Sales Operations and Strategy Analyst: David McIntyre of Brex
David McIntyre, Sales operations & strategy analyst at Brex, jumped onto the Sales Operation Demystified Podcast to share his experience and expertise in sales operations. Check out all the other episodes of Sales Operations Demystified here.
Connect with David and Brex, click here:
David’s journey into sales operations
David says his journey has been a little different from the typical route. He started working on sales right out of college at a small company that was later acquired by Twitter. He continued working at Twitter, with his work focusing on influencer marketing and advertising.
Since he didn’t enjoy advertising, David moved to a different company where he experienced more traditional tech sales. David says that from the very start of his career in sales, he was always very interested in how it worked and improved efficiency by making better processes. He also wanted to be able to have a more creative and collaborative job, something he felt he couldn’t do as a salesperson. While he enjoyed sales, he wanted to go for work that allowed him to design the systems that were put in place for sales teams.
While working in a company called Square as a part of the sales team, he made the transition from sales to sales ops. Initially, it was a bit difficult to make the change, but his passion made it easier for him to enter the world.of sales ops. Currently, David works in sales ops and strategy at Brex.
The tech stack used at Brex
Like many other large companies, David says that Salesforce is the core of their tech stack. Some other tools are used as well, and most of them are designed to integrate with Salesforce, such as Troops (which gives notifications of sales), and LeanData, which integrates with Salesforce and does a great job of routing and matching leads to sales reps.
Challenges in working remotely
For sales ops, David finds that one of the significant challenges is prioritization. In a typical office setup, reps who face problems can come upon the spot with their issues, which the ops team tries to resolve. In a remote world, they are less likely to take this dynamic approach and have to plan out a list of priorities that should be managed before other work can be started.
Another challenge for David is relating to the day-to-day work done by the sales reps and managers. As he mentions, sometimes following a person’s workday and processes gives the ops team a lot to learn about how to optimize the systems in place in a remote world that is less likely to happen. In David’s opinion, building better relationships between the teams is crucial to developing processes that work well.
Are the changes in work due to the pandemic going to be permanent?
In David’s opinion, this situation will last quite a long time, and the changes made in work processes during the pandemic have shown that remote work can be equally, if not more effective. He feels many companies may find it a more cost-effective way to work. At Brex, since they have worked very hard to develop systems and processes to make working remotely more effective, he feels it is likely that the company would want to continue with those systems even after the pandemic is over.
How to get a reliable forecast
As David says, this is something many companies struggle with, since it relies on data being input by humans, therefore having a chance of bias. In his previous workplace at Square, David says that the team would frequently analyze the data given to them by the sales reps and see how they could make it more accurate, for example, by eliminating deals that seemed to be stagnant and so on.
At Brex, they try to make the sales reps and managers work more analytically when it comes to the data they input, as the goal is to get an accurate forecast. When asked how to encourage sales reps to be more analytical in this work, David says that they employ tools and dashboards that allow them to have better data hygiene. Automation also plays a part in making the data more accurate, thereby ensuring more accurate forecasting.
#1 sales metric: funnel conversion rates
David is a big fan of conversion rates, especially funnel conversion rates. It gives an idea of how capable a rep or team is at taking a prospective client at the top of the sales funnel and turning them into a customer. For David, the most essential part of this metric is that it allows you to track a salesperson’s performance, and if you see they are having issues in closing deals, you can target what needs to be improved and how to help them as a sales ops member. For him, this metric is equally, if not even more important, during the pandemic.
Who is David’s biggest inspiration?
David says he learned a lot from his colleagues in the sales ops team at Square, especially when he switched from sales to sales ops. Besides them, he cites:
Matt Belitsky – VP sales ops Brex