Thinking like a Revenue Operations Leader

With Saad Shaikh, BigPanda

by Whitney Sales

The Sales Method with Whitney Sales

Saad Shaikh, BigPanda

TLDR:

  • Revenue Operations operationalizes the go-to-market (GTM) organization.
  • Revenue Operations hires should be efficient with Salesforce and Excel modeling capabilities.
    • Revenue Operations Leader’s primary responsibilities will be to model capacity for AEs and maximize efficiency across the GTM organization.
    • Look for folks who are:
      • Analytical Problem Solvers
      • Intrinsically Motivated
      •  Low Ego/ High EQ
  • Invest in people over tools and keep your metrics simple.

Intro

One of the trends we’re most excited about here at The Sales Method is the ascendance of a new role gaining momentum with both early and late stage Saas companies – Revenue Operations. We’re so excited, we decided to put together a series on everything you need to know about the revenue operations function to decide whether or not your team could benefit from one. Be sure to check out the first article in the series, Top 5 Reasons To Consider Creating a Revenue Operations Team to learn about some of the core functions and proposed ROI of the position.

This week, we’re excited to bring you an exclusive interview on everything revenue operations with Saad Shaikh, an old timer in the revops space, despite being in his 30s, and the Head of Revenue Operations at BigPanda.

 

What does Revenue Operations mean to your organization?

Revenue Operations, or RevOps, is the role that looks at the operational efficiency of all functions in the go-to-market (GTM) organization – think marketing, sales, sales engineering, customer success, partner, and sales – all people, systems and processes that touch the customer journey. We take a holistic view of the customer journey to optimize the customer experience and as a result, revenue performance. We use an integrated tech stack to maintain a single source of truth to establish alignment throughout the GTM organization. The RevOps team is a centralized function responsible for aligning and operationalizing the GTM organization to achieve scale and growth. The RevOps team also supports senior leadership (CRO, CEO, CFO), and serves as an internal strategy consultant tasked with accomplishing major initiatives through the fiscal cycle.

How did you get into Rev Operations?

My background is actually in accounting and finance. I’ve always been in a FP&A function of some sort. I started in sales operations at Medallia before moving to AppDynamics. Then I made the jump to Revenue Operations at BigPanda.This is my third time working with the same Sales leadership team, which is quite helpful as we can utilize our learnings from our joint past.

You can check out Saad’s Linkedin for additional details.

What challenges was your org trying to solve when they created the revenue operations function?

The CRO was spending a lot of time himself on these initiatives around sales productivity, predictive analytics, and hiring in our Enterprise business, which was not the best use of his time. The organization really wanted to operationalize the GTM and learn about optimize these functions.

That responsibility now falls on to me. We’re focused on scaling our GTM org, using data and analytics. Our north star is the operationalization of the end-to-end funnel and customer journey, and using data to predict outcomes on a consistent basis. As the Revenue Operations leader, I work with our executive team to determine drivers and gaps over the next 12-24 months, with respect to scaling the GTM organization. This can include questions like, “how many reps do we need to hire to achieve x ARR?”.

What should a company look for when making their first Rev Ops hire?

This definitely depends on the foundation that has previously been established. First and foremost, your RevOps hire needs to be proficient with Excel and Salesforce.
You need someone who is comfortable figuring out systems and processes for the topics I mentioned previously on their own. They’ll be modeling capacity for AEs and putting together progress reports to increase productivity for the GTM organization. If you’re hiring a RevOps leader, they will be responsible for influencing what organizational goals should be and then supporting leadership with designing how to accomplish those goals.

Their job will be to gain a deep understanding of the end-to-end customer journey while thinking of the CRO as the customer and the go-to-market function as a product to achieve customer success.

At a basic level, whether hiring an exec or mid-level manager, I would look for someone who is:

  • Analytical
  • A problem solver
  • Intrinsically motivated
  • Able to wear a lot of hats.
  • Low ego / high EQ

What should their first 30/60/90 look like?

30: Foundation: Understand the tech stack and how everything is connected. Build relationships with cross functional teams, leadership , and establish goals for the first 12 months.

60: Metrics: Understand the company’s key metrics: average sale price (ASP), head count, KPIs, etc. Determine ways to simplify processes and fill gaps in the company’s data and tech stack.

90: Execute: Take care of low hanging fruit and begin fleshing out bigger goals.

Anything I missed or additional advice you would give?

There are a massive number of tools out there that advertise consolidation for Rev Ops functions, but no one has it figured out yet.

Rather than investing in a tool, invest in the people who own the individual functions (marketing ops, sales ops, cs ops), who are technical and can assist in eliminating silos.

Make metrics simple.

I ask our sales team all the way up to the CEO to help define what success means and identify the drivers of this success. Then I reverse-engineer our leading indicators for each quarter through our predictive modeling. Playbooks are built and aligned around this process.
Now, we’re working with clear and realistic 90 day goals across the org, while taking targets for the next 12 months into account.

Overview

We hope Saad’s insights brought additional understanding of the potential value a RevOps function can offer your company. BigPanda has seen astounding growth since building out revenue operations and we’re confident more organizations can achieve growth through the addition of the RevOps function.

We’ll conclude our series on the RevOps function next month with an article on trends we’re seeing in Revenue Operations. For now, here are some additional resources on Revenue Operations we found helpful.

Finally, we want to extend a huge thank you to Saad for taking the time to educate us on the potential Revenue Operations can offer.

Featured Resources

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