With Asia Corbett, Revenue Ops at Bread Payments, Crissy Saunders, CEO at CS2 Marketing and Jeff Ignacio, Sales Ops at AWS
We brought together a panel of popular past speakers to play Family Feud. But it wasn’t all fun and games (actually it was a lot of fun) they shared some insights and introspection on how MOPs professionals can improve alignment across the company, what metrics matter most, and what makes some teams easier to work with than others. We even had a hot take on why we shouldn’t have hot takes!
Jeff Ignacio is currently the Sales Operations Lead, West at AWS. Jeff works with high growth companies who have solved product-market fit and are looking to develop a scalable/repeatable selling process. Jeff maintains that thoughtful execution around scale, automation, partnership, and process is needed to reach the mountain top.
Crissy Saunders is the CEO and Co-Founder of CS2, a B2B SaaS marketing agency started in the heart of Silicon Valley and now supported by a remote team across the US. She has over a decade of experience in marketing operations and demand generation. Crissy constantly strives to learn the best ways to optimize what are known as the 3Ps of Tech Marketing: People, Process, and Performance.
Asia Corbett currently works as Senior Revenue Operations at Bread. She is a staunch supporter of education at all levels of your career. She built on her passion to educate and help direct others to success through her work as a researcher and analyst at DHR International, Bosch, and Stanford University School of Medicine.
In your opinion what is one of the more pressing issues we face right now in operations?
(Jeff) So far it's been a challenging year on the go-to-market front and so it's been a challenge for the last two years really. There is just so much uncertainty with the macroeconomic picture and new elements are popping up. So as business planners and business executor's, trying to stay three steps ahead of dynamically changing markets is top of mind for me.
(Asia) I think something interesting that's happening right now, at least in the B2B SaaS space, is that PLG is a new go-to-market strategy. What does that mean? How does it fit? Can it be hybrid or not? And what does that mean for the different go-to-market teams like marketing and sales? I think PLG is here to stay. We as operators need to understand how to better support it.
(Crissy) My hot take is actually that we need to do away with hot takes. I think one thing that I think we need to collectively move away from having a specific way and stance of doing things. I think we need to get rid of the concept of best practices or the narrative that there is only one way to do something. A person who's an expert, understands their craft, understands that the right solution depends on the situation. So that's not a sexy take for a LinkedIn post but I think we need to embrace nuance and rethink everything that we're doing.
A theme in this round of Family Feud was misalignment in strategy. How as MOPs leaders can we avoid or combat friction or disparate strategies?
(Crissy) I think the biggest problem that I see right now is that the strategy is created in a silo. A lot of the time, the operations team is not involved in those conversations and there's huge implications for that. Your operations team can really provide a lot of insight into what can be done and what resources you actually have to execute on that strategy.
They also are close enough to the data where they can provide reporting around what has been working, what hasn't or what needs to be improved. They're usually the ones down at the end of the line that get thrown into someone else’s strategy and are just asked to execute. That usually causes chaos, friction and poor execution due to the lack of alignment.
(Jeff) It definitely takes a village to set the strategy of the business. I would say if you're going through your planning or your operational cadences, you want the folks in the room who are closest to the data or possess the ability to speak on the execution and risk, because that should inform your strategic pathways.
To echo and double down on what Chrissy said, oftentimes I think marketing ops or rev ops or sales ops folks can and should be brought in earlier. They have that information, the right insights that need to be bubbled back up into those decision-making rooms. That way, when you set strategy, you are not just putting up something that's pie in the sky, but something that is stretched, but also very attainable. And that's something that we can all work towards.
(Asia) This is the reason I'm a fan of ops centralization. I've sat in those siloed teams. It's really hard to see what the other go-to-market operations teams are doing, and difficult to map to what I'm working on and how any of that may affect our projects. So yeah, companies have alignment at the strategic level at the highest level of the business unit, but like why not for operations too?
Asia, you were surprised to see MQL as the number one concern for CMOs. Why?
(Asia) Because it shouldn't be something that's looked at in isolation. People are too focused on just getting MQLs. There's a lot that goes into making sure that we have an appropriate definition of an MQL. There's a whole strategy behind it, but it's only one piece of the marketing puzzle.
We can’t just think about the volume piece. It seems very transactional. It seems disconnected from the end goal. What should they be thinking about? I think the overall marketing sourced pipeline. Channel or program success. What programs are marketing running and what could be better?
(Crissy) Yeah. I mean, I think revenue is obviously the better indicator of a metric to move toward. And I think that the whole revenue team can all share in that. I think one of the biggest problems with organizations is not having a common goal that they're all working toward which then makes it so that they're all working toward different activities, without keeping in mind the other teams. And that causes a lot of dysfunction.
Whatever gets measured gets managed. And with this focus on MQL there's bigger things that could be tracked. Even if you do track MQLs I would try to tie on a conversion rate too. How can you improve that conversion rate to an opportunity or even late stage opportunity? Then you're closer to the revenue goal instead of focusing on pure volume.
It's a safe space. The context matters and we'll give you a chance to discuss it, but give us one that needs the most help.
(Jeff): I’m just thinking you have a histogram chart that says number of tickets inbound internally, then each bar is a team. Let's see. I love them to death, I manage them and lead them. I'm going to say the SDRs.
(Crissy) I’m going to go with, and although they could be self-sufficient sometimes, I still feel like demand gen probably needs a lot of hand-holding and attention.
What teams are easiest to work with and why?
(Asia) I think that product and engineering teams work really well because. Typically they are pretty organized, they have a roadmap. They have weekly sprints. They understand how to push back in a respectful way. I've felt like it's always really productive to work with product or engineering.
(Crissy) I would say my answer might be similar. I think that web teams have always been easiest for me. I think they have a lot of empathy for the marketing operations because of the way that they work. They're thinking about customer experience while also doing something really technical. They too usually work against a roadmap and in sprints.
But ultimately I think the opportunity there is to try and create alignment with those teams so that there isn't so much of a nag or a pull or hand holding. How do we best enable those teams? And so maybe it's trying to rethink how we support them.