Today’s B2B SaaS marketplace is competitive no matter who you are selling to and with so many similar product options, it's very difficult to predict which will win and which will lose. One thing is certain. The companies with the most efficient and effective operations are most likely to be the kings of the castle with RevOps playing a key role in that success.
Abhijeet Vijayvergiya saw the pain points inherent in front-line B2B data throughout his career. Too many things were lacking. There were too many gaps. Data existed in various disparate places, and wasn’t consistently shared or synced across systems. He knew there was a better way, so he set out to solve the problem himself - as Co-Founder and CEO of Nektar.ai, an automated platform that brings funnel activity and buyer data together to the front-lines.
And don’t the best solutions come from personal experience?
“I personally faced most of these pain points. They were due to poor visibility of data, lack of collaboration, siloed functions and disconnected systems,” he says. “It just created so much difficulty in terms of scaling.”
It was easy enough to make things work with five sales reps, but as the team grew from 5 to 20 to 50 and beyond, it became more and more difficult to support everyone’s success.
“It was getting very difficult to work out our SaaS metrics and learn those problems that I faced around predictability and efficient revenue growth,” he notes.
A lot of solutions came about when he put more resources and energy into his internal RevOps team, but everything they did was customized to them. What he built at first was a service option, not a software platform. Through all of this custom solution building, Abhijeet came up with the idea for Nektar.
“It starts connecting all of those other data sources, tools and systems,” he says. “It’s a very common practice for bigger companies and teams but our vision was to help mid-market companies use these kinds of efficient processes.”
Who follows a sales process? A salesperson.
And who follows a buyer's journey? Yep, you guessed it, the buyer. If companies are to be buyer-centric, they must stay focused on the process the buyer wants to follow and value that above the process that the sales team wants to follow.
“You need to map that buyer journey and that will come as we start capturing data,” Abhijeet says. “Data becomes absolutely critical.”
Much of the data through the process doesn’t make its way into the CRM. He stresses that fixing the data gap is very important.
“Second, some of the tools or interfaces that our buyers and sellers interact with, they need to be very user-friendly,” he adds.
This isn’t a lightbulb moment, or at least it shouldn’t be. These software solutions invest a ton in UX to make their tools easy to work with. And in the end, many still aren’t. When balancing the needs of their buyers vs the needs of their sellers, many companies fall short on delivering a good experience to both parties.
A good sales process can have dozens of touch points, all coming in at different times to educate, engage, and convert a prospect into an opportunity and then a customer. As these processes become more complex and feature many moving parts, automation is one way to keep things in order.
“How you can automate across the different touch points that buyers and sellers have,” he says. “Once you start capturing this data, connecting it to the buyer journey, making it user friendly and automate, you need to also be able to merge the intelligence that comes out of this data.”
He sees B2B sales moving towards a future where RevOps systems connect all relevant channels and tools and information to create a RevOps process that any organization can use to scale their growth. That way, leadership can get a clear view into any aspect of their company’s performance, and small iterative changes can pay off in huge gains in the long run.
Around 2019 Abhijeet had to experience the pain of laying off sales reps with missed quotas and wondered how the organization could have supported them better.
“It was a pivotal moment for me,” he says. “Because the problem was very close to me.”
He has identified that sometimes sales quotas are unrealistic and filled with pressure. Another problem is when companies start scaling too quickly, which can lead to painful contractions in the future…
“They are moving very fast to hit these unreal quotas,” he says.
It leads to teams taking shortcuts and skipping over holistic data-driven approaches that allow for proper scaling. Worse, it can lead to a case of throwing money at problems by buying new shiny tools or hiring more people, while not really identifying and solving the underlying cause of the problem.
It leads to gaps in data, gaps in training, gaps in systems and tools. No one is a winner when this happens and it can lead to a cycle of hiring and firing. Finger pointing. Frustration. Pain.
Abhijeet wants to see companies slow down enough to look at the data and determine the leading indicators for sales success. The data will show what is best to focus on, such as the number of leads required in the pipeline, the number of meetings, the number of meetings generated through inbound and/or outbound. Revenue leaders need to be able to identify, track, and improve those numbers easily.
“So, there’s no one single answer,” he says. “It’s an aggregated problem where basically it’s amplified and that’s where a function like RevOps can come in and fix it.”
Isn’t that the bliss factor of RevOps?
Having that eye-in-the-sky view across all the processes, systems, tools is the superpower that RevOps offers business leaders. This gives them the ability to empower front-line sales people with smart goals and the resources necessary to reach them.
“I think it’s in the last five to seven years that we have seen a proliferation of tools,” he says.
Efficient companies will continue on their path to success, but those that struggle will have a hard time hitting KPIs and ultimately raising their next round of funding.
“Fundamentally, that’s what’s happened because the proliferation of all of these tools have created endless silos,” he explains. “It’s created disconnected data, which has resulted in disconnected systems.”
That takes a company down the spiral to disconnected teams, ineffective work flows and ultimately a company that simply can’t sustain its operations.
There will always be new tools, but does anyone want to use them? It’s a key problem Abhijeet points to. Even if a tool is valuable, it’s getting harder and harder to convince team members to use it. Asking them to adopt the next shiny object is like poking a chopstick in the ear.
“Adoption is becoming a very big challenge,” he says. “And that creates a lot of privacy and security challenges. RevOps is moving away from point solutions to aggregating and integrating.”
Knowing the problem is key to solving it.
If we go back to that point about how there is a lot of similar competition in the marketplace, a wise company will hone in on the customer discovery in order to build and position a product that can break through the noise.
RevOps pros are obviously a huge part of that solution to bursting through all the static. They’re the ones gathering insights across different teams and applying them in a way that everyone benefits.
“As individuals, it’s important to spread the learnings that we are finding,” he says. “The do’s and don’ts. What’s working, what’s not working. I think as a community, we need to lift each other up.”
He points to the fact that some frameworks can work across different industries when replicated.
“I would say templatize and make it more process driven,” he says. “That’s where, as a community, we can start sharing the science of scaling, which is largely driven through functions like RevOps.”
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