Welcome to shOPS Talk, a Zoom series that covers the latest and greatest in the world of operations. If you haven’t heard, the cool thing about shOPS Talk is that YOU can help us choose our upcoming guests, contribute to and take part in the conversation, and have your biggest ops questions answered by our rotating panel of experts. Every week, WizOps founder and Sonar Co-Founder Brad Smith will be joined by a special guest to answer your pressing ops questions.
This week, we’re recapping episode 2: Sh*t Sales Ops People Should Know with Ben Fuller, Strategic Systems Manager at SaaSOptics. The premise of this episode? Well, there’s just certain sh*t that sales ops people should know.
Read on to see some of the highlights of what Ben and Brad had to say, or skip to the bottom to watch the full episode (and if there’s any sh*t you think we missed, sound off in the comments below).
Brad: Welcome again to shOPS Talk. This is an original Zoom series where we partner together, not only with Sonar and Wizards of Ops, but also with our great sponsors and best friends over at Salesforce, bringing you live content on all things operations. We’re pleased to have one of the best in the game, Ben Fuller, joining us today. Ben is here in Atlanta with us, so we put our heads together — six feet away of course — to be able to do this show live and in person. But first, a little bit of backstory: We’ve been good friends for years now. I learn more about Salesforce from him on a daily basis than probably anybody else.
Ben: Yeah, I mean you’re probably giving me a little bit too much credit there — I break more things than most people do, and that’s how I find out little quirks and pieces there. But yeah, I’m the Strategic Systems Manager at SaaSOptics, a fintech company here in Atlanta, and on the side, I’m one of the co-founders of Cloud Trailz, a Salesforce consultancy for small businesses.
Brad: Ben was also an OG member of Wizards of Ops, our organic community for operations leaders and the Salesforce ecosystem that really helps people bounce off each other to learn, collaborate, and network. Today, we were going to have Ben, an operations connoisseur himself, talk about all the stuff that we need to know as operations leaders. How do we go and build great operations teams, how do we empower our go-to-market teams within our companies to do what they need to do? We had a whole script ready to go about that but as we were leading up to this, all the questions that were coming through in our shOPS Talk channel on WizOps…you guys basically wrote the script for us so, we’re going to just dive into some of the things that you all want to hear about to really understand how we can help your operations teams grow. So, one of the first questions was: What are the key functions of a sales operations group?
Ben: I think the biggest and probably the most important are reporting and data integrity. Are the opportunities coming in correctly, are you finding all the information, or are your validation rules firing correctly? Are you tracking your ACV, or MRR, or however you guys want to track it? How are you reporting on it? Are you guys getting the right information you need? And then from there, it’s — I don’t want to say keeping the sales team in line, but basically managing it from there.
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. When we think about the key functions of sales ops, you can almost start to break it down into pillars: reporting, analytics, and process improvement. We’re seeing a big focus on this in the sales enablement space right now when it comes to making sure our go-to-market teams have the right information. We also need to make sure Salesforce, and all the other systems in the greater Salesforce ecosystem, work cohesively together to ensure that the customer journey is correct.
Ben: I think, in terms of sales enablement, the coronavirus has led to a lot of improvements internally. Now, whether they like it or not, people have to focus on these pieces that, quite frankly, have fallen through the cracks over the last couple of years. Now you’re seeing where those gaps are, and operations teams have the ability to fix those things.
Brad: So, we’ll move into the next question. What are the differences between sales ops managers and typical sales managers?
Ben: I think it depends where you are in your lifecycle as a company. Traditionally sales ops is the team who’s holding sales accountable for the opportunities they’re entering, their data integrity, and ensuring that you are collecting the information you need to progress down the client lifecycle after deals close.
Brad: Yeah, absolutely, I think it’s a unique question because at first when you read it, it’s like “well there’s a ton of differences between sales operations and a typical sales manager,” but to Ben’s point, when you peel back this layer and you see how data is telling the story, you start to realize why sales operations is so important.
Brad: So this next question is from a good friend of ours actually here in the greater Atlanta area: How do we start to track some of the customer data that tells this customer story? We’ve got new information coming in all day from our website, or we’re pinged by people on LinkedIn, and people are filling out forms or just picking up the phone. We have all these different channels that things are coming through. How do we track the data behind that person as they come in through marketing, whether it be inbound or outbound? Obviously, I’ve got some thoughts from the Sonar side on how we make sure these systems operate correctly, but when you think of the data flow and the data behind the customer journey, what sticks out to you?
Ben: For us being B2B, you know, we’re looking at an account level — we are tracking individual conversions based on contacts and who’s downloading what, and how that impacts the overall conversation and moving the deal forward. But a lot of that goes back to campaigns and campaign members…that’s standard Salesforce functionality to an extent, but you know there’s a lot you can track with that, depending on what kind of mapping tool you’re using.
Brad: You’re spot on. I think hopefully the folks aren’t going to be disappointed when we don’t throw a ton of technology at it. I say this often: Go solve your problem first before you throw in technology. The technology’s going to be there to help you, but it isn’t going to solve your problems.
Brad: So Ben, your title “Strategic Systems Manager” actually doesn’t have the word operations in it. Tell us why it’s important.
Ben: My role is managing all of the important platforms, so SalesLoft, Chili Piper, and Salesforce and anything that lives inside it to make sure that all of those function correctly and are integrated with each other. Your data is the most important thing, especially right now — we’re in a weird time and we’re making business decisions on a constant basis, based on that data. And where does our data come from? Strategic systems.
Brad: What’s your take on the difference between RevOps and sales ops?
Ben: I think, holistically, sales ops rolls into RevOps. RevOps is that overarching structure basically of sales ops, marketing ops, and customer success — it’s the one group that manages all that data and all those processes that make your company work successfully. Let’s take a step back and just remember that these are roles that have been around for 30 or 40 years, and now, there’s a 400% increase of revenue operations titles over the last two years. This is something new and emerging, so when you ask the questions, “what’s the difference, what does that mean”, spoiler alert, we’re still figuring it out!
Like what you read? Watch the full episode here.