The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

The RevOps Team: All Things Agile


Two weeks is the perfect time frame. At least, that’s what Kevin Probst , Head of Growth and Revenue Operations at Alasco , discovered when he converted his RevOps team process to sprints.

In this episode, I interview Kevin about why his company made the switch, how it went, and advice for other RevOps teams thinking about adopting agile.

Join us as we discuss:

- Why an experimentation mindset was essential

- The role of RevOps is to create and implement processes

- The reason RevOps is not a service department

- How to start tracking pipeline and quota for forecasting

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

The Big Five for Life by John Strelecky 

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts , Spotify , or our website .

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought to you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreachrus account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Head to outreach Doo on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. All right, welcome everyone. Thanks for joining today for the sales engagement podcast. You have your host here, Kaitlin Kelly, senior sales development manager overt outreach for the Amia region, also co founder of STRs anonymous. Today we will be jumping into all things agile methodologies and we have our guests today Kevin Props, head of growth and a revenue operations at Alasko. I would love to hear a little bit about yourself your career in what you're currently doing that Alasko? Yes, thank you very much, skating, for having me on the on the podcast. Yeah, my my name is Kevin Pro ups. I started at Alaska three years ago. Initially was one of the first employees there, and initially I was responsible for building up the business intelligence department, as I have like a somehow business and analytics background, and that involved like setting up all the the cerm systems and doing some data, data, data stuff. They don'talytic's very early, early stage. And then after a couple of years, I think one like two years, we saw the need for a revenue operations team and I started to build that up from scratch and now we're seven people, which I think is pretty pretty big for for a company of altogether eight people, so almost ten percent. But we definitely saw the need here and I'm really happy to guide this this process. Fantastic. That is quite unique to have about ten percent of the overall headcount really working in the revops field. I think that area and a lot of companies kind of the under the under service, maybe it's the way to kind of put it. But why I love about this is as you kind of have built out your team and really kind of found where the pains were and where you needed allocky resources. We had talked previously about how you were able to transition your team over to an agile approach and really implementing sprint methodologies. Can you kind of explain what this means exactly for your team? Yeah, of course, before...

...that, because the the head cons seems really high, is that we are a bit different from, I think, usual revenue operations teams is that we our mission basically is to fill, operate and bring the pipeline, the Revenue Pipelin, to success, and I think the film feel part is what differentiates us from other revenue operations team. We have a couple of team members in our team which with the job title customer intelligence analysts, and they are basically doing like our step before the SCR so basically they are the experts in finding who our target customers are, qualifying them and then delivering them to the str so that's why we have a relatively high head count. But the advantage here is that this could be a really manual process, but because they are part of the of the revenue operations team, there's a lot of data and processes and involved which makes the whole process much more efficient, and that's also why the the head count or something very similar, like unique, I would say, in this in the setup. But now let's let's get back to your original question. Yes, as you've mentioned, we are are also not operating like a normal operations team, revenuberation team in this sense, as we are more like an internal product team. So we are using the same methodologies. We are working in sprints. We have the whole process of ticket refinement, story creation, storieside ticket and tshirt sizing, which is basically we which have proven pretty, pretty awesome in the end and it's a lot of fun. What kind of triery to kind of take this approach and building out your team and kind of having that the sprints method, to kind of what this unique way. Yeah, so our company is really product focused. So I think from the founder team they had really deep product background and also and like a lot of expertise in the sense. So basically, I think the recommendation come came from the sea level to try that out and that's how we started. I think we had to do a lot of try and error here, a lot of refinement, a lot of iterations, but we could always go for getting some recommend like get like getting some tips from the head of product or from the sea level, and that helped us to transition to this new way of operating. Yeah, okay, fantastic. So a lot of people, they were looking to, you know, transitional way that their teams are working into more of this approach. That would then in s that they have to be taking their teams through change, in transition. How a lot of people...

...are used to work in, especially in like the typical way. How are you able to really transition your teams through this change to the new new approach having it kind of this unique way? So I think the the the benefit he was that it was all new for us. So it was not me that said, Hey, I've done this for a hundred times, we just do it. So basically was more like a team. This could be fun, this could be really available valuable, let's try this out. What you think, and I think, which which is really nice, is that we are all fans of experimentations and, and I mean in the end, if it doesn't work out, we can just switch to the to the old approach. It's not such a big, big transition. So this experimentation mindset with that was in the team before was really helpful in this, in this transition as well. Okay, fantastic, would you say? Did you grease face any challenges along the way or did you have to pivot your your approach at all? Yeah, quite quite a lot. I think in the beginning was just really rough that we said, okay, we want to work in in sprints. Okay, but how long are those sprints? Are they three weeks? Are they four weeks? Are they two weeks? Are they one week? So we had to try here and maybe in and be in the end we learned that three weeks as much, it's too long. You basically lose a lot of efficiency on the way. One Week is too short because you don't get any product increment. So you don't get the products, like the processes and whatever you're working on, the concepts, conceptualizations, you don't get them done. Two weeks is the perfect time from that's at least what what we found out for ourselves and also I think I'm at always I'm also switching then in the in the role of a product manager. And then there's also that I see, okay, this doesn't feel right. I think we need to have a process for that in place. We need to have a refinement step and we need, we not we somehow need to open up our our ticketing system for the whole company, because otherwise we're just we basically just working on the things that come to our mind and our and our bubble and all grow revenue operations bubble. And so we need to get a system for like a ticket in ticketing systems or other people can can write tickets. So this is, I think, a lot of try and error and which and everything can be implemented really quickly and in the end. What also is helpful that we don't reinvent the wheel. All like engineering teams, product teams all of the world do this and we just need to take what works for us and and leave what doesn't work for us. Yeah, I know that's so true. You'd mentioned that you guys had a really open it up so that other teams in ors could communicate with you all. Otherwise you were just looking internally and focusing on your own bubble. How did you kind of introduce this to the other teams to get them to really kind of buy into the process, I guess is what I'm looking for. How did you kind of create that...

...streamline communication so everyone was on the same approach? Yeah, to to be completely honest, we're we're not there yet. So basically it's still a hustle to to get other teams to submit tickets. Yeah, it's I think the best way to do it is to to get all the all the stones out of the way, so like make it like so easy to submit the ticket, to make it to make it really visible how to do it, and also, like the only thing that you can do is always communicating in every team meeting. Hey, that sounds like a ticket. Why not submitting it here? I send you the link and over time everybody knows, okay, this is the way how to submit a ticket. And and in the end was also helpful as if people see that their tickets, it's get taken serious and actually something is coming out of this, and this is all that also really helped us that in the end, if customer success is submitting a ticket, that they want to see the Mr at risk in their hup sport reports, and this is really difficult because we are using another system for the Mr Adrisk, so this involves different tools. Then it's just submit the ticket and now it's possible and then they see, okay, if we don't get something done and we don't have the resources, there's the growth and running operations team that could handle it. Yeah, and that that helps tend in the end. Okay, yeah, I can imagine. I if everyone's kind of going on the same process. Ultimately that is going to drive efficiencies across all teams, because at allows of your operations seemed actually have a process in place to execute. But also is going to give other teams, such as the CS in the sales teams, the resources technically that they need. So they are looking for certain metrics or data. Kind of having that, that system and place to speed that up is super important. There exactly, and it will also get even more important because right now, I think the strategies that they're I think the old way was that, say this marketing customer success. They all have had operation resources in their departments, but now it's more a shift that this is all under the umbrella of revenue operations. So basically, they they I'm really happy if we have some data driven reps in the teams, but basically I want to be responsible for implementing it in the tools for for creating the process. I mean the these teams are always our stakeholder. So we we do get to that, maybe also later, how we actually doing like how we are doing operations. But, for example, we are really doing stakeholder interviews, as we see those teams as our stakeholders that have some have the ideas, that have the background knowledge that we don't have. I mean, we are creating the processes, but we definitely need to input from...

...them. So yeah, yeah, you'd mentioned the like kind of as us are still kind of irony out some of the process here. When you kind of look ahead like the future and as you keep evolving this, what would you say is kind of like the North Star? What is like the Vision for the perfect operations team premier point of view, when we talk about operations, I would say the the North Star would be that everybody is basically aware of the capabilities, but also the responsibilities of the riven operations team. So we are we don't see us as a service department. That's really important for me. Yeah, and so we don't just if I think that people could do this on their own, then I also let them know that, because I'm basically also blocking tickets I'm saying no, like if somebody submitting tickets, I can, I can. I will look at it and say and read through it and understand, try to understand if that's actually what is an our responsibility or not. So I will also send tickets back and say I don't think that belongs to us. I think that's really important, so that the revenue operations team shouldn't become a service department. So that's really important for me. On the other hand, like my North Star is really getting data process compliance into the company, and I hear that everywhere. That's the biggest problem and it is like and it even and it even gets worse if you don't have systems where you can require inputs or, for example, we are using up sport as a serim system, which is a great tool in the end, but we can make input required only in the deal stages, which is a big problem for data quality data compliance. From my biggest dream would be electroma operations perspective, is that we, through having the compliance reports and place, through having operational guidelines in place, that that we educate also on the whole team, is that we in the in the future won't have these data compliance issues that almost every company, if it phasing, at some point, let someone B from an operational perspective mind or star God it. Yeah, I think the key, the key thing here, and like what I'm hearing a lot in the in the field, is using data to really dry your decisions. Right now, I know, like in the past, specially prepandemic, we're able to make a lot of judgments and calls based off of more of like a gut feeling or intuition. Now, as we're kind of move ahead, you had mentioned that some of your reps are leveraging data to try those decisions. What do you think the the impact of kind of the pandemic and kind of how quickly the selling environment is changing? What is the impact...

...of leveraging data these days? I think data is such a big lever in everything that we do, and that's that's also where like the problem is. When I think it's a data in general, I think it's the right data. I think that's the like one of the most important things that we that we noticed and even like we are now three years old and I sometimes wonder why haven't we tracked that two years ago? We would, we would know so much more and but we we don't now. And so I think in every point in time, even if you just starting your company, understand what like look free use I had in the future and think, okay, what data points do I need to track now? Which data points do I have to make sure they had in like their input it correctly so I can understand. I don't know my target group, my market, my product usage, anything. Yeah, three years ahead. Yeah, so I think it's especially coming from the data as a business intelligence analyst in the the past. I see it's it's so important, especially also, I don't know how it's, how it's I think you really know what I mean. But in now for it some also in found in funding and funning rounds so much data. It's requested and and I see that we didn't have to like if we don't treck it properly, it's such a hassle to go back and crunch data that like a top reports. That's that we have to set up basically during the night because we haven't checked it properly in the in the in the past. And and you know investors, they can ask for anything and you can't say sorry, I didn't check it. So basically you have to find ways around that and and I want to mitigate that in the future. Yeah, they're definitely and also, if you can find yourself in a in an instance where it could be more of a reactive approach, if you're going back and digging rather than if you have the correct data points that you're tracking along the way, you could be more proactive and accurately pivot when you need to. Exactly. Yeah, you probably knew this question was coming. If you were, if you were to look ahead three years, what would be those data points? And by the end of this this episode, you'll probably be saying data in that data yeah, so what I just recently, I mean from from many of you probably, is the sounds really a trivial but I think we started pretty late with quota, like pipeline, like quota to pipeline, Popelu, the quota, everything forecasting. We started pretty late in trekking that properly. So this is something that is going to be of much more importance in the future and is already now. So one thing. What else? I yeah,...

I think expected potential. That's something that I haven't heard so like from other companies a lot. But what we are doing is that we try to get as much information or not. How much revenue there like we have right now in an account, but how much can we in the future get from this account? So they expected potential we will have, and also what is the to get between what we right now are following up, so could be open deals, could be close deals, and the expected potential. So what's WHAT'S THE MR get? We have to close here, M and, and also for investor talks. This expected potentials is becoming a really, really important data point because in the end it's not for them, it's not so much. I mean it's nice to know how much Emma are you doing now, but in the end what's interesting for them is like how much am I are you going to make in the future? Right, and this is an important day up one for that. Yeah, yeah, they're definitely it's all about having that accuracy to the forecast ahead and then be able to call the number and then deliver the number at the same time too. So one of the biggest things that a lot of people are kind of trying to navigate right now is keeping teams kind of motivated and as her kind of implementing this process, you're doing the agile approach. You're now doing sprip methodologies. How are you calling out the winds within your team to kind of recognize the success that you're driving with this approach? I mean, in the end we see it like we are the data team. We are the end seeing, directly seeing the the success that we are like with with with the implementations that we doing. What's the outcome? And that's we are using okay ours. So basically we have to already think about how we want to trick the success of something. So basically, our from one of our okay ask is to increase whole funnel conversion by zero point three percent in one quarter with this and these measures, and then in the end of the quarter we can directly see UK it helped or didn't help. With the whole operational side, it's a bit more more tricky to see the success. I think here you have more more qualitive factors. Yea. So basically the team is happier, it's more efficient, the meeting doesn't take doesn't take two hours. It takes one hour for the the customer intelligent analyst that I talked before to research the companies and to qualify them. It's not three business days. It's now Twen, it's now two business days. So these are really the things that we that we try to trick and then define our success with our fantastic so child about the JATTA would chalk chatter about implementing process and Skilling your team. Lastly, Kevin, think so...

...much for sharing a lot of the insights and some of the changes you guys have been able to drive and the efficiencies that you're seeing lost. So why it would be one book that you would recommend for the listeners that's really had an impact on your career overall? Yeah, they are couple. So one thing that I really recommend to everybody is maybe a bit cheesy. Okay so, but the big five for life is really something. Have you heard about the killing? No, I haven't. So not the typical sales book that maybe like eat the frog or whatever. Now somebody would know. Throw in and I'd say like big five for life was really, really cool, only not only because it has had some really nice management practice in in it, Uh Huh, but it basically it's it forces you to think about how you want to your life to be, like you have to reflect like when you're basically the story I don't want to spoil or something, but basically it's like looking back, what should your life had been? The Dy say, okay, I'm good, this was a really good life, and you basically try to break that down into big five things. And now, thinking that you're working eighty percent off your life, you have to make sure that your work somehow is part of these big five for life, and I think this really helped me to map down and my professional career, like what I'm interesting in? What am I looking in my work? What does that's my work need to provide for me? So like these two parts that, on one side, mapping your work to your life goals and, in the other hand, having some really, really good management practices in the book as well. Yeah, and especially if you just building up your team. M This is what I what I really liked about this book, and you might not have it. Heard about it so many times in a states podcast. Yeah, I know, that's definitely unique. That's the first time I've heard of it, so I'm going to have to look that up. And then I love the idea of mappy my you know, the big five things that matter to you. And how is that? I'm getting evermented into your work. Probably provide a nice balance there. So fantastic. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of that with us. Kevin is, our listeners wanted to reach out to you and learn more about how you are growing and scaling your team. Where is the best place for them to contact you at? You can condigne over linkedin. It's Kevin Post, of course. Oh you can also write me an email. Kevin. The probes at Alaska don't the EA, and you can also have a look at our website. We also we always looking for new people because we're now doing like we expending internationally. So also all on these into like international folks out there. Really Cool Company. Check it out. Amazing. Where are you guys? Expanding internationally so far?...

Like, where's the the first one that you're going for? First one will be UK. You so coming to UKITLN? Yeah, fantastic. All right. Oh, thank you so much and have a great day everyone. Thank you. Hi, this was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to check out outreach, that I oh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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