Revenue Operations

Breaking Down Silos, In More Ways Than One

This week was a treat! We spoke with Briana Yarborough, RevOps Leader, Co-Founder & Advisor.

We covered a ton of topics, but started with a top 3 of  

1. RevOps & BI as an evolutionary framework

2. Finding your Tribe

3. What it means to be a Sponsor, and why it’s important for DEI/ Intersectionality in Revenue.

Our moderator for this week was RevOps Co-op Content Strategist and President of Central Metric, Seb van Heyningen.


A little background on Briana


Briana is a RevOps Leader and serves as an advisor and executive leader for several high-growth start ups where she utilizes her expertise in GTM strategy, SaaS, Supply Chain, Revenue Operations, Strategy, General Operations, Finance, Procurement, and Business Intelligence. 


She also serves as an active thought leader of RevOps in multiple revenue communities and as a champion and engaging member for a number of communities created for marginalized groups.


Outside of work, Briana is married and lives with her wife, a rambunctious toddler, the cutest Pomeranian you’ve ever seen & their Au Pair from Kazakhstan. She is a resilient leader who values transparency, empowerment and innovation who is data-driven, results-oriented and passionate about DEI, research, innovative technologies, people/ relationships and operational efficiency.



Seb van Heyningen

We've made it! First off, thank you so so much and welcome to the hot seat Briana Yarborough. For those that do not know, Briana is an advisor and executive leader for several high-growth start ups where she utilizes her expertise in GTM strategy, SaaS, Supply Chain, Revenue Operations, Strategy, General Operations, Finance, Procurement, and Business Intelligence.


We'll focus our questions on the below 3 topics, but with the amount of knowledge and experience that she has under her belt, I'm sure we can go a bit off topic if you have a specific question.


1. RevOps & BI as an evolutionary framework

2. Finding your Tribe

3. What it means to be a Sponsor, and why it’s important for DEI/ Intersectionality in Revenue.


So we will start with the obvious question: What is your personal definition of RevOps, and how did you come up with it?


Briana Yarborough

My personal definition of RevOps is the foundational requirements necessary for establishing a Revenue Engine - in what ways can we create sustainable practices that grow revenue, make it easier to grow revenue and do it all with as minimal effort as possible via technology. That, and processes that break down the Art & Science of a GTM/ Buyer's Journey motion.


Art & Science - Data, People, Tools, Insights, & Influence!!


I think my diverse background in Finance, BI, and so on.. really helped me hone in on the definition that I've expressed above. Coming into RevOps with so much knowledge of how other department operate has been my most obvious key to success


Seb van Heyningen

Wow! What a holistic and thoughtful answer. Definitely the most well rounded answer I've seen to that question. It certainly supports your point on the Finance & BI background. That is a great perspective. Especially for leaders that came into RevOps from other functions.


Briana Yarborough

Thanks Seb! I've found at every org, the most immediate "Art project" is breaking down those silos!


Seb van Heyningen

Interesting! Let's dig a little deeper into that. As RevOps Leaders, we're often asked to break down silos and make sure sometimes disparate departments are working together. How do you go about that and advice to others?


Briana Yarborough

Data is my best friend. When you have siloed departments - they are often selfishly focused on what’s important to them. RevOps takes a holistic business performance perspective and via benchmarking and modeling, I can show others what great actually looks like.


When I encounter resistance or a difficult leader to sway, I stay on top of them, I set up recurring meetings to build rapport, and I inquire about the pain-points or friction they've seen in their function and help them think through how RevOps would support progression in that area.


My favorite way of creating alignment is by appointing working groups to solve big OKR-type problems and appointing someone from each business unit so their voices are present and a part of the solution.


Project planning, prioritizing initiative & managing in every direction is a RevOps superpower.


Rhett Hartsfield (Vertify)

Data is hard to argue with! Which is why I assume it's helpful to show that to people in creating a "Revenue Engine" like you said. And this might be what you mean by "rapport", but how do you rally those teams to be focused on revenue with a strong, inclusive, empowering culture? Like,  not communicating - "your worth to the company is measured in revenue".



Briana Yarborough

Rhett, my favorite way of motivating and "showing love" to the peers supporting these efforts is by shouting them out and giving them recognition for their efforts at every opportunity; I underscore this by saying something like "this truly embodied our organization's core value of innovation" (or whatever company value applies) and I do it publicly via Slack or large meetings and that just feels good. It makes for building great relationships, ensuring others are feeling appreciated for the work they are doing and creates evangelists in the mission of establishing that Revenue Engine!


Jeff Ignacio

Morning, Briana, appreciate you doing this AMA!


Briana Yarborough

Hi, Jeff! Glad to be engaging and supporting our wonderful RevOps community in this way!


Jen Bergren

Hi, Briana! Thanks for answering questions! I see the awesome bullet about DEI/intersectionality in Revenue on the graphic about the chat. Do you have a best practice or advice for recruiting and attracting people of different backgrounds to RevOps roles?


Briana Yarborough

100%, Jen, I am all about community and I have tons of RevOps AND DEI in Tech communities that I'm a part of. Power to Fly, Tribaja, & Jopwell are all amazing recruiting sites and there are also some incredible communities like Sista Circle - Black Women in Tech & Hire Black Initiative. I recently did a brunch for the local Sista Circle group and had 50 women show up from all sorts of tech companies and it was a really powerful experience! The common denominator was that our orgs did not prioritize diversity and we were far and few between others that look like us and representation truly matters!


The other part of this is retention, internal practices matter just as much as hitting a diversity recruiting quota.


If anyone ever wants me to share jobs in my networks, I will gladly do so!!


Nitish Sadasivan

Hi, Briana, thanks for doing the AMA!  Are there any reference books which you can share on RevOps to learn the best practices, frameworks and case studies? Any pointers will help, thanks.


Briana Yarborough

Nitish, I have yet to come across a RevOps book and most of my learnings have come from self-education and communities like this one. If I had to name a book, I would suggest Five Dysfunctions of a Team.... it correlates with the art of RevOps I spoke to and if you fail at garnering buy-in from others, you likely won't succeed in rolling out a RevOps function.


Cliff

Briana, how would you recommend someone in SalesOps bring the idea of switching to Revops to their ExecTeam or Board?


Briana Yarborough

Cliff, of course you know this is no easy feat... I've had to do it myself before and I did so by showing how inconsistent each functions' priorities were and how unaligned their initiatives were with our bottom line which is always growth... I designed a workflow that clearly designated our end goal ($xxM annual ARR) and reverse engineered how each department would contribute to that goal via expanding our reach for pipeline gen, upselling, variable growth, loyalty, brand awareness and renewals and being able to report out on progress for each section of the buyer's journey with KPIs and business reviews on a regular operational cadence.


I brought facts from highly-regarded researchers.... and was able to put the plan in motion that resulted in 3x growth in ARR.


Griffin Lee

I saw a statement above starting out with “data is hard to argue with” - agreed. However, some Revenue leaders argue outcomes are harder to argue with…My thought: true in a sense, however what if you had the data to improve outcomes…How do you go about educating your peers on why your revenue folks should care about data? Ps. I hear some CROs dont even look or care about Salesforce for example


Briana Yarborough

The proof is in the pudding. They may not care about a single campaign's numbers or today's pipeline review but trending reports, strategy sessions and evaluating each stage of the flywheel to see how performance has tracked PoP is highly convincing. I can attest to leadership avoiding technology and would recommend sending weekly reports via email and/ or holding operational cadence calls to review the data and point out insights. Our actions define the outcomes and we can only validate positive business performance by tracking and reporting on data that will inform us on how our strategies are panning out. Strategies include things like:


1) pipeline gen (inbound, outbound, social, webinars, etc. campaigns)

2) activity engagement - # of calls, emails, meetings we are having

3) conversation rates - win/loss ratio, lead to MQL, MQL to SQL and timing for each stage…


There is much more to this but hopefully this gives you a good foundation for understanding and being equipped to garner buy-in on the importance of data and will support your efforts in influencing and creating evangelists at your organization. 


Erin O'Neill (RevOps Co-op)

Briana, I am so curious about this idea of Sponsorship - what is your experience with it in your own career and what advice would you give others looking to obtain a Sponsor?


Briana Yarborough

Erin, what a phenomenal question to close out with! Sponsorship is something the POC community sees very little of. I've personally had experiences where I was twice as educated, and twice as experienced yet passed over for an opportunity because an executive sponsor gave it to his "understudy"... maybe a college buddy's kid or the like.


Sponsorship is not spoken of often but it certainly should evolve. I don't personally have a sponsor and am using my voice to advocate for the recognition of inequality that this brings and hope that executives with authority and power to make decisions notice that POC need sponsorship too. Mentorship is no longer good enough and purely guidance and advice. Sponsorship is advocating for someone to level up in their career based on your own accomplishments as a leader... Sticking your neck out to give them opportunity. 


Erin O'Neill (RevOps Co-op)

Thank you, Briana! You are so right. That gets my gears turning for community programming ideas for sure!


Seb van Heyningen

Amazing! Thank you again, Briana. We have all benefited from your time and appreciate your thoughtful responses.


Briana Yarborough

I appreciate you having me and appreciate the incredible engagement from the community!! Always here for one offs if anyone wants to continue the conversation.


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