The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

BONUS Episode: Revenue Operations w/ Asia Corbett


This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Asia Corbett, Director of Revenue Operations at

Postal is an experience marketing platform. Their marketplace of gifts and virtual experiences help you delight your customers. Asia is passionate about revenue operations and her wide range of hobbies neatly aligns with Postal’s experiential focus.

What You’ll Learn

  1. About Asia’s journey into revenue operations at Postal
  2. Revenue operations definitions and misconceptions
  3. The data side of revenue operations

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:09]
  2. About Asia and [3:15]
  3. Definitions and misconceptions [11:05]
  4. Dashboards and reporting [13:36]
  5. Using a single source of truth [17:26]
  6. The RevOps reporting line [19:01]
  7. Controls and visibility [21:20]
  8. Useful sources for knowledge and inspiration [25:20]

One, two, one, three, three, hey everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to a bonus episode. This is a special bonus episode of the Sales Hacker podcast and we're alsorecording in video for one of the first time. So I can't tell ifI'm excited about that or nervous about it. But we've got on the guest today, Asia Corbett. Asia's that had a revenue operations at postal dot I. Oh, she's got a really interesting story about how she got into revenueoperations and then she's passionate about the subject. She's located in the bay area,she's got a ten month old son and two dogs and she loves hiking, camping, exploring, reading, music and learning new things. Asia,welcome to the show. Hi, thanks for having me. We're excited tohave you. So we like to start with what we call the baseball card, and really that's an opportunity for you to tell us what postal dot iois and does and also learn a little bit more about your roles. Sowe said your name, Asia Corbett. That I pronounce that correctly. Yes, awesome, and your director of revenue operations at postal dot IO. Sotell us in your words what is? WHAT IS POSTAL DOT IO? Sopostal is an experienced marketing platform. We we have a market place of giftsin virtual experiences to delight for customers and prospects and help grow your pipeline.Awesome. And how long have you been to the company? I'm coming upon a year now. YEAR'LL BE August. Okay, wow, so you joined. You joined in the middle of Covid yes, and I just hada baby. So, wow, two months. He's two months old.Amazing. Well, and, I hope, hopefully, coming up, I guesson the is it is. Is Your baby celebrating? There? Thereone. Your birthday soon, in July. I'll be one in July. Awesome. Well, my birthday is in July too. So congratulations. Thankyou. We Sare zode a Zodiac sign. Probably for you early, early joly. I'm a little bit later, but still within the zone of cancer, which means them Moody and Mama. Yeah, I mean, yes,he is. He is very sweet boy and he does love mom. He'sJuly six, all right, so he's Square in the middle. He's evenmore moody. He's going to be even more but creative. You know,that's the other part of yes, yea side. So postal, tell usa little bit about how big the company is? Is it you know,where are you and sort of your revenue trajectory? Obviously don't tell us anythingthat's confidential, but right terms of like how many people work there, giveus a little bit of a sense of where you are in your growth journey. Yeah, so we're still pretty young. We just launch your product last yearand May and then I traditually after that and now we have early maybearound forty people. Yeah, and we were, you know, we're tryingto grow more. Really tried to nail down all our processes and are goingto make at strategy so that we can go rese funds and expand our teamand extend our reach and everything. So and do all of the things.So all of the things. So tell us a little bit. Just let'slearn a little bit about you, because I read your background. Obviously justyou just had a you know, not a baby anymore, I guess,maybe coming up on toddler, but your how'd you get into revenue operations andhow did you how did you find post all? Walk us through a littlebit about your background and how you found this career. And then we'll gofrom there. Yeah, so I would say that my background is pretty solidlyin operations. When I graduated college I fully set out to go down thepath of CFO. I wanted to be in finance. I, like Dad, set on being a financial analyst and getting into it didn't matter what industry, tech or financial services or banking. I was like this is where I'msupposed to be and I kept finding myself... these like quasi finance roles.There as elements of analytical things, like I would pull reports for marketing orI've worked at Stanford briefly, and so the professors and the researchers needed reportson our grants and their studies and all of the sped that they were accumulating. And then there was always some component that was a little bit operational,like how do I get things from Asia? How do I ask her to dothings for me? And so I got into tech and then I workedfor riverbed and I was in the marketing department, but I was the financeperson for the marketing department and so I would run budget reconciliations at the endand among the journal Journal entrees managed a Peakr the purchasing card transactions. Andthen I went to an agricultural company after that and I was in the technologyoperations department. They told me it was going to be a finance role,but it was not a finance roll at all. I got there and itwas very much helping the scientists do their job, which is run the experimentsto take the product to the market, the agricultural products and the market,and I I found that I like that. I was like this is this isinteresting, it's different, it's okay. I need to design a workflow nowso that when they request a new contract I'm not digging through my emails. So I would. I worked with it to set up a share pointform and workflow and a request process so that they sent a request, itwould go to share point, their manager would have to approve it and thenI would see it. Then that way I had a very clear, likelog of all of the things I needed to do. But before that itwas being done in emails and an excels for a cheet so I was likethere's there's opportunity here to make this a little bit better, and a lotof the work that I did there was around those kinds of things like howcan I optimize the day to day tactical stuff in this department so that theycan do their jobs more efficiently? There's a little bit of a data analysispiece, like I managed all of the contracts and so I had to forecasthow much we thought they would come over or under what they make their targetswith their studies. Would we have to push studies out to the following year, which would be very expensive, and then we can submit everything to theEPA? So there was a little bit of that, but it was mostlylike around workflow, process improvement and some systems. So that company, itwas great, but not a lot of career growth there. Most wasn't.This was the agricultural company. Yeah, it's they're called Valent and they aresuc subsidiary of a very large Japanese organization called Studtomo that's been around for along time and they have many different there and many different sectors and agriculture isone of them. And so most of the people the company, a Valant, had been there for decades. Really like every quarterly meeting they would havethe anniversaries and it's like ten years, twenty years, thirty years, andso you know, I was finding myself like, oh my gosh, it'sthat going to be me? Am I going to be doing like this,the same thing for thirty years? I don't want to do I want todo that. And so I found my way back towards tech and I wentto work for a Tech Company in San Francisco called presence learning, and that'swhere I really got into like the salesobs sort of piece of operations, andI worked on a business operations team that function very much like your typical revenueoperations team today. We managed the tech stag. We built a lot ofour business processes into sales for so we...

...are heavy users of sales force andwe supported the go to market teams very at mean art sales and customers successes. Our largest customer are stakeholders, who who ended up receiving the most fromus, and I learned so much. They're about operations on the go tomarket side of things and how to use technology and process together and how touse those things to better help the people around us do what they do best, which is bring in revenue. I had a really great boss and mentorand he taught me a lot about the importance of importance of process and theimportance of data government and having all of that set so that you can gothen build something and sales force or you can go pull a report and thedata is correct and people don't question it and the source of truth. aregoing to the source of truth and not tried to do their own pack theirown things together. And it was really great and we were doing really importantwork connecting therapists to school districts to serve special needs kids. And the reasonI ended up leaving is because the culture changed in the company, in theentire leadership team turned over and people were leaving. I mean by the timeI left the company that wasn't the same company that I had started working for, and I was also pregnant, and so I started at new relic andended up my department got they got rid of my department and so they gotrid of my role, and so it was kind of it sucked, butit was good timing because I had river the next week. I got laidoff and then I had the baby and so it was like all right,and we did a little bit of soul searching. What do I really wantto do next? I wanted to make sure that the role, no matterwhere I went, the role that I was going into with some the workthat I wanted to do. And then the company culture was one that Ia lined with and that's how you fit. That's that's where postal came in.That's where postal came in because I you know, the bay area hasso many talk companies. There's so many places to go. I'm like,okay, I can I'm pretty strong with sales force and excel, Google likeI have the skills to reporting, and so I could really do a lot. But what was important to me was company culture and who would I beworking with and what is the company value? What do they believe in? Andthat's ultimately why I chose postal. I wasn't great team of people andone of our core values is making a better reel, which feeds right intolike the importance of having a process and process improvement and things that are I'mvery passionate about. So that was important to me. And then, yeah, let me ask you a question. So you know you've spent a lotof time in operations and in revenue operations, and Revenue Operations Rav OPS is anincredibly hot category right now. Yeah, he's talking about it. When youwhen you hear that phrase, what does it mean to you and whatdo you what do you think the biggest misconceptions people have about revenue operations?What is it and what is it not from your perspective? Yeah, so, to be candid, when I first started at postal was brought on todo sales ops, which, in my I was like, yeah, thisis great, that's fine by me. It's anything I can do and lookingforward to building out that piece of of the organization. And quickly what wefound is there were gaps and other areas. is to go to market marketing,and I mean see us. We had one CSM at the time,so what to see us wasn't top of mind. But for me I wasthinking, okay, well, we have...

...the whole funnel. We have marketingand sales and customer success and we really should be looking at it holistically andnot just focused on one piece. And so that is as when I waslike, you know, we should probably think about this as a revenue operationsinstead of just sales ops or just marketing APPs. And they agreed. EricAgres, and so that's how we started that piece. Okay, revenue operations. And then, okay, what is revenue operations actually mean? To me, it's the processes, the systems and the reporting that enable the go tomarket teams to bring in more revenue. Like, at the end of theday, that's what it is in the business processes, the systems, processesand the reporting, the data, the data structure. But do you thinkit's different from from just sort of like regular operations? You know, Ithink there's more. I think there's more of an analytical piece to it.I think you need a little bit more technical skills. There's and emphasis onmanaging the systems in the text back of the go to market side of things. So you your standard operations, like you're doing the workflow, the process, mapping, project management, and that is a piece of revenue operations.But I think that that the systems piece, to me, is a differentiate,differentiator between your standard, like overall company operations and then revenue operations,sales operations, marketing operagencysops. Makes a lot of sense. Yeah, youknow, one of the things that you've talked about, and I think thisis this is a really important point. There's a lot of focus on ondash boards, but your point I think you've mentioned is that, like datagovernance and business process definition is critical before you can get to reporting, likeyou need to know what data you're reporting on, walk through your perspective thereand some of the common mistakes that people make. Yeah, so dash boardsand reporting are important. I don't want to give the impressions that I don'tthink that it's important to be able to derive insights from the data that you'regathering, but you can't get there until you have your structure, until youhave defined your business process, and it can change. So I think alot of people are like, okay, well, if you do this,it's going to be sent in stone and it's like you can always change andand iterate as you go. But if you have no process or structure andplace, you can't even get to your data. And that was something thatwe experience ourselves at postal at. So I spent time and a big projectdefining that with the stakeholder so that we had definitions in place and have astructure and plays to be able to get to the data that we were collecting, because we're collecting it there's just in all of these different places. Whenyou say definitions tell us, tell us more, because I think it's yeah, to your point, and you mentioned, you know, single source of truth. I think it's so important because so many companies out there are,you know, everybody's got their own report and finance walks into a meeting andthey've got rr and they've got the number of closed one deals and they've gothow many opportunities were created, and then sales brings their own report and somehowthey have different numbers. Walk us through, you know, how you get tocommon definition in a single source of truth. Yeah, that is actuallysomething that we just an exercise we just went through with our finance, marketingand our leadership around definitions, and it's that everyone agrees on what the definitionof your metrics are and in like business process, like your opportunity, somethingas simple as opportunity stages. We were having a discussion around this because thereare different handoff points along the go to market sales journey and one of thoseis that SCR a handoff. It's very standard pass off point. And whatis the criteria for that and what is...

...considered a created opportunity? And Finance, though it was one thing and marketing thought it was one thing. Sothey were reporting on two separate things. So marketing is saying, okay,everything is created, is an op is an up creation. Were accounting allof that as opportunity, cation and finances, filtering out things that are rejected orthings that are in passing, in the passing stage, and so thatobviously that's that's problematic because those are two very different numbers and you could say, well, it's inflated. Your numbers are inflated. And why are theyinflated? Or what happens is sometimes people come to me and say why isthis report and correct? Or this person has this number and this person hasthis number, and I'm like, okay, this I look at the filters andI look at like look at the report, and technically the reports areboth correct. It's that the no, people aren't using the same definition toreport on the data. And so that's where there's a disconnect. Is thatyour team's must must must be on the same page of what exactly an upcreated is, what exactly is an s Ql, what exactly is an Mql, so that everyone is speaking the same language and when you're making business decisions, it's on everyone is making decisions on the same set of things. What'syour reaction to this, this statement, because I have a I don't knowif it's controversial, but my perspective is I care more that everybody's using thesame report than I care that the report is correct, because what I justdon't want is a bunch of different teams saying that they have different numbers,and that is the thing that throws everything into hay wire. Yes, that'salmost more catastrophic because it starts to give people but pression that the data isis wrong and that there's something wrong with the systems, and then it becomesa very, very big fire drill. It's like if people are using thesame import and maybe something is off and you're able to catch it because it'sthe one report and you're very intimately familiar with the data and how it's flowingand all of the processes and how everything is connected and how what things areimpacting, you can catch those very quickly. When it's one report, then nobodyeven knows. It's like containing the fire in a you know, ina in a small room. Probably this is exactly like closing the door.Okay, I got it. But if they're different reports, you've got firesin different rooms. Your whole house is going to just be engulfed into upin flames. Yeah, yeah, don't, don't not tell unfolk the evil.Hi, you're in the day area. We're coming up on fire. Sincemy Gosh, you're right, I know. I know. I've beenlike it's really windy where I live to really windy. So like, Ihope last year they turned off our power a lot because of the they're likethe red flag warnings, the high wind. I know, visory. If it'snot, if it's not a fire, it's a mudslide, if it's youknow, it's all something. In California it's always exactly. Ask Youone question. Who Do you think? So I worked at a company onceand the CFO, who is kind of a pain in the ass, wasjust adamant that opts for that REV OPS report to him he wanted. Doyou think revenue up? Because, and his point is, you know,makes some sense, since finance is supposed to control the data and finance isthe one that puts, you know, the reporting together for the board andsays this is how you know the business is doing and that's the official stance. So I think it in some ways it makes sense and in the otherways, heads of Sales Cheat Crows. They like to have revops report tothem because they want to look at the data before, before anybody else inthe company sees it, and make sure that they presented it in the rightway. Who Do you think rev up should report to? I actually don'tthink that they should report. V up should report to either one of thosefunctions. I think they should roll up...

...directly to a CEO or an operationallyfocused or an operationally drived leader, because in revenue operations there's a strong reportingcomponent, in a strong data component, but the end of the day it'sstill operations. So to me I think that should roll up to an operationalleader and if there is no CEO or vp of operations and to directly tothe SEEO. Fair enough, a controversial stance potentially, I think it is. I think it is. I've kind of seen in the circles that revvationsshould report to the crow and yeah, I can see where that comes from. To me, though, I don't think finance isn't controlled all of thedata there. They focus on a certain subset of that and that's financial data. There's other data they're that I mean if you don't have a data teamor some data analysts, that typically falls, that reporting them falls on who,yeah, are you? It's always you, Ashia. Yeah, it'sand I'm a team of one, so great, I twitch. Do youdo? You put controls in you know, when you take on a rev opsrole, one of the things that I think can be super problematic atearly stage companies, and I see this sometimes it my company, is,you know, sales is writing their own contracts, sending the contracts, movingthe deal to closed one on their own and, as a consequence, potentiallydriving and it's not that any of those are like a huge problem, it'sjust the there's no visibility across the organization to make sure that you can't movea deal that's not really close to close one or that you're sending out theright terms or things like that. Right visibility is a huge piece, Ithink, of what revenue operations can bring to the table. Actually, whenI started at postal, there were some pretty good controls in place around that. And it is a challenge because there are so there are so many thingsto do as a team of one and an early stage company that, ofcourse, like I'm I'm thinking we need to deal this. Need a processto evaluator or contracts, me to have a like a standard approval process,so if someone wants to discount, it goes through this chain of command.But it's all the other priorities you have. That's just not a high one andfor the most part there ups are not like moving stuff along that theyshouldn't. And then the approval process that's in place right now is manual one. If to go to tell finance and loop in this CITAVP of sales andthen they look at it together and that they can move the put the rops, can put the discount numbers in. Like there's no requirements. Systematically speaking, there should be. Eventually presents learning. We did. We did have adeal desk process that we rolled out and I came in in the middleof that, and then we did have like you can't move stages backwards oryou can't move a stage to closed, to to any of the later stagesuntil you fill out some of the medic fields, because those are really importantand the post sale team needs them to start serve, to start implementation.They cannot start implementation without that information. So you cannot move your stages untilyou have filled out the a minimum of like three of those things. Wedo have a few things in place that we've decided our kind of well,we tried, but we do have some system limitations. So when our VPof sales, she's on maternitydaily right now, but she's like, we need tomake us so that people can only move things out of their name,that they own it, and I can see the reason for that. Butour team is still small enough and I'm...

...not worried about that enough to putthat high up on the list to put controls around that. But what Ihave done is established a minimum viable record. I don't want to say rule becausethat sounds very restrictive, but in order to create a lead, weneed to have a minimum amount of information. In order for you to come torevops and say I need to upload a list, I need these minimumpieces of information. Otherwise I will not do the upload because things get uploadedinto our system and it we I have to clean it manually. I don'thave a data cleansing tool or do the standardization tool, and so what happensis, in the case of a lead getting created and we don't have informationwhere they came from sales is going to be confused and I'm not going toknow what to do. And they've went to Ping me and ask me wherethey came from and what sequence should they go and and how to work.The person that is is in the system, which quickly derails ear day. Ihave no problem helping and answering questions, but then one question becomes another andanother and another, and then I'm not focused on what I need tobe doing to it's why prioritization so important Asia. We're almost at the endof our time together, but one of the last things we like to dois we like to pay it forward a little bit and figure out ideas thathave influenced you, books that have influenced you, maybe great bosses or mentors. You mentioned a mentor from a couple jobs ago. When when you whenyou are presented with the opportunity to share great ideas or people or influences withthe rest of us so that we can follow the bread crume trail a littlebit, what comes to mind? Absolutely so Julia Geshe was my boss atpresents learning. I think she moves, I think she's had trially on outand she was just like one of the most inspiring kind sharp process I didintelligent people I've ever worked with ever, and she installed a lot of thepassion I have for process and why that's so important, all of those fundamentals, I got a lot of them from her. I think she's at TulioDow and she has on Linkedin, so you could follow her. I don'tthink she posts as a how do you? How do you spell her last name? Gac Et? Okay, guess I love it. Yeah, andso if you have an opportunity to ever talk to her, you will getso much. I don't I don't think she posts content. And then interms of revenue operations, I follow Jeff ignatio from upkeep. He is Imean it's so inspiring it in his content is very actionable. Rosalind Clary,yes, on Tailena, yes, she is also really inspired and I liketo to try to find other women in the space because I'm a woman.So it's it's nice to see revenue operations people, women in the space comingand giving like actionable, insightful advice. So, thosing the two, Ijoined some of the the revenue operations communities to there. There are a lotof great people in there. Who are happy to answer questions. Hop ona call if you need help. Nobody ever makes you feel dumb for assinga question. I still ask questions. I so sometimes I'm like, I'mdoing this and I've been using sealsters tree years and I would consider myself apower years. are very strong user of sales cource and sometimes I still havequestions. It's only now I makes you human. Yeah, I'm in theREV OPS COOP, which is a community by funnel IQ. I'm in there'sa great one called wizard wizard of ops... well. Yes, wizard ouroops. I've heard of that one. I want to check that one out. I think those are two and I've played you if girty. Well,thank you very much. If folks want to reach out to you, what'sthe best way to contact you? You can send me a message on Linkedin. I'm on Linkedin Asia orbit. CR Beett, thank you so much forbeing on the show Asia. It's been great avenue and it was a bonusepisode, so I don't have to read a lot of add copy, eventhough we always love our sponsors. Now, for those of you who listen tothe show today, I've got some exciting news later this summer sales hackeris launching a new podcast called revenue innovators, with Mary Shay and Harish Mohan ofoutreach. You can get the latest updates on sales hackers revenue operations channel. So stay tuned and thank you, as always, for listening. Asia, thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you for havingme. Let's bye bye,.

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