Saro Zargarian: How to Create a Great Sales Culture

Posted on Aug 19, 2021

About Saro

Saro Zargarian is the Senior Director of GTM Operations at Blueshift, a SmartHub Customer Data Platform in the marketing automation space that combines customer data, AI, and omnichannel orchestration. They empower their customers to have better marketing performance and make better decisions by helping them make sense out of their data. In this podcast, learn how to create a great sales culture as a team. We also learn that in his free time, Saro is an avid gardener.

Saro shares that as Blueshift has grown, there's been a lot of positive learning, specifically in building, creating, and maturing the right sales culture that supports the revenue operations. In our discussion with Saro, we explore developing a successful sales culture and why it's so important for him to affect the sales culture from the top down. 

The Right Perspective Helps Develop a Good Sales Culture

  • Saro shares that as the sales team has grown, they've been trying to achieve specific revenue targets while scaling the team and the company's footprint globally. From a sales operations and revenue operations perspective, they see anything that touches the customer. And from this perspective, from the sales process to tooling, to being the liaison between marketing, finance, sales, sales engineers, operations can drive change since they have multiple relationships with different leadership roles. 
  • This perspective has helped Saro be a leader in driving for change. His operations team has a significant impact on establishing a good culture and the right mindset in taking on those challenges by working with different teams.

Key Stakeholders Outside of RevOps

  • We asked about the key stakeholders outside of the RevOps team who partner in creating the sales culture. He shared that sales leaders, marketing leaders, specifically product marketing, and finance leaders are the key stakeholders in creating sales culture. Those three pillars help drive the flexibility between the organizations and how well they will work together. Their knowledge, expertise and input help them align towards goals. 
  • Saro often finds that everyone is saying the same thing but in their own language, in a sales language versus a marketing language versus a finance language. RevOps helps cancel out the noise but also translates what each person's trying to say. They deliver a clear message to the other side regarding what they're trying to accomplish.

The Contribution of RevOps to Change Management

  • We asked what is the unique contribution that RevOps makes to change management? Is there something that RevOps uniquely has that makes them a key player in the change management process?
  • Saro shared that RevOps is the Swiss Army Knife of the company. Because revenue operations is go-to-market, they can take a very high level of understanding goals, objectives of the go-to-market strategy, tactics, sales methodology, hiring, scaling, all the way down into the weeds, down to the data. They also look at engagement marketing to prospects, from the engagement of sales to their leads to their prospects. And even on the customer success side with their existing customers, revenue operations see everything. 
  • Understanding the data, knowing how information from the outside comes into the organization, how it's relayed across various teams, and is sent back out to the customer, puts revenue operations in a position to understand the entire business model.
  • RevOps sees the whole business strategy and philosophy model and naturally understands them from a collective level better than anyone else in the company.

Sales Culture Building - Indirect Benefits to Revenue

  • Saro shares an example of how building a sales culture can have indirect benefits on revenue. Having a solid sales enablement leader (or hiring for that position) and building an organization around that will help product marketing deliver the right message or the proper training for the sales organization. It could be market insights to battle cards to positioning. There is no exact revenue number on it, but you're looking to improve the sales org's training, communication, and education to improve their competitive readiness. 

Staying Innovative in RevOps

  • Successes are sometimes short-lived, and then you run out of runway. For RevOps, sales ops, you're looking to stay innovative. The moment you stop innovating, it's a slow death for any company. The Kodak story is an example of this. RevOps must be up to speed on what the market is doing, which direction it's heading, from customers' wants and needs to the new players or competitors who are coming in. That's part of sales enablement's and product marketing's relationship of educating your team on what's going on.
  • There's constant education and investment in awareness. That's the foundation to coming up with the right changes and pivots as the company continues its path. Having a blind eye towards it and just saying, "Hey, we're going to do what we do if everything's going great," nothing's going to happen. Change is inevitable. 
  • As a company, how do you position yourself to be informed so you know when to change and what the change should be? Positioning yourself for change is a practice that you want to have in any company culture and team, regardless of whether they're doing great and it's working or they're looking to improve.

Communication in Change Management

  • We asked Saro about the communication flow in change management within RevOps. He says it's a bottom-up communication with a support and promotion aspect from the top down. You want to have support from the top to emphasize the importance of the change and to paint a bigger picture of why we're doing this and how that benefits everyone. And then from the bottom up are the details, the tactics. From the top down, you get feedback about how to put it into practice and how to communicate it, its cadence, and how to improve and measure it over time. 

The Importance of Hiring Sales Leadership

  • When you're hiring sales managers, not everyone needs to be cut from the same cloth, but people who can align from a process, go-to-market strategy, and sales methodology will help develop a strong sales culture. Having a uniform practice across the board enables the sales reps, from the SDRs to the account executive to the senior account executive, to be able to see a career path for themselves, going from one level to another. 
  • It's important to hire for culture fit. It's vital to have a healthy culture at the leadership level and hire the right sales professionals that fit that model that you want to deliver. We want to grow the company, not just revenue-wise, but the people and their career paths. It's important for them to see a cohesive relationship at the top between the various sales leaders.
  • When you hire sales reps and build a sales org, don't just look for individuals who are great at what they do. Instead, look at how that fits with the culture and the mindset that you're trying to establish across the entire sales organization. Also, look at how the entire sales team aligns with their biggest partners - marketing.
  • Part of the fabric of a healthy corporate culture is having leadership that looks at the career path journey and the investment in people in the earlier stage of their career. Making an investment in people and processes for the greater good of all is essential to developing healthy sales cultures.

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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: Technology, Executive Alignment