Automation, a hot topic for revenue operations (RevOps), was hashed out in SmartBug Media’s March 2021 panel discussion, “Where RevOps and Inbound Collide in 2021.” An audience member asked the panel how teams could reduce mundane tasks so they could focus on more “value-added work.”
Dan Wardle, head of sales at Vidyard, provided an example in which his company eliminated a few sales campaign steps that were in use in Salesforce, which saved salespeople’s time. In the conversion-tracking process, when a Vidyard salesperson called a prospective customer, they had to go through three to four steps. Now, based on their role, if the prospect to whom the salesperson reaches out doesn't have a marketing campaign, it just goes to the sales campaign.
He expressed the hope that platforms like Terminus will be able to consolidate all requisite information in a single place like a customer relationship management (CRM) system. That way, salespeople will be able to research the account before they reach out, and the research will be consolidated in the CRM to show them why they're reaching out, cutting a lot of time off. “That's what I see as valuable automation,” he said, rather than “using automation to blast out a cadence.”
Mallory Lee, senior director of revenue operations at Terminus Software, said that her RevOps team needs to perform a lot of mundane things in order to keep the data accurate and fresh and that this was hard on them. She warned that “automation's not for the faint of heart” because certain data can quickly break or interrupt automation.
Her advice was to audit the system before automating it if it's dependent on system data as well as to set expectations that it won’t work perfectly. For example, an automation may save 10 hours per week, but will probably only work 75 percent of the time. Mallory revealed that, even though her team is working to automate many tasks, “we're finding weird manual stuff that's always going to exist,” which is why “setting expectations is the biggest battle.”
SmartBug Media Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) Jen Spencer said that she recommends initially performing a process manually in order to “prove it” for the pilot. When she looks at her teams’ sales and marketing process, she breaks it into pieces and notes what the system can be used for, what can be pulled out of Zoom or the CRM, what can be asked on the marketing form, what are self-survey prospects, what makes the most sense for sales to ask during that call, and at what stage is it appropriate, etc.
She explained that once someone becomes a customer, sales does a hand-off to the customer success team with just a “push of the button in the workflow.” That way, the salesperson is able to spend “hand-off time talking about contextual things, personalities, bigger goals” and doesn't have to spend 30 minutes going through the information that could easily be shared with the client services team.
However, “we couldn't do it right out of the gate,” Jen explained. “We had to go through the process to make sure we had all the questions to set up all those properties.”
As the RevOps industry keeps growing, I’ll consider how to do automation the right way. We all know that RevOps relies on technology and that automation helps us scale, but we have to be careful that we don’t try to automate every single process or try to implement it before we first analyze the manual process thoroughly.