Revenue Operations

RevOps through the Lens of a Former SDR

We’re here with RevOps Co-op Content Strategist and President of Central Metric, a RevOps Consultancy, Seb van Heyningen. We will be covering

1. How to make your CRM work for your sales process, not the other way around

2. Modern Demand Gen: How to generate leads without hiring a bunch of SDRs and hoping for the best

3. How to build the RevOps function internally and why it's important, and

4. Why RevOps is an Executive Function.

 

A little more background on Seb:

Seb has worked in Sales since his first SDR position in 2014. A self-titled "hustler", he's completed tens of thousands of cold calls and generated millions of dollars in revenue for various SaaS companies. His experience as a consultant is mostly informed from that time.

Now a RevOps consultant, he has a passion for efficiency and firmly believes that RevOps is an Executive Function.

His firm focuses on Improving processes and using tech to help us all work smarter. It is his mission to make sure our revenue teams of people, process, and technology is working in sync and helping each other succeed.

He's an "ideas" guy that loves to talk strategy, but can also roll up his sleeves and do the work. He's also a published writer and a working DJ open to serious inquiries. His life goals are to win the Super Bowl as the owner of an NFL team and become the world's most famous Un-Billionaire.

Interviewing is Briana Yarborough, RevOps Leader at ASAPP.


Briana Yarborough 

Welcome, Seb! Before we get into the serious topic of all things RevOps, what's been your favorite travel destination; and what outstanding destination still awaits on your bucket list?

I also heard through the grapevine that you are traveling now, just where might you be? 

 

Seb van Heyningen

Hi! 👋 😊 - I am currently juggling my many OOO messages in beautiful Montego Bay, Jamaica.

 

Briana Yarborough 

That is phenomenal! All-inclusive, I hope!

 

Seb van Heyningen

It sure is! My wristband has replaced my wallet for the week 😂 - My favorite destination so far in the US has been Seattle. But I was very lucky. Was there for 5 straight days and it was sunny every one of them. Outside of the US, Thailand is a personal favorite! My grandfather lives there and I visited a few years back. Amazing place.

As for ones I haven't made it to yet. It is a dream of mine to spend at least a month in the continent of Australia.

 

Briana Yarborough

I love a good All-inclusive and I am a HUGE lover of Asia. Phuket & Bangkok were certainly in my top 3 travel destinations along with Tokyo, Japan! Australia also seems beautiful, and is on my travel list! 

I'm also quite interested in how you made the pivot to consulting, what drove that decision for you?

 

Seb van Heyningen   

Ah! Well, I will be asking you for Phuket tips as I am going to be spending Christmas and New Years there with that side of my family (we're Dutch, not Thai. But my Grandfather picked Thailand as his home about 10 years ago).

 

Briana Yarborough

I'm incredibly jealous, and happy to give you my full rundown - I did a ton of research for that trip and my itinerary was jam-packed!

1st tip: Take me with you... 😊

LOL!

 

Seb van Heyningen   

The pivot to consulting was something I always felt was in my future. When I quit my first SDR job, I told my Manager that was where I was headed. Years later, here I am! I think it came partly from the fact that I was a great individual salesperson, but the anxiety kept getting to me. I was still very interested in sales / revenue generation, but my soul couldn't take another quota carrying position. I poured myself into the theoretical and leadership side of this world instead.

Also, I was that SDR that when offered an AE position, I didn't see myself there. This was almost 10 years ago, mind you. But I didn't fit in with that culture, that archetype. I always wanted to go into management / ops instead. Consulting was a great way to both broaden my skill set and still stay on the revenue team.

 

Briana Yarborough  

Makes complete sense and I love that every journey to RevOps is so seemingly different! We all have such incredible value-add based on our lived experiences!

 

Seb van Heyningen   

Indeed! And it helps when we have to work with multiple teams. Our diverse set of experiences is invaluable.

 

Briana Yarborough 

We will have to spend some time on diversity, and fitting the mold in a future session! This is a major topic that I think many would find illuminating!

Pivoting a bit into Sales Process & CRM, As we all know, each business is different, so when you’re designing a sales process and the infrastructure of your CRM, what are the key levers that support you in measuring the success of the workflows & designs that you’ve established?

 

Seb van Heyningen   

We sure do! And I am so, so, SO refreshed to see many companies out there trying to increase diversity in these spaces (Launchsource, re:work, Flockjay, Sales for the Culture, etc).

That’s a great question!! From a technical standpoint, your CRM is the best place to look. We have a rule here at Central Metric in which we always build an accompanying report alongside any built automations. For example: If we have an automation assigning inbound leads to reps....you better believe we have a dashboard updating in real-time telling the management team exactly where each new Lead was assigned. The workflow takes place in the CRM, so the reporting should, too!

Aside from that, talk to your people. Ask them if this workflow is making their job easier or harder. That anecdotal information is often missed, leading to automations that benefit no one, or only one department.

Lastly, success = revenue in this world. If your automations and workflows aren't helping people bring in more revenue...they aren't working.

 

Anastasiia  

Hi 👋, if you could give one piece of advice to a company that's only just starting to build inbound channels, what would it be? (Asking for a friend, obviously.) 

 

Seb van Heyningen   

Hey Anastasiia!! I would say that the key is to make the actions you want as easy as possible for your prospects to do. Cut your inbound request forms to 1-3 fields at the most, add an inbound chat bot, maybe even stop gating your content. You want people to have a good experience so that they get value and come back.

I have so many more, too! Run your inbound strategy by one of your current clients to see if they'd be hooked. Map out the journey from inquiry to opportunity so it is clear. Iterate on your content and have someone own the function. The list goes on and on 😊.

 

Anastasiia

Great advice, thanks!

 

Briana Yarborough  

Really love that feedback and I've done it before but am also currently working to build this structure at my current organization.. It's the thrill of the game and only Ops mindsets hold the key to the castle! Fantastic advice!

 

Seb van Heyningen   

Yes!! I love to see it. More and more companies are embracing Inbound not just as a helpful boost to outbound, but as a core part of their revenue generating strategy. We've moved past the 100s of blind cold calls phase of building a business.

 

Briana Yarborough 

Your last reply was a great segue into my last question!

What would be your approach to managing modern demand generation for a B2B enterprise SaaS organization without any SDRs and only full cycle AEs and technology on your side?

 

Seb van Heyningen 

Ha! Some sales leaders are actually anti-SDR. Scott Leese comes to mind. Idk how I feel about this since my whole career was built from the SDR-function...but we don't need to assembly-line our sales process.

My advice for modern demand gen B2B enterprise orgs is to empower your reps to be experts in their field.

Their word needs to be trusted BEFORE anyone takes the meeting. They need to meet their prospects on their level of understanding and be seen as trusted advisors rather than software slingers.

A rule of thumb I try to install in any modern demand gen team: Your outreach has to communicate value regardless of your product or service. it has to be worth it to the prospect to talk to you even if they never become a client.

 

Briana Yarborough

More sales leaders than I would've ever expected, especially in founder-led organizations that sway the company in the latest and greatest direction, they think will make the company go viral overnight.

Tell me more about RevOps as an Executive Function. Sure, change is managed from the top-down and you have to have buy-in but how can we influence this sort of philosophy when we are not seeing C-level RevOps roles and the CRO has many other objectives and priorities that sometimes do not include RevOps at the top of that list? 

And if this is not what you mean by RevOps as an Executive Function, please elaborate further!

 

Seb van Heyningen 

You are right, Briana. Some founders think their products sell themselves and that once they show up to the market, people will beat their doors down. That's not often the case. It takes time, resources, and investment to get there.

 

James Tod

Our primary GTM is via Channel/Distribution and our ACV is ~£1,200. Due to this our Channel Sales Reps are often not involved in the deals and only know about them once the order is placed. How can CRM support them and their process that is primarily focussed on supporting their partners and training them on our offering?

 

Seb van Heyningen 

Hey, James! That's one that many companies (including mine) are trying to figure out. You're not alone in that undertaking. I'd want to know more about how exactly your channel partners are selling your services, logistically. Outside of maintaining that personal touch, you can generate custom referral links for each partner to track how many opportunities they bring in, ask them what content they need to help close deals for you and build it for them, or even add them as guest users into your CRM and incentivize them to maintain clean data (that last one is the least realistic).

 

James Tod

Thanks Seb!

Tracking ops being brought in, maybe you can give feedback on this idea that we’re running with right now - Partners can purchase (by adding their customers) directly in our product. We’re currently implementing SFDC, integrated with our production database. The value being we will see in real time the growth within channel partners as ‘self serve’ along with the ops they need hand holding with (that will be logged as an Opportunity managed by their rep).

We’re mulling over giving partners CRM access (restricted of course!) and treating it as a Partner Management System so we have visibility of their pipelines, but maybe this would be too much and they wouldn’t actually use it!

Is there anyone in this group who works in a predominately Channel/Distribution environment? I’d love to pick your brains on how SalesOps support your channel teams if so!

 

Seb van Heyningen 

Sounds like a great topic for a future AMA or Hangout, James. I am 100% certain there are people here that fit that description.

 

Briana Yarborough  

And to add to my earlier question, we also rarely see anything above Director in RevOps! This is slowly changing but also a valid point to include…

 

Seb van Heyningen 

We are definitely not there yet from a Leadership standpoint, but we have been there for years from the tech standpoint.

When I say that RevOps is an Executive function, I mean that every Executive decision MUST be filtered through the eyes of a RevOps professional. No matter what decision you make, it will impact the people, process, and technologies already in place at your company. RevOps provides that perspective. 

A simple example:

A CRO wants to sell into a new market next quarter. RevOps can surface client data to validate if that's even a good idea. RevOps will find the data of this new target market. RevOps will update the CRM so that we can report on the success of this initiative. In some cases, RevOps will even help develop the product to better service this new market! So I guess what I'm saying is that CROs are already going through this whether they like it or not.

 

Briana Yarborough 

I fully agree, we are the lifeline of the organization and our decisions hold insurmountable weight that could make or break the organization!

 

Seb van Heyningen 

So why not just invite the RevOps leader into the strategy meetings since they will need to execute this strategy in the larger org and can tell you whether or not it will work with more accuracy than a strategic leader?

  

Briana Yarborough

YOU NAILED IT. I imagine things are a bit different for you now as a consultant. What recommendations would you have for others looking to go that route?

 

Seb van Heyningen 

For me, the experience of working at another consultancy was invaluable. My first consulting gig was at Skaled. Looking back at myself then, I had no idea how to run a business. I had a decent network, but no one had any reason to trust me as a consultant other than my record as an SDR. The ability to focus on just one project at a time, start out in a junior role on an already staffed project, and learn from more experienced consultants are the reasons I was able to go out on my own. So my advice is to find a consultancy that is looking for talent in a field that you understand. And build from there.

If that's not an option for you, then start as a freelancer on Upwork or one of those similar sites. And dive DEEP into your network to find that first client. Consulting is all about trusting that the person you're bringing in knows what they're talking about. Your network of people that you have worked with is the best pool of people to start looking for gigs.

 

Briana Yarborough

As we explore RevOps and its importance, what would the perfect RevOps function look like in your opinion, and why would each aspect be critical to the performance of the organization and its ability to grow revenue?

 

Seb van Heyningen 

The Perfect RevOps function 🤔 - I think that would be one where we have as close to real-time data on our buyer journey / revenue model as humanly possible. So that way the leaders of Marketing, Sales, and Success can come together and make nothing but informed decisions. I'd also add that our reps and individual contributors are all invested in and happy with the current process, because that's partially what gives us that real-time data. If you add to that an internal ticketing process that makes it easy to iterate and improve on systems....Well I don't think I have yet seen a RevOps function THAT perfect yet.

 

Briana Yarborough

I'm taking notes and definitely going to have some conversations with my team!!!

As we wind down on time, I want to thank you SO much for your time and sharing your wealth of knowledge. Very last question - is there any advice you'd like to give to people who haven't made the leap to RevOps yet or are coming from a siloed operations team, or maybe even want to get into consultancy themselves?

 

Seb van Heyningen 

Yes! Hit me up. Please DM me. We are looking for consultants and have an overflow of demand at the moment 😉.

But aside from that, I am always happy to share my story, make connections to people in my network, etc. I think joining a group like this one is a great first step. There are a ton of awesome consultancies (Looking at you, THEIA, RevPartners, and Remotish) that might have openings too. 😊 This is a growing community and we're all here to help each other out.

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