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EMEA Sales Operations Manager – Shola Jegede of Adobe

Shola Jegede, Sales Operations Manager of Adobe, jumped onto the Sales Ops Demystified podcast to share her journey and experience in sales operations. Check out all the other episodes of Sales Operation Demystified here

Connect with  Shola and Adobe here:

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Key Takeaways

Shola’s journey into sales ops…

Shola has a degree in computer science and then got a second degree related to the field of business. She was always interested in using data to increase business and wanted to focus on that part of the work. She started working in sales ops at Microsoft and found that the shift suited her a lot. She enjoys working with data and using it to help guide operations and build processes to support the sales team. Currently, she is working as a sales operations manager at a regional level at Adobe.

Adobe’s sales tech stack

Of course, Adobe is a large company, so it has to be divided into many divisions. Shola’s department covers the document and creative cloud, and the team consists of six sales operations managers who manage a group of about 120 sales reps.

As for their tech stack, Shola says they use Salesforce just like most other businesses do. In addition to that, they make use of Tableau for mapping insights and also have the entire Office stack. They also make use of Gabia. 

The biggest challenges in remote work

Shola points out an issue that affects many employees but is not often raised: the issue of working from home for employees with children. She herself has school-age children, and so do some team members, including her own manager. As she says, the initial few months were very stressful, with lockdown situations across the globe and children having to stay at home all day while parents tried to work in the same environment with no childcare services available.

However, she gives credit to Adobe as a company and her team for being very supportive of each other and understanding the issues being faced by parents who are working. Shola says she is hopeful that the worst of that time would have passed as most schools have reopened, and people who are working from home now have more of a system set in place.

The impact of remote work on culture 

Shola tells us that the team did not bring any changes to the tech they are using, but a cultural shift to working remotely was felt throughout the company. They began to refocus their energy away from processes that were not as helpful and focused on those avenues, which gave them a positive response.

The pandemic has changed the way people do business. For Adobe, some digital transformations that they had been planning for years got fast-tracked, which has helped them in their day-to-day work. Shola feels that customers and even sales teams will find some of these changes beneficial even after the pandemic ends. In contrast, some changes would be evolved further to match whatever the landscape is after the epidemic ends. 

Changing targets and indicators for work during the pandemic

Due to the substantial effect businesses suffered during the pandemic, Shola says that the team modified their targets and goals due to the epidemic. Based on the first two quarters’ response, Shola says they recently adjusted targets for the third quarter to make up for losses. As she says, it’s essential to be flexible in hard times, and modify according to the situation.

Is it possible to forecast accurately?

With the uncertain nature of the economy, there were challenges in forecasting accurately. 

Forecasting at Adobe is a team effort. The day to day running for her region is done by Shola. For data over the long term, her colleagues build exponential models to track the rates and big deals being done, with Shola giving input based on patterns she sees from older data. 

These last two quarters, due to COVID, were challenging forecasting as historical data did not apply to them, so Shola took help by taking consistent feedback from clients and the sales team to get a feeling for the forecast. Shola says they had some surprises during this period though she happily notes that many of these have been good surprises. Many people at the start of the pandemic were very cautious, and there was an idea that all businesses would be badly affected. However, the company has done better than they had imagined at that time, and Shola feels that things are going in the right direction now. 

#1 sales metrics: annual recurring revenue & deal registration ratio

Shola gives us many options, starting with the Annual Recurring Revenue, which she says is what every business looks at. Beyond that, she likes to focus on the deal registration ratio, a process where they note the number of deals taken up by the company’s partners. In the long run, an increase or decrease in the number of deals registered by the partners will show an effect in the pipeline for the sales teams. Another metric that she tracked a lot during this pandemic was the conversion rate of quotes given by partners that turn into meetings with customers. Again, these show how likely deals are to occur in the long run.

Due to the pandemic, the company has started paying attention to the Average Revenue Per User. This lets them keep a balance between doing what is best for the customers while keeping the company’s business needs in mind.

Shola’s biggest influences: 

Who in the world of sales ops…. would Shola want to take out for lunch?

Ian Turnbull – Sales Operations Manager at Adobe

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