[00:00:00] Jeff Ignacio: Welcome to season two of the Revenue Architect. I'm your host, Jeff Ignacio. We're going to load up on the topics you care about revenue, operations, sales, marketing, customer retention, and growth. So if you're the superhero team of one, looking to switch into breadbox or a CRO leaning into growing your business, this is the place to be. Without further ado, let's go.
Lately I've been thinking about sharing real-world experiences, you know, getting in the trenches, digging deep, reminiscing, over battle scars, hard-fought experience kind of thing. So I'm going to lay out a laundry list of technologies I've supported over the years. Many of you listening might shake your head and say, aha, Jeff Ignacio does like to talk about technology every once in a while.
Here's the dirty little secret. I really do like talking about tech, partly because it's all about functionality, not features for me. If I could unlock the infinity stones, super power trifecta of 1) recapturing second selling time, 2) capability expansion, 3) amazing customer experience then ha-lle-lujah. I'm going to do that. RevOps finger snap, each and every time.
So here it goes, a tongue twister of 51 apps that I've implemented, managed, or administered directly over the years. So here goes:
All right, I'm going to catch my breath for a bit. So the big question for any businesses, do you need all. The answer is capital N to the O, no, but it doesn't mean you forsake technology just because you want to run lean or you're a, spendthrift when you're supposed to be a growth business. Cutting corners at the core early on can do just as much damage as spending like drunk sailors. Find the right balance.
Or as some would say, scale the core, innovate at the edges. But that's easier said than done. Start with a few temperature check questions. Here are a few, hopefully these will help you
Question one. What are the necessary capabilities? These are non-negotiables. I can think of a few: generating leads, sending those leads to the right people or resources to meet them where they are in their own buying journey. Avoid stiff arming someone downloading a white paper with a demo request and dating parlance that comes off too strong. Segmenting accounts or leads into territories or a round robin model, your choice, capturing opportunities at all phases of the journey. Forecasting across the business is what I call table stakes.
Question two. With that said, what are the core systems that you need in your business? First, he needs to define what those systems are and what they do for sales led businesses. CRM is non-negotiable for these marketing driven businesses, you know, a marketing automation platform, otherwise known as a map, I also believe is a non-negotiable. Pick the right system from the get-go. Fill into the shoes, in my opinion, is the best way to go. Migrating is always so painful, but I firmly understand the pressures of operating on lean capital or trialing before you commit whole-hog.
Question number three. Who is going to keep the lights on and build the inevitable custom features that you're going to need for your business. You keep it in house or move it to a consulting operating as operations as a service. That's also an option I'd venture to say many businesses have found success in a hybrid model. These tools are getting to a place where they all connect to each other point to point, but until those network effects truly kick in businesses are piling over more responsibilities onto their systems admins. Think of it as systems responsibility inflation, that's an unrealistic trend from a management capability perspective. You're loading so many requests on to very few resources. That's an equation for burnout. These systems will have to consolidate because it simply doesn't make sense that your SDR manager is also a part-time SalesLoft or Outreach admin.
Lastly, I'll leave you with question number four. Do you get what you pay for? Meaning, if you go ultra cheap on the resource, are you going to miss out on a lot of good candidate? I definitely say yes here. Even if you think I'm somewhat of an inflationary resource to my fellow operations peers, I can tell you that low balling consistently will lead you to enormous cumulative technical debt in the long run.
If you've been in rev ops for a while, then you've probably experienced this. Often it comes in the form of a LinkedIn message. It starts with the words: "I'm impressed with your background. Your background looks interesting." Something of that variety. They're looking for a Jack or Jill of all trades. You get a manager or a director title, but no team to work with.
Instead your promise that your team will grow when the company does that's often true. And I think it's a pretty good deal, but these teams have one, what I call them, they find themselves in very difficult positions. I've lived that life. Scope creep is real. If you were asked to own the technology and the operating cadence and the comp plans, that's a promising path to asking for more resources. So if you take on the task and the business does grow, and you're in a position you're likely to elevate and move up with it, but it does come at a cost. You're going to work quite a lot.
One common mistake that continues to persist is the belief that RevOps is a role solely focused on technology. Being a Salesforce admin does not a RevOps make, in my opinion, that's a systems role. Instead, RevOps is meant to be a discipline focused on the entire customer journey from cradle to grave. At smaller organizations you'll find that it's possible to layer on heaps of responsibilities on what I call superhero.
Then at larger companies, you have overlaid and matrix organizations to do the heavy lifting. Roles within these companies, particularly at the leadership level, they get to see the whole enchilada. At the lower and mid-level roles for big companies you see a bit of the world through what I call a keyhole. You won't get to see the whole thing. So why do recruiters and sales leaders continue to think RevOps equals systems admins? If that's all it took to have a RevOps capability, then I ask why doesn't IT just take over?
Here are a few reasons why revenue operations is a whole other beast and it's more than just being a systems mule. We'll end on this here, I hope, so here are the list of things why I think RevOps is so special.
Comp and Incentives.
Handoff Design and Governance,
Onboarding and Continuous Training,
Driving Improved Unit Economics
and Churn Mitigation Strategies.
So if IT takes over the systems piece, then there are other pieces that will have to be taken on by finance, sales, marketing, customer success, learning and development, et cetera. When constructed correctly, this function called RevOps is a trusted advisor who can work cross-functionally unleashing business impact felt at all levels of the company.
Now, if you're a founder or a head of sales listening to this, I believe it's perfectly appropriate and acceptable to hire an executor early on. The plumbing and the electrical need to work seamlessly, so to speak. So if you're in the position where you do need to manage the technology, here's some helpful tips that have guided me my entire career and I hope it's helpful to you.
1) Sync business systems to achieve business objectives. There's nothing worse than building or buying science experiments when the name of the game is practical application.
2) Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. There are fundamental trade-offs between finite time, skill and money. So pick and choose your battles.
3) Set up sprints. Communicate loudly what features are rolling out or what bugs you're addressing. Sprints are also a fantastic way of showing continuous process while staying true to your roadmap. And lastly
4) Separate the tactical from the strategic. If it's tactical, it needs an SLA. If it's strategic, it's a project. Both are very different. Tactical can be handled with a ticketing system. I've used Salesforce Cases and JIRA and they both work well. For strategic projects. You're going to want to set up project plans and RACIs. If you're unfamiliar with RACI (R A C I), it stands for Responsible, Accountable, Contributor, and Informed. It is directly borrowed from product management. It gives everyone a place and space to either voice or vote.
Now, all in on this technology is paramount in any business. I have espoused that is not the end all be all. I continue to think that. Business as purposes to want a partner at the table who can see to go to market vision and see the change in motion. In my view, that's what continues to make RevOps such a fantastic career choice. Go forth and build. And if you're in RevOps, continue to be that change agent.
I want to thank you as always for tuning in to the revenue architect. Now, lastly, this is so tedious, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask: please leave a review wherever you listen to this podcast, Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts, each review helps others discover the Revenue Architect as well.