Revenue Operations

Running RevOps at a Seed Stage Startup

Asia Corbett, Director of RevOps, joins Keegan Otter on the RevOps Co-Op Webinar series! During this episode, Asia talks about making the best out of a limited budget, early startup revenue operations priorities, and which tools are a must-have for every revenue operations team.


Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Asia Corbett is the Director of RevOps at Postal.io.


Those of us who have been part of an early-stage startup know the ups and downs of navigating operations in that world. It's exciting because you get to try your hand at everything you can imagine, and it's exhausting because resources are always limited. The goal is to make as much out of as little as possible, and Asia Corbett shares how she's done just that. Listen to the full webinar for more or read the highlights below.

Starting Out on the Right Foot

Establishing processes and data hygiene best practices early in the game may seem counterintuitive. Startups are known for their laid-back attitudes about things like rules. But the trick to doing operations well at a small startup is to try to start with a solid tech stack with as many best practices in place as early as possible. 


Trust us when we say that putting processes in place doesn't get any easier as a company matures. Asia is smart to build that infrastructure early. While she admits that her marketing automation platform may change, many of the tools she has today will scale with the company.


What surprised us was that Postal.io had already invested in a customer data platform. Typically this is a later stage purchase, but it's smart for younger companies to build a customer data platform muscle early. Particularly with Google's announcement of the looming demise of third-party data (Well, third-party cookies, that is. There are still options out there.).


Customer data platforms collect data from your different platforms and find identifiers that tie those systems together to create a unified view of accounts and contacts (and leads). Getting your data in order is absolutely essential if you want to build out marketing attribution, lead scoring, and purchase intent models. Putting that structure in place before data hygiene has ballooned into an emergency is a great idea.


Sometimes automation tools are needed to free up revenue operations to focus elsewhere. As a team of one, Asia fought to bring in a powerful routing and automation tool, LeanData, a big time saver for anyone in charge of territory management.


“One of my favorite tools ever is LeanData. Besides routing leads, you can route contacts, opportunities, and accounts. You can also set up automation within lean data, which has a better user interface and sequencing than Salesforce’s process builder. LeanData has added a few partner apps like Outreach and Slack. So instead of doing the triggers in Outreach, I can set up triggers in LeanData and trigger sequences all within LeanData’s interface in Salesforce.”


Being an Effective Team of One

Asia originally joined Postal.io to lead their sales operations efforts, but her role very quickly expanded as it became clear that marketing operations also needed to be a priority. At a very early startup, all revenue engine activity is focused on lead generation and new logos. It’s no surprise that attention needed to be given to Hubspot, their marketing automation tool of choice, and lead prioritization.


“One of the very first things that I did was establish our lead scoring model. At a minimum, we needed a starting point as we were gathering data. A lead scoring model is something that evolves. It doesn't stay the same. As you grow and as you get more data, you’ll compare your score to your opportunities and make adjustments.”


Her advice for building a scoring model is to use your accounts and contacts associated with your opportunities as a benchmark, start with just a few data points, and continue measuring and adjusting as needed. Too many data points can dilute your lead score, especially if you're a young company without a great deal of data populated.


As her role continues to expand to encompass customer success support, she still manages to keep up on documentation.


“What I'm trying to do as I go along and change processes is to document those changes. Then I pass along information relevant to the sales team to make sure they know what’s changing and if there are any hacks to make their jobs easier. I join sales meetings when there’s a change in a process. We go through the change, they get documentation, and contact me if they have any questions.”


Asia had great advice for people trying to prioritize their next investments as budget allows. “It may seem like everything's important, especially in a small company, but really focusing on what the goals are and then using that as a basis for future projects. Understanding the impact of delaying a project and investing in something else is also vital.”

Being a revenue operations team is tough! As Asia switches between sales operations, marketing operations, revenue analysis, and more, she has developed two skills that many of us struggle with: effectively prioritizing and quickly switching gears.

Prioritization: What Comes First?

Being in revenue operations is a lot like playing a game of whac-a-mole. For every problem you overcome, three more pop up in its place. But being a team of one brings the game to a whole new level.


In lean teams supporting early organizations, leaders have to make difficult decisions. Whereas most of us would call analytics infrastructure, sales enablement, and CPQ functionality business-critical, many teams out there have to pick one to focus on after weighing the impacts of ignoring the other two.


That doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to dream and come up with a long list of priorities they want to see filled.


When we asked Asia what her priorities are after the next round of funding comes in, she quickly said, “Data cleansing/enrichment tool, an attribution tool, and a data visualization tool.”


For now, though, she's laser-focused on top-of-funnel, and the next area of focus is goal alignment across the revenue teams. And then there's a data governance plan. And then optimizing the sales process.


It sounds like you have a strong roadmap, Asia, and Postal.io is lucky to have you!

Related posts

Join the Co-op!

Or