A Year in Review For RevOps Trends: What’s Changed

RevOps has drastically developed over the last year into a vital solution for aligning team members across departments. Now more than ever, a RevOps figure is important for managing an organization’s tech stack and allowing growth to continue.


RevOps’ function breeds out of necessity; as collaboration has become more difficult across all teams, RevOps becomes more important. Sonar’s Brad Smith sat down with a group of RevOps leaders to discuss RevOps trends they’ve seen circling the industry in the last year, where they predict the industry will lead in upcoming years, as well as best practices for a successful RevOps framework. Each of the following leaders found revenue operations at different points in their careers and weigh in on how they’ve firsthand witnessed change and development in the last year. 

  • Taft Love, VP of Sales for DocSend and Co-Founder of Iceberg Revenue Operations.
  • Manas Kulkarni, Operations Team Lead at Spring Health 
  • Keith Jones, Manager of GTM Systems at MURAL
  • Oliviero Mottola Di Amato, PEX

Topics that the panelists weigh in on include: Where do you think RevOps is heading in the next year? What are the most significant changes to RevOps that have happened in the last year, and how does that impact your organization? Why do some companies hire internally to create their revenue operations team structure while others outsource from an agency?


Brad Smith (Sonar) (00:00):

Here, here we go. Recording in progress. Fantastic. We got everybody here. Frank, we can get you front and center, man. Keith said he wanted you over here in the dead center for everything. So we will let everybody get logged in and settled. Got a lot of folks jumping in. So pump to pump to have everybody here. Ollie, when you’re asking, where is everybody located? I’ll ask the double-down question cause I’m looking out this window right now and it’s pouring rain here in Atlanta. So we’re finally getting some weather break. I don’t know. How’s the, how’s the New York scene looking right now. Are we, are we staying dry or weather up there too?

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (00:36):

Nothing but sunshine. Brad start started to rub it in.

Oliviero Mottola Di Amato (Pex) (00:39):

Yeah, relatively good today. Oh,

Brad Smith (Sonar) (00:42):

Gosh, man. See, that’s what I need. I need to have yeah, maybe up in New York more that’s the only thing to that or in Austin with U tapped is I’m sure it’s probably better weather up there than it is or over there than it’s here.

Taft Love (DocSend) (00:54):

Yeah. Sorry to tell you. It’s pretty awesome.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (00:58):

Thanks, guys. Just keep rubbing it in some time it’ll it’s been raining. It’s been crazy so well. Cool. We got a lot of folks in and love all the chatter. Keep it coming, guys, keep chatting with us and be active but welcome to shops talk God episode 20, which is wild to think about. We’re gonna, we’re gonna take a lot of trips down memory lane during this episode, but love seeing some of the folks Grossberg on here, hanging out, who we’ve had before on shops talk. So Nick is too excited for not only this episode, we’re excited about every episode, but this one, in particular, we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of doing these things, which is kind of crazy done 20 of ’em so far, so almost every other week.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (01:45):

And the one thing that we wanted to do today, especially as we’re gonna rewind the clock a little bit. We’re always gonna look back at what the last year has taught us from a revenue operations perspective and just ops in general. But we’re also gonna look forward. So what we’ve done here, we’ve got a, a rockstar crew. Who’s all gonna introduce himself here shortly. But we’ve got two folks that have been on shops talk before. So have mine and Keith, who have been with us over the last year and especially been huge community members at wops, but we also got two folks that haven’t been on shops to talk yet with Taft and O. So we’re gonna do a lot of retrospecting of, of what the last year looked like. Really? Where are we going now as we wrap up 2021, but also we’re, we’re rolling in 20, 22 as we speak?

Brad Smith (Sonar) (02:29):

I know everybody here on this call when we were catching up a second ago is going through planning right now, and the whole world of operations is going through planning in October. Like we all do for next year, but that being said, we’re gonna go around the room and at least let our wonderful folks get to introduce themselves before we do that though. Always say thank you to our partners over at Salesforce. Again, we’re coming up on this one-year anniversary of doing this shops talk episode can’t thank Jen and her team over at Salesforce so much for even coming up with the idea. They’re the ones that like, Hey, let’s put a bunch of smart people in a room and have good conversations, and a year later, here we are. But yeah, excited to have them as a sponsor, obviously excited for the folks we have on this call. So TAF, I’m gonna kick it over to you. Let you introduce yourself and we’ll keep going down the road, but TAF takes it away.

Taft Love (DocSend) (03:18):

Sounds good. Hi everybody. My name’s Taft Love. I am. I’m two things. I’m the VP of sales for DocSend of a small SAS startup that was recently acquired by Dropbox. I’m also the co-founder of iceberg revenue operations. So a small sort of boutique consulting firm that does rev op both consulting and wrench works for wrench work rather for scaling companies. And a little bit about me I started out in law enforcement as a street cop and a detective and a federal agent. And then moved on from that lived overseas for a few years and fell sort of asked backward into sales when I moved to California, where my family was had moved when I was overseas and have sort of stumbled into ops years ago and figured out I liked it and have stayed here. And that brings us to today, getting to be on chops. Talk for the first time.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (04:19):

Fantastic. TA love having you here. Obviously scotch just jumped in here to our other office dog. So if you see a tail-wagging, you’ll say to scotch, but fantastic man we’ve obviously had you on before, but I’ll let you read introduce yourself for folks who haven’t had a chance to meet you.

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (04:34):

Sure, man. Hello to everyone. It’s yeah, it’s amazing to be back on shops talk, I’ve been like admiring how much better and better the episodes have, have gotten and the caliber of the guests it’s so cool to be back and, and, and honor to, to be on a panel with, with all these gens. I’m a former high school math teacher who decided to survive a few years as a BDR and then decided again that, Hey, yeah, that’s not for me either. And, and realized that operations were the right fit. I spent some time in operations at a company called CB insights doing emerging tech research and then found my way into a space I’m really passionate about mental health. And I’m now leading the operations team at spring health making mental health more accessible and more personalized, for folks. So excited, to chat more about kind of the current state of ops and how we’ve all survived this last year. And, and what’s coming up next.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (05:33):

I love it. Thank you. The OG being episode number one, love having you back. So Keith Jones long time, a good friend of mine, but I’m not gonna silly you, your thumb. I’m gonna let you introduce yourself as well.

Taft Love (DocSend) (05:45):

Wow. Appreciate that, Brad. And I’m super excited to be here.  You know, to Mazda’s point caliber, the guests in this series have just gone up and up, and quite frankly, I don’t know what I’m doing here, but  you

Keith Jones (Mural) (05:56):

Know, I’ve been in the ops world on and off over the last 10 plus years. I actually got my start in operations when I didn’t even know I was doing sales ops. I was hired because I was pretty good at Excel and I was actually doing forecasting and things like that. But today, you know, I’m, I have the awesome privilege of leading systems strategy for mural a visual collaboration software where I’ve got a small agile team. And we’re just building, trying to build up the best text tech that we have

Brad Smith (Sonar) (06:25):

Small small team for now. Keith and I were checking in earlier this week, and I know he’s got some head count that he is about to start posting for. So if you wanna go work with a badass two-head count, sign up to go hang out with Keith over at mural, but’s awesome to have you on as always a man, and last, but certainly not least Ali is excited to have you on as well. I’ll let you kinda introduce yourself and then maybe we’ll jump right into the concept.

Oliviero Mottola Di Amato (Pex) (06:51):

Yeah, thanks, Brad. So I work for a company called PEX. We work at the intersection of copyright media, creators, and platforms, and we essentially provide an infrastructure layer that helps these parties transact. I’ve worked at the intersection of media and technology for a few years at this point and found myself learning about rev op in the last year or two. I started acting, I was in grad school when I first heard about rev op at the time. And so I decided to start doing some research in academia while I was in school. And that’s actually how I met Brad. So I spent a lot of time researching. What is rev op trying to find a definition? Why is it important? How did it become relevant? How do you do rev op quote-unquote, if there’s like one way to do it. And also what are the pitfalls for companies? What, are the challenges that they’re gonna see when trying to implement rev op? So I guess that’s, that’s how I met Brad and that’s why I’m here today.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (08:00):

Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you, Ali. He’ll I’ll brag for him if he doesn’t want to brag on himself, actually ended up writing his thesis on rev op for his master’s program, which is so cool. And I think when we look at this now in sort of retrospective last year, and, and even over the last couple of years of how to rev op has developed and grown and built, and really, I think the more exciting part is where it’s going. I think that’s what we’re really gonna dive into in a second, but I think it’s so cool that we now have like you said, all academia with an understanding of what this is, why is it important? If there’s anything that, that tells me that it’s not going anywhere and it’s only gonna grow from here which is super exciting. So as always love having everybody on, we got a big group of folks on, so let’s keep this interactive please drop questions into the chat.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (08:45):

The first thing that we’re gonna do right now actually drops an answer or drop a question over to you guys. We’d love to hear from you. What do you think will be the most significant change in Redbox next year? There’s no multiple choice here. Sorry, Frank, don’t let me get in your way. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but by all means, we’d love to hear from you. Where do you think rev op is going? So we just posted that in the question, so feel free to pop that in the chat. I’d love to hear from you. We’ll start taking some questions from it too, but this is actually where we’re gonna start the whole conversation. What are the most significant changes you’ve seen in rev ops over the last year? And, and what do they mean for your organization? So we wanna know what’s big and significant, but how are they impacting our organizations? Keith, I’m gonna start with you. I know you have this conversation a lot, but we’ll kick it over to you too. Tell us how it’s changed you over the last year.

Keith Jones (Mural) (09:34):

Yeah. Right on. So, you know, I think where it starts right now and or how I would frame this is, you know, that Annie’s been raised, right? For the, we are now having to operate at a really high standard in order to produce stable and predictable things for the organization. Right. There’s a lot of virtue perhaps in that notion of kind of move fast, break things mentality. Right. But I feel like now rev op is the last group that can break things along the way we need to be the ones providing stability and where that’s kind of taken real shape for me is coaching my team to start adopting some of the tried and true methodologies of our friends, colleagues, and peers in product and engineering disciplines, right. In testing things thoroughly and, and adopting all of those particular workflows and things of that nature. So that when we ship something, when we push something out to our growing sales teams, our CS teams, we make sure that it, it actually works and it delivers the result that we need and that we’ve documented it and done all these things to ensure a smooth delivery. And ultimately the result that we’re looking for, but it, it comes with that, that discipline and that rigor not necessarily process for the sake of process, but we’ just gotta deliver something solid and then continue to build on our reputation in that sense.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (10:52):

Absolutely. we’ve even I know we had a Toker on a long time ago, a couple of months ago, actually on episodes spoke about the same thing about some of these principles we take from product management and how we see successful engineering get deployed. Like we have a responsibility now to adopt those same things. So I couldn’t agree with you mark Mon I know you’ve had an interesting way of thinking about this too, over the last year. Especially changing jobs and everything. So I’ll kick it over to you too. What changes have you seen, and how have they impacted you?

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (11:22):

Yeah. well, what’s cool a few years ago, a rev op webinar was such a foreign concept, right? Like, and so the fact that we’re even on a call talking about it is, is a testament to its growth and its importance. The area that I wanted to talk about, which is probably the elephant in the room is just how did COVID impact so many things for, for rev op, right. I think, forget who said it, but there was some quote about necessity breeds innovation, and there were so many businesses who I think made understandable excuses for, Hey, we can’t transform this fast. We can’t really switch to this X, Y, and Z because it’s gonna take time and effort. And then all of a sudden we’re all home and now we have to, right.

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (12:02):

And so there’s no excuse anymore. And I think for rev op I’m sure a lot of the people on this call can relate to having to reconsider what performance metrics do we look at to see how the organization’s doing managers aren’t on the phones, or they’re not on the floor all the time, watching their reps make cold calls. Right. So, or whatever it is in person with that matter. So how do we provide more visibility there collaboration across our tech stack which I’m sure Keith, especially, is that to think a lot about changes a lot when your entire Salesforce is at home. Right. I think things like security and being on public wifi networks in a coffee shop instead of on a secure private network at home or in the office rather. Right. So a lot of different, like how do we make sure that the wheel keeps moving ideally at the same pace, even better, faster in a completely different environment.

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (12:53):

What are the implications for like systems tools, processes, training, and enablement? We could spend an entire hour, I’m sure talking about just that alone. And I think what’s been really inspiring is to see how so much of that change had to be driven by rev op and how different rev op teams have adapted. So I, I’m glad that I think we can say that we’re in you know, a better place, both from a like health perspective and even operationally than we were back in, you know, March and April of 2020. But still love to hear how rev op teams really adapted over, over that time. That’s been a really incredible transition to see

Brad Smith (Sonar) (13:32):

Yeah, I completely agree. I, you know, the one trend that I was a little bit afraid of, and I’m glad it didn’t turn out this way, you know, for over the years, especially the last two or three years, we’ve seen so much growth and we hear it all the time, 400% year over year growth of revenue, operations titles on LinkedIn. Part of me going through a pandemic and, you know, a lot of companies had layoffs and you had to be reconsidering what your headcount was that trend didn’t stop. And if anything, it only went up. And so you look at almost like a blessing in disguise of how COVID has actually had to tear, turn and look at rev op and say, no, no, no, you guys actually helped keep that wheel spinning fast and our company can’t operate without you. So it wasn’t nearly as impacted as some other departments were. So, I agree with you Oli. I’d love to hear your take too, of just, you know, how the last year has impacted you guys and, and your thoughts on it.

Oliviero Mottola Di Amato (Pex) (14:22):

Yeah, absolutely. Actually, on the point, you just made around like almost RevUps benefiting from the environment. One of the things that I found through my research is, you know, as teams drift apart and they are remote it becomes harder to have that collaboration and rev ops is kind of born out of the need to promote that cross-functional alignment. And so I would say that macro trend has definitely benefited the function of red op. I mean, I work in a remote company myself and so I definitely see the need for those integrator roles that help cross-functionally. I would almost say you’re gonna start seeing that across other teams, like between product and, and revenue as well. Like how can we fill those gaps where you need people to speak the common language, and share data and information. So, yeah, in that respect, rev op has definitely benefited.

Oliviero Mottola Di Amato (Pex) (15:25):

I think one important thing that’s been happening for the last few years and definitely doesn’t show any sign of stopping is the proliferation of tools that you see available in the rev op toolkit. There are probably around 8,000 more marketing ops tools available out there in the market, which is just mind-boggling. This year in 2021, we passed 1000 sales tech tools for the first time nobody’s counting customer success, but I’m sure they’re gonna start doing that soon. And again, going, looking at research I noticed that as the sales, the comp complexity of information systems increases collaboration across teams goes down. And so it really highlights how important it is that you have a rev op figure helping out all of your teams collaborate. And so, yeah,

Brad Smith (Sonar) (16:27):

I completely agree. It’s funny cuz yeah, the increased amount of tech that’s out there, we see it every day, both. And, obviously, we talk about it all day with our customers of what we do, but the proliferation and just the expansion of all of that LS, that landscape is crazy. The common denominator is rev op owns its some form or fashion. I think that’s so cool that while that growth is happening, it’s obviously pouring more fuel on the fire for the need, for someone to manage that tech stack. So last, certainly not least on this question tapped, I’ll pass it over to you too. I know you’ve had an interesting viewpoint of it in, both seats that you sit in, so would love to hear your thoughts.

Taft Love (DocSend) (17:03):

Yeah. You know, I, I, everything these guys have said I agree with completely it’s an important function. It’s a function, more companies are coming to understand that they rely on it’s born out of necessity because of the proliferation of tools, as Ali said, all these things are true. So I, I wanna point to something that’s a little more surface level, but still really important.  I think until recently I’ve thought of rev op as similar to the way I think of the term AI, it’s like, it’s a bullshit term. It means whatever the person saying it is trying to say like AI is meaningless today and rev op until recently felt pretty meaningless to me. And I think there was this sort of race between rev ops and like biz ops meant, you know, which is sort of a larger term, but like was biz ops gonna be the term that rev op sort of became part of, or is it going to market ops or is it, you know, all of these other terms, sales, and marketing ops.

Taft Love (DocSend) (18:04):

And I think we should be going to market ops. As I think we’re all starting to agree on a name and it feels like a, a surface level simple thing, but the fact that we’re all sort of coalescing around this term and, and agreeing that, that it is rev ops and we have sort of a shared definition and I saw somebody in the chat mention that it also includes enablement, which I think is true for, for most companies. When they say rev, we all sort of agreeing on this definition and the, to represent three, four years ago.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (18:46):

I completely agree with you, I think what’s crazy. I remember the first time I was presented with rev op and I, I think I told this to honest, I don’t even know if I told us the rest of you guys or not before, but I was sales op manager at gathering 5, 6, 7 years. I can’t remember how long ago it was, seems like a hundred years ago. And I remember Nick Miller, my CEO coming to me and saying, Hey, you know, I’ve been here for three months and we’re not all about changing titles this quickly in a job, but you’re not doing sales ops. Like you’re spending more of your time on marketing and customer success and sales. It’s like, I’ve heard this new term in the world. Now it’s called revenue operation. We’re gonna just-right size that title for you. You don’t get any more money or anything.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (19:23):

Don’t worry about that. But your new title is revenue operation. That’s how I got it. And it was so true, but that was again, five or so years ago. And at that point, he had heard it at a conference. Somebody just taught word-of-mouth stuff. And now, again, as I said, we’ve got, we’ve got webinars about it. We’ve got more titles on LinkedIn than we know what to do with. And so I think it is still in the eye of the beholder. I think we still have a lot of interpretation of how we interpret AI in the same way we can interpret rev op, but it’s here to stay. I think the common denominator here is that it’s not going anywhere and you’re seeing the adoption of it more and more so absolutely love it. This brings us honestly to that next question. And I appreciate everybody jumping in here and telling us what their thoughts are on where it’s going. Same question. I’m gonna ask everyone here, tap, we’ll kick it off to you. Yeah. Where do you think it’s heading in next year and how should we plan ahead for that?

Taft Love (DocSend) (20:11):

Yeah, the, it’s a huge question, and when we were sort of prepping for this and talking about it the other day, the first thing that popped into my head was something that made a, an impact on me. You mentioned Erol Toker, the CEO of truly that you, you had spoken to him before and he had been a guest and  I follow him really closely. He’s one of those people who’s who seems to just have an interesting view of everything that’s happening around us. And I tend to agree with him anytime he writes something I’m like, oh yeah, that makes sense. I should’ve thought of that, but I never do before him. And he said he said at one point to me that like every app out there is competing to be your source of truth, which is a hundred percent true.

Taft Love (DocSend) (20:52):

Everybody wants to be your source of truth. Everybody wants you to live in their reporting. Everybody wants to own your data and, and something, I think we’re starting to see that that’s not gonna change. That’s gonna keep going on forever. Everybody wants to be your source of truth. I think sonar is unique in that, like that you’re one of the companies for whom that’s not necessarily true and that’s awesome. But I think what we’re, we’re starting to see is some, some companies, some of these, you know, tons and tons of tools, we’re starting to see this race, this consolidation start to happen and we’re starting to see some winners. You know, an example here is zoom info. That’s, that’s traditionally been a data company. Now they’re building and have released a competitor to outreach and suddenly you have a single app where you have both the outreach and the data behind it living in the same place.

Taft Love (DocSend) (21:41):

And you see, you know, the fact that Salesforce bought one of them, the biggest BI tools in the world they’re, they’re doubling down on their goal to be your source of truth. And I think we’re gonna see this consolidation continue. And I think it’s not gonna come to a head next year in the next five years, but I think the next year we’re gonna see that speed up pretty significantly. And hand in hand with that is I think more and more companies are, are gonna take control of their data in ways that they haven’t before. I think more companies are becoming aware of the importance of owning your own data and controlling and manipulating and normalizing your own data in a data warehouse that you own. And I think, you know, the biggest companies in the world were buying MuleSoft and, and BI tools and stuff years ago, but I think we’re gonna see smaller and smaller companies taking advantage of this and more and more players out there building like prefab data, warehousing BI tool tools that teams are gonna teams are gonna lean on.

Taft Love (DocSend) (22:46):

And yes, I was, I was talking about Tableau there for the Tableau.  not right.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (22:52):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, it’s, it is interesting. Like the, again, we talk about the proliferation of, of all the tech that we’re going into, but you’re also seeing this person keep saying the word, not me, the great consolidation. And you’re seeing a lot of the acquisitions roll up and you’re looking at zoom info with chorus coming in recently. Like they continue to do things like that too. So we’re gonna see both those trends on both ends of the spectrum. I think so. I’ll, I bet I’d love to hear on your side too, where we’re, where we’re going, especially based on some of the research that you’ve done.

Oliviero Mottola Di Amato (Pex) (23:21):

Yeah. as I said, in the, in the prep here, I, I, wasn’t too sure of, you know, it’s hard to have a crystal ball, but I think what Taft mentioned kind of serves up what I wanted to say, because when you look at industries maturing, you always have some sort of consolidation at some point. And if we look at the general technology hype cycle, I think by Gartner there’s at some point, this hype and then a trial of disillusionment I think which we obviously all hope is now gonna happen anytime soon. But I think one thing that we can do as rev op professionals, to mitigate that is ensuring that we vet opportunities out when we are hired as much as possible. Cuz obviously, as you said, there are so many LinkedIn opportunities out there, that everybody’s looking to hire a new rev op function.

Oliviero Mottola Di Amato (Pex) (24:18):

And it’s really important that the people who are hiring fully understand the scope and what it takes for rev op to be successful. I think in, in talking with executives one thing that I found is often you don’t have the right organizational structure, that’s ready to, to house rev op. And so if you say, I’m gonna use rev op as this shiny new tool is going fix everything. And then you have the three customer success marketing and sales teams operating in three completely different departments. Your rev op person is now gonna be empowered to sort of succeed and deliver on the promise, of revenue operations. And so getting those expectations right, and really making sure that they understand why rev op is something that they need is, is absolutely critical.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (25:10):

Yeah. I think the thing that we realize is people realize they need it, but sometimes they even have trouble answering our and articulating why we need it. As guys, we just know we need it. Like we know we have to do this, but articulating the actual, why of that is tougher than I think it seems modest. I know you you you’ve looked at this obviously for a long time in your role, but when you look at it moving forward, how do you think it’s gonna play out?

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (25:33):

Yeah. It’s hard to follow a guy running his whole thesis, on the future prep but  I’ll do my best. I think yeah, there’s two, there are two things that have been on my mind. One is how standardization gets us from good to great. And the other one is leading by example. So on the standardization, getting us from good to great tap’s already said it, right. We’re, we’re agreeing or have agreed on what to call the thing. And I think that that opens a lot of doors to us saying, all right, well, if that’s what we’re calling it, what does that actually mean? Not just what falls under the umbrella, but what does really great rev op look like? Right. So I think we’re getting the rev ops getting a lot of attention right now.

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (26:15):

I think attention then breeds a lot of discussion and discovery then breeds to like tried and true and trial and error and I’ll all that good stuff. And then you end up with like best practices in what great looks like. Right. So if we think about that as such a there now, but if we think about that as kind of like a funnel or a process, right? Then we’re, we’re slowly, I think, moving from like the top to the middle and then on the, on the way to getting to like great rev op. And so I think great rev op means now that we’ve agreed on what to call it we’re getting to a place where we’re all now sharing this works for my organization. So what does great onboarding for rev op looks like, looks like folks like Keith are thinking about, you know, what does a great tech stack look like?

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (26:57):

And I think with a lot of the consolidation happening, even in the tech stack world, we get, we sort of get more progress there. What does great measurement reporting look like what is you know, tracking like north star metrics and not just vanity metrics? Like what, what does that really look like? And so I can go on and on, right. But I think now that we’ve agreed on what to call it, we start collecting a lot and understanding a lot about what great looks like. So I’m excited about getting from good to great now that standardization has made a lot of progress. And then the second one is leading by example. So I think our co-founder here talks a lot about like centers of excellence. And I think Ali, you call this out, right?

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (27:36):

Like RevOps was born out of necessity for more alignment. And I think in that way, sort of has to be a center of excellence right. Of data, of the process of strategy. Cliff mentioned I think earlier in the notes that like, because of this rev op is getting more of a decision-making a seat at the table. And I think being a steward of like great data management and great documentation and training and great like user empathy in designing solutions is I think something that, that rolls like and can roll really well out of, out of rev op and then one last one and I’m rambling. But I think this one’s really important and was such a pleasant surprise for me, was that both rev op teams that I’ve been a part of are arguably the most diverse teams at the company by race and gender.

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (28:21):

Yeah. But also I find that so many people I talk to in operations have come from such crazily, interesting backgrounds. I mean like TAF, you already called this out at the beginning of the call, I’ve worked with people who are former teachers and firefighters. My favorite was a, a door to door salesman for the Mormon church. I mean, like there’s like so many interesting backgrounds. And I think that’s because operations is so many things. And so operations can pull from so many valuable backgrounds. And I think by virtue of the different backgrounds and perspectives, you also get people who look different and sound different and think different. So leading by example, in terms of being an example of, of diversity and how, how that can be so powerful is something that I think we’ve already seen, but we will continue to. And so really, really excited about that.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (29:07):

Absolutely. Then, the diversity side of it is what is, I think, breeding so much of the creativity that comes into it. And we’re seen even in our own community, we see it in wops all the time, people coming up with so many new unique ways of solving problems, you only come up with that new, unique flavor of that when you come from a different background, you think about it differently. So I love it. Keith fire away. I know we’re I, I know you and I have talked about this plenty of times, but I’m pumped too loud to hear your thought on it.

Keith Jones (Mural) (29:33):

Yeah. You know, it’s a really interesting idea just in and of itself. Cause I feel like so often in rev op at least to date, we’ve all had to more often than not be a little bit more reactionary than we’d like to be. Right. Instead of being proactive in some of the things that we wanna bring to an organization like it’s been said here a couple of times, right. Rev ops being born out of a necessity for that alignment and things like that. And that’s by, it’s very nature, a very reactionary status to be in, but you know, thinking very ly, right. And Mon actually hit on this a couple of times talking about, you know, centers of excellence and, and data and, and being kind of the stewards of that. Right. I feel like if we have an opportunity in the next year, in, the years after that to shift a little bit to more proactive behaviors is that we need to be thinking with a little bit more of a product mindset, right?

Keith Jones (Mural) (30:23):

We need to be quote-unquote productizing the data that the processes and the systems and everything else that we own as a discipline is, are producing on behalf of the organizations that we work for and work with. So that means, you know, getting really tactical with it, right. We, we need to make sure that when we send out a, a dashboard to a sales team, to a CS team, to account managers, to BDRs that like, Hey, here’s your dashboard, but also here’s what you’re supposed to do with it. Here’s the documentation, here’s the walkthrough. And by the way, here’s the exact call to action and what we expect to see if you’re using this insight correctly. Right? That’s what it’s gotta look like. We gotta build these things the same way that the software companies, that many of us work for are building the platforms that are, we’re bringing to market, right? There’s a, you expect a user to do something you expect to see them get something out of it. Right. What’s the value that it’s bringing. And I feel like we need to have that 360 mindsets when it comes to it. It’s not just a pretty-looking dashboard. It’s a dashboard that’s meant to do something and it’s gotta be self-sufficient too, right? Like, like it, it’s gotta be something that we can equip our stakeholders with and watch them go run with it and make the informed data-driven decisions that we expect them to make

Brad Smith (Sonar) (31:41):

Your you’re spot on is not just about building anymore. It’s about building then deploying then educating then enabling then tracking that adoption and making sure what you’d spend all that time building up front is actually working for the business. So you’re spot on. I know we’re about a minute or so over. We’re gonna wrap up relatively quickly. We did have one question and tapped. I think this is gonna be perfect for you to answer. You have a pretty good insight into it. So I’ll let you answer it quickly. And then we’re gonna do one more quick little round table, and then we’ll, we’ll let everybody get back to the fun part of their day job. But one person came in, it’s like, you know why do some companies hire internally for rev op while some prefer agencies to handle there, their rev op I’ll minimize the question there, but I want your quick thought on that. Cause I was extremely relevant to what you’re doing with iceberg.

Taft Love (DocSend) (32:26):

Yeah. Yeah. Iceberg is one of those external partners that, that people bring in. So I think there are, there are a million reasons companies bring in external or decide to hire internal and, and we could spend a month talking about this, but when it comes to, to external, there are two situations where I think it makes sense to bring somebody in. The first is when you have a narrowly defined specific project on which you need to move quickly or you’re missing some critical path skillset. And so I think that’s when you go find a partner who has done this 10 times before, instead of stumbling through it yourself and often ending up bringing in a partner to clean up your mass. So that’s one time when I think it makes sense and the other, and this is the one where sort of iceberg lives.

Taft Love (DocSend) (33:10):

So this is the one I, I know intimately is when you’re small and you are ready to scale and you don’t have the resources or you’re, you’re financially not ready to hire a qualified revenue operations team. What most companies do here is they hire an admin and say, this admin is an ox and you have effectively hired a plumber to build your whole house. And there’s a little part of that house that’s gonna work really well. And the rest of it’s gonna not work particularly well. And it’s not that person’s fault. You’ve actually put them in a bad position by making them the ops person and Dunning Kruger at its finest there. And so the other time when you should bring people in is when you want a qualified team that can, you know, in our case for the cost of an admin, be your ops team, because most small scaling companies don’t need 40 hours a week of five people’s time to get this stuff done. They just need an expert. Who’s done it 10 times before to tell them the right path and get there quickly. So that’s how you should think about internal versus external, in my opinion,

Brad Smith (Sonar) (34:17):

I love it. I know, you know, talking with, with Keith and Monas, I think golly as well, I know even in all of our different capacities, we’ve, we’ve worked with that and I think every scenario is different, but I know there’s a sign if Keith works with consultants as well, right now, it’s like, get certain things done under certain scopes, get in, get out, or have them on the bench or have them on staff to jump in when needed. So I think it always does come down to the company, but there are a million use cases out for it. So like I said, we’ll get everybody back their day shortly. So we’ll, we’ll wrap up with this one last question and I’ll add sort of two flavors to it. Obviously, when we were prepping for this, we wanna make sure everybody gets to leave with something.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (34:52):

So we’re gonna ask everybody on this panel what ways you stay on top of the latest rev op trends? But as always, I’m gonna couple that up with a part two of that question. So you’ll get to answer the second one of you know, for the folks that have been on before, but Keith and honest y’all know this, what advice, you know, if you were to fire up the DeLorean run back in time at the beginning of your ops career, what advice would you give yourself? And therefore, a lot of the folks that are on this call advise on how to grow, obviously, all four of you have done a phenomenal job of growing in your ops career. You wouldn’t be where you are. You know, if you didn’t take the right steps, we’d love to know your advice for the folks that are listening on how to really grow. So how to stay on top of the latest rev op trends. And what advice would you give them to grow as a rev op leader? Minus I’m gonna put you on the hot seat first and let you start us off 

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (35:40):

Yeah, sure thing. Some the bribery always works. Some of the best advice that I got in my career was to look for inspiration in both ways. So like look inside and outside. And so I think inside within the sort of world of rev op I, I said it before, but like I’m on a panel of people who I have already been following, you know, before this webinar reading the, their sort of like thoughts and perspectives. The wizards of operations community has probably been the single greatest community to like further, my learning. And that’s only one of several other communities that I can call out. Kind of in, in that tier rev, op co-op you know, Salesforce Ohana, so on and so forth. There are great podcasts. I mean, that, like, I think those are the things that are like easier to Google.

Manas Kulkarni (Spring Health) (36:25):

And so all I would say is like start looking, right. And so the more interesting one for me was like, where do you look externally? So what are best practices from other teams within your own company or other companies be it finance it, Keith already talked about, you know, ingesting some of like what product and engineering have really, you know, championed, I’ve learned a lot from our finance team. I’ve learned a lot from our marketing team. But even from like other business models, how, how do other business models and other teams solve problems? Ultimately I think still be, or still become equally valuable for rev op because if it really is about process efficiency insights, then so many other functions are doing that. Right. And so I would say like, keep your eyes and ears, like on the ground in the world, but also very much like out outside of the fishbowl.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (37:20):

I love that. It’s so good. You’re right. The internal and external perspective of it all, you have to keep that grounded in your approach to it. And I love it, Keith. What do you think? What, where, how are we staying on top of trends, and what advice are you dropping on people?

Keith Jones (Mural) (37:32):

Yeah. So as far as staying on top of trends, you know, it comes down to, I think just always asking questions. It’s been said far too many times, but probably still not enough, but the only stupid questions, the ones you don’t ask, that’s quite literally what it’s, it doesn’t matter if it’s gonna validate what you already are thinking about doing or thinking about trying, or maybe it’s even gonna invalidate it. Right. Maybe you’re a little bit far along with an idea. And then you’re gonna ask a question in, in wops or another community, or even just out there on LinkedIn, and someone’s gonna give you something to think about, right. So I highly encourage everyone to always just kind of question everything, right. And, and just have that as a general mentality. I think that’s the best way to stay on top of trends, cuz it’ll help you expose to what your peers are doing in this space, right.

Keith Jones (Mural) (38:18):

And might even give you better ideas on how to do things differently in your day-to-day. But my biggest piece of advice, and this is probably the single most important lesson I learned in my career and something Alicia had learned a lot earlier. But learned how to say no and learn how to say no with grace. I actually did talk about this with our friend Jeff Ignacio several months ago, but I, you know, can’t say yes to everything. And the reality is there’s so much demand from rev ops that do so much. We have to learn how to say no. Unfortunately, we have to kind of be the bad guy from time to time. Right. but there’s a way to do it. There’s an art and a grace to it that can really help soften the blow. And so learning how to solidify your position when you have to ultimately disappoint the stakeholder and say either, no, we can’t do that right now. And I don’t exactly know when we can get to it or ultimately we can’t do that at all. And here’s the reason for it, but there it’s an art form in itself. And quite frankly, it only comes with practice. So you have to start doing it sooner rather than later.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (39:24):

Yep. Oh, I love that. You’re right. Tap. Just drop it in. There’s an article about it, about how to say no gracefully. So you’re spot on it’s. It is the hardest thing to do in rev op cuz I think naturally like we are in our DNA, we wanna say yes, cause we know how to build solutions. We know how to solve problems for folks. But if we say yes to everything, we’re not gonna get anything done and you have to be able to say it no gracefully but say no. And here’s why, so your spot on to I’ll pass it over to you, and then Ali, you can bring us home.

Taft Love (DocSend) (39:52):

Yeah. Yeah. I’ll make this one quick. Keith yeah, that thing I dropped is it’s less me and more my partner, she’s a psychiatrist and like a wildly smart person who actually wrote a lot of that article on how to say no gracefully because I lack grace in a lot of situations and she does not. So anyway, I, I’m gonna again take sort of a different tack here cuz these guys have said so much smart stuff that I actually want to talk about how hearted is to stay up on, on rev op right now. So, it wasn’t long ago when I first started in sales, like every sales book was a Zig Zigler, how to close a deal. And it was like the bottom of the funnel, closing tactics, awful books that ignored the rest of the funnel, and operations are sort of where sales were five or 10 years ago with there was no cannon for anything other than a few narrow parts of, of operations.

Taft Love (DocSend) (40:53):

And so I think we’re still waiting on on our Jeb blunt for, for rev op I, I think we’re waiting on somebody to write, start writing cannon that that speaks to something other than, then like product operations and, and other corners of operations that, that aren’t quite the same as what we do. And then for, for staying up on it, I think I think the smartest thing to do is, is look for things like shops, talk, join Wiz ops join some of these communities and be mindful of the fact that anybody who gives you tactical really interesting stories about things they’ve built is not the people you need to be listening to. You need to be listening to the people who help give you a framework for how to think about operations. That’s, that’s where you get the good advice. And that that’s what I’ll leave you with.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (41:46):

I love that. Yeah. There’s, there’s plenty of outlets. As we said, we’ve all talked about with Liz ops, with pavilion, with Rob ops, co-op all these great communities that you can jump into and find other thought leaders to provide that. I think it’s I, I agree with you. I think it’s very enlightening when you get a genuine framework. Like here’s how I think you should think about this. I’m not going to build a validation rule for you. I’m not gonna build that flow, but here’s how you should actually think about solving that problem for yourself. You’ll get a little bit more out of that. It’s kind of teaching someone to fish instead of just giving them fish sometimes. So I completely agree, Ali, I’ll let you bring us home on, on how to keep up with the trends. You’ve done a lot of research on it, but also you know, what do you think about in your career as far as ops perspective?

Oliviero Mottola Di Amato (Pex) (42:26):

Yeah, kind of piggybacking off what TAF just said. It’s so complicated to stay up with trends because you have so many companies who are also trying to sell their solutions and they provide frameworks and they provide sometimes more tactical solutions. I think what’s something that’s really useful is to think about the fundamentals that drive really the practice of operations and kind of piggybacking out what man said earlier rev ops borrow from so many different disciplines and it’s really an effort to operationalize revenue team activities. And this has been going on with products for decades of development in the digital space as well with DevOps industrial engineering. It’s not something that’s necessarily new and shiny. It’s just, that we’re applying those fundamentals and concepts of systems thinking to this revenue reality. And so if you can understand those fundamentals, theories of constraints, really understanding which point in your system you need to be leveraging in order to increase the throughput of the entire system.

Oliviero Mottola Di Amato (Pex) (43:44):

That’s where you can make real breakthroughs and make sure that you know, that the work that you’re doing matters. And in terms of advice for my younger self, I think one thing that I struggled with always is that in an ops role, I, well, I was often the only person at the company doing my job. And so I didn’t necessarily have a senior leader who was doing the same thing, who could teach me. And so, as others have said here, going out of your way to leverage resources online and find those mentors and find those solutions and frameworks by people who have been in this space, asking questions, being humble outside sometimes of your job is something that would’ve helped me because that’s not necessarily something that I was doing early on.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (44:37):

Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I think finding the right level of mentorship, the right outlet. I think everybody almost collectively agrees with that as far as finding the right folks in communities and finding the right people to follow. But I’ll, I’ll say it best. Keith, I’ll agree with you probably the most, the worst question that you ask is when you don’t or however you phrased it. And so ask questions, be curious, somebody’s gonna make fun of you for it. But the more you open yourself up to learn about that sort of thing, the better we’re all gonna be about it. And so again, I think that’s one of the coolest things that we look at now is we reflect on the last year of doing this, but also just the last year of how our community has grown, you know, looking at the folks on this call and coming from the backgrounds that we’ve all had.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (45:19):

I mean, we’ve got a school teacher, we’ve got somebody who literally wrote a thesis about rev op. So one of the biggest cycling guys I know, and then also a police officer. And so you put a bunch of these backgrounds, I think that’s why we’re getting so much good creativity in the rev op worlds, cuz again, we’ve all walked from different paths, but we’re here still on the same problems now. So that being said, I know we’re 16 minutes, well over time for the folks that hung out. And hopefully, we didn’t keep you from any other calls that you have. If we did send them our apologies, we appreciate everybody hanging on for a little while longer as always tapped Ali, Keith modest. Can’t thank you guys enough for jumping on and sharing all of your insights with us.

Brad Smith (Sonar) (45:57):

This is why this community’s so great cuz folks like you. So can’t thank you all enough for being here and appreciate the time for everybody that’s still hanging on and dropping. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks, another episode, another lap around the sun. We’ll do it again. And thanks for joining and talking to you all soon in w ops and in real life pretty soon as well. Have a great rest of your day. Talk to you all soon. Take care. See you guys. Thanks. Take care. See you guys.  see you guys.

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