Asia Corbett: How to Succeed in a Small Revenue Operations Team

Posted on Jul 01, 2021

About Asia

Asia Corbett recently became the Head of Revenue and Community Operations at RevGenius. Asia loves supporting the Revenue Operations community so it is quite fitting that she joined RevGenius, a community of 14,000+ members all looking to grow with each other. In this podcast, Asia covers the soft skills, communication methods, and processes needed to succeed in a small RevOperations team, many of which could be also be applied to much bigger companies.

Prerequisites for Success in Revenue Operations

  • Asia shares that there is an idea that if you want to be successful in revenue operations, you need to have a very strong technical background. If you look at jobs postings, you see requirements like experience with SQL, Tableau, and Salesforce. She doesn’t believe those are necessary to be a successful, helpful, supportive revenue operations person.
  • What you do need are flexibility and adaptability. You need to be able to learn quickly. The process and project management skills are undervalued or are not highlighted. Data analysis is important and you should be able to understand how to get that information if you can't do it yourself. But those are less important skills than being able to design a project. Building something in your CRM is a project. You're going to need to know how to start it, communicate milestones, and put together business requirements and technical requirements. And then, if you have to build it, you can build it. Or you can give those to somebody else and they can build it.

Project Management vs. Process Management

  • Discussing the difference between project management and process management, Asia shares that a project has a start and end date. And a process is ongoing. For example, the inbound lead routing process doesn't have a start and stop day. You're always going to get in leads. They're always going to come in, need to be scored, and then assigned, and then worked. Whereas if you have a project, like building a lead writing system. That has a start date. You have your process. You design what the automation looks like. Then that's the end. But the process still goes on. You have to be able to do both. You have to be able to think about something from conception.
  • Process management in relation to revenue operations is the idea that revenue is never a finished or complete state. You're always trying to achieve, generate, execute revenue. So therefore the process is always ongoing because there's always a flywheel of learning and optimizing feedback. So the process never ends. But the projects are milestones within the process where you set things up, you get them to work, and you connect them to other things. 

Managing Processes in Revenue Operations

  • We asked Asia about managing processes within the realm of revenue operations when speaking to a team outside rev ops, such as the CFO or the legal team. What does that relationship look like? How do you get it all to work together for one common purpose?
  • Asia shares that you need to set up time to meet with these people and communicate with them face to face, whether you get to be in an office or not, because Slack can be misinterpreted. Setting up some time on a cadence to sync with the different departments that revenue operations touch is something she does. Bring up projects from other functional areas and say, "Hey, we have this project and it actually touches your area. This is how it's going to impact you. Or is there anything else that we need to consider? How else do you want to be involved?" 
  • An example is the lead routing inbound process. Two different teams were using the same data set, but reporting on different definitions of what an SQL is, for example. Both sides are like, “There's something wrong with our system because look at this report, it says one thing. And this report I have says another thing.” It's the same data. It's actually the same report. There were just different filters on it. So technically, nothing is wrong with the system, and nothing is incorrect in the report. It's just that these two teams were literally not using the same definition of this metric. That is a very important metric that bubbles up to the executive team. A discussion helped them determine the definition of the metric and how they’re going to report on it. 

The Role of the Revenue Operations Team

  • There’s a misconception that rev ops are a support team or system admins (i.e., Can you just fix this bug? Or, can you build me something in Salesforce? Can you automate this?) While those are components of the job, that’s not all that revenue operations is. Going back to processes, you have this person who brings teams together to define and document metrics and processes. Revenue operations, practitioners and leaders, are not just system admins. 
  • The definition and the scope of the role are still being defined, explored, expanded. How will the role of Revenue Operations evolve over the next 12 months since it’s still a newer role? Asia shared that seemingly a lot of sales operations rebranded as revenue operations. When you look at job postings, companies want a rev ops person. But what they're really looking for is a sales ops person. Over the next 12 months, we're going to see, hopefully, a decoupling of those things.
  • A rev ops person is going to be focused on not just one functional area, it's going to be the whole revenue engine. It's going to be marketing, sales, customer success, and probably product as well. Asia thinks we'll start to see a divergence of those things a little bit more. Revenue operations sitting at the top can align all of those groups together under the same goal, which is to support the revenue teams and what they do to bring in more revenue.
  • The rev ops person is probably going to in a leadership role over those functional groups. In a small company, you can't have a team of individual sales ops and marketing ops and customer success ops people. So I have to do all of those things. But hopefully, as companies start to see the value, as we can start to show what revenue operations is, why it's different from these technical pieces, companies will understand that. And they'll say, we need to have a team and rev ops needs to be a department. We're not going to hire just one person at a time. We're going to say, okay, here's this person, go build your team. Similar to sales or marketing.
  • As the team builds out, the shifts will be in parallel, moving from tactical tasks to strategic thinking. There will be more capacity for that when there are more hands. It takes a lot of focus and organization to keep things moving. Mentally switching from the tactical stuff to strategic thinking takes a lot. 

Go-to-Market Strategy in Revenue Operations

  • It’s hard to be super strategic when you go to market, you're doing a lot of testing, execution, building. And being strategic is a luxury unless you have enough data to have a deep level of reflection and insight. At some point, you're creating the data by going to market. When you do that for long enough, you can probably look back and say, this is what we've learned. 
  • You can iterate on your plan, but you still have to have one. You still have to know what your goal is. You're still going to be doing strategy. You can't just go and do stuff. You have to know what you're doing the stuff for. For example, you want to go to market. Think, “What is the goal of that first go-to-market motion? Acquire a hundred customers. Okay, great. How are we going to do that? ABC. Okay, great.”
  • Then, get our data by doing the steps. Then you come back and do a post-mortem and say, "Okay, all right. What was successful? What can we do differently? What can we do better? Do we still want to do this? Do we still have the same goal or not?" That's how strategy and tactics work together. 
  • We asked Asia, in terms of go-to-market operations, how to get it right from a rev ops point of view? She recommends starting early with the rev ops organization person. It can be one person. Bring on a generalist and focus on taking a catalog or inventory of your go-to-market processes. Then look at your systems and how they're designed to support those processes. And then, how are those supporting the people? And then if you have some gaps, start to iterate and start to say, "Hey, here's the proposed solution. Let's get everyone together. Let's agree on it. And then let's go execute." And then constantly change if you need to.

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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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Topics: Process Building