The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode 199 · 10 months ago

199: Closing the RevOps Skills Gap


In this episode of the Sales Hacker Podcast, we have Jen Igartua, CEO at Go Nimbly, where she teaches companies how to build a solid revenue team. Join us for an insightful conversation about core early steps, focus and empathy, and Jen’s learnings from six years as an entrepreneurial CEO.

What You’ll Learn

  1. What revenue operations really means
  2. When data becomes your common source of truth
  3. Transitioning from peer to manager
  4. Creating a lifestyle business for personal and professional growth 

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. About Jen Igartua & Go Nimbly [2:07]
  2. Building a strong foundation for RevOps [6:24]
  3. The role of empathy in team building [9:09]
  4. Focus as a competitive advantage [11:31]
  5. Insights from an entrepreneurial CEO [13:33]
  6. Positioning the CEO role holistically [20:41]
  7. Paying it forward [22:40]
  8. Sam’s Corner [24:48]

Everybody. Sam Jacobs, welcome to the salesacker podcast. Today we've got a great show for you. We've got Jenny Gartois. She is the CEO of go nimbly, one of the one of the leading revenue operations consulting firms out there, in additional bunch of others. One of them another one is called carabiner group, but Jen runs go nimbly and we talked all about revenue operations. What does it mean? How to think about it? It's a really great conversation if you're thinking about how to install revenue operations into your organization. This is a great conversation to listen. Now, before we get there, we've got three sponsors. We've got a new sponsor on the show this month. That sponsor is mine, tickle. Let's tell you about mind tackle a little bit. Do only a few reps meet quota each quarter? Is the majority of your revenue driven by a few top performers? You know that doesn't have to be the case. Revenue Leaders Trust mind tackle to identify and drive winning sales reps behaviors so you can meet and beat quota every quarter. Go to try DOTMIND TICKLECOM for sales hacker to learn more. that URL again is try dot mind TACKLECOM for its lash sales hacker. We're also brought to you by pavilion. Pavilion is the key to getting more out of your career. Our private membership connects you with the network of thousands of like minded peers and resources where you can tap into dozens of classes and training through Pavilion University and will in sales school, Sales Development School, marketing school and many, many more for yourself for for your entire team. Learn more at join PAVILIONCOM. And finally, outreach. Out Reaches the first and only in engagement and intelligence platform built by revenue innovators for revenue innovators. Outreach allows you to commit to accurate sales forecasting, or plass. Replace something about combining forecasting with replaces. The immediate next word causes me to say replass, but that's not what outworch helps you do. They don't help your replass anything. They do help you replace manual processes with real time guidance and unlock actionable customer intelligence that guides you and your team to win. More often, traditional tools don't work and a hybrid sales world. Find out why. I outreach is the right solution. At click that outreached io forward slash thirty MPC. Now let's listen my great conversation with Jen egartois. Everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the sales hacker podcast. Today on the show we've got JEN EGARTOIS. Jen is the CEO of go nimbly. With her deep experience in sales and marketing alignment and her passion for all things REV UPS, Jen spends most of her day time hours combating the things that prevent companies from prioritizing the right work. She's a lover of Improv and applies many of its core principles to our work. She lives every day so she can have stories to share thanksgiving. Jen, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me, Sam. We're excited to have you. So we like to we like to give you an opportunity, particularly as the CEO, to to give us a little bit of an overview of go nimbly. So we mentioned you're the CEO. What is go nimbly? Go nimbly the revenue operations consultancy. So we were primarily with SASS companies, high tech quote companies like Fullio, Paige your duty. Corsea pretty proud of our logos and we work with them to their implement the revenue operations teams that they're near this concept or be an extension of that revenue operations team. How long have you been doing this? Tell us a little bit about the origin of the company. Totally. Actually. It's interesting. When we first started the company about six years ago, our tagline, you know, before revenue operations had its name, was unifying the business stack. So a lot of the work that we did was we wanted to think about the tools process and all the process that go into you go to market teams as one and we felt like that was the the real problem. And then it got our name, we got revenue operations and really what we work to do is not just the people silos, but also take a look at the technology, the data infrastructure, all the things that are keeping us from providing a great customer experience. So what started out, as you know, tools focused, we then, you know, blew it up to really combat anything that's getting in the way of really maximizing ltfair customers in that that experience. In Layman's terms, what I say is we're trying to get rid of all the internal bullshit that...

...gets in the way of a good experience. What's your training for this? Well, what's your background prior to joining or prior to starting? Go nimbly. Yeah, I was working at Blue Wolf. So I started my career a blue wolf. I was a marketing automation consultant and while there I got really obsessed with sales and marketing teams, like two teams that seemed to me like completely aligned, like we want the same thing. You know, why is it such a cliche that there's, you know, so much friction? So I doubled down on that, did a lot of work doing kind of marketing and sales align at work and, you know, that's some point I decided that I could do it on my own. So I doin a couple of other blue wolfers and we started our own our own company. I love it. So when you know to your point right, like the phrase revenue operations has really emerged and taken hold over the last couple of years. You defined it a little bit, but what do you what do you think are the keys? I think a lot of CEOS, a lot of companies aren't quite sure what the function is supposed to do specifically, when you think about the full suite of responsibilities that revenue operations should take on, what comes to mind for you, for sure. So if I I've actually crafted very carefully, like my definition of revenue operations, so if I start there at the end of the days and methodology and the goal of that, of that team, of that function, is to close gaps in the customer experience and maximize LTV, like that's that's the role of this. What it actually looks like is, you know, find the functions that were once siloed, I'd so bringing those teams together. And then when I look at a mature revenue operations teams, if I'm like Oh wow, you know they they know what they're doing, I'm actually looking at how they work more than the actual work they do, because, you know, the type of work that comes to your desk is going to vary by your inflection point, by, you know, where you are as a company, by your product line, etc. I could be typically anything. In a handoff between teams you're going to see the most work. But what I look out when I look at the maturity is, you know, how, how do they prioritize his work? Is the work coming to them kind of the loudest voice in the room? Or are they really looking at a gap, and either the customer experience or revenue gap they have in creating strategies? Do they have a road map? Are they a articulating that to the rest of the company? Are they truly the directors? Because if I take that analogy, I see revenue operations as the directors and go to market as your actors, and you know, you're both trying to create the best movie. Where do you start? Typically, if a company is early stage, there they they want to put a good foundation in place. Where do the corporal core like early steps that you encourage most people to do so at least they can have the solid foundation from which to build a revenue operations function. Yeah, if you're ready for that first operator. You know, a lot of folks look for that Unicorn because a great operations team has, you know, the ability to be strategic, understands process, they have depth in tools, they know how to enable the team, they know how to report and create amazing metrics. That person is a fairly senior person that can do that and when you're starting out early, you're, you know, looking for that Unicorn and those unicorns are harder and harder to find. So, you know, for me it's you want to mimic or you want to reflect the problems that you have and the road map that you have. So the what I call is shape of your organization. Have senior it is how many people you need, what functions you need. Should Mimic the type of work that you have? And you know, early I would focus on process oriented people. I think like a really strong generalist that, you know, can lean into the other things but has pretty pretty core emphasis on process. Is what I would do early stage. What world is data play, do you think, because you talk about alignment. For me, when I when I think about like some of the foundational elements, I think, let's make sure that our systems are interconnected so that we can at least all have the same numbers. How do you does that? Is that part of I think when people here revenue operations, one of the first things they think is the person to build reports in my crm. Yeah, for sure,...

...the way that I okay, so larger larger companies actually have started their revenue operations team sometimes with that function be it's a kind of easiest place to see this alignment is I ask one team for one metric, I get a different ends with than if I ask another another team a different but same metric. So it's one of the first places for a lot of companies. While I'll start to see a data team or an insights team get created which has the same ethos as what a revenue operations team is trying to do, is it's trying to bring together the functions that were separate, that were telling different stories, prioritizing different things and essentially trying to row the ship in different directions. And so it is a really kind of core piece. And again, the if I look at the maturity of our revenue operations team, they can map their work back to a data set. They can map their work and a really fabulous team is going to be able to forecast what their work is going to do by saying I looked at our funnel, we have a problem at this stage to have a conversion problem deploying this tactic and I'm expecting it to increase by five percent. It's impossible to be mature without, you know, that data infrastructure. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. You've talked about or in the past you've talked about empathy and the importance that the role of empathy plays in building an effective revenue operations team. Talk a little bit about that, because I think it's a really interesting perspective. Yeah, so, when I think about really fabulous solution designers and design thinkers, one of the things that they know how to do is immerse themselves in whoever their user is, and I think that that tactic and that that ability is a really creates kind of the most incredible solutions. And when you're thinking it from a Revenue Operations Lens, I still believe it's really important to call your customer, your customer, like my customer as a revenue operations you know, director is not my sales team, my customers, my customer. We all have the same, you know, customer we're trying to prioritize. But I know who my users are and I know who my stakeholders are and having the empathy of understanding their job, immersing yourself in their workflow, is truly the way to create, you know, the best ultimate experience. Couldn't agree more. So how do you do that? You know, what are some examples of things that people can do? So that they can. They can put their selves in the shoes of their stakeholders and build and design effective processes that help the company grow. Yeah, yeah, there's like a huge gamut of things you can do and I actually think this is the fun work. At a baseline, you can sit with your reps and do a Rep rhyd and just, you know, understand them end end, in a kind of more technical perspective, you have tons of tools, like your goings and courses that let you listen to calls and really understand, you know, what are what is my go to marketing talking about? What are my customers complaining about? You can secret shop your team, pretend to be the customer, put yourself in the customers shoes. I think people should be secret shopping themselves in their competitors often. So anything that you can think of to, you know, pop yourself into that experience. Now, we don't have all the time in the world. We can't be, you know, sitting around and stress testing our organization and you know, every single moment. So I usually try to prioritize like an unknown, like a known unknown, like an area and your business that you're like, I think we're failing here, or I think this is a problem and then I try to either put myself in the customer shoes and by or at a basic sense, I can just go interview, you know, the people involved and stay really curious. I love that. One of the things that you've talked about is having focus and learning the skill of focus can be a competitive advantage. Talk a little bit about that. I think, and we mentioned in the bioh that maybe some of this experience comes from your background acting in Improv. So tie those things together for us, because I think it's a really interesting point. Yeah, when I first started my career, I was definitely the mindset of an individual contributor, like I was going to be the best consultant, I was going to build the most hours. I was, you know, I was just going to be the last. I was... achiever and it wasn't really that important to me like the kind of energy that I brought or the kind of team that I built. That was, you know, kind of there to be the best, and it was through my experience doing Improv that I realize how much more fun it is when that's not your mindset. That you know, you learn some basics like what like I stilly as it sounds, active listening. If you're in the audience at an Improv show on people are interrupting each other, there's nothing worse or, you know, when they negate each other. So, you know, I started to learn really the that it's more fun for everybody involved if you're just so much better listener, celebrating group wins together. So there's no such thing in Improv is like one person doing amazing, like the whole team needs to be there supporting your seeing partner. Sometimes you're not the person telling the jokes, but you're just important because your painting is seen here making everything a reality. So through that experience I just realize how much better collaboration is when you are, you know, showing up in that way. And it's burned my passion of what is my relationship with the work? I spent all day at work. You know what, how do I find joy in it? How do I make it a joyful experience for those around how do I, you know, yes, and the people around me and, you know, really strengthen that and so like that's been, honestly, are pretty incredible growing experience for me and I do encourage people to reach out to your local Improv team and have them do Improv Games with your company, because there is such a joy and being able to shove that work and, quite frankly, have fun. What have you learned? You've been doing this six years, I think you mentioned. What have you learned about leadership over the past couple of years, you know, and what's been surprising for you as a CEO? Yeah, so when I actually think the most pivotal, you know, moment was about a year and a half ago, is when I took over a CEO. So before that I was running our delivery team and that experience was pretty intense because I went from being a lot of people's peers to being their boss and trying to learn, you know, what does it mean to change that relationship? What does it mean to still kind of respect somebody's capabilities, their strengths, and what's my job, you know, in that relationship and you know the the framework that I always use is be caring and candid, that you know, I don't withhold feedback. I try to be really thoughtful about what's the one thing that could help this person get better, knowing their goals and allowing myself to go really deep into that because ultimately my job is to make other people effective, to make sure that I'm bringing a lot of clarity to the business that I've I'm thinking about, you know, where this industry is going, that I can pay that ground, but essentially I need to count on the other ten people on my leadership team to make that a reality. So really focusing on them. What did work or didn't work? You know that that that transition that you talked about of moving from somebody's peer to moving to their boss can be difficult and yes, you know you can have a perspective on this is the one thing you can sort of get feedback on to help that person improve. But there's at least I sometimes feel a little bit of selfconsciousness around the unilater all the flow of feedback and how, as the CEO, unless I'm explicitly and aggressively asking for it, I might not be receiving as much as I'm giving it, and also just the selfconsciousness of, you know, maybe I'm wrong, maybe this isn't maybe this is my problem, not their problem. How do you how do you balance all of that, particularly because there's there was a pure relationship and now there's a you know a manager relationship. Oh Man, I wish I had a magic answer here. I preface a lot of my conversations when I give feedback is I could be wrong. I'm open to being wrong, but this is what I'm seeing and I'm telling you this because I think it will, you know, help you get to the next level. So, and I'm fine to be wrong and I think that that's that's helped the you know, I had a ton of imposter syndrome, I'd say, for the first six months taken over...

...the organization in the middle of Covid you know, like it was. It was a lot. I didn't have that facetoface to kind of build relationships differently and what I found was the difficult balance for me was, you know, where do I just come in and say look, it's my job to make heart decisions, and where is it? You know what I need to build a lot of consensus and show that we're doing this together and but not slow things down, because consensus takes forever. And what I learned through that is I'm actually not someone that I took a clifton out of you of our taking the Clifton strengths test. That gives you like thirty four strengths in order. I have not taken that. They ushould take it. It's very it's one of my favorite ones. I love me a quiz, though, so I'm all about it. But one of my lowest strengths is harmony. I don't care about harmony, I don't I don't mind conflict, I don't care about reaching full consensus. I care about listening and making heart decisions and I'm find doing that. And so I had to really let that be known that, like, I'm going to listen to every one of them, going to like it's hard, I'm going to make a decision from it and if it's not your decision, it's not personal. And you know, I think there was a transition for getting used to that kind of leadership style and it was a transition for me to be bold and understand that, like that's actually one of my strengths, but I have to mitigate it to make sure that what I'm not doing is alienating. So I do think knowing yourself and mitigating those weaknesses is is a big part of building a team that understands each other and and understands each other strengths. Was that a shift in the culture was it? Did it move from sort of a consensus driven culture to I wouldn't call it, you knowateral, but for for you being willing to make a decision without having everybody be on board? Yeah, I think speed is one of the most important things to me as a person, and so it definitely, you know, I think was a shift and the company. And then I also really believe in overcommunication and so, like everybody has to let everybody know what's going on at all times and lean on the side of being almost annoying with the amount of updates, because it's the only way we can kind of keep rolling in the same direction. I think those were two big shifts that I brought in. Did anything about how you manage your personal life shift? You know, one of the there's there's especially if you're a heart charging individual contributor. I mean some part of being a CEO is just, you know, the company begins to model itself after your behavior. There's one school of thought that, you know, it's just about ours, it's about putting in the hours, it's about working your your absolute butt off. There's another school of thought. You know, I've sort of leading the witness, but which is when I subscribe to which is more it's a marathon, not a sprint, and you have to make sure that you pace yourself and that you don't burn out, and that means building in time for yourself. That means that you know not every meeting is going to happen tomorrow. Sometimes the meanings going to happen in two weeks, but that's the thing that's going to enable you to be the CEO for ten years as opposed to one. How do you approach kind of work life integration, work life balance, you know, and making sure that you have the energy to be great? It's a hard question for me because I think I'm I'm in the middle, I mean the I'm in the balance of what you're talking through. I read recently a book called the infinite game and it talks what you're, you know, talking about like there's actually no winning in business. You know, the winner is still in business. You know, there's no being the best at any given point. It's about that longevity and I do want to bring that in in place and I am trying to lead by example there. You know, I do take time off. I just told you I just booked at one way ticket, I mean water side is right now. I wanted to get my standard tack. I grew up in the DRID and I want to be here. And it does mean that with the time zone, the latest I can join a meeting is four PM, and I'm doing that, and so I'm like setting out of those standards. You know, I do like a hustle and I have to watch myself. But the way that I balance that out is I have a lot of personal projects, you know, Improv being one of them. But I do a lot of things, you know, on my own. I'm creative, I am very extroverted. So I want to be out, I want to be exploring and I have to make time for that. I...

...was at my worst during covid when I didn't have that, and then I would just throw myself at work and that was my goal. And in two thousand and twenty two I'm just going to work less, because I am smarter and better when I do that, and that's you know, that's what the company needs and, you know, to pivot a little. It's why I actually really believe in focus. I think you can do a lot of really fabulous work if you give yourself the time to do it, if you learned a moto task, if you learn to yet keep that focus. I think it's that that competitive advantage I was talking about is my ability to sit down with something for two hours and work through it and not be starting and stopping every ten minutes. That is a competitive advantage and certainly a skill that is not as developed in the modern era as it used to be. Perhaps. What are your when someone says like, what's your goal for Gonimbly? How do you answer that? What do you what do you you know are you pushing towards? It's always a strange question. It's not strange, it's just it's direct. You know, some times some people do start a company to sell it. Sometimes people start it because they just want to run it forever. How do you think about being the CEO of this company in the overall context of your life's journey? Yeah, what a fabulous hard question for a services company. There's not, you know, there's not the Ipoh right, there's not that like you know, type of exit. It's whether or not I either sell it in or, you know, take a big investment or, like you said, I create this kind of like lifestyle business that I'm always in. I don't think I'm the ladder boat. I think I need newness and I need challenges and this company could keep going and give me that, but at some point it might not, and so I don't I don't think about it as a forever. I've started talking to you know, investors to understand, you know, what do I have to build as a business to be, you know, something that somebody wants to buy one day and is that another you know company? Is that like a big IBM that comes in Byes me, or do I need to be looking at a tech company that men wants to buy me and wants to buy our Ip and our services team? So I'm starting to do that research and just try to understand how do I make sure that I've got a good evaluation, and that's that's one part of it. But you know, when I think about my ethos and you know, what my mission is like, I do want to help companies create great customer experiences like that's that might be rough ups today might be something else tomorrow, and I want to build amazing talent, like I want to be a place where, you know, people come to elevate themselves and grow, and that we create that environment. I want to make people's careers like that's something that also really drives me. I love it. We're general almost at the end of our time together. What we'll have you back on Friday for Friday fundamentals, but one of the things we like to do at the end is pay it forward a little bit figure out. You know, you mentioned the infinite game. We're all, not everybody, but certainly it sounds like you and me are both readers. There's people that have influenced us. There's ideas that have influenced us. When you think about you know you can you can use the word content if you want, but you know things that you think we should know about our people, you think we should know about. They might have been mentors, they might have been thought leaders that helped form who you are that you know might inspire us. What comes to mind when I frame it like that? There is an organization called Cave Day. That's where I started my journey of how my relationship with work is and I run caves at my company. They basically run facilitated work blocks for you to get hard work done. You're on a zoom or another application or in person and and they kind of help you through it, take breaks, etc. And I think it's something that people should be doing with their teams. Often is again teaching, you know, people how to focus. And then there's, you know, obviously a ton of books. I read a lot. I am currently reading a book that is not that interesting anyone called managing a professional services from from the S, but inspired me that old books, old books, are still really relevant, and so I'm going into the archives,...

...which I think is really interesting, and the next one on my, you know, bucket list, as I'm going to go with the book for it. So again, in this kind of concept of hot wood's my relationship with work. How do I show up the best? And for me it's caved. It was a start of that. So I would I would promote that. I love it. Jen. If folks want to reach out to you, what's the best way to get in touch? Are you? Are you open to random stranger outreach from podcasts and if so, what's the best way to in touch? Tick Tock. I don't believe you. And it was like I'm the Lane Linkedin. You know, you can find me there posting my musings. So I think that's that's a good shout. Okay, sounds great. Jen. We're going to talk to you on Friday for Friday fundamentals. Thanks so much for being our guest on the show this week. Love that. Thanks for having me. Hey everybody, Sam Jacobs, SAM's corner. Love that conversation with Janet Gartoa. We covered a lot, but a couple of things that for me are standouts. The first is everybody's talking about revenue operations. What does it really mean? And generally has sort of a design orientation to her approach to revenue operations. It's it's about, as you mentioned, it's about increasing the lifetime value of the customer and figuring out what are the methods, the processes, the systems that you need to build the data that you need in order to do that. And it's also about bringing together disparate elements. They're not really disparate, but, you know, customer success, sales and marketing into one coherent revenue function, and I think revenue operations has that, the ability to do that. For me, it all starts with data. It all starts with, you know, somebody, my friend Dan Finlay, who runs a brewery with his wife Carissa and and other members of the NAP family common space in La Check it out. So great place and they have events and they have great food. But the point is this. They said what's the what's the biggest thing that you learned when you brought on your new head of Rev ops, and I said that we must connect all of our systems. Every the billing system needs connected to the CRM. I mean, maybe that's obvious. Wasn't the way that was for us for a long time? If you can connect all your systems, you can have one common source of truth. That's it relates to data, and they're from there. Every team can make decisions based on the same numbers. So that's something to think about. And then, you know, I thought that Jen was quite insightful about, you know, that transition from being a peer to being a manager. In this case she became the CEO, and an understanding and owning the transition right that it wasn't going to be the same company anymore, that it was going to be, frankly, on the margin less consensus. DRIFFIN that, you know, solving for harmony was not something that was her top priority. Her top priority was speed, which tends to be my top priority to the way that I think about it is I have a strength of conviction meter. So it's not that I'm always going to make decisions, it's if I have a high strength of conviction, we're going to do it my way, and if I have a low strength of conviction, I'm just going to delegate the decision to somebody that does have a high strength of conviction. So when I have a strong opinion I tend to I think tend to be right. I just don't have a strong opinion all the time. So it's for me, it's my being aware of that fact. Now know so hopefully enjoyed it regardless. Thanks to our sponsors, we had three today. outreache, traditional tools don't work in a hybrid sales world. Go to click that outreach DOT AO forwards, thirty MPC to learn more. Mine tickle to only a few reps meet quota each quarter. Revenue Leaders Trust mind tackle to identify and drive winning sales behavior so you can meet and beat quota every quarter. Go to try DOTMINE, TACKLECOM for sales hacker to learn more. Again, that URL is try dot mind, ticklecom forward sales hacker and, of course, thanks to pavilion, unlock your professional potential. Take control of your career. Learn the skills that you need to be successful with a group of your peers through Pavilion University. We've got CRO school, we've got frontline sales manager school led by Kevin Dorsey. We've got chief marketing officers school. We have just any kind of learning program that you need. If you're from everything from account executive to executive to cro we can help you. So go... join pavilioncom to learn more. If you want to reach out to me, you can Sam at Joint Pavilioncom. Don't forget to give us five stars in the podcast rating place that you use to listen to podcasts and, of course, make sure that you join the sales hacker community. All right, I'll talk to you next time. Thanks for listening. Everybody.

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