Revenue Operations

Embrace the Force & Get Technical

Nicole Smith, Head of Revenue Operations at Greenlight Guru, talks about RevOps skills, gamification in training, benefits of learning, and ensuring the process creates warm fuzzies.


You know that feeling you got when you finished university and thought, “phew, I don’t have to go through that again”?. If there’s anything to know about RevOps, it’s that change is constant. Learning is continual if you want to stay up-to-speed. 


We chatted with Nicole Smith, Head of Revenue Operations at Greenlight Guru, a provider of QMS software for organizations that sell medical devices. She shared her thoughts on what skills are most beneficial in RevOps, where to get them, and why continuing that pursuit of more learning is so important - especially now as RevOps comes into its own as a field. 


She sees Salesforce as, well, THE force. Not quite the Force in Star Wars, but pretty damn close. She believes in open minded exploration of RevOps systems, exploring real needs, and learning to say no (with an explanation). 


“Revenue operations is still growing and being defined,” she says. “So as cheesy as it sounds, we’re really in a spot where we still get to be a part of what that definition is. What I’m seeing more in the operation space is new technologies are being delivered every day and new features are coming out every day.”


People in the field are adapting, and they have to look at their skills to make a call on what needs an upgrade or maybe even an overhaul. 

Skills in High Demand

The top one? No surprise here: 

It’s communication. 


Yes, you work in a cross-functional area that touches on “Communications,” but we don’t mean that. We mean the day-to-day communication where you chat with the sales team about needs and make sure there is complete transparency about how the technology is changing (or isn’t) to better meet their needs. 


But there must also be development in the skill of teasing out wants from needs. Wants can be mercurial depending upon who is asking and what criteria is being applied. RevOps team members need to get good at defining the overall needs of the teams using the system so that there aren’t 500 fields with only 35 of them really being used. 


Another skill would be in the specific tech a company has. So, Nicole focuses on Salesforce. Other companies may want to see skills in Zoho, HubSpot or other systems. She adds, however, that simply knowing how to leverage those technologies can be a skill in itself. 


“The more we leverage technology, the easier it makes it for our reps to sell, which means it makes it a lot easier for our buyers to buy,” she says. 


Skills also need to include an understanding of the depths of the system in a way that allows for scalable options that work for all departments. This means what works now for sales is going to be able to be modified easily and work later for customer success. What works in six months for customer retention is going to help in two years when sales to reconnects with that original customer.


Learning these skills can feel daunting. Wouldn’t you rather binge Netflix or Crave than take another course? But wait for it... 


Course offerings are getting kind of addictive too, and with online options, you can still wear your comfy pants.

Where do I learn?

Because Salesforce is her go-to, Nicole believes in the gamification of Trailhead for training. 


“From a Salesforce perspective, I don’t think you can really get better than Trailhead,” she says. “They make it fun. If you are somebody that’s really into gamification and getting points, and getting rewards, like I am, then you love it.”


She also likes Trailhead for the ability to implement solutions and try them out.


HubSpot is a tool she sees as being easy to use which reduces the training time required.


“It’s really quite simple to set it up,” she says. “Then in terms of customer success, I think the two major ones I’ve seen in the market are probably Salesforce and Zendesk, and Gainsight is a major player in the customer success metrics space.”


Then, there’s our shameless plug for the RevOps Co-op. Hang out here and learn from your peers!

What do I gain?

Look, we’re not so altruistic to say “hey, it’s for the good of your company,” and leave it at that. 


Instead, let’s focus on bragging rights and feeling like a rockstar on their first tour.You’ll have skills that allow you to make a difference immediately out of the gate (or tour bus).


You’ll have knowledge to create consistency within the systems and tech while also understanding how process is essential, and then be able to bring it down to an operational level. 


“You can build processes all day long. If you can’t operationalize it, there’s nothing you can do with it,” Nicole says. “What’s been a real game-changer for me is the fact that I can take the technology and operationalize it in a really sophisticated way.”


And process needs to be solid - like the promoter that brings the rockstar his gummy bears and Zima.


“I think additionally you have folks who really need to be in lock step to make sure that we have a solid process in place,” she says. “Where the buyers get the warm fuzzies everytime.”


Additional training also allows you to learn how the tech integrates with other organizational tools to make everyone’s life easier. This is adaptable to other systems should you wish to (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) change employers in the future. 


You want to be seen as a problem solver, no matter where you find yourself. 


Maybe the biggest skill Nicole talked about was the ability to know when, and how, to say no. 


“We have to be okay with saying no. There’s a valid reason,” she says. “Here’s some alternatives to how we get that done.”


‘No’ is an important word in an industry that’s changing constantly and taking you with it. Get out of that groove on the couch and give a little bit of time to yourself to explore your education and see what Nicole is talking about. 


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