Allyson Clark is the VP of Business Operations of Halo Health, a Clinical Collaboration Platform. In this week's RevAmp podcast, Allyson tells us what it's like to join a founding team she is acquainted with, the growth of a product price book at a growing startup, and how to do pricing before your team is big enough for a CPQ.
Allyson was hired as Halo Health’s Director of Revenue Operations and was recently promoted to Vice President of Business Operations, which is a challenging and exciting new role for her. So now, instead of focusing on sales, marketing, customer success, her role has expanded out towards HR, product, engineering, and all of the operations of the way the company communicates and collaborates, and the tools they use.
Creating Structure Around Pricing, Contracts, and Proposals
- When Allyson joined Halo in March 2020, they did not have any structure around creating pricing, contracts, and proposals for customers. That was the hottest priority because sales reps were having to write their own contracts. They'd get off the phone with the customer and have to figure out how much it cost, which took quite a long time. It had to be custom figured out for every single customer and every single deal.
- This was the top priority for the Chief Financial Officer, too. As the company grows and gets more sophisticated. there are concerns about revenue recognition and syncing up all the financial systems. When every deal was a customized snowflake, it made it very hard for him and his team to reconcile anything.
- First, they came up with a pricing calculator, which you could feed some basic information into and get a consistent price. Then, Allyson was highly motivated to build an automated, self-serve system because every single deal had to go through her. Standing in the way of a salesperson and a contract signature is not a very pleasant place to sit.
- Once they had a calculator, they could build that into Salesforce. She wanted to replicate the pricing calculator into their opportunities, using standard quotes to get the same output they were getting from the Excel calculator in Salesforce.
- She was balancing a very low budget for this, and she didn’t want to over-engineer anything that would hold them back as they change and grow. She was always thinking towards CPQ down the road. She didn’t want to build something that's so incompatible with CPQ that it would be a huge change management project for the sellers. She was trying to build something that mirrored a CPQ. So that someday it would be a natural progression, transition.
- Communicating and sending documents was the next step. So, Halo Health uses DocuSign Gen, which is their document generation tool since they were already using it for e-signatures. What that does is it lets you put buttons on the Salesforce page layout that will output either Word docs or PDFs.
- It took about 4 months to go live on this. She spent most of Q2 2020 using the tools and tweaking them for special requests. She had also hired somebody to run the deal desk. She did the heavy lifting on the building, and then someone else took over the day-to-day work, which was mostly around getting custom terms approved.
Feedback From the Sales Team
- The impact on productivity and sales performance was interesting. It was very well received by the sales team. They are open to new tools and excited to try things that will make their job easier. Nobody wanted a one-person roadblock in the middle of them and their contracts. Now their sales team is split in half. They have an inside sales team that does more high velocity, small mid-market type deals. They are much better suited for the quote tool because the things they're doing are more standardized.
- The enterprise team was a challenge because of the complexity of the deals. It's much harder to build logic into the tool to accommodate that. For them, the biggest benefit has been early conversations and being able to get a price. They couldn't do that before. So they have been thrilled with being able to give out some ballpark numbers on the range of subscription pricing.
The Biggest Challenge in Scaling Revenue Operations
- Change has been the biggest challenge in scaling revenue operations. Allyson is on v.26 of her process builder now. The whole quote line item generation that the tool does is all based on a process builder that she built last summer. She’s starting to think, "At some point, I'm going to have to maybe start over, kind of rebuild." It becomes kind of a Frankenstein which has made her want to reset it.
- Halo’s product price book has grown so much, from four products when they started last year and now they have 20 or 30 various ala carte little things people can add on, new modules that have been built into their subscription. As it grows, that's when you do start to think about maybe buying a more sophisticated tool.
- For Allyson, the timing of purchasing a more sophisticated tool will be when they get solid on the logic behind pricing for their professional services. When they know “these are the questions you ask, and this is what you need,” is when they will feel ready for CPQ.
About the podcast
The RevAmp podcast derives from two words: Revenue + Amplification. This series has been produced specifically to give a voice to the sales and revenue operations professionals who have invaluable experiences to share. We have seen the scope for this role, as well as the recognition, expectations, and tools have rapidly changed over the last couple of years. The reality is that there are not enough high-quality resources for fellow professionals to use as a benchmark or learning curve. DealHub knows how important it is to be well resourced so we have put together this RevAmp podcast for your benefit.
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