Why is it important for your sales and RevOps teams to be on the same page?
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Hey, everyone. We’re gonna get started. Um, I have a special episode of Saxon SaaS today. Um, I’m joined here on the stage by, um, four great founder CEOs who have built products in the sales tech space. Um, and they are, um, Brad Smith, who’s the ceo, co-founder at Sonar, uh, pons. He, who is the CEO and co-founder of Scratchpad. Uh, Chris Ruo, who’s the CEO and co-founder at sendo. And Jason Dorfman, who’s the CEO and co-founder at orum. And so we decide to do a session today on, let’s call it the Sales tech stack. Um, what should it look like? You know, I want to hear from all these founders on, you know, how their products fit into it, what it, you know, what, what it should look like. Um, what, you know, how should you hack your sales tech stack together? And more generally, how do you organize your revenue operations in a company to, you know, get the most out of sales. Um, I’m also joined on the stage here by a few of my partners from Craft, um, Brian Murray, uh, Ethan Ruby, and, um, well, we had Brian Rosen as well, if he wants to come up. He’s welcome. He may have had to go to, oh, here we go. When I invite you, Brian.
Um, so Brian will be joining the stage too. So why don’t we, uh, why don’t I kick it off to, um, each of our four CEOs just to give a brief introduction and maybe you guys can speak to, you know, in like, say one or two minutes how your product kind of fits into the sales tech stack. And Jason, why don’t we start with you today because you had some, um, really exciting news. So why don’t we start by you telling us what just got announced today.
Speaker 2 (01:51):
Absolutely. Thanks a lot for having me on, David. So I’m Jason Dorfman. I’m the CEO and co-founder of orum. And our product helps sales development reps get into more live conversations. And the way we do this is we plug into your sales engagement platform, whether that’s Outreach or Salesforce or Sales Loft, and we pull in all of the due call tasks and then make multiple, uh, calls in parallel. And we use AI to detect, is it a voicemail, is it a dial by name directory, or is a live human? And we pass you into a conversation with only the live target prospects you’re going after an under one minute. So typically for a sales development rep, half of their day is spent listening to the phone ring, um, trying to get someone on the phone with a below 5% pickup break. And we’re able to reduce that down just to a handful of minutes, uh, to improve their productivity substantially.
Speaker 1 (02:45):
And today you guys announced that, uh, a 25 million series A, which craft led and, uh, we’re really excited to be your, your partner for, for the series A round.
Speaker 2 (02:57):
Yes, absolutely. Forgot that part, but excited to have you on board, David, and, uh, really excited about the next step in our journey
Speaker 3 (03:02):
Speaker 1 (03:05):
Cool. And my partner, Brian Rosenblatt, um, wrote a blog post today on why we invested in orum. So, uh, it’s on Medium on our medium account. Be sure to check that out. Um, why don’t I kick it over to, um, Chris, then Brad, then Pon just kind of in the order I’m seeing your, uh, avatars. Um, go ahead and tell us kind of who you are and you know, what, what your product does.
Speaker 4 (03:25):
Thanks David. I’m Chris Rudy Grap, the CEO and co-founder of sendo. We’re a as sending platform that helps sales teams and, and marketers and other teams send out, uh, corporate gifts, direct mail, um, in different ways to, uh, provide a more human, uh, personal, uh, approach when, uh, trying to, uh, prospect or, or, uh, drive sales. And so I spent about 10 years in sales prior to starting the company and, uh, was doing a lot of this very manually, um, and, uh, wanted to create a company to really automate it and make it, uh, you know, a thousand times better.
Speaker 1 (04:03):
Great. And, uh, Brad,
Speaker 5 (04:06):
Absolutely, David, thanks for having me on. Uh, yeah. So Brad Smith, co-founder and CEO here at Sonar. Uh, we’re a change intelligence platform, uh, geared towards operations teams who are managing a very heavy b2b, uh, go-to market tech stack. So, uh, similar to Chris, uh, prior to starting Sonar, I spent almost my entire, uh, professional career in operations. Well before it was called Revenue Operations. You were seeing sales ops and marketing ops and success ops. The thing that I always struggled with was, uh, orchestrating all of this B2B go to market technology systems that we’re all talking about here today. Uh, scratch Pad, Orum Sendo, and understanding how they all connect and work harmoniously together. And so what our platform does is allows, uh, operations professionals and, uh, really anybody who is owning go-to-market technology, a blueprint for how their technology speaks to each other. So when, uh, when this topic came up today, it was, uh, near and dear to my heart. So I’m excited to, uh, to kick it off with everyone and I’ll pass it over to pon.
Speaker 3 (05:10):
Awesome. Thank Thanks Brad. And, and thanks David for, uh, for being here and putting this all together. So, hi everyone. I am Pon Sahi. I am the c e o and co-founder at scratchpad. And Scratch has the first workspace built for revenue teams and similar to other folks here. My last company was in the sales tech space, so have a lot of empathy for, for sales and, and the problems in sales. And what we had observed is Salesforce is, at least from a ops perspective, everyone wants Salesforce to be the center of the universe. Um, the database, the system of record, but in reality, it’s not where sales reps were doing their work. And we observe tons of folks working out of note apps like Mac Notes, OneNote app, um, apple Notes, uh, spreadsheets galore for pipeline management and account management tasks. Were all over the place.
All of those together into a workspace before sales and for the revenue team. And so what that does is for the individual sales rep, it makes them just work a lot faster. The four to five hours folks are blocking off to do the work, to show the work that they did and update their pipeline is now gone. But for the revenue team, for the ops team, they’re now actually getting great quality data inside of Salesforce and starting to get much better process adherence. And so this is, again, a very, very top a topic that’s very dear to my heart as well. Uh, so excited to be here.
Speaker 1 (06:37):
Cool. And I think, you know, just to, just to recap that I think, you know, e each of each of you, your companies has a superpower and that got, you know, Kraft really interested in investing. You know, I think Jason, for, for, for you and Orum, um, you know, we really see your technology as a superpower for SDRs or, or really any, any seller who’s engaged in an outbound motion. Uh, cold calling is just so spectacularly unproductive because, you know, the, the SDR spends all of their time navigating phone trees and trying to get someone on the phone. Your product just automates all of that away so that the human, the seller spends all of their time actually talking to other people. Um, that’s, that’s sort of how we saw your superpower. Um, you know, Chris, I think the superpower of sendo, so like you said, it’s a sending platform.
Um, it’s the fact that you guys are not just software, but also logistics that, uh, you enable anyone on the sales team to run, um, basically, uh, you know, account-based marketing and ABM campaign where you can send physical or virtual gifts to a prospect to engage them. Uh, uh, uh, pon I think, you know, the, the superpower we saw in, in Scratchpad is that it’s just such a great user interface. It’s a, it’s sort of, you know, we all know that Salesforce has a pretty bad ui and it’s really hard to do things like update next steps. It’s fundamentally not collaborative. Uh, you guys enable the team to take all of those sort of actions while also kind of being, you can kind see this like the first, um, vertical note-taking app and then, you know, Brad and Sonar, you know, I think you guys, your superpower is just knowing all the changes that take place in Salesforce, you know, in that tech stack. So then you can propagate the changes downstream to all the integration so that nothing breaks. So that’s just my, that’s my real quick recap of what makes all of these companies really special. Let me kick it off to the panel now in terms of, you know, what, what do you guys typically see as the biggest mistake, uh, that sales teams make in setting up their tech stack, or not setting up the tech stack as it may be? Um, why don’t I kick it off to, um, Chris and then Brad and then
Speaker 6 (08:54):
Ion and then Jason.
Speaker 4 (08:57):
Yeah, thanks David. So, you know, I think, uh, when you’re just, uh, a founder or a small, maybe pre-seed company, you’ve got limited resources. And I think, you know, it, it, you, you’re in kind of a different mindset perhaps, uh, at the times where you’re thinking about, Hey, how do I get product market fit? How do I get my, my first couple customers? But I think there’s an important awareness of, you know, how am I gonna think about architecting my, my tech stack, uh, thereafter if and when we do become successful? And so I think for early founders, it’s thinking about that, not as an afterthought, but as a pre-thought in terms of how are they preparing themselves just like they’re preparing other aspects of their business. And, you know, I think in some cases you can’t hire a sales ops person when you only have a few people at the company. But there’s ways to offset this with, you know, new like sales ops as a service type companies or an advisory group with some smart experts, um, and really getting yourself familiar early on so that you can prepare yourself, uh, as you start to add tools to your tech stack.
Speaker 5 (10:03):
Yeah, I’ll, uh, I’ll jump in there with you, Chris. It’s, it’s interesting, I think one of the coolest conversations Chris and I ever had was very early on when we were early in the sonar days, was this exact topic. And I know he’s done a phenomenal job of putting together his tech stack, obviously sendo. So being a, a customer of ours, I get to see it day in and day out now supporting their team. But David, to answer your question about some of the mistakes sometimes that that founders or early companies make as they think about buying software, and this is a true question that gets, I get asked all the time, Hey, Brad, should I go buy SalesLoft or Outreach, or should I go buy DocuSign or Panoc? I think so many people, and then there’s a million of these, uh, you know, different companies, you can put those insert name here on.
But I think what’s funny is people come to the table with a mentality of, should I buy this or that? And sadly, they’re not asking the right question, you know, right out the gate, which is, how should I think about solving this problem? Um, and the problems are different depending on the different size of the company. If you’re a, you know, five or 10 person company and you’re getting everything moving, and especially if you’re part of that founding team, you’re wearing every single hat, it’s gonna be really hard for you to go and implement and roll out a very complex, uh, piece of software that has a high administrative burden and high cost. And so I tell folks all the time, think about the problem you’re trying to solve. Figure out what those pain points look like, actually write them down, as goofy as that sounds.
Take that back to the vendor that you’re talking to and see, are you gonna help me actually accomplish what I’m really thinking about doing? Um, you know, right now we all get so much, uh, advertisement and airspace as far as, you know, being able to get our name out there and our brand out there, and it’s perfect. But sometimes to a buyer’s perspective, it’s like, well, I see them everywhere. I, I see as a great company. Maybe I, I should just buy them. I think you should be really thinking more about the problem that you’re solving. And if you’re able to solve that problem with technology, fantastic. Solve it at the right time. But, you know, don’t, don’t rely too, too heavily on what you’re hearing or what you’re seeing. You know, push really hard on all of your vendors, ask the right questions and really try to solve the problem that, uh, that’s right in front of you.
TechX are fluid. We all know that things are gonna change, your company’s gonna scale, you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna grow out of one pair of shoes and into another one. Um, and that’s why there’s different levels of pieces of technology. Honestly, one of the reasons why we started the company was to really help make sure that people knew where they’re moving parts were inside of their tech stack. Because again, none of it’s static. Everything is changing day in and day out, but I think it really does, uh, boil down to asking the right question at the right time, which is, what, what problem do I have right in front of me? How can I go solve it? If it’s with technology, great. Give all of us a call, we’ll help you with that. If it’s part of process, you know, talk to consulting, but you know, ask the right question at the right time, and you’ll find, uh, you’ll find the right, right answer.
Speaker 3 (12:54):
Yeah, I’d agree with, um, with everything Brad said, and I, and I think thinking about what it is you actually want to solve is, is really important first, because sometimes it’s not actually adding anything to your stack. Instead it’s simplifying it. But I think the, the big mistake I’ve seen, and this is maybe not just for companies that are setting up, they’re, um, they’re tech, tech stack, but ones that are years in and continuing to improve it is thinking about the impact that the stack has to the end users. Now, obviously we’re bias, this is the, the lens through which I look at the world, but right now there is so much software and there’s so many tools out there, and that’s only increasing that when a lot of these conversations I hear around how do you build a tech stack, tech stack, it’s just about what are the right tools?
And secondarily, and, and I think we’ll talk about this, is how do these tools fit together? But the piece that I see that’s consistently missed is how will these tools be used and what is that impact to the end users? And consistently, what I’ve seen as well is the more tools, the more drag, and this is counter to what really matters In the early days, you could argue in the later days, which is speed, and especially in the early days as you’re trying to figure out your go-to-market motions and, and what’s working on what isn’t, that speed of your frontline reps is so important. Yet in most organizations, you know, you go to any sales team and you ask them, uh, how do you feel about the tools? And you’ll consistently hear so many tools, I don’t even know which one to use, which one to go in anymore. Now there’s this one, and then this changed in that one. And so I, I would say really, and this is connected to what Brad said, but thinking about and protecting the frontline reps because they’re the ones that are ultimately selling, it’s not the technology or the tech stack, but selling.
Speaker 2 (14:43):
Yeah, I agree with, uh, ion’s points, points there. And I think for all early stage founders, they’re stuck with the decision. You know, do I go with this enterprise grade stack that might be really expensive or hard to implement, or do I go with a, a series of startup tools that might be a little bit more manageable? And it really depends on what you’re talking about. So when it comes to something like a crm, if you’re planning to build a big company, you’re probably gonna have to be on something like Salesforce, which means you’re gonna have to start with them for the get go. But for example, something like, uh, a lead database, like some of those can get really expensive if you’re looking at the enterprise quality ones. And it might be okay to start off, uh, with something that’s a little bit cheaper and smaller.
I think it’s important whenever you’re buying, uh, startup tech, which a lot of early founders, they’re gonna look to those because they’re cheaper and, and easier to use. You know, who are the founders behind that company? What’s the trajectory of the company look like? Because you might get lucky and start off with something that’s easily easy, simpler, cheaper than the enterprise grade option, but maybe they’ll be able to scale with your company, um, as you, as you grow. But there’s certainly, um, certain things, like, for example, our customer success platform, we looked into some of the, the enterprise grade versions of that and realized that it would take multiple people at our company to implement. So, you know, at some point we may have to switch to that, but it just wasn’t a decision we were able to make early on. So I think it was, to Brad’s point, it’s gonna be fluid, you’re gonna have to swap things out, but I think each tool is different and some things are, are more easily reversed than than others.
Speaker 1 (16:18):
Cool. I wanna kick it over to, uh, Brian Murray, who’s, uh, my partner and he’s c o of craft and spends a lot of time in sales tech and is actually on the board of sendo, so, and Sonar, um, uh, Brian, you wanna Beamer <laugh>?
Speaker 7 (16:32):
Yeah. What’s up everybody? Hey, guys. Um, all right. So let’s assume that you get beyond this, you know, how to set up the early stages of your GTM function and you have the luxury of hitting product market fit or reaching some scale. Most companies we work with find themselves having a new problem, which is, uh, especially at the GTM ops teams. Um, we’ve got all these in these new demands coming from the C R O or the cmo or just the AEs of, uh, new apps, new things they want to do, and yet the foundation of their, uh, G T M stack may be, may be brittle to say the least, or have a lot of tech debt. So, umm, curious to get your all advice for the GTM leaders out there. How should they be thinking about repairing what, what’s broken or fragile versus embarking on continuing to, to advance the, um, their GTM motion and, and the various apps that they can be, uh, uh, baking into their process? So, uh, plan, I know, I know you’ve got, well, everybody’s got a ton of experience with this, but why don’t, why don’t you go first, we’d love to hear your perspective on this issue.
Speaker 3 (17:40):
<laugh>, I’m, I’m, I’m chuckling over here, <laugh>, because this is something we hear all the time, and I think this is both at the early stage. And one thing I’ve been surprised by Ryan is how quickly that debt can accrue. Um, you know, you’d think it’s, it’s, maybe it comes at scale, but also just how terrible it can get at scale. I mean, to give you a sense, we’ve talked to organizations that have maxed out the number of fields and the opportunity object in Salesforce. We’ve talked to other organizations where Salesforce has actually had to put them on their own instance, on their own servers just cuz they were causing so many issues. And so, listen, no one’s job. I think if you go into any robots org, you rarely find anybody that’s the sweeper that’s there to clean up Salesforce. And what, what we see is there, there’s this natural pattern or natural tendency to, to, to iterate, which I think is good.
You want to iterate on your go-to-market motions. You’re, you’re constantly experimenting, but what ends up happening in reality is no one’s actually thinking about the system holistically and about that change. Now, obviously, I think, you know, it’s awesome that sonar exists and it can help with that now, but up until now that hasn’t really existed. And so what happens is you’re getting the new changes put on top of the old changes. Sometimes they break, and if they do, it’s a bandaid fix. But what ends up happening is the downstream effect of that is anytime you want to make a change, then going forward it becomes that much harder and it becomes that much slower. And what ends up happening is your revenue team is then pushed out of your system of record. And this is what we see all the time. And you, I’m sure at any of the, the sales organizations here, folks listening, a lot of the reps will end up working out of their own spreadsheets or taking their own notes because they’ll literally say Salesforce is unusable, not because Salesforce is a bad system, but because they can’t even find the field that they want.
I I, I was on a call the other day with a rep that literally had to scroll down six pages worth of the opportunity object just to find the field that they want. And so I think that that debt is real. I think it’s penetrated every single revenue organization that I know of. And one, you know, our approach to helping address that is through abstraction, by building that layer on top of the database that you can only, you surface up whatever you need. But we also know that, that there is this cleanup work that needs to be done, especially as organizations are thinking about scaling. Um, and I think this is one where, where folks could probably start early on knowing that this is going to happen.
Speaker 7 (20:08):
Yeah, I mean, I, I’ve been in, um, I’ve held sat in that seat before. It is, it does feel like a bankless job at times. You’re a little damned if you do, damned if you don’t, if you add the new app, then something breaks. If you fix the thing is broken, then people are asking where the new app is that they want to use. Um, and, and actually I think Brad, you’re kind of the, the king of this, um, sonar was literally built to help address this. So based on what, um, what you’ve seen with all your customers, w what’s your perspective on this? What’s, what kind of fires need to be extinguished sooner than later? And, and would love to hear your thoughts here. Of course, uh, I, well,
Speaker 5 (20:46):
I I, I couldn’t agree more with pon tech debt’s real, and it’s not going anywhere. Even Jason said this earlier too, the amount of technology out there is, is growing immensely, but also the complexity behind that technology is growing sadly faster than the person that has to administer it. But there’s one underlying piece here that we see often almost with every one of our customers, is that we, we’ve talked about this, uh, actually David, you put a great, uh, post out earlier about org charts about how and when you start to bring on operations, it’s typically in that first 40 or 50 headcount. Let’s just all remember that. Sadly, when you hire that person, or whether it be 40 people, 50 people, 60 people headcount, they don’t have the luxury of turning these systems on from day one. They’re inheriting someone else’s. We say it all the time in here, dumpster fire.
That’s actually part of our message that we, we send out to a lot of our, uh, our, our customers and prospects. But sadly, when you don’t have the luxury of turning it on first, inherently all you’re doing is inheriting tech debt. And we hear all of our customers, and this is part of what our platform helps them do, is see this in a new blueprint manner so that they can actually go and fix it. Is, Brad, where do I start? I don’t, I think I know all the systems that we’ve bought, maybe, fingers crossed, I think, but they, they typically don’t. And really it comes down to more of that discovery side of it. What do we currently have? Sadly, what could be sitting on the shelf? What do we have currently installed? And if you can at least start at a foundation level of understanding what you have and how to interpret what you have, like I said earlier, and, and kind of the first point, you know, these tech techs, they’re, they’re gonna evolve.
Um, they’re, they’re not static. They’re very, uh, you very fluid. They’re, they’re very, uh, dynamic in a sense. And so the more you know about where your starting point is, you can actually start to understand how to leverage your tech stack. The biggest reality amongst all this is that there is one center por portion of that, but with Salesforce, all these connect ins. So most folks look at Salesforce as being their sort of hub in a, in a hub and spoke model. You should be thinking about identifying the, the pieces of metadata and the objects and all the way down to the nitty gritty part of it. What’s actually making this business tick? What’s actually making it run? What, what feels here are we using to drive our KPIs? What are we putting on dashboards? What are we sending up to folks like Brian on our board?
Um, how are we interpreting our data? And the minute you can start answering those questions, your tech stack’s gonna start falling in place very nicely because you’re gonna understand which systems drive those data points, which systems don’t. Um, you know, I can say it on here, you’re never gonna see an advertisement for, for sonar saying, we’re gonna help clean up your tech stack and you’re gonna go purge a lot of software. Um, that probably wouldn’t be, uh, be a great way to win friends and influence people in the, uh, in the software space. But candidly, a lot of the, uh, projects that we’re working on with some of our customers is exactly that. How do we help you get to an efficient, um, manageable spot? We, we use this pie chart analogy all the time of how are you being proactive versus reactive? And sadly, ops folks are spent spending so much of their time backpedaling and being reactive and putting fires out. And that’s not what they’re hired for. They’re hired to be strategic, they’re hired to be thought leaders of, Hey, I’m seeing this trend in the data. Maybe we should think about pouring gas on the fire over here on this part of the business. And so, you know, the, the TLDR of that and the, the downward function to understand your base layer of what your data looks like and understand what you really need to drive the business.
Speaker 3 (24:17):
Brad, can I, can I just add one point to that? Because you brought up really, really good point on, you know, the technology’s changing a lot. And, and, and Brian, what you mentioned earlier, like the tech stack is changing a lot where you have this brittle foundation that’s unstable to a lot of tech debt. One other thing that we’re seeing is if you take the tech stack out for a second, but just look at and feels as if the rate of change inside any given organization is changing more rapidly as well. And just to share some, some things we’re noticing is more organizations are be trying to become more data driven. They’re implementing more methodologies. If one methodology doesn’t work, they’ll swap out, let’s say, bant for med pick or introduce command of the message or try lots of different experiments internally, but that’s, that that debt is actually slowing them down as well.
And so I think it’s both external with the new tech coming online and the new technologies, but I think the internal desire to be more rapid and try new, try new things. And when you have that debt, to your point where the, the ops folks are having to be more reactive and proactive customer four next step fields simply because the ops person had to move so fast that they weren’t able to go back and clean things up. They’re just like, all right, let me just throw another field in here and try to hide it in a page layout out.
Speaker 5 (25:40):
Yeah, it absolutely does. I think the one thing that you’ve mentioned Poya, Chris has some thoughts on too, is there’s fluidity in these resources in these organizations. The average shelf life, sadly for an op person’s about 18 months. And so you’re having different owners all the time of this technology. So it’s a big, uh, big component to that.
Speaker 4 (25:58):
Yeah. And that’s why, uh, Brad, it’s a good point in terms of like really having that blueprint. And I think that’s one of the things when I first discovered Sonar that I was so excited about, was really creating that blueprint. So when there is a change in, uh, you know, a teammate leaving on the ops team, you’re not losing all of this knowledge, but it’s all in, in this blueprint, you can see what’s mapped to what, and so you’re, you’re not at this starting point again. So that’s one big thing. The other thing you mentioned earlier, Jason, too, that I thought was interesting was you mentioned the outreach integration. Um, and I think that’s ever increasingly important is, you know, when you’re buying new tools, how is it integrating into your current tech stack, uh, so that, you know, you’re, you are making it easier for the sales reps to actually use the tool and you’re not just becoming another siloed tool.
So I think what there’s a definite trend there. Um, I I’d also say too with, uh, in terms of preventing, uh, you know, tech stack issues is really having a, a strong like rollout in training for the whole sales team for this new tools. I think oftentimes people buy things and then, you know, some of the team rolls it out or it’s, um, you know, it’s, it, it’s, uh, not fully managed. Um, and so that’s a another way to prevent maybe, uh, detect being bought and not used, is just really having a strong rollout and usage plan.
Speaker 2 (27:17):
Yeah, Chris, I think that’s a great point about integrations. That’s becoming increasingly important. I I think a certain amount of tech debt is unavoidable, but to, to Brad’s point, there’s things you can do to prevent it from becoming a dumpster fire, as he mentioned. So I, I think in a startup especially, it’s really hard to justify bringing on operational people earlier, early. They’re, they’re not carrying a quota, they’re not building products, they’re usually startups wait too long before bringing in an operational leader. And what happens is, as executives come on board, they eventually, you know, find the political will to bring someone on in their own department. So you have sales ops under sales, you have marketing ops under a marketing leader, and then business operations, and they’re all separate. And oftentimes, you know, they start building reports or measuring things that are political or in favor of their own particular organization.
So I think what Rev ops is really about is starting to think about that differently and building a, a centralized resource where sales ops, marketing ops, business operations, sometimes enablement, uh, Dion’s point is all under one umbrella and can be thought about strategically, uh, before it’s implemented, uh, tactically. And that also reduces the amount of, uh, SaaS tools that the company brings on board. I, I know when I left Rubric, they had something like 300 plus softwares and service tools, and they were looking to cut down on them because there was overlaps because each department was going out and buying their own thing. I, I think there’s also just outside of, you know, the, the tools perspective, just being able to define your process really early on. Things like, what is an opportunity definition organization, what is each stage opportunity stage mean? Um, getting on the same page from the top down. And then once that’s reflected in your tool set or crm, that can make things a lot cleaner and, and easier as well. But, you know, inevitably, you know, ops people are gonna come in and outta the organization, the needs are gonna change. You’re gonna have to upgrade from one tool to another. So there’s always some cleanup that’s, that’s gonna have to happen.
Speaker 1 (29:30):
Getting, getting back to basics here, I know the, this episode is in large part about, uh, rev ops or revenue operations. I want to just, you know, make sure we define what that term means. And you know, maybe what I’ll do is just throw out like a quick answer and to my own question and, and then have you guys comment on that and, and add in whatever I’m missing. So the, the way I see Rev ops is that they’re the people who make the, the quote curing salespeople effective, more effective. I mean, yes, you can think of them as a kind of overhead, but as the sales team gets larger, they’re pretty essential. So what are the types of things revenue ops would be doing? Well, first of all, it’s setting up the tech stack like we’re talking about. It’s setting up the crm, it’s setting up all the other tools that, uh, the sales team is using.
And sometimes there’s a lot of configuration that goes into that. Uh, but it’s also helping the, you know, VPs, sales, whoever the sales leader is, manage the, the, the team, the, the quotas, the territories, um, the training. Uh, you know, every quarter typically you’re, especially in a fast growing startup, you’re gonna be rolling out new sales plans. And as the team gets bigger and bigger, the territories need to shrink. Um, and like all that has to be kept up with, um, you know, they’re calculating commissions, they’re, um, making sure that deals are actually closed. They might be doing quality control on the sales team. Um, so you have all these functions that build up. And Brad, you mentioned the, the ar, the, um, sub stack I just posted on the SaaS org chart. Uh, you know, what we have found is that for about ev roughly every 10 salespeople or quota carrying salespeople you have on a sales team, you need about one operations person, one sales operations person to help support them, if not more. Um, so that, that would be like my quick definition of rev ops. And I’m curious, you know, have I missed anything important? How do you guys see that function and the role it plays in sales? And I’ll just throw it out to anybody who has a comment.
Speaker 5 (31:33):
I’ll, uh, I’ll jump David. I think the one thing that I’d tell folks how to interpret rev ops, especially for their business, cuz candidly it, it changes business by business, vertical by vertical industry, by industry. And I tell folks, focus on the customer journey. If, if you’re trying to solve operations problems and we’re all trying to sit here and please our customers focus on what that journey looks like. And I think that’s why you’ve seen this evolution from what has been sales ops historically to now being rev op in this new coined term. That data starts very early with marketing, how we advertise them, how they come inbound to us, how they go outbound, how we start to collect first name, last name, email, title, company of course that transitions from marketing to sales. Sales uses that, you know, to their advantage so they can pick up the phone and email and use apps like this to connect with customers.
And that continues its way all the way through. You close the deal, you use all the different go-to-market tech that is involved to do that, obviously it goes right over to customer success. The first thing that we’re always thinking about is, you know, day one of that customer journey as they actually become a customer. How do we go ahead and forecast what that looks like on day 365 and even all the way down to finance of how do we bill, how do we recognize this revenue? All of these pieces of data that we’re collecting along this customer journey is exactly what Rev Ops is managing and owning. And so, you know, I tell folks your journey, every journey is different. Some have PLG plays, some of ’em have, you know, very top down, very long, heavy sales cycles. Whatever your methodology is and whatever your go-to-market strategy is, you’re still gonna lean back on rev ops to make sure that it’s actually bringing all that customer data along the way.
Like when, look, David, you and Brian and everyone else on here has been in board meetings and we’ve seen that tragic misalignment of data where, you know, marketing starts like, yeah, last quarter was great, we generated 10 million in new business and they passed that over to sales and sales. Like, that’s funny, I didn’t see 10 million and, and new opportunities come through. I only saw eight, but that’s okay cuz we closed 2 million in new business and passed that over to customer success. And they’re like, no, we only closed 1.8, but that’s okay cuz we’re running 110% net and you know, 95% gross. And these looked out at the CFO and the CEO and their, their faces are in their palms cuz they’re just disappointed that this misalignment of data. And so I think of rev ops as the customer journey. How do you align your operational practices to, to that exact thing, think customer first and you’re, you’re always gonna win that way, but you have to align your data and your strategy to the same place.
Speaker 4 (34:10):
Yeah, to tack onto that too, I think, you know, revenue doesn’t stop with just new business too. So you also need to think about your land and expand revenue and how that plays into effect. And so ultimately there’s the whole marketing sales CX alignment, which is just so crucial, which is why I think the, the term revenue ops came about, which is just driving further alignment amongst all of those different maybe previously siloed groups, uh, bringing ’em all together to feel like one team, you know, one dream and focused on really, like you said, uh, making the customer journey successful.
Speaker 3 (34:46):
Yeah, go ahead Jason. I’ll jump in after.
Speaker 2 (34:50):
Yeah. I’m gonna pile along with what Chris said is that the, the rev op term has part, part of that meaning is that you’re doing a certain amount of centralization to make sure that there’s a cohesive strategy rather than each department implementing their own tactics. Um, between OC October, 2018 and April, 2019, the number of job postings for director and VP level rev ops roles grew by 90%. And you compare that to something like sales enablement that only grew by 36%, which is another fairly new function in organization. So rather than just, you know, having a sales ops manager work for a VP of sales and then CS have their own manager and there’s this kind of disjointed handoff between the departments, I think companies are looking at this as another pillar of their organization so they can run, uh, more efficiently. I I think of it a little bit like an IT organization where it’s, it’s its own organization and, and its purpose is to provide a service for the people that are on the ground to do their jobs, uh, more efficiently rather than just an ops person that’s working within a department to create reports for the, the person at the top.
But I, I think it’s still kind of an evolving, evolving field and definition.
Speaker 3 (36:05):
Yeah, I think just, I, I won’t, I’ll just echo what everyone said. Um, I I think it’s a, it’s a really exciting time and what I’m seeing is it is more of a strategic role and it’s looking holistically at the revenue organization from marketing all the way down to you’ve got that customer and how are you thinking about the entire lifecycle of that customer, uh, hopefully for, for years and, and looking at it at that level. Um, now I think, Brad, you mentioned data, um, and making that alignment, the, the data alignment and being that really important. Uh, the only other thing I would add that, that we’re very slowly starting to see, I think we’ll be hearing much more around this on, on rev ops is the alignment around workflows. And we still see that as very much siloed where, you know, the SD R team will have their own workflows, the AE team will have their own workflows, CS teams have their own workflows, and those handoff points are, can be so crucial not only to the customer experience, but ultimately to actually driving that revenue and keeping it. And that’s where we’re slowly starting to see some focus being put on there where not only by improving the data, which can certainly help with, with reporting, but making very smooth transitions and workflow from the SDR to the ae, uh, when you’re working the deal, bringing the, the SES to work well with the AEs and closing the deal and a very smooth handoff to the AMS and the CS part. Um, so I think the workflow alignment is also really important.
Speaker 7 (37:36):
Yeah, ion that workflow point is, um, is actually a, another, a good segue to this, this next topic, which is, um, we’ve been talking a lot about tools, technology, but there’s the other side of the coin, which is the people and the teams. And in many ways the, the apps, the tech is just a reflection of the, of the teams working together. So, you know, I’ve worked in orgs where we had really good alignment across, um, GTM functions and other orgs where it was very toxic. So I’d love to hear from you, I’m, again, you guys are experts. You’ve seen this a million times both, uh, at your own companies and at your customer’s companies. What kind of tips or advice or perspective can you share on, um, what makes a good, um, GTM operation from the people side? What are some best practices on working together across the various functions? And, and puja I’ll actually start with you, uh, if you, if you don’t mind sharing your perspective there.
Speaker 3 (38:31):
Yeah. Um, so I think in, in terms of how to make, and, and Brad, if I understand correctly the question, you’re, you’re saying, Hey, how do you make, how do you create an environment for those people to work better together across those lines? Is that correct?
Speaker 7 (38:44):
Yeah, exactly. There’s, there’s all these handoffs between the functions. So what are, you know, how, how does the, yeah, how does the company optimize that?
Speaker 3 (38:52):
Yeah, so I think we could look at it through a couple different lenses. Uh, one of them could simply be the incentives as an organization, uh, revenue organization, are you putting the right incentives in place that then drive the right behaviors? So are you comping, you know, STRs on the right metrics such that it’s the right deals that are then being passed over to AEs and, and, and, and further down the stack. So I think there’s a whole discussion we could probably have just on incentives and alignment there, but I, I think the other one is, uh, again, we live in this world, so, uh, you’ll probably get tired of me saying this, but I think there’s just a lot of, a lot of space to explore is, is around workflows and um, and how people work in the tooling that they use. And you know, most organizations, if you go to the SDR may be taking notes or working somewhere that then never gets to the ae.
And so then the AE gets in and it’s like, well, gosh, there’s nothing here. Okay, so I, I gotta take this and I gotta redo some of that work. Or you close that deal as an AE and that gets handed over to the CSM and there’s very little in the op object or at the account. So I have to, as a CSM manager, I have to redo all of the discovery. Why did this per, why did this company purchase? What are they looking to get out of it? And so one, one way that, again, and this is biased cause I’m at scratchpad and this is what we do, but I think it’s such a big problem, is trying to make that common connection point across how people work. And so instead of having the SD R’S notes in Google Docs and the AEs notes in Evernote and the CSM working out of some completely different system, and we already talked about the churn challenge in organizations, people leaving notes being gone.
But I think how do you make that knowledge accessible to the entire revenue team? And that’s one area, so you could argue as, as that’s, that’s data. But then the other one is very smooth workflows and transitions. Uh, we probably don’t have time for me to go, I could talk about this topic for hours and hours, but I think those are two areas that I would, I would focus on is one is, is incentives, and then two, actually paying attention to how people work, where those connection points are and how to remove as much drag and friction from those points.
Speaker 7 (40:56):
Yeah, yeah. Makes sense. Brad. Brad, what do you think about that? Um, I know you always take sort of the ops first perspective. Um, what are you seeing and, and what would you recommend?
Speaker 5 (41:08):
So stop me if you’ve heard this one, but if, if you don’t have executive buy-in at some level with the technology you’re purchasing, sadly your, your, your rate of success just declines dramatically. And I think most folks in any organization, small, medium, large enterprise, public private will, will agree with that in that we spend a lot of time, effort, energy, money in the technology that we buy, that we implement with our system, with our, with our company. And if you don’t have someone at the top actually saying like, guys, the reason we made this purchase is not because they’re a friendly, uh, you know, in town person or anything like that. Like no, this is supposed to make your job better and here’s how and here’s why. But if you don’t have someone, you know, somewhere towards the top helping drive that adoption and that growth, that’s how Shelfware exists.
And I, I’ll, I’ll take my, my founder hat off and, and the B2B asset off and just go back to my consulting days when I was actually implementing Salesforce for new, uh, for new customers as a new Salesforce instance or fixing somebody else’s dumpster fire. We were spending so much time and money consulting is an expensive practice and we’d go in for these like go live sessions, you know, be a whole week on, uh, on site somewhere and you would just look like you’re talking to a room full of zombies cuz they’re being forced to be there. Nobody’s excited about it and you’re trying to get them like, guys, this is why this is gonna be helpful for you. This is why your job is gonna be easier. They’re gonna make you more efficient and faster at closing deals. And then you just look back, you know, towards the back of the room and you know, whoever the executive sponsor is is playing on their phone or they’re not even in the, they’re not present during the, uh, the implementation or during the go live.
That’s impactful. And so, you know, we, we do it internally here at Sonar. We have an executive sponsor for every piece of software that we purchase. Um, and they drive the adoption of that down. They have to put on’s point, they are actually incentivized to make sure that that works the right way for our company. But you know, if you don’t have somebody at the top really narrating why this is so important, we’re spending a ton of time, but arguably the most, uh, valuable asset that we all have is time. And that’s almost more expensive than, uh, some of the money we spend on software. We’re gonna spend a lot of time implementing this stuff. You have to adopt it, you have to see that executive sponsorship. Um, one of the, you know, the fun tips that that that I’ll happy to share here, but we do this as we sell sonar to, you know, all of our customers. If for any reason we do see lack of adoption, I’m the person reaching out executive to executive like, look, you guys made an investment here both in time and money. We wanna make sure you’re getting, you know, getting the, the right use out of it. Let’s make sure the, you know, that your team is fully optimizing it. And I think it goes unspoken too often that people don’t adopt and mainly cuz they don’t feel that there is a need from the top down of the organization to adopt it.
Speaker 7 (44:03):
Yeah. Yep. Chris, how about, how about you? You, you guys are now at a level of scale that you’ve got, I mean a lot of employees, your international, the functions have sub-functions and the sub-functions have sub-functions. So what tips do you have uh, as you’ve scaled up sendo, so on keeping those lines of communication across the GTM teams intact and efficient?
Speaker 4 (44:26):
Yeah, so one of the things I think is important is one is just having the ops teams collaborate as much as they can with the end users, like the sales reps or SDRs to see about other ways that they can uncover, um, initiatives or areas that they can either automate versus, um, keeping things manual. So I’d say keeping, um, not only a tight collaboration between the different ops leaders or the different, um, ops teams, but also, uh, keep tight collaboration amongst the end users that they’re serving or their customers in, in some cases you could call that. Um, the other thing I think to think about is it goes back to really staffing and and org chart and you know, I think the, it it kind of piles up where, you know, uh, a really good rev ops or sales ops person might feel like they can do a lot but ends up having a super long to-do list and, you know, when do you then come in and say, Hey, let’s add another person to your team so we can cut your to-do list in half. And so I think, uh, being aware of the, the long to-do list, um, and making sure the, the, the, the headcount planning takes, um, take that into account is really important so you’re not, you know, understaffed, um, when really, you know, another person can make you, you know, 10 x more efficient, um, from an OP standpoint.
Speaker 7 (45:43):
Yeah. How about you Jason? Any any perspective you’d like to share on this topic?
Speaker 2 (45:48):
Yeah, I think in terms of just driving alignment across all the teams, one thing that’s important outside of culture is compensation plans. Like I think especially, you know, between sales and cs, one of the things we do is we have the comp plan set up so the sales reps are incentivized to close deals that are actually healthy. So we will run a trial and if the customer doesn’t hit a certain set of metrics, we actually won’t allow the sales rep to close the deal. And that avoids a situation where a salesperson’s trying to close something, they pass it off to CS and then they’re not really set up for a healthy renewal. And I think there’s similar things like that and other parts of the organization. I think the classic one is between, you know, marketing and sales and between sales development and the AE team, you know, for example, we have a a point system that’s tied to compensation for sales development.
So different meetings have different, uh, points assigned to them depending on the size and importance of the meeting. So the SDRs incentivized to, to get into really good lucrative accounts rather than just getting comped on setting up a bunch of small meetings. So I feel like a lot of the arguments and miscommunications that happen between departments is because from the top they’re incentivized incorrectly or the incentivization isn’t aligned with the goal of the SaaS company, which is ultimately to get, uh, get that renewal. So I think that’s a big thing. And also, you know, changing what you, you celebrate if you’re a software as a service company and you care a lot about renewals, you should be treating customer success and celebrating those renewals in the same way that you celebrate, uh, sales renewals. So just some things to think about.
Speaker 7 (47:31):
Hey, I’ve got, I’ve actually got one more question for you guys. Um, something I’ve been thinking about recently, ramp, RAMP seems like this thing that is always unavoidable. Like there has to be some ramp period to the rep getting productive. So, uh, would love to go around the horn and hear from everyone. Maybe starting with you Jason, what are some of the, and of course orum is is part of this, but what are some of your best tips for sales leaders on how to reduce ramp time for, uh, new reps, new, new SDRs?
Speaker 2 (48:05):
Yeah, I think the number one thing is that they have a mentor in the organization that can really sit down with them in the early stages. And, you know, just beyond any enablement program that you have, I do think that companies tend to hire a sales enablement later, uh, sales enablement leader, uh, too late in the organization’s history. Um, I think a sales manager can do a lot of the enablement when they have three or four reps, but as it gets bigger, you really need to build a program so they have access to all of the resources they need to get trained up and that you’re documenting everything that has worked in the past relative to your sales process so people can search it. So I think that’s something you can do to reduce ramp time. Uh, you know, a lot of it really depends on the, the company and the, the product you’re selling and and the sales cycle.
Um, but I think another thing that, that I had seen at Rubrik was we were growing so fast, we were splitting up the territory so quickly that when a new rep came into the territory, they didn’t even have all of their accounts in front of them that they were supposed to go after. So I think there’s also things on the operational front, so when you bring a new rep on board, they actually know exactly what accounts they’re going after and that’s all set up for them before they actually get started, rather than spending the first couple months re prospecting through all that, that data.
Speaker 7 (49:32):
Um, Chris, you got any tips?
Speaker 4 (49:34):
Yeah, things that come to mind? I, I would agree, Jason, in terms of like being thoughtful in terms of lead routing or planning, um, and, and how you are making sure that that rep becomes efficient, quicker. Um, I think, you know, an obvious no-brainers investing in enablement, um, and I think, you know, one thing maybe, uh, to think consider is, you know when to actually start that clock of when ramp starts. I think a lot of people jump in and salespeople are like, Hey, I wanna start selling today, but maybe spending more time in, you know, company history, product, et cetera, and then jumping into a ramp so that they’re, um, more effective because they’re starting off, uh, with better knowledge of the, the product, the industry, et cetera, instead of just trying to start selling day one.
Speaker 7 (50:18):
Yeah, yeah. I love that. Um, and Brad, I remember, I think it was one of our recent board meetings you were talking about, um, early wins, like how quickly you can get a rep to their first win as, as a key to, to shrinking ramp cuz they got those, they sort of feel the high of, of, uh, closing a deal. Any other, uh, tips that you have based on what you’re seeing?
Speaker 5 (50:40):
Absolutely. Uh, look, everybody has their dopamine hit. Just name it for ops folks, it’s operationalizing how tech works for sales. Obviously it, it’s banging that gong or closing a deal or getting for an sdr, getting that meeting set, getting to that first dopamine hit is extremely important. But I think we do everything we can to rally around that first win as quickly as possible. Um, cuz it, it just sets such a momentum for the rest of their ramp period for obviously after they’re ramping and they’re fully ramped. But the other thing, and I’ve gotta give a shout out to Danny, our director of sales here, he brought this to the table when he started back in March. Um, I think as you are getting ramped up and as you’re starting to get these talk tracks down, we focus so heavily on it in that point of time.
So call it that first month, month and a half, two months. But after that, we, we kinda let it go and we don’t focus nearly enough on just these active conversations so quickly. And so one of the things that he brought to the table right when he started, uh, it was something that they did in practice over a SalesLoft where he was previously was, uh, an exercise called Marbles in the mouth. And every morning they, our sales team goes in after their standup and they sit there for no more than three, four, maybe five minutes at most, pretend to cold call each other. Cuz that first conversation every morning, like, look, I’m, I’m wanting to be included in this. That first cup of coffee has to hit for me to really be, to be rolling. And so having some practice every single day to have to get those marbles out of your mouth to say yes, uh, you, this is Brad at Sonar X, y, z value prop.
It takes time. And uh, and again, we focus so heavily on it in the first month or two months, even three months, sometimes at least ramp schedules. But we sort of forget it after month four, month five. And we have to remind ourselves, the people that should be most familiar with any objection that we hear from our own software are the people that are sitting right beside you. Cuz we’re all making the same phone calls, we’re all sending the same emails. We should practice more internally of how we handle those. Um, it’s not just a ramp exercise, it’s an ongoing exercise. But yeah, getting those at bats early, getting that win and getting that momentum is something that, that we very much focus on definitely here.
Speaker 7 (52:53):
Julian, any, any, uh, last thoughts on this topic?
Speaker 3 (52:56):
Uh, yeah, I was gonna, I’ve got a bunch of thoughts on this topic, but I’ll try to limit it cuz I know we’ve been talking a lot. Um, I’ll, I’ll just, let me build on what Brad just said because we we’re doing something similar at Scratchpad. So, uh, big shout out to my colleague Oscar. He implemented something that he had, uh, he used to play football and he said, you know what, during football practice we would have these things called film sessions. And so what we do is once a week we actually go through and as an entire team will watch a recording of, of a session that that rep had. And, you know, it, it’s, you have to create that environment of psychological safety for somebody to come in and say, Hey, this is a time that I maybe wasn’t at my best or could use some help, but it’s such a rich learning opportunity.
So I think, you know, we’re, we really look at ramp not just as the, the first three months, but again, given that what we had talked about before is the rate of change being really important. Uh, we’ve seen that that helps both folks that have been here longer, but it’s certainly helping folks that are newer, uh, get, just get, get more at bats and see how different people would’ve handled different situations. And I think that’s certainly helped with ramp time. Um, you know, there, there’s a bunch more. We’ve broken our, our ramping down into tracks. So there’s the company track, there’s the customer track, there’s the sales process track, there’s the, the tools track. But one thing that that surprised me, and I’ve, I’ve heard this from, um, from customers that we work with and you know, this is certainly not something we had in mind when we were building Scratch Pad, uh, but we’ve heard from them that they’ve actually radically reduced their ramp time because of simplicity.
And what I mean by that is, if you think about those tracks and what you’re trying to ramp a new rep on, it’s not just how do you talk about our, our product and how do you sell here, but also how do you use our internal tools? You know, the, the whole conversation we’ve talked here about the sales tech stack and debt. Well, the more complex your Stack Tech stock is, the longer the ramp time is going to be, especially if you want data quality and process adherence. And so what, what this one company had said, and, and they were hiring 250 salespeople just this year saying that, Hey, we’ve, we’ve seen a, a radical reduction in ramp time because we’re not able to hire people who’ve never used Salesforce and they’re instantly up and running or as we’re trying to implement new methodologies, they’re instantly up and running. So that whole track around training your reps on how to update Salesforce, and I’ve seen crazy long decks on this with, you know, red Arrows to update this field and then go here and make sure you get that required field and move it to this stage and all of that. Uh, so I think simplicity and removing, removing that drag, uh, can certainly help with ramp time.
Speaker 1 (55:32):
Thanks Pon. We’re coming up on three o’clock and I just wanna thank everyone for participating on this panel. Been really great discussion. Uh, we at Craft are really excited to be partnering with all of you. We feel like we’ve created a really interesting craft casu around sales tech. And for those people listening now or in the future, uh, these are for really great companies that if you have a sales team, you should really be using these technologies, uh, Orum for outbound calling sendo. So for sending creative campaigns to prospects and customers, scratchpad for collaboration and note-taking and so, or for, uh, managing changes around your, your sales tech stack. Uh, so really great to have all of you, Brad Pon, Chris, Jason, thanks so much for participating and we’ll see you next time.
Speaker 8 (56:19):
Fantastic. Thank you David.
Speaker 3 (56:21):
Thanks David. Thanks everyone
As you build and scale your company, it can be easy to compartmentalize strategies for your sales and RevOps teams. But viewing them separately often leads to unsynchronized efforts and communication gaps, which can have negative downstream impacts. The key is to align sales and RevOps through an integrated approach that streamlines efforts and maximizes impact.
- Brad Smith, CEO and Co-Founder at Sonar
- David Sacks, Co-Founder at Craft Ventures
- Pouyan Salehi, CEO & Co-founder at Scratchpad
- Kris Rudeegraap, CEO & Co-Founder at Sendoso
- Jason Dorfman, CEO & Co-Founder at Orum