Sales Operations 101: Brandon Bussey of Lucid

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Brandon Bussey Of Lucid jumped onto Sales Ops Demystified to share his sales operations 101, he has extensive experience in sales ops.
sales operations 101

Brandon Bussey Of Lucid jumped onto Sales Ops Demystified to share his sales operations 101, he has extensive experience in sales ops.

We discussed:

  • How to sell more effectively
  • Brandon’s current sales tech stack
  • How Brandon and Lucid deal with data quality in Salesforce

Check out all the other episodes of Sales Operations Demystified here.

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Transcript:

Interviewer: Brandon is here for, I believe, the eighth Sales Operations Demystified podcast/webinar episode. Thanks so much for joining.

Brandon Bussey: Thanks for having me.

Interviewer: Every guest we have has a really diverse entrance in sales operations and stalking you in the last week or so I see we have another interesting approach or route into sales operations which is going to be super interesting to go into. Before we do start chatting with Brandon a bit of admin. Last week, apologies, we didn't actually have an episode. We had a sales operations manager from a large tech company. We weren't allowed to say the name because of legal reasons but we actually got the time then things messed up. He was on the west coast of the US. We got the time [unintelligible 00:00:54] messed up so we couldn't make time but he is coming back on the 16th of May.

Brandon super excited to have you on. We'll run for approximately 30 minutes. We have the standard questions that we'll run through. There's, also, I was reading one of your LinkedIn posts today, there's definitely going to be a wealth of knowledge both for salespeople and sales operations people here, I feel, from what I was reading. Let's kick off actually with a little introduction. You have some great companies on your CV. You have Qualtrics, you have Amazon, and right now with LucidChart. Your current job title is head of sales operations?

Brandon: Yes. It's interesting. It's technically revenue and account operations. We've consolidated a lot of the duties between sales and CS. Generally, a bulk of our work is in sales operations.

Interviewer: That's super interesting because a big theme that we've had from previous episodes is actually sales operations is really just part of this larger thing called revenue operations. I'm sure we will touch on that. Another thing, interesting journey in sales operations. Can we start with that? How did you get in sales ops? Can you please explain your journey.

Brandon: I started as a finance major in college, graduated, and it was a means to an end. I've talked about this before but what I'm passionate about is solving problems, looking at operations how to make them more efficient, and really doing analytics to drive data-driven decision-making. Finance was a really good means to an end there. When I went to Concur Technologies, which was now part of the SAP family as well, one of the things that I really looked for in that role was, one, where I've had a seat at the table and could check those boxes, not just I'm sitting in back office being support.

I think that this actually has a lot of application to sales ops. There tends to be in finance two types of roles. Those that are very back office and support and, basically, the person that holds the purse strings and all you do is say, "Yes you can use this money," and, "No, you can't," or the real more strategic partner type role. That was one thing I've always looked for in my roles especially in the finance side, was doing the due diligence to understand what type of finance organization is this. At Concur and then later at Amazon that was very much the case. That was why I chose those roles.

I was very happy up in the Pacific Northwest. One of my buddies from Amazon actually moved town to this company called Qualtrics. That time I had really [inaudible 00:03:35]. It was just kind of, "Hey, I think that you guys are doing really interesting stuff." My wife and I were in town just on a vacation, a holiday, and we went visit the office. As the story goes found this interesting sales ops world, and my future boss and as they say the rest is history. [crosstalk]

Interviewer: When you say [unintelligible 00:03:55] you went to the office just to look around, and you got introduced to the sales operations team?

Brandon: Yes, exactly.

Interviewer: Because your friend was in sales operations or--

Brandon: No, he was actually in partnerships or something like that. They had an open role for a leader in the sales ops team and so connected me with the director over there the senior director and we just hit it off and started talking. The more I learned about sales ops, the more I realized it really checks all those boxes off for me. I get to leverage data to help drive decisions. I can dive into the operations to help companies be more impactful and efficient. Then, also, the thing I love about and I've really fallen in love with in working in sales operations is the psychological aspect of things.

Interviewer: Interesting, yes.

Brandon: In many times you can go run the data and it says, "Do A, B, and C," and it'll have such and such outcome but there is this human element when you're working with those people especially when you're working with things like their compensation and you have to really think how will someone react because your model that you built is based on this underlying assumption that they're going to continue to operate in the same way they've been operating. If you can't get to our plan, all bets are off. You have to really think about what will be the psychological impact of those things.

We've seen a number of decisions where the data tells us do one thing and then we had to add upon this almost psychological analysis of how will reps or managers react given certain changes. A lot of times there's this qualitative research moment. That was another thing that helped me really fall in love with the sales operation side. Just one last point is it's just fun to be at the front of the house. Every company I've ever worked at-- When you're on sales you're really driving the ship whether directly or inadvertently.

I think about my time at Qualtrics we had a major impact on the product roadmap. They want to know product managers, product marketing wants to know what's selling. They want to know what certain things are being received in the market. There's just a lot of fun being in the sales op because you have such an important role that impacts literally every other organization or company.

Interviewer: That's two really interesting points there. The first is, and we've had this before, how the qualitative data-driven analysis and that softer side is two very different skillsets. The sales operations resource has to really manage those two even though they're almost completely different things. That's very interesting. I hope you want to talk more about that later.

Second thing is, and this is really good actually, the communication link back from sales to product, I think a lot of companies are not good at doing that and here, also, I didn't say we were the best at doing that either but it is so important because how does a product know what's going to sell if the product even not out there every day with customers getting rejected. [chuckles] That's really interesting. If anything that the product team did to get that data from the sales team efficiently with a regular meeting or--

Brandon: It's a great question. One of the things we set up at Qualtrics and it ended up being really helpful is given that we're a surveying company, we launched post-win-loss analysis to the customer, not on the sales rep, because often times you find the sales rep is like, "This is why I lost." Then you actually go looking feedback from the customer and it's like, "You lost because you had no clue why you lost."

Interviewer: Interesting. For the benefit of the audience, Qualtrics is a survey stuff platform.

Brandon: Yes.

Interviewer: You're saying you would send a survey to the customer or to the salesperson post-lost deal or both of them.

Brandon: Yes. We had sampling rules to where we'd send to a certain percentage. If it was like just a little add-on we wouldn't send surveys. We had all these rules but, yes, we'd send a survey. Then we also had a process where certain deals that had key criteria like there were large deals, they were maybe a new product or something, we'd set up rules. It go into a queue that me and my team would review and we, basically, say yes or no. If it's no it goes through that normal sales survey process. If yes what we do is we actually contracted with a third-party entity that would go and do in-depth interviews with these people.

Our first vendor was really good but then we switched vendors to actually a local company, a group called Clozd, C-L-O-Z-D. These guys were just super super sharp. The content that they were giving us was giving us a ton of insight into our sales process like were we coming out on our pricing way too heavy. A lot of really good sales training material but then, also, a ton of really robust product capabilities that just wasn't there that was really critical to them.

That's the other thing too is there's always this interesting, I would say, battle between sales and product to where a product often use sales as just a bunch of whiners. It's like, "Hey, you just go sell the product." There's this [inaudible 00:09:26] I think it is quite healthy there's a little bit friction per se but when it's coming directly from the mouth of the customer, product marketing is like, "This is amazing. This is exactly what we needed," same with the product team. That was one avenue that's been super helpful.

Then the other thing too is, I'd say, like-- This is something we're implementing here at Lucid because we're still a little bit more in our infancy there but just collecting feedback on what were key features that impacted this deal. There's the bias of the rep but I think genuinely as long as we explain why we're collecting this data and that it's going to have major impacts on the product roadmap, then they'll be apt to try and be as honest and open as possible about, "This feature set wasn't there and this is why we lost the deal," or, "This was why we won the deal," things like that.

Interviewer: That's super important because you have the ego of both teams. The product team's ego saying, "My product is amazing," sales team's ego says, "I'm really good at selling." There you go and met that conflict, but if you have the customer saying, "Actually, your product is not amazing here," or, "You don't have this feature." Then the product team can stomach that much more effective.

Brandon: Yes, and I think this is another area where sales ops can add a ton of value is just acting as this intermediary because you think of the background and the profiles, you have sales reps, we all know their backgrounds, and then you have product which will be very analytical. Oftentimes, especially in a tech company, there are X engineers so they have computer science degree. A lot of times the friction is driven by just they communicate very differently and we can act all as translators and say, "Look, sales reps are saying this and they think it's this huge fire but let me actually translate it into layman's terms."

Maybe it's a translation, maybe it's helping them see through the way the sales reps are communicating. That's I think one critical skillset a sales rep can do is making sure you have a strong relationship with your product, the product marketing team because sales relies on the product that they're building and product relies upon sales to get good information on what to build, and we can often act as that intermediary to ensure that it's more of a virtuous cycle as opposed to the opposite.

Interviewer: I actually don't think we've spoken to anyone about that role, the role of sales operations linking products and sales so that's really interesting. We put out a couple of quotes from each interview and put them on social media [unintelligible 00:11:55] I think we'll probably do one to do with products in sales. Anyway, so moving on, and we may have touched on this already, what do you think makes an awesome sales operations person?

Brandon: That's a great question, and this was probably one that I'm probably most excited to answer. Maybe I have a unique take on it but let me give you a couple of stories from my Amazon days as context for my answer. One of the things that was really ingrained in the Amazon culture was very rotational to where-- I remember when I hit my two-year mark, my inbox just started getting flooded with directors saying, "I want to talk to you about a role on my team, man. I want to talk to you about a role [inaudible 00:12:34]"

Then I talked to my director because I was like, "FYI I'm talking to these teams." He's like, "No, I totally know and it's going to be very painful if we lose you but I get it and we want to do what's best for you." Ultimately, it come what's best for Amazon because there's a benefit in this kind of rotational getting fresh set of eyes on things. Then it was interesting because when-- I was really heavily involved in our MBA interviewing because we had a pretty robust MBA program, post-MBA program, at this point I was in finance and sitting in these interview committees so we'd interview a bunch of people and then we'd sit and debrief about them.

I remember meeting a one candidate and I'm like, "This guy would be incredible on my team." He literally checks all the boxes, will just nail it out of the park. Then the guy next to me says, "He would be terrible on my team." Greg is still in finance but the rules were very, very different and I said, "Yes, [unintelligible 00:13:29]." Yes, he actually would be not very good in this situation. We ultimately declined on this individual because we're looking for someone that really could do it all. That maybe isn't so [unintelligible 00:13:42] that they're going to be the specialist in this one area. We can hire smart people that can rotate throughout the company.That culture was really heavily ingrained upon me and something that I was a big proponent of.

Second piece a story from there I remember we had a candidate that we were interviewing for a specific position not anything rotational at that point, and I was like, "Look, this kid's really smart, super sharp but-- It wasn't just me. It was pretty much everyone on the interviewing committee. He was super sharp, we really like him, but we don't think this role is quite right for him. He doesn't have the right experience and I think the ramp will just be maybe too long than we need.

My director said, "I totally agree with everyone's assessment but step back and think six months, 12 months from now what's this person's ramps, how will they compare." We all immediately have this aha moment that's like, "This kid will be a rockstar." Then once we had that longer-term potential view we then stepped back and said, "Look, we can deal with the pain of a little bit longer ramp and getting up to speed time and having something that's going to really be that long-term I'll star in." We hired him and totally he was incredible.

I say that I think sometimes we make the mistake of overemphasizing prior experience especially in sales ops like, "I have to have someone that's been selling or someone that has been in sales ops before." I look at my team and folks that I've hired into here in Qualtrics and very few have ever done sales ops before and it's not that that's a bias against sales ops people is that I'm really, sales ops is like the icing on the cake, that experienced and it's why I'm looking for those core skillsets. To me--

Interviewer: Which are?

Brandon: The core skillsets are ability to deal with ambiguity, ability to just really execute. Sales is a unique animal and that-- When you're in accounting it's very simple. You have very clear deadlines, I have to file my financials with our regulating body, our taxes I have to file or I pay a huge fine, et cetera, whereas, sales is sometimes it's much more opportunity cost-base to where, "I want to redo this comp plan," or, "I want to do this analysis to really refine our target market." If I don't do it today, it's not going to have a dramatic impact, not everything's going to fall apart tomorrow.

There is an opportunity cost to that like, We want to get moving on this now." It's really critical to have someone that can just execute and be able to go deliver results and drive towards a drive a project forward. That's second. Third, I would say, just generally a smart person because a lot of a creativity and smarts, I think, because a lot of the problems we solve, yes, there's maybe other salesforce linked in, some of these other great sale shops that figure it out but you've still got to figure out the Lucid way or the Qualtrics way. Having someone that's really smart and knows how to dive in look at either a process, look at a problem and solve is critical. Those types of things I think are really good.

One of the ways we actually look for this, we've built a case, one of our members of our team spent a ton of time, built this awesome sales ops case that we have them look at some numbers, ask them some questions, have them think through strategy. It's really funny because a lot of the sales ops people or people with sales ops experience you can almost just see they're brain shut off and they'll just start regurgitating what they've done in past jobs, which maybe it's the right answer but that's not how I want someone to approach a problem. I want them constantly be engaging and thinking about, "We did this at my prior job but it's not the right way to do it." Does that actually fit the Lucid or whatever your company insert company name here model?

I would say those things are really what I'm looking for. Then sales ops experiences is just a bonus. The thing I will say is that experience is actually not that hard to go create and replicate. I could go hire someone tomorrow, give them 30 days, and say, "Go spend the next 30 days just interviewing every local sales company, understand how they think about this comp element, this thing, this thing, and this thing." They're going to get actually a much better understanding than someone that maybe even spent 10 years in salesforce because they just have one point of view.

That's I guess the one recommendation for folks out there in sales ops right now is make sure that you're getting a really diverse exposure to different ways of doing things. That's when you can turn your sales ops experience into a major, major asset because not only do you have a really good understanding of what the market's doing but, also, "I've seen these in practice as well." That's when it flips from a nice tab to actually really essential.

Interviewer: Then the next question is do you think the sales experience is necessary for this role?

Brandon: It doesn't hurt. It's one of those things, I think, it's the same answer I give with sales ops experience. It just depends. If that's what you're going off and it's the secondary consideration in my mind. That said, I will say, the one role what I think it's pretty critical is enablement. Enablement right now has been our org and I think there is some additional credibility when you've sold before.

We hired our head of enablement and I've actually brought her in. I was a close friend and she had literally-- I remember sitting her up in front of all of our sales reps and basically said, "Look, she carried a million dollar quota, led a team--" You could just immediately see instant respect. I've seen a lot of enablement functions fall flat because you have someone sitting up there actually telling the right stuff and doing it very brilliantly but because they just don't have that credibility like sales reps just turn off. I think that's one area where I think not everyone, to be successful, everyone needs that but I think your core team needs to have some experience in sales to really be successful and garner the credibility of the organization. That's the only exception I'd say where it's helpful.

Interviewer: Just for the context [unintelligible 00:20:03]. What size of sales operation's organization are we working with?

Brandon: It's a great question. Let's say our sales organization is probably like 120, 130 range right now but we're growing pretty exponentially. We'll probably double that the next 12 to 18 months. Our ops team is also unique in that we have a lot house within ops so one example is all of our comp plan creation and administration is done internally within our team which oftentimes sits in finance and then a lot like our deal desk function as well sits in the team and some of those types of things. With that context, our team's proabably, we've got some summer interns starting. We have four people starting in the next two weeks, but we're probably about 12 to 14 or something like that.

Interviewer: Do you think that's about the sweet spot for the ratio between operations and actual reps if they're on 10%?

Brandon: The thing that's always tough, it's always apples and oranges. I remember when we had someone at Qualtrics come in, our CEO at the time was from Microsoft, he just was like, "Your sales ops team is massive. It's way bigger." Then when we actually started sitting down and say, "Let's talk about what is included in the sales ops team," we had our whole sales force development team and all these different things, then he actually-- When you talk about core, core sales ops, it gets to a much better and much more typical ratio to what you're used to.

That's the thing that's a little tough to say, "Here's the right ratio," because it really depends on two things. One, what's included in sales ops, and second, what's included in your sales plot process. For example, we are investing heavily in a lot of our billing and license allocation provisioning but right now, it's a pretty manual process so for the time being, our deal desk, our order processing team, is bigger than it should be until we get to a much more automated world. We've solved that in a short term with headcount. As we start to build in more and more automation, then we essentially don't grow that team. Hopefully, that team stays flat for the next five years.

Interviewer: That leads very nicely onto the next question is, what is the current tech stack you're using to manage this 120-person sales team?

Brandon: I try to stay as lean as possible. Nothing's worse than tech stack bloat. We have, obviously, Salesforce, Salesforce shop. Outreach.io is our automation and cadence management tool. We do insidesales.com but that's predominantly just for our STRs or inbound routing type stuff. Let me think. Let me get all our tools here from our tech stack. LinkedIn Sales Navigator, I don't know, it is technically a technology so I'll throw that in there. We have DiscoverOrg for a lot of our contact and prospecting data, data enrichment on the contact side. For account data, we actually just purchased DataFox to help enrich a lot of our firmographic data in Salesforce. Let's see. Another big tool that we use, we're big proponents of our own tool, is Lucidchart. I think it's actually really, really essential for anyone in operations, just really mapping out processes.

I'm a big visual person so it's been a tool that literally went from, "This is interesting," to, "It's essential and I use on a daily basis." I think a funny story is we had a company meeting last quarter. They did an analysis internally of their largest Lucidchart users internally. The number one was a support rep so, obviously, they're answering support calls so they live in the product every day. The second highest user of Lucidchart was our SVP of sales just because it's one of those tools where you can map out processes. I build my org out in it. All of our planning is done in that because it's just so impactful to be visual. That's probably those tech stacks.

There are some other ones we're evaluating but those are the big technologies we're using. I guess, there is the question on what platform we use for online onboarding. The answer to that is we don't have a specific onboarding tool. We run that pretty much in-house but we do use- it's Bridge. It's an LMS-type thing that we pour a lot of our certification, those types of projects, so it complements our onboarding process as well.

Interviewer: Thank you for that question, James. A shout out for Lucidchart for myself actually. Our sales manager was telling me this afternoon that he was using it to map our process. I massively think that if you want something to be reproduced over and over again, so if you're in operations and you want some other people to keep doing this thing, it has to be documented. Where do you do that in-- We actually do all of our process documents in Google Docs but then embedded into that, we also need diagrams. We're either using Google Slides but Lucidchart is significantly more powerful than that tool.

Brandon: Yes, it embeds really well into all that stuff which is very helpful. The other thing too that we recently rolled out, which is I, probably, should include in our tech stack, is we have a Lucidchart sales solution that has a bi-directional sync with Salesforce. What's really been interesting and it's been super helpful especially on much of our strategic accounts, is you can go in and instead of going to an account page and seeing just the static list of contacts, you can basically bring it into your Lucidchart, and you now have these contacts on a page, you drag it in, and you can create whether it's just a simple org chart.

We've got these templates that we follow to where you can essentially take any contact, put on, "This person's a detractor. These are people that I just found but I need to categorize where they fit in to the buying process," and things like that. That's super beneficial. Our reps love working out of it. Their managers will come in and do a pipeline review, and immediately go to that. You can quickly see, "This deal's not going to close." [unintelligible 00:26:58] your chart. This is a massive company. If you are talking to three people, you've got no chance of closing. It really drives enablement and whatnot. That's probably the other piece I'd add to our tech stack.

Interviewer: Shout out to Lucidchart. Okay, for the next question, and this might be a loaded one, your favorite tech tool?

Brandon: This is probably a nod of the hat back to my old finance days. I just live in and breath in Excel. It's just such a terrible platform.

Interviewer: Just the basics.

Brandon: Yes. It's just great for most of the ad hoc analysis I'm doing. That said for sustainable, repeatable dashboarding, it's not a great tool for that so I understand that but just for me personally, that's one that I spend a lot of time in. I was just doing ad hoc like, "How is this looking?" and things like that so I got to say Excel. There's a whole bunch of other tools. I love Tableau where Tableau shop as well for a lot of the big--

Interviewer: [unintelligible 00:27:59]

Brandon: Yes.

Interviewer: I agree with the Excel thing [unintelligible 00:28:04] and quick but I also have the challenge of wanting to sync Excel with other applications. I don't think that I've ever found a solution that does that reliability or that's cheap enough.

Brandon: We do use Sheets which-- I say Sheets and Excel interchangeably because Sheets, we have some stuff that allows you to do some automated data stuff.

Interviewer: Awesome. Okay, moving on. How do you as a sales operations team deal with data quality in Salesforce? Who's responsible for that in Lucidchart? You have a big sales ops team but it's also, like you said, the Salesforce dev team, who deals with that and how do you deal with that?

Brandon: It's really a team effort here. In my experience, it's the best way to go. First and foremost, our responsibilities we're looking for software or databases that can help. As I mentioned, we just purchased DataFox that we're already seeing some great uplifts in our data quality there around firmographic data, industry, its employee counts, things like that, same with DiscoverOrg, so making sure you have a good technology provider to be the underpinning and the foundation, and then having a robust process to almost like crowdsource the data cleansing I would say.

Right now, our reps in their conversations with whether it's STRs to the closers, if they're in a conversation with one of their accounts and find out, "You know what? This account actually purchased this account." They have a process, they can submit a case, we review it, and then make the adjustments there. I think that's really the only way to do it. It also depends on your market. If you're purely focused in the Global 2000, you can go buy a software, and pretty much you're good. We work in that all the way down to the smallest of small SMB plans. When you start getting into mid-market SMB, there's just not a solution that's really great, unless you're in a really niche market but we're really in everything. The best way to do that is to crowdsource.

One of the other issues that we're running into is we recently expanded to Europe and opened an Amsterdam office and our European data set needs work. We only have a few feet on the ground. It's been a bit of a struggle because we want to create all these patches and territories for the reps and we have less than ideal data. That's a struggle that we're currently working through and trying to figure out, do we need to look at a separate data provider in some of the European markets especially as we think about Australia and New Zealand as well and the rest of the APAC region? What do we do there? We really can't crowdsource at that point. When we started we didn't have any goods on the ground. We now do. It's quickly getting better but that's generally how we've approached it.

Interviewer: Didn't decide to come to London?

Brandon: We actually came to London. We loved London. It's just from a cost perspective it didn't make sense for us.

Interviewer: Agreed.

Brandon: We have a very inside sales motion and so we don't have as much of a need to be at the beck and call of our customers and just be on-site in a minute. If you're highly sophisticated, you do like six-month implementations, totally makes sense to be in London because there's a major install base there but that's why we chose Amsterdam.

Interviewer: Biggest challenge with the role and how you overcome it?

Brandon: I don't know, maybe this is unique. We talked about my career's been in high-growth tech. This may not apply to other industries but it's really waiting prioritization I would say. I have at any given time myself and my team included, there's a hundred great projects, good projects we could be doing, how do we find the great projects. The areas that we're going to move in the most. That's probably the most difficult and the most exciting thing I think about being on the team here and being in the industry is you're never deciding, "This is not very value-add and this is very value-add." It's like, "This is very value-add, this is very value-add, which one do [unintelligible 00:32:24]"

Interviewer: Do you have a framework for this prioritization or process that you go through in order to make sure you're working on the right stuff?

Brandon: Yes, for sure. One of the things we've set up here on our team is really looking at four-- Well, two of them are more quantitative so metrics, and then, two just general goals we're focusing on. As we do quarterly, we call it, OKRs, there's a bunch of resources, I think, generated originally at Google practice the OKRs. When we set our goals on a quarterly basis we look at these four levers that we want to be influencing. One is our top-line sales number, ensuring that we're doing a project that will help build and increase our top-line sales. We have aggressive growth targets and we need to make sure we're helping get that.

Second is average bookings per rep and looking at that and making sure we're not just hitting that metric number one by throwing a bunch of bodies at it but instead we're actually improving efficiency made by reps who are being more and more productive and we're getting more ROI for each rep. Then inherent in that is (holistically doing that) because I've seen issues where the average is going up but it's really like the richer are getting richer and the poor getting poorer. That's in my minds but that everyone-- The rising tide raises all the ships or, however, the saying goes.

Then, the third and fourth, the qualitative ones are providing better visibility and transparency both upward and downward. It's just make sure our executive leadership team knows what we're doing and how we're being successful and what our strategy is going forward. Then the fourth is just really creating a robust and vibrant culture on the sales line. Sometimes it sounds weird that sales ops has that as a goal but I think with enablement, with compensation, those are two massive levers you can pull to really drive the culture. Then we work really, really closely with all our sales leaders and so we partner with them on a regular basis. I think that we have a major ability to impact the culture on the sales line.

Interviewer: I'm not sure that's been mentioned before but I think that's super important having the group of people you're working with every day, especially sales team, really engaged with what they're doing. I don't think we've had that before as a sales operator being responsible for that. I think that's super interesting. We have one question here. I think this has already been answered, a recommended sales engagement platform, you mentioned you're using Outreach, right?

Brandon: Yes, we use outreach. We've looked at Outreach, Sales Lofts. Inside sales has their-- They're building some stuff out. Right now we're really happy with outreach. The issue that you run into with a lot of these is we've built so much in and around Outreach that-- I was here when the original purchase was made. If someone really wants to get me to switch, they've got to really convince me that their platform it's heads and shoulders above Outreach because the switching costs can be really high.

Interviewer: I think that's the best thing for like SAS stickiness, if the customization of the tool increasing that [unintelligible 00:35:43] to leave, the same with Salesforce, right?

Brandon: Yes.

Interviewer: We just spoke about for metrics that you look at but if you had to use one metric to judge the sales team, which one would that be?

Brandon: For me, average bookings per rep. If you wanted to judge the health of a sales org, because you might be hitting your numbers, I've seen sales orgs where, yes, you're hitting your numbers but you have one or two people that are hitting really, really big deals while really the core is struggling." That's just delaying the disaster. There's an underlying problem that's going to come out at some point. Making sure what are the percentage of reps that are in quota and average bookings per rep, they go hand in hand or one to two metrics that had [crosstalk]

Interviewer: Then you did say before the other dimension of that you need to look at which is almost, what's the term, the range of between because as you said there could be two players [unintelligible 00:36:48] and then the rest not say it.

Brandon: Yes.

Interviewer: Awesome. We come to the end. The final question is about somebody that you know or that you worked with that's inspired you or taught you a lot about sales operations, who are they? How do they do that? Where do they work?

Brandon: There's I would say, two people. I know I'm supposed to say [unintelligible 00:37:11] but I'm going to break the rule and give you two. The first one was a guy named Austin Bankhead. I can't remember the name of the company he's at now but he was the senior director that hired me at Qualtrics. The guy's super sharp, the same background. He had a background in marketing and management consulting. He just had that ability and was really sharp and just taught me a lot about, generally, what we should be looking at and how to look at a process and analyze it.

Then, the second individual, I would say, is Spencer Dent. He's actually one of the founders of that Clozd company I talked about. I essentially was his backfill at Qualtrics. He moved in to set up a demand gen function there. He was great because he had been doing my role when I moved over there. He stayed in the sales industry and just super sharp, he's just really, really good. He's smart. That's really what comes down to, go back to the original conversation, he's a guy that you can throw a problem at and whether he has context or not or even experience, he can think through the problem and give you a good recommendation.

Interviewer: Fantastic. That was a pretty fast journey, wasn't it that? I think that's probably the most words spoken in one of our podcast but super, super interesting. I really like the other background of Finance. You're clearly very operational and super smart. I think there's a lot of value added to the audience there. We're going to drag out two quotes and we'll be posting them. Again, I really like the part about how sales operations has the soft side but, also, super analytical side. I think that's super awesome. If anybody have any questions they have to be first on the chat.

Brandon, thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate it.

Brandon: Yes, of course. Feel free to-- I'm on LinkedIn, you can connect. Shoot me on my page. I love learning more about other people's problems and happy to share anything we've learned and we'd love to learn from others as well. Thanks for [crosstalk]--

Interviewer: Brandon Bussey on LinkedIn and, also, massive shout out to Lucidchart. I did actually connect the applications of the product with the sales mapping that you discuss. I think that's super awesome. Thank you, Brandon.

Brandon: All right. Thank you. Have a good one.

[00:39:35] [END OF AUDIO]

Quotes:

"Sales Ops should adopt different ways of solving problems instead of having one point of view." - Brandon Bussey
"Sales Ops should adopt different ways of solving problems instead of having one point of view." - Brandon Bussey

Tom Hunt

Tom Hunt

Tom Hunt is Ebsta's Head of Marketing, he is passionate about sales tech, puppies and efficient teams.
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