The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 2 months ago

The RevOps Team: All Things Agile

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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, andthey just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach welldoes outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record timeafter virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreachrus accountbased plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagementplatform. 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 forjoining today for the sales engagement podcast. You have your host here, KaitlinKelly, senior sales development manager overt outreach for the Amia region, also cofounder of STRs anonymous. Today we will be jumping into all things agile methodologiesand we have our guests today Kevin Props, head of growth and a revenue operationsat Alasko. I would love to hear a little bit about yourself yourcareer in what you're currently doing that Alasko? Yes, thank you very much,skating, for having me on the on the podcast. Yeah, mymy 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 buildingup the business intelligence department, as I have like a somehow business andanalytics background, and that involved like setting up all the the cerm systems anddoing some data, data, data stuff. They don'talytic's very early, early stage. And then after a couple of years, I think one like twoyears, we saw the need for a revenue operations team and I started tobuild that up from scratch and now we're seven people, which I think ispretty pretty big for for a company of altogether eight people, so almost tenpercent. But we definitely saw the need here and I'm really happy to guidethis this process. Fantastic. That is quite unique to have about ten percentof the overall headcount really working in the revops field. I think that areaand a lot of companies kind of the under the under service, maybe it'sthe way to kind of put it. But why I love about this isas you kind of have built out your team and really kind of found wherethe pains were and where you needed allocky resources. We had talked previously abouthow you were able to transition your team over to an agile approach and reallyimplementing sprint methodologies. Can you kind of explain what this means exactly for yourteam? Yeah, of course, before...

...that, because the the head consseems 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 Ithink 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 titlecustomer intelligence analysts, and they are basically doing like our step before the SCRso basically they are the experts in finding who our target customers are, qualifyingthem and then delivering them to the str so that's why we have a relativelyhigh head count. But the advantage here is that this could be a reallymanual 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 processmuch more efficient, and that's also why the the head count or something verysimilar, like unique, I would say, in this in the setup. Butnow let's let's get back to your original question. Yes, as you'vementioned, we are are also not operating like a normal operations team, revenuberationteam in this sense, as we are more like an internal product team.So we are using the same methodologies. We are working in sprints. Wehave the whole process of ticket refinement, story creation, storieside ticket and tshirtsizing, which is basically we which have proven pretty, pretty awesome in theend and it's a lot of fun. What kind of triery to kind oftake this approach and building out your team and kind of having that the sprintsmethod, to kind of what this unique way. Yeah, so our companyis really product focused. So I think from the founder team they had reallydeep 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 trythat out and that's how we started. I think we had to do alot of try and error here, a lot of refinement, a lot ofiterations, but we could always go for getting some recommend like get like gettingsome tips from the head of product or from the sea level, and thathelped 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. Thatwould 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, especiallyin like the typical way. How are you able to really transition your teamsthrough 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 newfor us. So it was not me that said, Hey, I've donethis for a hundred times, we just do it. So basically was morelike a team. This could be fun, this could be really available valuable,let's try this out. What you think, and I think, whichwhich 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 canjust switch to the to the old approach. It's not such a big, bigtransition. So this experimentation mindset with that was in the team before wasreally helpful in this, in this transition as well. Okay, fantastic,would you say? Did you grease face any challenges along the way or didyou have to pivot your your approach at all? Yeah, quite quite alot. I think in the beginning was just really rough that we said,okay, we want to work in in sprints. Okay, but how longare those sprints? Are they three weeks? Are they four weeks? Are theytwo weeks? Are they one week? So we had to try here andmaybe 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. Soyou 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 theperfect time from that's at least what what we found out for ourselves and alsoI think I'm at always I'm also switching then in the in the role ofa product manager. And then there's also that I see, okay, thisdoesn't feel right. I think we need to have a process for that inplace. We need to have a refinement step and we need, we notwe 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 ourmind and our and our bubble and all grow revenue operations bubble. And sowe need to get a system for like a ticket in ticketing systems or otherpeople can can write tickets. So this is, I think, a lotof try and error and which and everything can be implemented really quickly and inthe end. What also is helpful that we don't reinvent the wheel. Alllike engineering teams, product teams all of the world do this and we justneed 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 areally open it up so that other teams in ors could communicate with youall. 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 toreally 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 thesame approach? Yeah, to to be completely honest, we're we're not thereyet. So basically it's still a hustle to to get other teams to submittickets. Yeah, it's I think the best way to do it is toto get all the all the stones out of the way, so like makeit like so easy to submit the ticket, to make it to make it reallyvisible how to do it, and also, like the only thing thatyou can do is always communicating in every team meeting. Hey, that soundslike a ticket. Why not submitting it here? I send you the linkand over time everybody knows, okay, this is the way how to submita ticket. And and in the end was also helpful as if people seethat their tickets, it's get taken serious and actually something is coming out ofthis, 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 Mrat risk in their hup sport reports, and this is really difficult because weare 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 thatis going to drive efficiencies across all teams, because at allows of your operations seemedactually have a process in place to execute. But also is going togive other teams, such as the CS in the sales teams, the resourcestechnically 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 superimportant. There exactly, and it will also get even more important because rightnow, 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 theirdepartments, but now it's more a shift that this is all under the umbrellaof revenue operations. So basically, they they I'm really happy if we havesome data driven reps in the teams, but basically I want to be responsiblefor implementing it in the tools for for creating the process. I mean thethese 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 seethose teams as our stakeholders that have some have the ideas, that have thebackground 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 someof the process here. When you kind of look ahead like the future andas you keep evolving this, what would you say is kind of like theNorth Star? What is like the Vision for the perfect operations team premier pointof view, when we talk about operations, I would say the the North Starwould be that everybody is basically aware of the capabilities, but also theresponsibilities of the riven operations team. So we are we don't see us asa service department. That's really important for me. Yeah, and so wedon't just if I think that people could do this on their own, thenI also let them know that, because I'm basically also blocking tickets I'm sayingno, like if somebody submitting tickets, I can, I can. Iwill look at it and say and read through it and understand, try tounderstand if that's actually what is an our responsibility or not. So I willalso send tickets back and say I don't think that belongs to us. Ithink that's really important, so that the revenue operations team shouldn't become a servicedepartment. So that's really important for me. On the other hand, like myNorth Star is really getting data process compliance into the company, and Ihear that everywhere. That's the biggest problem and it is like and it evenand it even gets worse if you don't have systems where you can require inputsor, 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 onlyin the deal stages, which is a big problem for data quality datacompliance. 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 inthe 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 perspectivemind or star God it. Yeah, I think the key, the keything 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 ofjudgments 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 someof your reps are leveraging data to try those decisions. What do you thinkthe the impact of kind of the pandemic and kind of how quickly the sellingenvironment is changing? What is the impact...

...of leveraging data these days? Ithink data is such a big lever in everything that we do, and that'sthat's also where like the problem is. When I think it's a data ingeneral, I think it's the right data. I think that's the like one ofthe most important things that we that we noticed and even like we arenow three years old and I sometimes wonder why haven't we tracked that two yearsago? We would, we would know so much more and but we wedon't now. And so I think in every point in time, even ifyou just starting your company, understand what like look free use I had inthe future and think, okay, what data points do I need to tracknow? Which data points do I have to make sure they had in liketheir 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 businessintelligence analyst in the the past. I see it's it's so important, especiallyalso, I don't know how it's, how it's I think you really knowwhat I mean. But in now for it some also in found in fundingand funning rounds so much data. It's requested and and I see that wedidn't have to like if we don't treck it properly, it's such a hassleto go back and crunch data that like a top reports. That's that wehave to set up basically during the night because we haven't checked it properly inthe in the in the past. And and you know investors, they canask for anything and you can't say sorry, I didn't check it. So basicallyyou have to find ways around that and and I want to mitigate thatin the future. Yeah, they're definitely and also, if you can findyourself 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 datapoints that you're tracking along the way, you could be more proactive and accuratelypivot when you need to. Exactly. Yeah, you probably knew this questionwas coming. If you were, if you were to look ahead three years, what would be those data points? And by the end of this thisepisode, you'll probably be saying data in that data yeah, so what Ijust recently, I mean from from many of you probably, is the soundsreally a trivial but I think we started pretty late with quota, like pipeline, like quota to pipeline, Popelu, the quota, everything forecasting. Westarted pretty late in trekking that properly. So this is something that is goingto be of much more importance in the future and is already now. Soone thing. What else? I yeah,...

I think expected potential. That's somethingthat I haven't heard so like from other companies a lot. But whatwe 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 howmuch can we in the future get from this account? So they expected potentialwe will have, and also what is the to get between what we rightnow 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 haveto close here, M and, and also for investor talks. This expectedpotentials is becoming a really, really important data point because in the end it'snot for them, it's not so much. I mean it's nice to know howmuch Emma are you doing now, but in the end what's interesting forthem 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 aheadand then be able to call the number and then deliver the number at thesame time too. So one of the biggest things that a lot of peopleare kind of trying to navigate right now is keeping teams kind of motivated andas her kind of implementing this process, you're doing the agile approach. You'renow doing sprip methodologies. How are you calling out the winds within your teamto 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. Weare the end seeing, directly seeing the the success that we are like withwith with the implementations that we doing. What's the outcome? And that's weare using okay ours. So basically we have to already think about how wewant to trick the success of something. So basically, our from one ofour okay ask is to increase whole funnel conversion by zero point three percent inone quarter with this and these measures, and then in the end of thequarter we can directly see UK it helped or didn't help. With the wholeoperational side, it's a bit more more tricky to see the success. Ithink here you have more more qualitive factors. Yea. So basically the team ishappier, 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 beforeto research the companies and to qualify them. It's not three business days. It'snow Twen, it's now two business days. So these are really thethings that we that we try to trick and then define our success with ourfantastic so child about the JATTA would chalk chatter about implementing process and Skilling yourteam. Lastly, Kevin, think so...

...much for sharing a lot of theinsights and some of the changes you guys have been able to drive and theefficiencies that you're seeing lost. So why it would be one book that youwould 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 everybodyis maybe a bit cheesy. Okay so, but the big five for life isreally 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 forlife was really, really cool, only not only because it has had somereally nice management practice in in it, Uh Huh, but it basically it'sit 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 tospoil or something, but basically it's like looking back, what should your lifehad been? The Dy say, okay, I'm good, this was a reallygood life, and you basically try to break that down into big fivethings. 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 fivefor life, and I think this really helped me to map down and myprofessional 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 likethese two parts that, on one side, mapping your work to your life goalsand, in the other hand, having some really, really good managementpractices in the book as well. Yeah, and especially if you just building upyour team. M This is what I what I really liked about thisbook, and you might not have it. Heard about it so many times ina states podcast. Yeah, I know, that's definitely unique. That'sthe first time I've heard of it, so I'm going to have to lookthat 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 gettingevermented 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 abouthow you are growing and scaling your team. Where is the best place for themto 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 lookat our website. We also we always looking for new people because we're nowdoing like we expending internationally. So also all on these into like international folksout there. Really Cool Company. Check it out. Amazing. Where areyou guys? Expanding internationally so far?...

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

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