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Revenue Operations
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Moving to a New Company With a Different CRM

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One of my biggest pet peeves as someone who has spent more than fifteen years in revenue operations is when an operations professional sinks their heels in and refuses to work with different platforms. While this mentality makes sense for people who are deeply specialized and either act as a technical consultant or in-house specialist at a larger organization, it doesn’t make sense for aspiring revenue operations leaders.

For those of you keeping track, 15 years is well before revenue operations was a thing. I started out as a CRM administrator and analyst before Salesforce was a known entity. I’ve helped manage Microsoft SQL Server and developed “freebie” warehouses using PostgreSQL, MySQL, and even Microsoft Access back in the day (would not recommend - 0 stars). I’ve been an administrator for Salesforce (since 2007), Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot, and other more obscure platforms. I was known as a “fixer” and was asked to diagnose major issues and find solutions across sales, marketing, and customer success. I have spent equal time across those siloed operations teams.

After all that time, I’ve learned time and again that the Tech Stack matters less than:

  • The leadership team’s commitment to system and process adoption
  • The CEO’s devotion to cross-functional alignment
  • The system administrator’s dedication to balancing user benefits and executive demands for data collection
  • The skill of the revenue operators who gather requirements
  • The efficacy of your change management

Not convinced?

Trust me. I’ve heard it all. You love Salesforce because it’s robust and customizable. You love HubSpot for its simplicity. You love Dynamics….OK, no one actually loves Dynamics, but some people insist on sticking to what they know.

every product does everything according to marketing
Every CRM has problems. Some have more. But the disappointment is real. #amirite

The truth is that all of the CRMs on the market have drawbacks. All have strengths. And one day, something will come along that eclipses the behemoth Salesforce. The only constant in technology is change. So why limit your job options by turning down an opportunity because the Rev Tech Stack isn’t what you’re used to?

Which skills matter most when hiring a CRM administrator?

Unfortunately, not every hiring manager ::gets:: that the most valuable skills an administrator should have are transferable skills. Best practices, logic fueling workflows, and the need to prioritize usability and utility should look the same across companies regardless of their CRM of choice.

This, my friends, is why it’s so crucial that revenue operations professionals understand that technology isn’t what makes a revenue operator a “rockstar.” The skills that make an administrator excellent at their jobs are:

  • The ability to translate business needs into system requirements.
  • Their connection to end users and ability to get meaningful feedback.
  • The distance from their work that is needed to hear when something isn’t working and correct it.
  • Communication! Lots of it. Especially when a major system change happens.
  • Visualizing workflows and understanding the logic necessary to move from step to step.
  • An understanding of how data works in databases and how that correlates to system configuration.
  • Humility and a rare ability to understand that your data is only as good as your end user’s perception that the systems help them do their jobs better.

A good revenue operator understands that their job is selling, managing without influence, and convincing leadership that they can only accurately report to the board if they support system adoption.

RevOps hire getting frustrated with new company
A universal RevOps experience regardless of the CRM.

It’s equally crucial for the system administrator to understand how different objects are connected, the limitations of in-app reporting, the tools available to them to augment reporting, and how to make it all work together. 

When I hire a Salesforce administrator, I want to hear how they plan to set up the system to capture KPIs. Are they familiar with pipeline velocity, time to close, and conversion rates from qualified lead to qualified opportunity? How have they done this in the past? What did they learn from how they did things? How would they plan to do this again?

When I hire a HubSpot administrator, I want to hear how they plan to set up the system to capture KPIs. Are they familiar with pipeline velocity, time to close, and conversion rates from qualified lead to qualified opportunity? How have they done this in the past? What did they learn from how they did things? How would they plan to do this again?

The answers should be a bit different due to the limitations unique to each platform. I also don’t believe there’s one “right way” to do just about anything. If I’m interviewing an administrator, I’ll give them equal credit for explaining how they’ve solved something in another system and bonus points for proactively researching how the new system works differently.

But hiring managers don’t GET it and insist on system-specific experience.

Sometimes, hiring managers really don’t get it. They believe that their setup is the unique ecosystem that will rule them all. All Tech Stacks have major issues that need to be addressed, and what the company needs evolves over time. 

(This is why RevOps has job security! We will never run out of stuff to do.)

Sometimes, the candidate doesn’t showcase their skills and avoids questions by saying, “I haven’t been an administrator for <CRM A>.” Or they turn down subsequent interviews after the recruiter screening reveals the CRM of choice doesn’t align with what they know.

Here are a few things I’ve personally seen work either as a candidate or hiring manager.

Give a “like” example for something you haven’t done before.

I can’t emphasize this enough to people who are interviewing:

Give clear examples of when you performed a similar task. Explain why you think it’s similar. Talk about what went right and wrong and what you’d do differently next time. Ask if they want to hear more details or see a sketch of the workflow.

I had someone interview for a HubSpot administrator position focusing on marketing automation. The person had experience in MailChimp and explained how they set up drip campaigns when I asked how they handled something like a newsletter sign-up. The person was also able to answer my questions about segmenting their contact database. I hired them.

If you’re not sure if the example you’ve thought up will match up, ask the person questions. “What kind of workflow does that use? How many teams were involved? What was the use case?”

snarky RevOps costume description
Another CRM-agnositc RevOps experience. Are you having fun yet?

Better yet, explain you haven’t seen that yet, but you have experience with requirements gathering and solutioning, so you would like to hear more about the business use case, which end users are impacted, and if there are any measurement requirements from leadership related to the request (if not already covered in the use case). Or ask them if they would like an example of when you created a solution to a business problem that sounds similar in nature.

Be honest about what you’ve done. And realize that being honest includes communicating similar experiences in a different environment.

Use online resources like Salesforce Trailhead.

Recently I overheard someone say that Salesforce Trailhead was “useless because everything is so high level.”

I nearly fell over and wanted to ask, “Which courses were you taking? The salesperson tutorial?”

HubSpot, Salesforce, and Marketo all have amazing documentation. As someone who has also been responsible for creating A LOT of technical enablement documentation, I have aspired to mimic Trailhead. They use humor, give real examples, and make you do the exercises in a Dev environment.

Instead of following the standard tracks or “intro” courses, ask yourself what you had to figure out and customize in your original CRM. Did you build workflows in HubSpot to solve something? Were you asked to create reports that were impossible in-app? Start your Trailhead research by searching for a solution to a common problem.

Online education is only as valuable as the effort you put into it. And sometimes you need to wade through a lot of content to find what is useful.

A few of my favorite Trailhead categories include:

  • Superbadges focused on Lightning, App Building & Process Builders
  • Trails about: Data management, object basics (these are tedious but important), data security, reporting, and process best practices

I’ve taken over 74 trails over the years and some were worth it while others weren’t. Start with the problems your organization faced and look for trails that are related. Don’t start with 101 basics if you already have a solid foundation in CRM administration.

Leverage the community.

I’m surprised how few people take advantage of webinar panelists and speakers who offer to share their expertise. Do they not seem knowledgeable? Or do people get intimidated?

I’m not sure. But you better believe that if I were job hunting and needed some mentorship, I would take them up on the offer!

What’s the worst they could say? No? Ghost you?

sales management lead routing complex vs reality
Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. You?

While our community members are generous and often eager to jump on a 1:1 Zoom with someone asking for help, we can’t keep up with every Slack message. If you see someone give in-depth answers to questions related to your problem or hear a super sharp speaker on a webinar, contact them.

Don’t wait for knowledgeable people to find you and make the offer. Go out on a limb and take a chance. While I can’t promise you’ll get the information you’re looking for, I do know that I’m happy to jump on a call with someone who sincerely wants to exchange knowledge or talk about my experience in a similar scenario.

Looking for more great content? Check out our blog and join the community.

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