Sales Operations Manager: Tim Hurst of Funnel

Tim Hurst of Funnel jumped onto Sales Ops Demystified to share his knowledge of sales operations. Check out all the other episodes of Sales Operation Demystified here.

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Getting into sales ops

Tim has a background in physics but felt he wasn’t interested in it as a career. He took advantage of graduate programs offered by companies and rotation in the sales department made him realize he enjoyed it a lot. Tim says he liked the psychology of selling and focusing on the customer’s experience. As he was good at teaching and leading, he was given a management role. 

This was how he eventually made his way to sales operations and was offered a place on the sales ops team. After almost two years, Tim joined Funnel.io as he wanted a new opportunity and he liked how data-oriented they were. There he helped to shape the operations team to how it is today.

The setup at Funnel.io

Tim’s team comprises of four people including him, and he is the only one with a sales background. Tim feels this actually adds a diverse range of perspectives and methods. It helps make sure that they don’t focus on one department but rather give a well-rounded baseline that works for sales, marketing, and customer success.

Current sales tech stack

At Funnel.io, they use HubSpot as their CRM. Another important resource Tim mentions is Gong.io, which they use to record calls and then analyze and learn from the recorded calls, which is vital for coaching the sales team. They also use Looker for the dashboard and also Funnel.io’s own app, especially for marketing data.

Improving productivity

Tim cites two things that have increased productivity in the teams they oversee. One is building a coaching program within the sales team, where they take the sales knowledge that an individual has and use it to help guide the whole team.

Another process has been teaching the teams agile working methodology to implement it and use what helps them in their day to day work.

Optimizing working remotely and implementing long-lasting processes

Regarding the ongoing situation worldwide which has caused companies to shift to working remotely, Tim feels the company has already been used to it to some extent because they have offices in different parts of the world. However, he says they are now learning ways to improve and optimize working remotely and for the ops team it’s important to see how to improve collaboration.

Tim appreciates that Funnel.io promotes experimentation, which means different teams have quickly tried out many different options and stick to the ones that suit them best. 

The forecasting process at Funnel.io

At Funnel.io they choose to go for the ‘bottom-up’ approach, with seller level forecasts and forecasting in individual deals. They also review what different reps have in the pipeline to start predictions based on the number of open deals and also if anything in their process needs to be changed ahead of time.

While working with reps regarding the committed numbers, Tim mentions they keep track of statistics, in the long run, to see for any developing patterns. This also helps pinpoint where different behavior might help one tram but not the other and can be tweaked accordingly.

#1 sales metric – different for different situations

For Tim, each metric has its limitations depending on the question. Any metric taken in isolation cannot give enough information to help improve the process, which Tim feels is the ultimate goal. From a historical perspective, he would choose the ‘win rate’ but if the question is about future aims then he would choose the ‘new lead rate’. That’s why Tim says he thinks it’s more important to focus on what the question is and choose a metric accordingly.

Tim’s biggest influence

Tim says he learned the most from all his previous managers when he worked in sales development and sales operations. He says that even though some of them were not from sales operations, their mindset is what helped him reach where he is today.

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