The Importance of Operations in the SaaS World with Asia Corbett

About This Episode

Asia Corbett, Head of Revenue and Community Operations for RevGenius, stops by to talk with Brad on this episode of Decision Point. From financial impacts to the simple day-to-day stuff, Asia explains the importance of RevOps in the everchanging SaaS landscape. Along the way, we learn how Asia ended up in Operations and what other setbacks helped lead her on her journey to where she is today.

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The Importance of Operations in the SaaS World with Asia Corbett

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: Well, let’s just get, let’s get started. Tell me a little bit about you how’d you get to where you’re at. How’d you get connected with rubbed genius. What’s your story?

[00:00:07] Asia Corbett: Yeah. So it’s funny that you mentioned adversity because in the last, I mean, pandemic aside, like just, oh my gosh, I had. S H I T that I’ve gone through in the last year and a half or two.

So kind of just going all the way back to the beginning. I studied economics and statistics in college, and I fully intended on being like a CFO. That was my, I was convinced that was my path. And so I kind of started out and stuff. Semi finance roles. And I say semi finance, because there was always an operational component to it.

Like how do I do things in a repeatable sort of a manageable way? Like if people are emailing me all the time asking me things, how can I streamline that a little bit? And so each move kind of went away from. Journal entries and budget reconciliations, and doing like the department meetings and making sure that departments are spending, they have budgeted for like a budget versus actuals co managing the corporate card expenses.

That is not fun. I was like, I don’t want to be in a county. This is boring. And so I like my role started getting more operations. And then I got into tech and I was still in sort of like these revenue or business operations as overall company operations roles. And now like revenue operations is this buzzword.

It’s like this trendy thing, but it has existed for a long time and has been part of like, what would be your business operations team? So I let’s see, let me, let me go back to 2020. I left a company that I had been at for about two years because it was, my growth was stagnant stagnating. And I was like, okay, maybe I want to go back into the more analytical side of things.

So I went to work for a very big tech company as a business analyst for the go-to market organization. And I was like, I still get to work with all these people, but maybe I want to do more data analysis. I was like, I don’t know if I want to do this. Actually, what ended up happening is well, first there was the pandemic, my team that I was on dissolved.

Like they got rid of the, the business planning department. They put me on the finance team. Does they put that team are like, okay, we’ll just move you into.

Let’s see. So I had just started, I just started this company. I left the other one to go to this large company to do business planning and analysis, which is analytical, but very different from like the finance analytics or so I thought, and so literally like a month in they’re like, oh yeah, by the way, the business planning department is no more.

And I was like, oh, Cool. So the person who hired me, I’m going to be reporting to somebody else, VP of finance. I was pregnant at this time and then let’s see, we, we went into lockdown shortly after that. I think then they decided to eliminate my role on the finance team. So I got laid off a week before I gave them.

Before I was supposed to go on maternity leave. So then I’m trying to figure out, well, first I’m trying to like focus on that, like, okay, I have to go do that first. And then afterwards I’m like, well, I always knew that I wanted to work. Like, I’ve kind of, I like working, I enjoy working. And I wanted to go back into work.

And so just trying to figure out, okay, well now I have to find a job. Like a lot of people looking for jobs. What do I want to do? I want to go back into operations. And so two small tech company to build out the sales operation side of things. And what happened is what kind of happens in small organizations with small teams is they’re like, well, like, yeah.

Can you do also the marketing operations? And can you also do a well, yeah. What about customer success? So that, that becomes revenue operations, or you’re not just focused on one segment of your go to market. You were focused on all of the revenue generating teams, that’s the whole revenue engine. So so I was there for a little while.

I enjoyed my time there mostly, but what I found in like, sort of, I guess, at this point in my career, cause I’ve been working for a long time. Now culture is really important. Like organizational culture is really important and it doesn’t matter what role you’re doing or, or what company you work for.

If the culture is that transparent and open and supportive and respectful, then you’re not in a good, you’re not in a good place. And that was something that was very top of mind for me, as I was thinking about the next place to go to. Yeah, I’m sort of, and, and so I go on about the culture thing. I’m thinking, I’m talking about culture from an organizational perspective, like across the company and then culture around what operations means to an organization because frequently, especially in the revenue operations community and the sales, operations community, and marketing operations, community operations.

Is seen as like we’re just the tech stack people or we’re just the system admins, or like just build me a report or pull this data. I’m really, operations is a lot more of a mat. It’s the processes. It’s defining processes, it’s mapping processes. It’s helping improve processes. It’s laying them, the systems and the tools on top of the.

So that when you pick your tech stack or as you can figure your tech stack or make changes, the tools that you’re using support the business processes and not the other way around, because that’s what happens very frequently is people get the tools because they’re like, Ooh, that’s a cool tool. I want outreach.

Yeah. It’s great. But there’s no. There is no process. There’s no defined way of how to use it. So then people go in there and it’s the wild, wild west. And then you integrate these tools with other systems and other systems or their teams use. And so there’s a lot of upstream and downstream impacts that people don’t realize.

And that’s part of our, our job as operations people is to be a steward of that as well. And so culturally, if the team, if the leadership team in your company is not bought into that, you’re going to have a hard time as an operations person. And you’re going to. Leave, which is, you know, that that’s what happens.

So people are kind of getting are, are, I’ve noticed that there is a little more non-interest but maybe there’s a shift, a culture shift that’s happening and it’s slow and culture is slow to change, but it’s there. And so I was part of rev genius as a, as a member, as a part of the community. As a member, Jared reached out to me, he’s like, Hey, do you want to join the community?

And I was like, sure, I was part of, I still am part of a couple of other operations focused communities like wizard of ops. So a lot of people know that one rev ups co-op, which is managed by funnel IQ, via company funnel IQ. And those are like smaller groups. Of mostly revenue operations and sales, operations professionals.

Whereas rev genius is a community that’s open to all revenue professionals. So sales, marketing, customer success, and then us as well. And there are some other small segments. Like there may be some people operations, people are in there, but largely it’s the revenue folk. So Jared reached out to me and he said, do you want to join the community?

I said, yeah, why not? And you know, I started engaging in there asking questions and meeting people and really, and people who would ask questions to, and I’d be like, Hey, actually, I experienced that. I could walk you through what I did or, Hey, I have an example that you might, you might find useful. Or do you have an example for me?

Or do you have some advice for me? So I started leaning in there more. He asked me. Would you be willing to write for the bag, the road genius, mag. I said, sure. Why not? I can write about robot stuff. It’s something I like doing. And then we kind of started talking a little bit, he shared with me his vision and kind of what he saw for the future of community and how that plugs into learning and how that plugs into the, into the tech industry in general.

And I was like, yeah, that’s great. You know, and he told me what the mission of, of rev geniuses is to educate and empower. And inspire, educate, empower, and inspire revenue professionals. And I was like, wow, those are my core values as a person. I love helping people like you, like when you watch someone realize something, you know, like you see their face, light up kind of like, oh, I got it.

Like that’s to me, if I have helped that, then I might like, I could die happy. So I was like You know, what did you have in mind for the operations person that you wanted to bring onto the team? Cause we were talking about that to certain.org structure. He’s like, do you know anyone in operations who’s young in their career, like new in their career?

Like a couple of years of experience, who’s like, like you, but entry level. And I was like, No, I didn’t say no, but to be honest, people do not graduate college and go no. And if they go into operations, they’re in supply. They’re in the engine, like shipping industries, right. That, so I have a lot of thoughts about that and how, how that those principles can be brought to the tech world.

But that’s another, that’s an aside. So Jen, we were talking about this, he’s like, do you know anyone? I said, Hmm, I could check that at work, but I don’t think so. And it was at this time I was kind of figuring out what my next move was going to be in which company I wanted to like how to figure out if the, or the value.

And the culture matched, like what the people say and their job descriptions, you know, they’re like, well, we have a great culture. Yeah, sure. What does that mean? And when Jared was talking about the vision and talking about the mission and all of this stuff, and from what I’ve experienced in the community, just to people, what Jared was able to build is because he believes in that mission, he built the community organically, like by going out and.

And talking to people and asking them to join the community. So I was like, man, that’s really, that’s amazing. I don’t know anyone, Jared who’s like entry level, but if you want, I could help because, because this is important to me, this, this mission that you’re on here. Why not. And I started two days later.

And yeah, and it’s been a really fun and it’s been a wild ride in the last five or six months as most startups usually go. And I was brought on to be the head of revenue and community operations. And we’ve kind of joked that role really it’s, it’s all about operations because there are like, Operational logistical things that happen in accompany that don’t fall into either one of those categories like HR and payroll, things like that.

So yeah, I joined to help number one, empower people and inspire people and help teach people and learn from people, but also to help shirts.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: Well, let’s just get, let’s get started. Tell me a little bit about you how’d you get to where you’re at. How’d you get connected with rubbed genius. What’s your story?

[00:00:07] Asia Corbett: Yeah. So it’s funny that you mentioned adversity because in the last, I mean, pandemic aside, like just, oh my gosh, I had. S H I T that I’ve gone through in the last year and a half or two.

So kind of just going all the way back to the beginning. I studied economics and statistics in college, and I fully intended on being like a CFO. That was my, I was convinced that was my path. And so I kind of started out and stuff. Semi finance roles. And I say semi finance, because there was always an operational component to it.

Like how do I do things in a repeatable sort of a manageable way? Like if people are emailing me all the time asking me things, how can I streamline that a little bit? And so each move kind of went away from. Journal entries and budget reconciliations, and doing like the department meetings and making sure that departments are spending, they have budgeted for like a budget versus actuals co managing the corporate card expenses.

That is not fun. I was like, I don’t want to be in a county. This is boring. And so I like my role started getting more operations. And then I got into tech and I was still in sort of like these revenue or business operations as overall company operations roles. And now like revenue operations is this buzzword.

It’s like this trendy thing, but it has existed for a long time and has been part of like, what would be your business operations team? So I let’s see, let me, let me go back to 2020. I left a company that I had been at for about two years because it was, my growth was stagnant stagnating. And I was like, okay, maybe I want to go back into the more analytical side of things.

So I went to work for a very big tech company as a business analyst for the go-to market organization. And I was like, I still get to work with all these people, but maybe I want to do more data analysis. I was like, I don’t know if I want to do this. Actually, what ended up happening is well, first there was the pandemic, my team that I was on dissolved.

Like they got rid of the, the business planning department. They put me on the finance team. Does they put that team are like, okay, we’ll just move you into.

Let’s see. So I had just started, I just started this company. I left the other one to go to this large company to do business planning and analysis, which is analytical, but very different from like the finance analytics or so I thought, and so literally like a month in they’re like, oh yeah, by the way, the business planning department is no more.

And I was like, oh, Cool. So the person who hired me, I’m going to be reporting to somebody else, VP of finance. I was pregnant at this time and then let’s see, we, we went into lockdown shortly after that. I think then they decided to eliminate my role on the finance team. So I got laid off a week before I gave them.

Before I was supposed to go on maternity leave. So then I’m trying to figure out, well, first I’m trying to like focus on that, like, okay, I have to go do that first. And then afterwards I’m like, well, I always knew that I wanted to work. Like, I’ve kind of, I like working, I enjoy working. And I wanted to go back into work.

And so just trying to figure out, okay, well now I have to find a job. Like a lot of people looking for jobs. What do I want to do? I want to go back into operations. And so two small tech company to build out the sales operation side of things. And what happened is what kind of happens in small organizations with small teams is they’re like, well, like, yeah.

Can you do also the marketing operations? And can you also do a well, yeah. What about customer success? So that, that becomes revenue operations, or you’re not just focused on one segment of your go to market. You were focused on all of the revenue generating teams, that’s the whole revenue engine. So so I was there for a little while.

I enjoyed my time there mostly, but what I found in like, sort of, I guess, at this point in my career, cause I’ve been working for a long time. Now culture is really important. Like organizational culture is really important and it doesn’t matter what role you’re doing or, or what company you work for.

If the culture is that transparent and open and supportive and respectful, then you’re not in a good, you’re not in a good place. And that was something that was very top of mind for me, as I was thinking about the next place to go to. Yeah, I’m sort of, and, and so I go on about the culture thing. I’m thinking, I’m talking about culture from an organizational perspective, like across the company and then culture around what operations means to an organization because frequently, especially in the revenue operations community and the sales, operations community, and marketing operations, community operations.

Is seen as like we’re just the tech stack people or we’re just the system admins, or like just build me a report or pull this data. I’m really, operations is a lot more of a mat. It’s the processes. It’s defining processes, it’s mapping processes. It’s helping improve processes. It’s laying them, the systems and the tools on top of the.

So that when you pick your tech stack or as you can figure your tech stack or make changes, the tools that you’re using support the business processes and not the other way around, because that’s what happens very frequently is people get the tools because they’re like, Ooh, that’s a cool tool. I want outreach.

Yeah. It’s great. But there’s no. There is no process. There’s no defined way of how to use it. So then people go in there and it’s the wild, wild west. And then you integrate these tools with other systems and other systems or their teams use. And so there’s a lot of upstream and downstream impacts that people don’t realize.

And that’s part of our, our job as operations people is to be a steward of that as well. And so culturally, if the team, if the leadership team in your company is not bought into that, you’re going to have a hard time as an operations person. And you’re going to. Leave, which is, you know, that that’s what happens.

So people are kind of getting are, are, I’ve noticed that there is a little more non-interest but maybe there’s a shift, a culture shift that’s happening and it’s slow and culture is slow to change, but it’s there. And so I was part of rev genius as a, as a member, as a part of the community. As a member, Jared reached out to me, he’s like, Hey, do you want to join the community?

And I was like, sure, I was part of, I still am part of a couple of other operations focused communities like wizard of ops. So a lot of people know that one rev ups co-op, which is managed by funnel IQ, via company funnel IQ. And those are like smaller groups. Of mostly revenue operations and sales, operations professionals.

Whereas rev genius is a community that’s open to all revenue professionals. So sales, marketing, customer success, and then us as well. And there are some other small segments. Like there may be some people operations, people are in there, but largely it’s the revenue folk. So Jared reached out to me and he said, do you want to join the community?

I said, yeah, why not? And you know, I started engaging in there asking questions and meeting people and really, and people who would ask questions to, and I’d be like, Hey, actually, I experienced that. I could walk you through what I did or, Hey, I have an example that you might, you might find useful. Or do you have an example for me?

Or do you have some advice for me? So I started leaning in there more. He asked me. Would you be willing to write for the bag, the road genius, mag. I said, sure. Why not? I can write about robot stuff. It’s something I like doing. And then we kind of started talking a little bit, he shared with me his vision and kind of what he saw for the future of community and how that plugs into learning and how that plugs into the, into the tech industry in general.

And I was like, yeah, that’s great. You know, and he told me what the mission of, of rev geniuses is to educate and empower. And inspire, educate, empower, and inspire revenue professionals. And I was like, wow, those are my core values as a person. I love helping people like you, like when you watch someone realize something, you know, like you see their face, light up kind of like, oh, I got it.

Like that’s to me, if I have helped that, then I might like, I could die happy. So I was like You know, what did you have in mind for the operations person that you wanted to bring onto the team? Cause we were talking about that to certain.org structure. He’s like, do you know anyone in operations who’s young in their career, like new in their career?

Like a couple of years of experience, who’s like, like you, but entry level. And I was like, No, I didn’t say no, but to be honest, people do not graduate college and go no. And if they go into operations, they’re in supply. They’re in the engine, like shipping industries, right. That, so I have a lot of thoughts about that and how, how that those principles can be brought to the tech world.

But that’s another, that’s an aside. So Jen, we were talking about this, he’s like, do you know anyone? I said, Hmm, I could check that at work, but I don’t think so. And it was at this time I was kind of figuring out what my next move was going to be in which company I wanted to like how to figure out if the, or the value.

And the culture matched, like what the people say and their job descriptions, you know, they’re like, well, we have a great culture. Yeah, sure. What does that mean? And when Jared was talking about the vision and talking about the mission and all of this stuff, and from what I’ve experienced in the community, just to people, what Jared was able to build is because he believes in that mission, he built the community organically, like by going out and.

And talking to people and asking them to join the community. So I was like, man, that’s really, that’s amazing. I don’t know anyone, Jared who’s like entry level, but if you want, I could help because, because this is important to me, this, this mission that you’re on here. Why not. And I started two days later.

And yeah, and it’s been a really fun and it’s been a wild ride in the last five or six months as most startups usually go. And I was brought on to be the head of revenue and community operations. And we’ve kind of joked that role really it’s, it’s all about operations because there are like, Operational logistical things that happen in accompany that don’t fall into either one of those categories like HR and payroll, things like that.

So yeah, I joined to help number one, empower people and inspire people and help teach people and learn from people, but also to help shirts.

[00:12:11] Brad Seaman: Awesome. Well, it so, so one of the things you highlighted actually, w you know, you said, let’s do this another time, but I actually like to do, I’d love to hear about your thoughts on the supply chain and operations, because I think the one, the one big challenge and a lot of companies have, and I think particularly as you’re growing, you’re like whether you consider yourself small business or startup you’re using Salesforce, you’re using all these tools.

And you’re trying to get all these metrics so you can make intelligent decisions and nothing really wires up the way that it’s supposed to. And things that should be really simple. Like, you know, as an executive, I want to see the CEO. I want to see how many leads, how many appointments, how many, but they’re just, there’s not tools that just, that seems so inherently easy.

Right? You get your Salesforce. Involved. And he’s like, well, you know, it’s not, it’s not really, it’s not really like that. Cause you guys did this and you did that. And that stops this. We got cross object reporting. And so I think the revenue ops particularly we measure, we measure more things. It’s become more and more of a need.

So I’d love to hear I’d love to hear that. I’d also like to hear just for my own reference, what’s the typical path to CFO, because as you were talking about your story, I just didn’t know. I don’t, I don’t know enough about the CFO role to know, like how’s the CFO typically in our, an organization.

What’s their background.

[00:13:33] Asia Corbett: Is it? I can talk to, to all of that. So I’ll start with that first because that’s a smaller part and I don’t, I’m not as passionate about

no, no, totally. So to give you an idea of the kind of person that I am, I had a wealthier plan, right? Written out on paper. I actually found it the other day. And I was looking at it. I’m like, Hmm, I’m about eight years into this plan. And it is not where I thought I would be, but I had written it out as if I were going to be on this CFO track and the research that I did and some of the connections that I made typically CFOs have heavy accounting backgrounds.

I did not have a heavy accounting background. I mean, I studied economics and took one accounting class accounting, 1 0 1 or whatever, the very first one. And I hated it. To be honest, I was like, this is not, I like data. I like analyzing things. I like math. I do not like accounting. I don’t really even like finance to be honest.

I mean, I’m glad that people like it. I’m so glad there are people who enjoy that in the world. That is so great. It’s not my passion also. So what I was trying to do when I, when I graduated, so actually my senior year of college, I wasn’t my senior year, maybe the summer going into senior year. I got this internship with a company called Bosch.

Bosch makes a lot of different. Refrigerators, dishwashers, power tools be familiar.

That’s a different bot,

[00:15:16] Brad Seaman: the power tools.

[00:15:24] Asia Corbett: They make yeah, B O S C H. They make power tools. They make home appliances, they make car parts. I think they’re very first, like the first invention by Robert Bosch was the spark plug. And so I don’t even know how I remember this, but you know, an onboarding, they tell you the history of the company and their logo.

If you look at it, it’s this little gray thing and it’s supposed to be. And the writing is read you, be like, if you go to home Depot or Lowe’s or whatever, you’ll see Bosch power tools. So I, I started that internship and I reported directly to the controller of the resource research arm of Bosch in Palo Alto in California.

So they had an entire Silicon valley. They had an entire. Vertical. I mean, not totally entirely a cost center, so no revenue coming out of this part of their business, it’s purely research. And they had a controller because the controller accounting person needed to manage cost. So that’s what I did. I went and I reported to him and I did a lot of.

Budgeting and actuals, reportings are turning up when, when the department leaders come together and say, all right, here’s a budget for the, for the quarter. Here’s your budget for the year now go plan. And then you revisit with them every month and do a reconciliation and say, here’s what you actually spent here is your target.

Okay. And then as you’re getting ready to the next year, through the end of the year what’s the planning for the next year and very, very, very, very, very structured and organized because German companies are very, very structured and organized and they also are a mature company, been around for a long time.

So I’m doing a lot of accounting stuff. That’s accounting journal entries, or I was doing pulling reports out of SAP, the tool, which if you’ve ever used SAP, you didn’t never complain about using Salesforce. SAP is I have a tool and it’s. I don’t like it either. I don’t prefer it. So then I’m like, okay, great.

So that’s the accounting side. I’m starting to get familiar with accounting things, even though I haven’t studied accounting, you know, you’re learning about a balance sheet and a cashflow statement PNL and how they link together. And this really man, I don’t like this. And so I’m thinking, all right, instead of like the accounting side, maybe the financial analysis side, which is like taking the data and doing it, taking a look at it afterwards.

So pulling out all of your. Expenses and doing forecasting. And so based on our, our historical data, what are we going to do for the future? And so like to work at doing that, all of that leads up to the CFO eventually, but having heavy emphasis on accounting and I didn’t have that background too.

So I was like, maybe I like you’re burning on a job. But then as I kept moving through my career, I’m like, Hmm, Like I were in the, in these roles, like I said, that had this operational sort of component they’re like taking in requests from people managing through those requests. This is a process to me.

And then communicating it back out, even to an extent doing budget reconciliation meetings, that’s a process. Why don’t we do at the end of every month? Who do we meet with, what do we cover? How do we like make. Repeatable scalable. So that’s like the finance side. Did I answer your question?

[00:18:54] Brad Seaman: Yeah. Yeah.

Nope. Nope. You did. So, so as you, so it sounds like you sorta were like perfectly, you know, like your personality, the things that you like really kind of align. To fill in this vacuum space of like revenue operations. So with everything you just told me, my assumption is they were like, Asia can do this and then you

[00:19:15] Asia Corbett: started, right?

It’s like, yeah, you gotta be careful with that too, because people will say, oh, you can do this here. You do it. Yes, I’ll do it. Cause I want to help people. And then you get overwhelmed and burnt out and recruit, frankly, like not one person can do it. All right. So. That’s a challenge. Operations. People are very capable and they also want typically the average operations persons, very capable.

They’re very resourceful. They’re very quick. They think quickly on their feet, they’re adaptable, but they also want to help people. So that can be a very tricky balance when you ha, when you go into an organization that again, doesn’t culturally understand operations and you just toss all this system administration stuff on you, and then you’re doing it.

And they’re like, Man, what are all these other gaps I see and how can I fix it? But you’re stuck in the Salesforce trenches because you’ve inherited a mess. And

[00:20:10] Brad Seaman: by the sales like sales people, or is that just driven by the

[00:20:14] Asia Corbett: organization? Oh, absolutely. 100%. It’s the organizational, the leadership, because here’s what happens.

And this is my been my experience. Sales leaders and other go to market leader. It’s really anyone who has the strongest personality of Aaron’s. The leadership team gets these requests from their, their people, right? So let’s just use sales as an example. I’m not picking on sales. I love my salespeople right there.

But you get one rep who is maybe they’re a high performer, right. They close deals consistently. And, but they have complaints about Salesforce or the system or whatever. And they say, Hey, I really need this new field. I need this new field. I’m like, guess what? We can’t just do that. Here’s why okay.

Then they’ll go to their boss and then they’ll look sort of like, you know, the squeaky wheel. It gets the most oil thing. And then the leader that VP comes back and says, you need to do you need to, you have to do this even though as an operations person who has, you would think that leaders think holistically like this, but maybe like, because they’re in a, in a functional area, they don’t.

Having a picture of the entire process and then the systems, and then the people, you know, if you do this one thing that it’s going to affect people upstream and downstream, and those effects may be like minor annoyances, or they could be like shut the system down. But

[00:21:44] Brad Seaman: what was the company? Those little, little changes can be.

[00:21:49] Asia Corbett: Exactly. And so you get into this situation where I had, like, there is a debate on LinkedIn about this particularly, particularly is because I said, you’re going into situations where you have the leadership says, no, you have to go build this, just go build it. And that’s why you have really poorly designed Salesforce systems.

That’s part of it. And the other part of it is people who don’t have the proper training from a, like a process perspective. Build something that they think is okay, and then it actually, it doesn’t support the business process. Do you feel like,

[00:22:25] Brad Seaman: Salesforce maybe contributes to some of this in the sense that they don’t, they don’t want to dictate like best practices?

[00:22:32] Asia Corbett: You know, I think it’s a little bit of that. I think they should do a better job. I think companies in general, any company you should put out best practices on how to use your tool. I did a poll on LinkedIn. There were actually three polls, the same couple of days. Which tool do you prefer if you’re in operations, Salesforce or HubSpot?

So rev ops professionals, ops professionals choose Salesforce every time because it’s the capability of the CRM function is just not there. And HubSpot I, and again, I don’t, I like HubSpot, but if I’m an admin, because I’ve worked with Salesforce for so many. And because I also like understand how to distill down a process, like what the end user wants.

I know inherently Salesforce is most likely going to support that. Now I am not like a proponent of picking a tool first, then doing the process. Like that’s kind of backwards to me, but this is probably one of those exceptions. Where I’d say yes, Salesforce, all the way I’m going to Salesforce evangelist.

We’re not even a Salesforce customer and we don’t use Salesforce at rep Tina’s, but I still prefer it. Yeah. So what’s funny is you see that the data says, okay, operations people clearly prefer Salesforce and we have our reasons for that. And then you go into the comments though, and you would think it’s otherwise, because there are like loud voices are like, ah, man, Salesforce sucks and this and that, and you can’t do this and you can’t do that.

And then you look at some of the people who are commenting and their sales people, or their end users. So that tells me a couple of things. It tells me one that data, the data doesn’t buy and data is important of course, because we’re, what are, we’re trying to understand what operations people want or think.

Right. And is that outliers or people who have loud voices or who are very like loud can skew. The perception, because if you were Joe to just look at those comments, you would think, yeah, people prefer the other tool. I know what it’s

[00:24:37] Brad Seaman: called, but there’s some BA there’s a specific type of bias where, or there’s a specific type of where there’s a word for this, where I say one thing, not hypocrisy is not the word it’s, we’re not when, when I say one thing, but then the data shows something else.

So I say, we really prefer this. But then if you watch the behavior, I’m doing the opposite. I’m kidding. My actions continue all pose. My, my mother,

[00:25:01] Asia Corbett: I said, I don’t know what the word is.

[00:25:05] Brad Seaman: It’s a specific word. I wish I could remember it.

[00:25:08] Asia Corbett: And it’s on every single one of these polls. Like I have a LinkedIn post on it.

I had a poll. I did a poll myself. Jared did a poll and somebody else had a poll, which she prefers Salesforce one every time. Yeah, you would look up a comments and think out of a lot of people too. I think Jared’s had like 900 people or the person who had somewhere between 500 and stuck people. I have like almost 500 people in my that’s a pretty big sample size.

[00:25:34] Brad Seaman: I mean, I think the question is like, okay, if you hate it, what, what’s the, what’s the alternative,

[00:25:39] Asia Corbett: right? Yes. Okay. The alternative is hiring and. Function to parole properly design your systems so that they support the processes and the teams, rather than just picking something. Yeah. No, absolutely. Because whether you start, okay, so say you are lucky, you’re an operations person in your aunt in on ground zero, because it’s like almost never happens and you get to choose your tech stack, which also almost never happens.

I mean, I got into rap genius early in the tech stack was still already configured. So what you do and I actually am writing. Framework for this, how to choose these tools to support your processes and not the other way around, like the very, very, very, very first thing you have to do before you do anything is map out your like beer buyers journey, your customer journey.

If you don’t have that, that’s where you have to start. Get yourself. You can start on a piece of paper and literally draw it out, then put it into lucid chart or whatever tool that you use to do your process. Now. So that you can see, all right here is how the here’s on the front end. This is what the customer is going through.

This is their path. Now on top of that are the business processes that support the journey. So like, thinking about it I guess like a house, you know, you build your foundation for. And then you start to put up the walls, then you put in the floor, then you paint. Then you add pictures, the pictures I like to think of as like data and reporting and dashboards.

That should be the very last thing you do. Shouldn’t have like the CEO of come to me and say, Hey, tell me what this, tell me, tell me what’s going on in the business. And I’m like, well, I can’t, you know why? Because finance and marketing don’t even agree on what the definition of an SQL.

[00:27:34] Brad Seaman: So let’s, let’s talk about the house.

Cause I think this is really good imagery. That’s kind of how I think. And you said, Hey, the dashboards, dashboards, reporting, that’s all pictures, right? That’s the thing that should move in. So we move in last, which I think is fascinating because that’s the framework in which pretty much every person derives their meeting upset of Salesforce.

Salespeople are going to look at the reports and that’s how they’re going to decide what they need. And you’re saying, Hey, that should be, that should be the back end. That should be the

[00:28:05] Asia Corbett: looking at the wrong thing. Yeah. It’s like flopped. And the reason, the reason why is because if you don’t design, if you don’t document your process first and then build your system around the process, you won’t, you could build something, you won’t even have data to report.

And that happened in an organization. I was in, he says, tell me how to track this. I said, guess what? We can’t, we’re not even getting that data in. But before that, what is, what is even this, this process, like maybe free trials, for example, where do the free trials go? How do they get created? Who follows up with them?

How do you track lead source so that you can track conversions on those? What systems are they in? None of that had been defined. So when you asked me, tell me what’s going on with these, we haven’t even thought about the process. We you’re not even capturing the data. I can’t give you a report, but if you want to start with the report first, you can’t because you don’t have data.

Do you see, and would you

[00:29:08] Brad Seaman: encourage somebody to go through the, like before they build out Salesforce? Like walk me through like the process of how you, you would think about this when you think about your metrics that you need and work backwards, or would you just think about like, Like just run me through, like, what’s, what’s the appropriate way to think about you’re starting from scratch.

What’s the mental exercise. You would take somebody through to get the right result.

[00:29:33] Asia Corbett: Yeah. Okay. So say you’re starting from scratch and you have, don’t have a CRM yet, a tool agnostic this should be done. So you have your customer journey mapping. Person hits the website. They sign up for a free trial. They do this X, Y, Z, all the way to customer rate.

They go through onboarding of invitation, whatever for whatever your business is, then start thinking about you. What I do as an exercise, I literally take a Google sheet and I write the department down and write the processes, the business processes in that department, across the go-to market. And it’s not going to be exhaustive, but you got to cover the major ones.

Lead scoring lead routing about and prospecting workflow, right? Sales, pipeline, management, customer onboarding renewal. Once you say those. So once you have those groupings of, of your business processes, then you need to map those out and then you need to understand which teams are in which process and where the handoff.

So now that you’re thinking about that, then think about your tool. Okay. So I have a lead scoring process. We decided that we want to do lead scoring and we want to do . We need to have lead source be tracked. We need to have marketing, be able to nurture people who are not ready to move to sales. They should go into a nurture sequence based on personas.

So we need to be able to segment our, our database easily. What tool will do that for us and in what price rates, like in our budget, within our budget. And you think about the second piece which in the sales part. Oh, okay. Lean in the handoff from marketing to sales. So when a sales rep gets a lead from marketing, it’s like a very classic one inbound lead routing.

Okay. What needs to happen? Who are we, are we using a territory model or not? Are we round robbing? Do we have SDRs? Do we have full cycle reps? Okay. We’ve re we route the lead to the correct person. Then what happens after that? They follow up with a person. They qualify the person. Are we using a qualification framework?

If so, which methodology? Which one are we using medic or not? How do we track that people are using that framework, then what happens after. It happens after they’re qualified. Okay. Do we want to say that the meeting set is the SQL or whatever? Yes. Then they go into the pipeline and then what happens there?

Okay. We need to make sure that they move through the stages that we set. What are the stages? What are the exit criteria for that to move from, to move from like negotiate, whatever your state sales stages are. So you have to think about it like a, these steps before you put anything in the. Do you

[00:32:22] Brad Seaman: find, I mean, it’s a little bit like building software, right?

I

[00:32:25] Asia Corbett: mean, absolutely. It is. Absolutely. I’m just going to walk over to my

[00:32:32] Brad Seaman: well we’re about, are we going to say combined? Oh,

[00:32:39] Asia Corbett: I mean, I could show definitely. So there is this whole idea around revenue, operations, team sales, operations teams, operating a little bit more like product teams because your systems or tools or your revenue is the product and what are you going to do to get that, you know, a good product.

So, yeah, I have a. I use project management tools and I have roadmaps and I build out roadmaps. Haven’t gotten to that. So that exercise for rubbed genius. Cause it’s kind of been like, we’re planning for a conference right now and that’s taken up a lot of our time. But previously I go through a roadmapping exercise and it seems like it’s a lot of.

But it helps you. Number one, plan and number two, it shows people what you’re doing. So you can say, here are the things I’m doing. It shows how things are connected to each other. So the way that I set up a roadmap is I first that catalog of processes is important. In the marketing side, I have lead inbound lead routing.

I have campaign operations. I have segmentation, I have nurture sequences. I have ABM. If that’s something that we’re doing, all of those. And the marketing side, excuse me, then I have sales and then I have customer success or post-sale and all the processes there. So then I sit down and I’m like, all right, given these processes that make up our go to market organization, what is working and wasn’t what isn’t working.

And I look at that from two perspectives. One are the questions and requests I get from the end users. So I set up a form, very simple form. When someone has an issue. Fill out the form, then the form comes in, then I can work through a queue

feature requests. Correct. Okay.

[00:34:33] Brad Seaman: So you, you set up a form, so it’s like, Hey, if you want something done, submit the form. And then you’re kind of queuing, you’re queuing this stuff up. And then this is like tougher, just like you were the software development.

[00:34:44] Asia Corbett: Yeah, exactly. So you take that. And then from a system perspective of what I see and where things could be better, like maybe we don’t have a sales engagement platform yet.

We don’t have outreach. We don’t have sales. And I noticed that reps are coming to me with like, how can I automate my, my fault? Like following up with people or I can’t track my activity very well, whatever. What have you. So then maybe I start to think about ways to make that better, improve that process.

I look at the process, I look at what is currently built in the system, and then I’m like, okay, what tools are out there? Can I build something in Salesforce or whatever the CRM is. Can I build something there or do you mean another tool? If we need another tool, how critical is it that we bring on that tool and then do sort of a, a cost benefit analysis?

If it’s the benefit is higher than the cost, and that’s something that goes on the roadmap

[00:35:47] Brad Seaman: buying tools where you feel like Salesforce could do the job,

[00:35:51] Asia Corbett: honestly.

I think there are

probably probably Salesforce. Sophisticated and flexible enough that you could build a lot in there. Now I will say that there are use cases where it is probably a very, a little more than technical, little more complex. If you’re not if you don’t have a developer background operations, people can get by with a lot.

Like we can do a lot. I can build a lot in Salesforce using the native. Automation, there, there are some things that you need a tool to do if you don’t know how to write apex code. One of those things is like, there is no native lead routing in Salesforce, so I love lean data. How did you know it was going to plug them?

No, I’m kidding, but I do love them. They’re and amazing, amazing tool. Amazing capabilities. Added so many like useful things over the years, I’ve been like a three time user of the app itself implemented the last company I was at. Like, I fully support lean data, but yes, you, if you don’t know apex, you either hire a developer which is very expensive, or you look on the market for it tool that fits that fits the process that you, that you are trying to improve and then bring.

So that’s one, one of the things I think you can do a lot in Salesforce. Okay. Here’s a, here’s another example. And it’s one that we I’ve worked with at another company. You can do customer onboarding and Salesforce. You can build your entire customer onboarding process within Salesforce. You don’t have to use another tool.

Like, I mean, you could use any insight or turn zero or any of those, but Well, I worked with this with a CEO who had a very hard time understanding the application inside Salesforce of the customer onboarding process. And I proposed a bill that out using cases because you can customize a case type and you can add your custom fields.

You can build automation and. And the post-sale team and the sales team are both in Salesforce. So instead of going outside to like a Google sheet or a Google doc for the customer success manager to start managing their process, they can live right in the system that they’re already working in because your account management isn’t until.

But, so that’s an example of a process that you can build into Salesforce. You don’t need to go buy a tool for yeah,

[00:38:36] Brad Seaman: no, I, I, Y you definitely see. I mean, I think, I think it’s easy for the, the apartments the night. So if you’re in customer success and they bring you Gainsight, you’re going to think it’s an evident light built specifically for you.

Right. So that’s, that’s kind of the thing that’s going to catch you.

[00:38:50] Asia Corbett: I think, I think that makes sense. I think due to an important consideration is how else is the tool? Like how has a data from the tool going to be used across other organizations like Gainsight the sales reps, not going to log into games. So how does, I mean, there is a Salesforce Gainsight integration, but if there wasn’t and the customer success person, or the leader of customer success is saying, we need a tool for this team.

We need to, we need a tool to manage this onboarding process or what have you. And it’s like, okay, well actually let’s think about who else is involved in the onboarding process? What are the outcomes of the onboarding process? It’s not just like go pick a tool that’s for customer success. It’s, it’s really thinking about that from a holistic point of view, where are the, where, how is everything connected?

And then how is this all supporting the buyer’s journey at the base of everything?

[00:39:50] Brad Seaman: W so we’re getting kind of, we’re getting kind of on the back end, the our time here. So I want to ask you one, I want to ask you what I would consider the most important question. What’s the thing you’re most passionate about.

And your kid could be Salesforce.

[00:40:13] Asia Corbett: Humble. I do like Salesforce. I have a couple of, okay. What am I most, most, most passionate about is inspiring. Inspiring people. And that can be, that could look different in a lot of different ways. So I grew up a musician playing guitar and singing, and I was in band. When I was in college, I did open mics like three times a week and a and B and the reason, and some people would ask me, like, would you ever record and blah, blah, blah.

And I’m like, no, There’s something different about live music and when you play for people and that in a smaller setting, I mean, I wouldn’t be opposed to playing like 50 people in an open mic, but it’s like this not a concert, not a concert hall there there’s I don’t, I feel like there’s something more impactful about that.

Medium of delivering music to people. People will come up to me afterwards and say, oh my gosh, that was amazing. Like this and that. Not just like. Skill perspective, but you can tell they’re like, Hmm. Well, I

[00:41:22] Brad Seaman: think that’s an interesting insight is like, as a musician, you want to dilute your, your, your in a lot of cases you’re creating to please, right?

You want to create something that people want to listen. And I was really waiting for you to drop, like you’d been on the voice and maybe it was the lighting, but I thought, I felt like we were like all of a sudden. Here’s Asia and she used to be a revenue operations person and she’s not a baby,

[00:41:48] Asia Corbett: right?

Yeah, no. So I I’m inspiring people. Music is one of the ways for that. And then as in, in the workforce and as being a revenue operations, and really, I think of myself as just operations leader is empowering people and also empowering our. Discipline because I don’t think enough there’s enough discourse around things that would really drive revenue, operations and sales operations.

Forward as like, as a career,

[00:42:24] Brad Seaman: You need to write a book. When I grow up, I want to be in revenue ops or there was like a book. I think there’s a book when I grow up, I wanna be in sales, but look, it’s emerging. People know it exists. It’s a big problem. Every organization has an issue with it.

[00:42:41] Asia Corbett: We, and we, I have very strong opinions on it, but based on my experiences of course, but Yeah, I think that that not enough companies or organizations or people or talks or whatever information content out there is, it’s not doing us a service doing us a disservice because the focus needs to be on process and building the foundation and the infrastructure because we’re there to, to help the revenue teams bring in more revenue, right?

We’re not directly revenue generating. I would not want a sales job. I don’t want to be on a. I don’t want that pressure. But what I want to do is enable them to do their jobs in the most effective way that they can, so they don’t have to worry about, they shouldn’t worry about how a system is designed or they shouldn’t be like, I need this new field because it’s gonna make my job.

We have to think about that. Well, that’s our job. That’s our job to look at the entire spectrum and say are, yeah. Or like down, down, down downstream way downstream in support and accompanying the client has had. A hundred support tickets and their CSM. You can look at their meetings. They haven’t had a lot of meetings with this person that’s out there at risk of churning.

Right. So how can we look at that process? What can we do there? And then work with the CS leaders. Like, again, I don’t want to be responsible directly for renewals. I don’t want to close the renewals, but I want to help. Yeah.

[00:44:12] Brad Seaman: I think that’s a big takeaway here is like, Hey, most operations people really. I agree with that.

They really want to help. Yes.

[00:44:22] Asia Corbett: Talk to any of them. They will tell you the same thing we are, we that’s what we want to do. So help us help, help

[00:44:29] Brad Seaman: us help you. That’s a t-shirt. So we got, well, I feel like we got a CD and a t-shirt or a book out of this. We’re going to book it on t-shirts

[00:44:36] Asia Corbett: yeah. Yeah. All get started on writing.

You’ll be the first one with a cocky.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: Well, let’s just get, let’s get started. Tell me a little bit about you how’d you get to where you’re at. How’d you get connected with rubbed genius. What’s your story?

[00:00:07] Asia Corbett: Yeah. So it’s funny that you mentioned adversity because in the last, I mean, pandemic aside, like just, oh my gosh, I had. S H I T that I’ve gone through in the last year and a half or two.

So kind of just going all the way back to the beginning. I studied economics and statistics in college, and I fully intended on being like a CFO. That was my, I was convinced that was my path. And so I kind of started out and stuff. Semi finance roles. And I say semi finance, because there was always an operational component to it.

Like how do I do things in a repeatable sort of a manageable way? Like if people are emailing me all the time asking me things, how can I streamline that a little bit? And so each move kind of went away from. Journal entries and budget reconciliations, and doing like the department meetings and making sure that departments are spending, they have budgeted for like a budget versus actuals co managing the corporate card expenses.

That is not fun. I was like, I don’t want to be in a county. This is boring. And so I like my role started getting more operations. And then I got into tech and I was still in sort of like these revenue or business operations as overall company operations roles. And now like revenue operations is this buzzword.

It’s like this trendy thing, but it has existed for a long time and has been part of like, what would be your business operations team? So I let’s see, let me, let me go back to 2020. I left a company that I had been at for about two years because it was, my growth was stagnant stagnating. And I was like, okay, maybe I want to go back into the more analytical side of things.

So I went to work for a very big tech company as a business analyst for the go-to market organization. And I was like, I still get to work with all these people, but maybe I want to do more data analysis. I was like, I don’t know if I want to do this. Actually, what ended up happening is well, first there was the pandemic, my team that I was on dissolved.

Like they got rid of the, the business planning department. They put me on the finance team. Does they put that team are like, okay, we’ll just move you into.

Let’s see. So I had just started, I just started this company. I left the other one to go to this large company to do business planning and analysis, which is analytical, but very different from like the finance analytics or so I thought, and so literally like a month in they’re like, oh yeah, by the way, the business planning department is no more.

And I was like, oh, Cool. So the person who hired me, I’m going to be reporting to somebody else, VP of finance. I was pregnant at this time and then let’s see, we, we went into lockdown shortly after that. I think then they decided to eliminate my role on the finance team. So I got laid off a week before I gave them.

Before I was supposed to go on maternity leave. So then I’m trying to figure out, well, first I’m trying to like focus on that, like, okay, I have to go do that first. And then afterwards I’m like, well, I always knew that I wanted to work. Like, I’ve kind of, I like working, I enjoy working. And I wanted to go back into work.

And so just trying to figure out, okay, well now I have to find a job. Like a lot of people looking for jobs. What do I want to do? I want to go back into operations. And so two small tech company to build out the sales operation side of things. And what happened is what kind of happens in small organizations with small teams is they’re like, well, like, yeah.

Can you do also the marketing operations? And can you also do a well, yeah. What about customer success? So that, that becomes revenue operations, or you’re not just focused on one segment of your go to market. You were focused on all of the revenue generating teams, that’s the whole revenue engine. So so I was there for a little while.

I enjoyed my time there mostly, but what I found in like, sort of, I guess, at this point in my career, cause I’ve been working for a long time. Now culture is really important. Like organizational culture is really important and it doesn’t matter what role you’re doing or, or what company you work for.

If the culture is that transparent and open and supportive and respectful, then you’re not in a good, you’re not in a good place. And that was something that was very top of mind for me, as I was thinking about the next place to go to. Yeah, I’m sort of, and, and so I go on about the culture thing. I’m thinking, I’m talking about culture from an organizational perspective, like across the company and then culture around what operations means to an organization because frequently, especially in the revenue operations community and the sales, operations community, and marketing operations, community operations.

Is seen as like we’re just the tech stack people or we’re just the system admins, or like just build me a report or pull this data. I’m really, operations is a lot more of a mat. It’s the processes. It’s defining processes, it’s mapping processes. It’s helping improve processes. It’s laying them, the systems and the tools on top of the.

So that when you pick your tech stack or as you can figure your tech stack or make changes, the tools that you’re using support the business processes and not the other way around, because that’s what happens very frequently is people get the tools because they’re like, Ooh, that’s a cool tool. I want outreach.

Yeah. It’s great. But there’s no. There is no process. There’s no defined way of how to use it. So then people go in there and it’s the wild, wild west. And then you integrate these tools with other systems and other systems or their teams use. And so there’s a lot of upstream and downstream impacts that people don’t realize.

And that’s part of our, our job as operations people is to be a steward of that as well. And so culturally, if the team, if the leadership team in your company is not bought into that, you’re going to have a hard time as an operations person. And you’re going to. Leave, which is, you know, that that’s what happens.

So people are kind of getting are, are, I’ve noticed that there is a little more non-interest but maybe there’s a shift, a culture shift that’s happening and it’s slow and culture is slow to change, but it’s there. And so I was part of rev genius as a, as a member, as a part of the community. As a member, Jared reached out to me, he’s like, Hey, do you want to join the community?

And I was like, sure, I was part of, I still am part of a couple of other operations focused communities like wizard of ops. So a lot of people know that one rev ups co-op, which is managed by funnel IQ, via company funnel IQ. And those are like smaller groups. Of mostly revenue operations and sales, operations professionals.

Whereas rev genius is a community that’s open to all revenue professionals. So sales, marketing, customer success, and then us as well. And there are some other small segments. Like there may be some people operations, people are in there, but largely it’s the revenue folk. So Jared reached out to me and he said, do you want to join the community?

I said, yeah, why not? And you know, I started engaging in there asking questions and meeting people and really, and people who would ask questions to, and I’d be like, Hey, actually, I experienced that. I could walk you through what I did or, Hey, I have an example that you might, you might find useful. Or do you have an example for me?

Or do you have some advice for me? So I started leaning in there more. He asked me. Would you be willing to write for the bag, the road genius, mag. I said, sure. Why not? I can write about robot stuff. It’s something I like doing. And then we kind of started talking a little bit, he shared with me his vision and kind of what he saw for the future of community and how that plugs into learning and how that plugs into the, into the tech industry in general.

And I was like, yeah, that’s great. You know, and he told me what the mission of, of rev geniuses is to educate and empower. And inspire, educate, empower, and inspire revenue professionals. And I was like, wow, those are my core values as a person. I love helping people like you, like when you watch someone realize something, you know, like you see their face, light up kind of like, oh, I got it.

Like that’s to me, if I have helped that, then I might like, I could die happy. So I was like You know, what did you have in mind for the operations person that you wanted to bring onto the team? Cause we were talking about that to certain.org structure. He’s like, do you know anyone in operations who’s young in their career, like new in their career?

Like a couple of years of experience, who’s like, like you, but entry level. And I was like, No, I didn’t say no, but to be honest, people do not graduate college and go no. And if they go into operations, they’re in supply. They’re in the engine, like shipping industries, right. That, so I have a lot of thoughts about that and how, how that those principles can be brought to the tech world.

But that’s another, that’s an aside. So Jen, we were talking about this, he’s like, do you know anyone? I said, Hmm, I could check that at work, but I don’t think so. And it was at this time I was kind of figuring out what my next move was going to be in which company I wanted to like how to figure out if the, or the value.

And the culture matched, like what the people say and their job descriptions, you know, they’re like, well, we have a great culture. Yeah, sure. What does that mean? And when Jared was talking about the vision and talking about the mission and all of this stuff, and from what I’ve experienced in the community, just to people, what Jared was able to build is because he believes in that mission, he built the community organically, like by going out and.

And talking to people and asking them to join the community. So I was like, man, that’s really, that’s amazing. I don’t know anyone, Jared who’s like entry level, but if you want, I could help because, because this is important to me, this, this mission that you’re on here. Why not. And I started two days later.

And yeah, and it’s been a really fun and it’s been a wild ride in the last five or six months as most startups usually go. And I was brought on to be the head of revenue and community operations. And we’ve kind of joked that role really it’s, it’s all about operations because there are like, Operational logistical things that happen in accompany that don’t fall into either one of those categories like HR and payroll, things like that.

So yeah, I joined to help number one, empower people and inspire people and help teach people and learn from people, but also to help shirts.

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