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Episode 32: Who Should RevOps be a Hero To?

by Hannah Rose | Sep 8, 2022 11:00:00 AM

When Doug and Jess recorded this episode it wasn’t just any old Friday, it was the Friday before HubSpot’s Inbound 2022 (which is going on currently if you’re reading this anywhere from 9/7-9/9). It’s the Friday before most of the Imagine crew gets to see each other again or meet each other for the first time in person. And Doug is most excited about the Westin lobby and being an Inbound correspondent. Jess, too, is excited about the Westin lobby because that’s where a lot of random, unplanned, fantastic conversations happen. I (yep it’s Hannah this time) can confirm that the lobby is magical because it’s where I got to meet former HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan, and I was starstruck for a few days after that.

We aren’t here today to talk about Inbound, though Doug and Jess could spend a whole episode on it. Today’s topic comes from a question Jess had while discussing RevOps’s role - who do you want to be a hero to? Who should RevOps be a hero to?




Additional Resources: 

Show Notes:

Let’s start there, who should RevOps be a hero to?

RevOps’s customer is the revenue acquiring revenue manager or those managing revenue, so your sales teams, marketing teams, success account management teams, service teams, etc. Your job is – how can you be their hero? Doug thinks there are two things that enable you to be a hero: 

  1. How do you solve the problems before people know they have them
  2. You’re the one who figures out how to say yes; you’re the one who figures out how to make it work

As we’ve seen in our mistakes episode, we become overly process oriented. There was a time when Doug went to a wedding in Florida and the groom had told him the key to being a good financial advisor is to not become the “no police.”  When you become the “no police,” people who have done anything are going to fire you because at some point it’s so easy to become the “no police.” It’s easy to become very process oriented. The most common measurements in RevOps are efficiency metrics so it’s easy to become efficiency focused. And when people are in a place where they’re asking for permission, that's where it goes wrong, that’s where you don’t know what you know.

A lot of RevOps’s job is to create order from chaos and there’s a natural thought that says the best way to create order from chaos is to prevent chaos. But all creativity is chaos.

Doug was having a conversation with a product manager and they were talking about a workflow, and Doug mentioned that putting them in an admin role set them up to fail. This happens because when they’re looking at all the things it makes the product worse, not better. The key to management is empathy, and the key to empathy is understanding. If you’re not familiar with a specific term in your industry, then you don’t really understand. This is what Jess did when she was sitting in on sales training. She had to go and make some cold calls to understand what that was like, and she would quit if being a sales rep was her actual job because it’s so hard. 

When Doug was a financial advisor, he dealt with compliance and he had a lot of people who said he must hate compliance. In actuality he loved compliance because it did two things. First, it kept him out of jail, and second it forced him to be creative. It’s kind of like when Imagine had more limitations in HubSpot. We got as good as we are because we had to figure out how to make some things work. It used to take divergent thinking. We used to have to say here’s where we are, here’s this barrier, how can I do what I want to do?

Far too often RevOps takes a patrol mindset. It’s the admin’s responsibility, but that’s not how the world works. There is no such thing as a right way in sales/marketing. It’s all about trade-offs. So from a RevOps perspective, Doug’s question is to be a hero, how are you getting your customers to their yes?

Jess believes one key element is you have to figure out how to solve the problem and to do that you have to get to the real problem. Frequently with clients, especially t the user level, they have a perception of a problem and it’s really just a symptom of the real problem. Getting the client to acknowledge the real issue is the first step.

Doug things there’s two elements. There’s the side that Jess mentioned, but a lot of times people have to do something, they don’t have time to figure out what the real problem is. We have a tendency to jump to solving problems and in reality we need to stop trying to solve everything. Figure out what’s frustrating, where there’s friction that way we can make it easier to deal with. Where there is no chaos, there is no creation.

Here’s an interesting thought…what if the reason that RevOps is so important is because you’re not supposed to be comfortable?

A lot of RevOps’s job is to bring balance–balancing the needs of the frontline people and the needs of the system. It’s a fundamental, core area of value creation. When we create a 17 step process that you have to follow and we make everything the same, we forget that there’s a human there. We treat the human like they’re in the system, like they’re a bug. When we see something go out of process, it’s a difficult experience. But Doug finds that too often there’s a lack of curiosity. Why did this break? Why did they not follow? Where does the system need to change? If you’re going to try and influence and manage systems, you need to understand how those systems work.

The question is never “Can we,” the question is “How can we?” How can we may not be viable, and it all comes down to trade-offs. Far too often we just say “no, you can’t.” Instead of having that mindset, take the limitations away. What if we can do anything? What does that look like? One way to prevent being the “no police” is to build an empathetic system. Where is your backlog of problems and frustrations? How are you interacting with your teams to collaborate on prioritizing those frustrations?

Jess’s takeaways from this episode:

  • All creativity is chaos
  • Create stability (The RevOps role is to create stability in an inherently unstable environment
  • Build empathy

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