The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

BONUS Episode: Revenue Operations w/ Asia Corbett

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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

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 Postal.io [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 also recording in video for one of the first time. So I can't tell if I'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 revenue operations 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 to have 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 io is and does and also learn a little bit more about your roles. So we said your name, Asia Corbett. That I pronounce that correctly. Yes, awesome, and your director of revenue operations at postal dot IO. So tell us in your words what is? WHAT IS POSTAL DOT IO? So postal is an experienced marketing platform. We we have a market place of gifts in 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 up on a year now. YEAR'LL BE August. Okay, wow, so you joined. You joined in the middle of Covid yes, and I just had a baby. So, wow, two months. He's two months old. Amazing. Well, and, I hope, hopefully, coming up, I guess on the is it is. Is Your baby celebrating? There? There one. Your birthday soon, in July. I'll be one in July. Awesome. Well, my birthday is in July too. So congratulations. Thank you. 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's July six, all right, so he's Square in the middle. He's even more moody. He's going to be even more but creative. You know, that's the other part of yes, yea side. So postal, tell us a 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 anything that's confidential, but right terms of like how many people work there, give us 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 year and May and then I traditually after that and now we have early maybe around forty people. Yeah, and we were, you know, we're trying to grow more. Really tried to nail down all our processes and are going to make at strategy so that we can go rese funds and expand our team and 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's learn a little bit about you, because I read your background. Obviously just you 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 and how did you how did you find post all? Walk us through a little bit about your background and how you found this career. And then we'll go from there. Yeah, so I would say that my background is pretty solidly in operations. When I graduated college I fully set out to go down the path 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'm supposed to be and I kept finding myself...

...in these like quasi finance roles. There as elements of analytical things, like I would pull reports for marketing or I've worked at Stanford briefly, and so the professors and the researchers needed reports on 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 do things for me? And so I got into tech and then I worked for riverbed and I was in the marketing department, but I was the finance person for the marketing department and so I would run budget reconciliations at the end and among the journal Journal entrees managed a Peakr the purchasing card transactions. And then I went to an agricultural company after that and I was in the technology operations 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 it was very much helping the scientists do their job, which is run the experiments to 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 is interesting, it's different, it's okay. I need to design a workflow now so 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 point form and workflow and a request process so that they sent a request, it would go to share point, their manager would have to approve it and then I would see it. Then that way I had a very clear, like log of all of the things I needed to do. But before that it was being done in emails and an excels for a cheet so I was like there's there's opportunity here to make this a little bit better, and a lot of the work that I did there was around those kinds of things like how can I optimize the day to day tactical stuff in this department so that they can do their jobs more efficiently? There's a little bit of a data analysis piece, like I managed all of the contracts and so I had to forecast how much we thought they would come over or under what they make their targets with 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 the EPA? So there was a little bit of that, but it was mostly like around workflow, process improvement and some systems. So that company, it was 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 are suc subsidiary of a very large Japanese organization called Studtomo that's been around for a long time and they have many different there and many different sectors and agriculture is one of them. And so most of the people the company, a Valant, had been there for decades. Really like every quarterly meeting they would have the anniversaries and it's like ten years, twenty years, thirty years, and so you know, I was finding myself like, oh my gosh, it's that 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 to do that. And so I found my way back towards tech and I went to work for a Tech Company in San Francisco called presence learning, and that's where I really got into like the salesobs sort of piece of operations, and I worked on a business operations team that function very much like your typical revenue operations team today. We managed the tech stag. We built a lot of our business processes into sales for so we...

...are heavy users of sales force and we 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 from us, and I learned so much. They're about operations on the go to market side of things and how to use technology and process together and how to use 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 mentor and he taught me a lot about the importance of importance of process and the importance of data government and having all of that set so that you can go then build something and sales force or you can go pull a report and the data is correct and people don't question it and the source of truth. are going to the source of truth and not tried to do their own pack their own things together. And it was really great and we were doing really important work connecting therapists to school districts to serve special needs kids. And the reason I ended up leaving is because the culture changed in the company, in the entire leadership team turned over and people were leaving. I mean by the time I 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 and ended up my department got they got rid of my department and so they got rid of my role, and so it was kind of it sucked, but it was good timing because I had river the next week. I got laid off 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 want to do next? I wanted to make sure that the role, no matter where I went, the role that I was going into with some the work that I wanted to do. And then the company culture was one that I a 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 has so 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 like I 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 be working with and what is the company value? What do they believe in? And that's ultimately why I chose postal. I wasn't great team of people and one of our core values is making a better reel, which feeds right into like the importance of having a process and process improvement and things that are I'm very passionate about. So that was important to me. And then, yeah, let me ask you a question. So you know you've spent a lot of time in operations and in revenue operations, and Revenue Operations Rav OPS is an incredibly hot category right now. Yeah, he's talking about it. When you when you hear that phrase, what does it mean to you and what do 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 to do sales ops, which, in my I was like, yeah, this is great, that's fine by me. It's anything I can do and looking forward to building out that piece of of the organization. And quickly what we found 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 was thinking, okay, well, we have...

...the whole funnel. We have marketing and sales and customer success and we really should be looking at it holistically and not just focused on one piece. And so that is as when I was like, you know, we should probably think about this as a revenue operations instead of just sales ops or just marketing APPs. And they agreed. Eric Agres, 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 to market teams to bring in more revenue. Like, at the end of the day, that's what it is in the business processes, the systems, processes and the reporting, the data, the data structure. But do you think it's different from from just sort of like regular operations? You know, I think 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 on managing 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, you know, one of the things that you've talked about, and I think this is this is a really important point. There's a lot of focus on on dash boards, but your point I think you've mentioned is that, like data governance and business process definition is critical before you can get to reporting, like you need to know what data you're reporting on, walk through your perspective there and some of the common mistakes that people make. Yeah, so dash boards and reporting are important. I don't want to give the impressions that I don't think that it's important to be able to derive insights from the data that you're gathering, but you can't get there until you have your structure, until you have defined your business process, and it can change. So I think a lot 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 and and iterate as you go. But if you have no process or structure and place, you can't even get to your data. And that was something that we experience ourselves at postal at. So I spent time and a big project defining that with the stakeholder so that we had definitions in place and have a structure 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. When you 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 and they've got rr and they've got the number of closed one deals and they've got how many opportunities were created, and then sales brings their own report and somehow they have different numbers. Walk us through, you know, how you get to common definition in a single source of truth. Yeah, that is actually something that we just an exercise we just went through with our finance, marketing and our leadership around definitions, and it's that everyone agrees on what the definition of your metrics are and in like business process, like your opportunity, something as simple as opportunity stages. We were having a discussion around this because there are different handoff points along the go to market sales journey and one of those is that SCR a handoff. It's very standard pass off point. And what is 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. So they were reporting on two separate things. So marketing is saying, okay, everything is created, is an op is an up creation. Were accounting all of that as opportunity, cation and finances, filtering out things that are rejected or things that are in passing, in the passing stage, and so that obviously 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 they inflated? Or what happens is sometimes people come to me and say why is this report and correct? Or this person has this number and this person has this number, and I'm like, okay, this I look at the filters and I look at like look at the report, and technically the reports are both correct. It's that the no, people aren't using the same definition to report on the data. And so that's where there's a disconnect. Is that your team's must must must be on the same page of what exactly an up created 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's your reaction to this, this statement, because I have a I don't know if it's controversial, but my perspective is I care more that everybody's using the same report than I care that the report is correct, because what I just don'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's almost more catastrophic because it starts to give people but pression that the data is is wrong and that there's something wrong with the systems, and then it becomes a very, very big fire drill. It's like if people are using the same import and maybe something is off and you're able to catch it because it's the one report and you're very intimately familiar with the data and how it's flowing and all of the processes and how everything is connected and how what things are impacting, you can catch those very quickly. When it's one report, then nobody even knows. It's like containing the fire in a you know, in a 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 fires in different rooms. Your whole house is going to just be engulfed into up in 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. Since my Gosh, you're right, I know. I know. I've been like it's really windy where I live to really windy. So like, I hope last year they turned off our power a lot because of the they're like the red flag warnings, the high wind. I know, visory. If it's not, if it's not a fire, it's a mudslide, if it's you know, it's all something. In California it's always exactly. Ask You one question. Who Do you think? So I worked at a company once and the CFO, who is kind of a pain in the ass, was just adamant that opts for that REV OPS report to him he wanted. Do you think revenue up? Because, and his point is, you know, makes some sense, since finance is supposed to control the data and finance is the one that puts, you know, the reporting together for the board and says 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 other ways, heads of Sales Cheat Crows. They like to have revops report to them because they want to look at the data before, before anybody else in the company sees it, and make sure that they presented it in the right way. Who Do you think rev up should report to? I actually don't think that they should report. V up should report to either one of those functions. I think they should roll up...

...directly to a CEO or an operationally focused or an operationally drived leader, because in revenue operations there's a strong reporting component, in a strong data component, but the end of the day it's still operations. So to me I think that should roll up to an operational leader and if there is no CEO or vp of operations and to directly to the SEEO. Fair enough, a controversial stance potentially, I think it is. I think it is. I've kind of seen in the circles that revvations should 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 the data 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 team or some data analysts, that typically falls, that reporting them falls on who, yeah, are you? It's always you, Ashia. Yeah, it's and I'm a team of one, so great, I twitch. Do you do? You put controls in you know, when you take on a rev ops role, one of the things that I think can be super problematic at early stage companies, and I see this sometimes it my company, is, you know, sales is writing their own contracts, sending the contracts, moving the deal to closed one on their own and, as a consequence, potentially driving and it's not that any of those are like a huge problem, it's just the there's no visibility across the organization to make sure that you can't move a deal that's not really close to close one or that you're sending out the right terms or things like that. Right visibility is a huge piece, I think, of what revenue operations can bring to the table. Actually, when I 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 things to do as a team of one and an early stage company that, of course, like I'm I'm thinking we need to deal this. Need a process to 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 and for the most part there ups are not like moving stuff along that they shouldn'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 and then 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 a deal desk process that we rolled out and I came in in the middle of that, and then we did have like you can't move stages backwards or you can't move a stage to closed, to to any of the later stages until you fill out some of the medic fields, because those are really important and 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 until you have filled out the a minimum of like three of those things. We do 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 VP of sales, she's on maternitydaily right now, but she's like, we need to make us so that people can only move things out of their name, that they own it, and I can see the reason for that. But our team is still small enough and I'm...

...not worried about that enough to put that high up on the list to put controls around that. But what I have done is established a minimum viable record. I don't want to say rule because that sounds very restrictive, but in order to create a lead, we need to have a minimum amount of information. In order for you to come to revops and say I need to upload a list, I need these minimum pieces of information. Otherwise I will not do the upload because things get uploaded into our system and it we I have to clean it manually. I don't have a data cleansing tool or do the standardization tool, and so what happens is, in the case of a lead getting created and we don't have information where they came from sales is going to be confused and I'm not going to know what to do. And they've went to Ping me and ask me where they 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. I have no problem helping and answering questions, but then one question becomes another and another and another, and then I'm not focused on what I need to be doing to it's why prioritization so important Asia. We're almost at the end of our time together, but one of the last things we like to do is we like to pay it forward a little bit and figure out ideas that have influenced you, books that have influenced you, maybe great bosses or mentors. You mentioned a mentor from a couple jobs ago. When when you when you are presented with the opportunity to share great ideas or people or influences with the rest of us so that we can follow the bread crume trail a little bit, what comes to mind? Absolutely so Julia Geshe was my boss at presents learning. I think she moves, I think she's had trially on out and she was just like one of the most inspiring kind sharp process I did intelligent people I've ever worked with ever, and she installed a lot of the passion 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 Tulio Dow and she has on Linkedin, so you could follow her. I don't think she posts as a how do you? How do you spell her last name? Gac Et? Okay, guess I love it. Yeah, and so if you have an opportunity to ever talk to her, you will get so much. I don't I don't think she posts content. And then in terms of revenue operations, I follow Jeff ignatio from upkeep. He is I mean it's so inspiring it in his content is very actionable. Rosalind Clary, yes, on Tailena, yes, she is also really inspired and I like to 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 coming and giving like actionable, insightful advice. So, thosing the two, I joined some of the the revenue operations communities to there. There are a lot of great people in there. Who are happy to answer questions. Hop on a call if you need help. Nobody ever makes you feel dumb for assing a question. I still ask questions. I so sometimes I'm like, I'm doing this and I've been using sealsters tree years and I would consider myself a power years. are very strong user of sales cource and sometimes I still have questions. It's only now I makes you human. Yeah, I'm in the REV OPS COOP, which is a community by funnel IQ. I'm in there's a great one called wizard wizard of ops...

...as well. Yes, wizard our oops. 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's the 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 for being on the show Asia. It's been great avenue and it was a bonus episode, so I don't have to read a lot of add copy, even though we always love our sponsors. Now, for those of you who listen to the show today, I've got some exciting news later this summer sales hacker is launching a new podcast called revenue innovators, with Mary Shay and Harish Mohan of outreach. 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 having me. Let's bye bye,.

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