probably done that a little bit earlier. We've got as kind of got really good at. Being kind of in the early adopter phase, like, uh, you know, I have customers, like, I don't know who doesn't use you guys, right?

Uh, Silicon valley thing. Right. Uh, but we got to cross the chasm, it for us, that, that is that those were required. Upleveling, the messaging kind of appealing to the late adopters. They need something different from, from what will work the early adopters needed. And I'm really working vertical suiting company and helping us make that transition, I think was.

A year late and be real at dawning upon me that I needed to do that. And I just can't rely on my team. And so sometimes, you know, that's one of the things you get from a, uh, a founder that the founder sometimes, or the best people to sometimes drive some of that change and offer us it's this natural evolution.

Most companies go through, we got to just cross that chasm, but, uh, that's what I'm focused on these days.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. I think that'll be definitely very helpful to others to, you know, really think about it because I think for us living in the bay, you know, living in the Silicon valleys and those, we take it for granted that everyone understands tech.

Everyone understands, you know, how we do things, right? And so it is, can be very different outside of the bay area and also outside of the country, as well as outside of technology. More so than geographically, I think is more, even more important. Um, so as we, as we wrap up, you know, I'd love to know two things about you.

One, you know, what is the one thing about Evan that others would be really surprised to learn and to what is the one thing that you want everyone to know about it?

Evan Liang: Yeah, absolutely. So I think, I don't know if it's a surprise because I've had so, so my sense, I haven't actually done sales ops or more cost myself personally.

Right. So I've always been more of a product guy. Uh, but, uh, I was an industrial engineering major on undergraduate. Uh, and so the one thing I do want everyone to know. This is how I look like I can relate to, to the OBS professionals because I am very process driven. And that's how I think. And as I, as I, as I do processes, that's how, how I go about things.

I'm the guy who he's standing in line, right? Because I'm like, Hey, I could go much more faster. Or, you know, I don't like putting a traffic because I'm like, God. We designed these highways better. So I do think about that way in that mentality. And I think that's why I've gravitated to the ops profession so much.

And I really liked to connect with them is really about the fact that, you know, we're, I like to think about problem solving and it's not about, you know, sound about politics or sad about like, you know, it's not about the, you know, some sort of revenue goal it's really around. I'd just like to solve interesting problems and figure that out.

The other thing that people, uh, Maybe surprise around is I really enjoyed poker as my hobby, but I'm not,

Rosalyn Santa Elena: oh, I didn't know that about you.

Evan Liang: Uh, uh, it's an interesting twist for me. It's more about the intellectual challenge of figuring out people figuring out context, figuring out how far is it? It's a scheme.

That's taught me a lot of patience. Um, but yet I don't like blackjack because I don't love the swings. So, uh, so it's kind of an interesting kind of dichotomy of like what part of the. It really feels to my mindset around thinking about process and process of problem solving versus the sake of gambling for the sake of gambling.

So, and that's fine. There's some folks who really, really enjoyed that as a process of what I want everyone else to know about me, especially the folks on this channel is, is kind of the theme I'm talking about the customer first. I always love talking to our customers and we'll make time for it at any point in time and really love it.

I love talking to customers when they're not happy talking to customers where they are. Uh, I learned Gooley or Mt for both cases and, uh, really hope that whoever we talk to, uh, uh, takes me up on that. Uh, I always want to make sure I have a open door around that really believed that's kind of our job as a company is to service them first.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that FN. I, I really appreciate that too, as a customer, too, and as an ops professional. So definitely I do know that about you. Um, the poker surprises me a little bit, but now I totally understand why this strategy and sort of understanding the people. I mean, that's exactly what you do. So, so I want to thank you so much for joining me today.

It's been an absolute thrill to be here with you and have a conversation. Um, you know, I just, I am so excited to see what's in store for you for 2021 and with the company. And I'm definitely looking forward to joining op stars when, when we get that off and writing this year. And hopefully, maybe it'll be some kind of hybrid and we'll be able to do some in-person activities as well.

Evan Liang: Definitely. This was a great time, just flew by and that's when

Rosalyn Santa Elena: definitely I can talk hours with you. Thank you, Evan. Thank

Evan Liang: you. Have a great day.

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