Tom: If you’re watching live, feel free to add any questions. If you’re listening later on, thank you so much. We’re joined by Jorge Moto who is currently the Salesforce Admin and Sales Operations Manager at Ooyala. Welcome to the show, Jorge.
Jorge Moto: Thank you.
Tom: Today, I want to go into– We have a Salesforce admin here, so I’m going to try and get a bit more technical. I’m obviously not that technical, but I think it’s a good opportunity.
Tom: You have an entrepreneurial history as well?
Tom: I want to kind of go back into that experience and see if there’s any sales operations lessons from that as well?
Tom: Kicking off with the first question, how did you get into sales operations?
Jorge: First of all, thank you for the invitation. I’m so honored and glad. As you mentioned it, I have an entrepreneurial background, but also I’m a– Technical background. I’m an engineer. Yes, before joining to Ooyala, I used to have my own startup where I learned a lot about operations and sales. What we did with that startup, well, we were developing medical devices for lower limbs rehabilitation. We closed this company. We had the company for three years. We generated intelectual property.
It was a really nice experience. I learned, again, a lot about operations and sales because I’m here to take the ownership of the company. Get out and sell, do all the operations and many hats. This entrepreneurial thing means you need to wear a lot of hats. Then I joined Ooyala and I started doing some financial analysis.
Tom: So you joined in the finance team?
Jorge: Yes, in the finance team. First of all, I joined a contractor just half time while I still had my company. I was supporting the operations team. Basically, I was helping the sales director in Mexico to get Mexican organ grants. Because of that, then the company moved me to the financial team.
Tom: Yes, okay.
Jorge: I keep doing a lot of financial analysis. I don’t know what it was, probably two years when one of the first sales operations managers of the company approached me and persuaded me to join the sales operations team.
Tom: Why did he approach you?
Jorge: He knew about Guadalajara in Mexico there were a lot of talented people. He liked my profile. It was business and technical side. I was managing operations and sales. I probably was not the expert one, but I knew the technical- the information about sales, how to sell, communicate with people, et cetera but also this technical approach of my engineering profile. Because of that, he was happy to approach. He invited me to join to his team. By the way, it was just, “He” in the team, right?
Tom: [chuckles] At the time, you joined about eight years ago?
Jorge: Yes, correct.
Tom: At the time when you first joined his sales operations team, how many sales people were there? There was two of you in the operations team and-
Jorge: Salespeople or sales operations?
Jorge: I would say there were 15.
Jorge: It was not big, but still it was a considerable amount of people working in sales. I didn’t know nothing, to be honest, about sales operations and Salesforce when this guy just came by. Of course, we planned to have a really intense one week of training, so I traveled to California to meet him, the team and start having this training. There was a lot of unpredictable and out of control circumstances that I didn’t have not even the quarter of the training.
It was quite interesting. Moreover, this manager left the company one week after I moved to this position. As can you imagine, it was a challenging and interesting time. Of course, the company didn’t have time to onboard someone else and they needed to do and speed up activities of sales operations, so I didn’t have another operation but to speed up as well. I started to read about sales operations in blogs, on the internet, started to use a lot of webinars. Also, in Salesforce, I took some [unintelligible 00:04:50] Salesforce trainings.
Also, I started to talk a lot with the people. That was the best thing that I did. To start talking with people, all the stakeholders, SDRs, AEs, PPs, marketing, finance, legal team, and as much people as possible related to all sales processes. That was the best way to do it. Suddenly, I was immersed in this quite fascinating and always evolving sales operations more.
Tom: Now, how many people in the sales operations team and then how many salespeople do we have today?
Jorge: Today, we are just two in sales operations team, and salespeople we are around 10 to 15. 12, actually.
Tom: Okay, cool. The current techs that you’re using to manage or to run the sales operations actually is Salesforce?
Jorge: Yes, of course, we are using Salesforce as our source of truth for many years. However, we have just recently decided to move out.
Jorge: Now we are migrating everything to Zoho CRM.
Tom: Why did you move?
Jorge: Budget, again.
Tom: I haven’t heard of Zoho CRM, but you just mentioned it’s a lower price point.
Jorge: It’s a really good one. Has many pros, I can tell you. Of course, because one is the price, it’s quite cheaper than Salesforce, but has really quite interesting tools and features that you can use and leverage your sales processes quite easily. Specifically related with productivity, you can really have an interesting workflows in there to guide your people through different activities or processes.
Tom: Anything else apart from- right now from Salesforce?
Jorge: Yes. Of course, we have Zuora, we have Sales Navigator, we have financial force, we have Marketo , Aviso, DocuSign, JIRA as well. We have a–
Tom: Your role is- part of your role is managing all these applications to making sure they work effectively for the sales team?
Tom: Cool. Out of all of those, which is your favorite?
Jorge: I like Sales Navigator. It’s quite nice to interact and connect with people. The way that is connected to Salesforce is so easy. It’s just an app that you need to install, you need to do your instance and that’s it.
Tom: Nice. Data quality is always a challenge. Was that one of the configurations when you chose a new CRM? Or do you try and find a CRM that would be easier to manage data in or that?
Jorge: Yes, of course. We have had many new acquisitions during all these years in Ooyala, so we acquired two companies. As you can imagine, we have import a lot of data and many of these data hasn’t been or was not curated before imported, so we ended up having a lot of legacy and duplicates. Of course, it’s something important for us and data quality is really task and hard thing to do and [unintelligible 00:08:11] We have this in consideration for choosing the CRM, but pretty much, we are trying to start from scratch.
Tom: Okay. With [unintelligible 00:08:25] you’re doing for trying to manage or improve data quality or like over the past eight years or what have you done that has been effective?
Jorge: Well, we have tried many tools for duplicate and coincide processes and has been challenging, to be honest. We have struggled, basically, because what I told you is a lot of data that we have imported, just like– We have implemented some processes by our own that have been working so far for us. Basically, we are doing still weekly audits, reviewing all that data that is accurate and checking if it’s matching with the contract. We are using the duplicate management all of the work Salesforce functionality. So far, we have been using it. It’s super good for detecting duplicates, mainly. We implemented big list fields instead of test fields. We can just have the same information across all the company of the instance. We have implemented also formatting rules, conventions, naming convention rules as well. Also, something that we did and has been working really good is getting the field of the sales team involved in tagging at least duplicates. We just created a status, so every time that AEs find a duplicate, that person just tags the duplicate, we get an email notification as a sales ops team and we just come through and match the records.
Tom: That’s an example of something that you’ve made. A new process you need to implement, and you made it super-simple for any sales person to do that, right?
Tom: Then they’ll actually do it. That’s pretty quite easy for you to persuade them to do, but if you have something a bit more complex that you want a sales person to do, how do you go about getting their buy-in to actually want to do it?
Interviewee: Yes, that’s interesting. We tried to show them the value of this new process or tool like this. For them, it’s good because they will have less duplicates to deal with and less confusion. Also, we try, before running up the new tool or the new process, we are trying to get on board some evangelists, some leaders of the team so they can play around with the tool [unintelligible 00:11:07] .
We gather a lot of feedback from them, so we can just adjust it before running up to the complete sales team. Also, something that has worked really good for us is to involve an executive as a sponsor. Once you have a C-level executive promoting and pushing this tool to the team- not just to the team but the rest of the executive team, that really helps. It’s like a domino effect, it’s like a cascading effect, so that helps a lot.
Also, we are always implementing trainings, training material, we are always available to the team to help them, one to one or work-through sessions so that they can feel comfortable with the tool.
Tom: That’s really good. I haven’t heard that many people say getting someone from C-level to endorse a new tool or process. They obviously really respect the sales operation department, but if it’s like the CEO coming on to do the thing– I have a quick question here from Zack. What would you say– It’s quite an open one. What would you say are the fundamentals of sales ops?
Interviewee: The fundamentals of sales ops?
Interviewee: I think data accuracy is one of the fundamentals. You, as a sales ops player, you need to look at this data quality. If you have a really data quality, then you can report and manage this information when you want to. Of course, to get to this data quality, you need to implement many things. You need to have really good processes, establish the processes so you can then have the data quality and then you can measure the data quality.
I would say, first of all, understand your processes, make them simple, implement them and automate as much as possible so you can get as much a accurate data possible and then you can measure that data.
Tom: That’s like one core fundamental of sales ops, it’s having good data.
Tom: I hope that helps with the question, Zack. Moving on to, you have all these sales reps doing different stuff, how are you currently trying to make them more- what are you doing to make them produce more and be more productive?
Interviewee: We are trying to make their lives simpler and easier through our processes without losing best practices, their goals and our standards as a company. That being said, we are automating a lot. We are trying to automate as much as possible, these tiny activities, routine activities–
Tom: Can you give us an example of one that you’ve automated that has made the team more productive?
Interviewee: For example, we have created a process in which once an opportunity is closed, a renewal opportunity is automatically created. It’s just an exact copy of the previous one with some information related with the future renewal, so they can just come to the system, renew it, and even we implemented some email notification. Before certain days, let’s say 180 days before the contract expires, we are sending notifications to the sales people, “Hey, this will expire soon, so start talking with [crosstalk]”
Tom: It’s almost like taking some intelligence out of- making the system more intelligent so they can do less and they can just focus on outreach or [unintelligible 00:14:47]
Interviewee: Correct, also, what they are really good at, selling. The system, leave it to us, to sales ops. We can do it. We can automate it.
Tom: Moving on to onboarding, do you have any best practices for bringing new sales reps into the team?
Moto: Well, for onboarding best practices is always to set up the licenses, and make sure all licenses are accurate and up to date, so we can, as soon as possible, we can just start using them and train them, that’s the best thing, you’ll start training them. What we are doing or implementing is today’s training, one hour each sharing training materials, but also when is necessarily, and we can see the people that are struggling or just forgetting about our processes, we are scheduling refresher training. Train, train, train, train, train, train, train, and training your team as much as possible.
Tom: How do you think your engineering background and mindset helps in sales operations?
Moto: I will say that as an engineer, you can be really systematic, analyze the things and have really the procedure, so, follow the steps, that’s not a magic formula, just follow the steps and you will be able to pretty much perform anything. I think that mindset of engineer has helped me a lot structure something in the system somehow could be easily to follow, and easily to implement and manage. Also, this is something important I’ll have to say, when we are thinking of implementing a new tool or a new process, of course, we are thinking about the sales team, how we are going to make their life easier, but also we have in mind the way that it will be simpler and easier for us to admin, because then it could be a nightmare, I can tell you, we have been in that situation, and it’s a nightmare. We need to think about [unintelligible 00:16:46] This engineering mindset of have the big picture about everything has helped me a lot.
Tom: If you think about what engineers actually do, they are building systems like a car, or a software application, these are systems and so you’re taught systems when you’re learning how to be an engineer. What you’re saying then is that your sales operation is a system that you guys are responsible for building and maintaining?
Moto: Correct, and it’s seen as a whole, we’re not just touching sales. It’s operations, as you may know, is evolving a lot that now in the company is not just particular in sales, is marketing services, support, building, there’s many areas where sales operations are touching.
Tom: Then, my next question is, how do you think your experience as a founder of a business helps you in salse operations?
Moto: Well, to understand the operations per se on sales, you need to be also not so square minded, you need to be open, and most likely, and most important, you need to communicate properly your ideas to the rest of the team, it could be because you are going to train them or because you are listening to them to gather all the requirements, and then translate them. I’m using a lot these businesses skills to soft skills that you can talk to them or persuade them to continue the process or they’re having a lot of time that they are saying, “No, but this is the deal calculation, this should be- I’m running my calculations, because of this, this, this and this,” but you need to persuade somehow so they can buy it and say, “Okay, that’s true. I can see the point.”
Tom: It’s soft skills.
Tom: Yes. KPIs, what KPI that you can be using to measure your sales reps, or what are the most important ones?
Moto: Well, every single department has their own. We are, as sales ops, focusing on client retention, basically, the value of our renewals, contract value, which is the value of new deals coming in, bookings forecast, basically, we are looking at the amount of our pipe, commit pipe, best case scenarios, so we can forecast and have an accurate amount of what we can close during the quarter, and also, pipe duration, we are implementing SLS to track every single stage so we can know how much time and we’re benchmarking these with the industry and see based on our business process, how much time do we need to have in every single stage? Based on that, we can even automate it right or let’s say this automation that we did is after 90 days in every single stage, we automatically qualified out opportunities or the more than one stage so we can keep the data
Tom: Then an example of that is if an opportunity has been at the stage for more than 90 days, you would send an email to a sales rep and you would take the opportunity backstage?
Jorge: Automatically. Of course, we are sending a notification before, every 30 days, 60 days, we are sending, “Hey–“
Tom: Really? That’s cool. So you’re really guiding the sales people through the process. [unintelligible 00:20:13] customers and you try to take away as much of the admin stuff, they don’t have to go and check their [unintelligible 00:20:21] every morning to see what they should work on because they’re being alerted.
Jorge: Correct. Yes, they are getting these notifications.
Tom: How popular do you think the sales operation team is with the sales team at the moment out of 10?
Jorge: I would say we are so popular, 9, I wouldn’t say 10, but 9, but this is also because of the relation that we have built, because of the soft skills, it’s so important to– As everything in life, you need to have really good connection and communication with people, that’s what matters, network. You need to talk with them, be polite, always– We are a really open team, as sales ops, we are always there to help them, even out of business hours, we are there to help them. That, I think that are the things that they are appreciating and, of course, we have a good relation.
Tom: Then, out of all those metrics, if you could only use one to measure your sales team, which one would you choose?
Jorge: Well, I would like to say the control value, because that way, you can see how you are growing, how many deals have you- winning and moving through the pie.
Tom: So, total control value that sales person has closed in the past six months.
Jorge: Quarter or whatever.
Tom: Okay. Nice. So that’s the one metric. That makes sense, how valuable are they to the business.
Tom: Awesome. We have one more question, and then I’ll have my final question. This is from Zack again. Can you explain about the relationship between the business strategy and building that data into the sales process? Does that make sense?
Jorge: So, explaining–
Tom: The importance of the relationship between the business strategy and– Yes, so basically, the strategy of the business and then feeding that into the sales process, like how have you done that before, is that relationship important?
Jorge: Yes, of course, you have- as a whole, as a company, you have your strategy, and you need to map this in the system through your sales processes. What we are doing currently in Salesforce is trying to do this and automate this strategy as a whole, the piece that is related to sales, put in the system and trying to take the sales people from the equation as much as possible with this automation so they can just focus on this part of sale, the product and close deals. Everything that can be automated, which is routine activities, some processes that you’re stealing this information, making sure this is accurate, whatever data quality, we are trying to make this easier for them, and this will, of course, impact the global strategy of our business.
Tom: Got it. Final question, is there anyone out there who has really influenced you or inspired you in sales operations?
Jorge: Yes. My team has been the one that I feel more inspired, they are amazing, specifically one of my previous managers, Monica Berna, she taught me a lot about sales operations and best practices, but most important, I learned from her the importance of sales operations team in a company. Just to put it in a perspective, let’s say we have an ecosystem. We have stakeholders, vendors, ABs, the CRM, and other tools processes, all of them interacting with each other. It’s because of sales operations team that all of them are keeping everything. Sales operations is the air around this ecosystem.
We are touching pretty much everything. That’s so important to have, and I think now companies start understanding that more and more, they have been onboarding sales ops teams since the beginning, not just as a medium stage, but since they’re startups, which is really, really good and fundamental. Also, my ex-colleagues in [unintelligible 00:24:34] I have learned a lot from them of Salesforce and data quality and data analysis, and my current colleague, Ines, she’s brilliant doing product management and requiring- and gathering all the requirements, she’s really good, so I think we have a really good team. The team is–
Tom: It’s great. Okay, so that bring us to the end. Here’s some things I liked. Mentioning all the email automation stuff and trying to make the system intelligent so that the salespeople can just do what they’re good at. I liked the point about- the final quote about how sales operations is the air around the ecosystem in the business. That’s pretty awesome. Then the final thing was about bringing this [unintelligible 00:25:24] level stakeholder in when you’re trying to implement a new process for the sales team to really add weight to the thing that you want them to do. Jorge, thank you so much for coming on.
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