The Rise of RevOps and The Data Driven CRO

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Warren Zena: The CRO Spotlight Podcast.

Hi, I'm Warren Zena, founder and
c e o of the CRO Collective, and

welcome to the CRO Spotlight Podcast.

This podcast is for Chief Revenue
Officers, aspiring CROs and

CEOs who are looking to hire
or support a CRO to succeed.

To join me and my expert guests as
we debate, discuss and tackle today's

complex revenue growth challenges,
and provide practical insights

to help CROs succeed in the role.

We're really excited to
have you with us now.

Let's get to it.

Hey everyone.

I'm real excited today.

I know it's been a bit of time
since, uh, we've had an episode.

This is wait, the, it's worth
the wait because, uh, I have, uh,

Rosalyn Santa Elena with me today.

And, um, everyone knows, I'm
sure most people know who she is.

Uh, you know, she's probably the
foremost expert in the rev op space.

Probably the, certainly the, the biggest
voice, you know, the leading voice.

Um, every time I speak to
anybody, Mentioned rosalin

as the person to speak to.

Um, and the rev ops, uh, space is
just blown up, you know, it's huge.

And so there's so much energy
and gravity going towards it.

And I think there's also a lot
of confusion about it too, and

I thought it'd be a really good
opportunity to talk about some stuff.

I was a guest on Rosalyn's show, man.

How long ago was that?

It's a long time ago, right?

Feels like, feels like it
was last year, 20 years ago.

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Warren Zena: Rosalyn,
welcome and thank you.

I'm so glad.

I know you're busy, so thanks for
giving the time and um, I'm really

looking forward to this conversation.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: No,
thank you for having me.

I think this is a long time coming.

I'm excited to be here and always, always
a pleasure to chat with you, Warren.


Warren Zena: thanks.

So a lot of new things
going on in your world.

I want to hear you share with everybody.

So one thing I would say is you've,
uh, just recently kind of like

launched your own business, which I
know we talked about prior, and you

also joined, created your community,
the Rev Ops collective, which is.

And, um, I'm a member.

I'm really happy about that too.

So tell us a bit about that.

Like, I know that, you know, you've been
doing the consulting thing for a while

and you're working for some companies.

Um, it'd be really interesting, I think,
cuz a lot of people that are listening

to this are entrepreneurs or they're
thinking about being entrepreneurs.

And you and I both have, you know,
Ventured out to do these things.

What was that process like, and how did
you arrive at the point that you decided,

you know, I'm gonna just do this finally,
I'm not gonna work for anybody anymore.

What, what was the sort of motivation
and what drove you to make the

decision and how's it been going?

What's, what's been happening with it?



Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank you.

Um, so, Yeah, as you were asking
the question, I was thinking

like, what drove me to this?

Why am I doing this?

Because honestly, why am I've never,
yeah, I mean, honestly, I've never really

envisioned myself as an entrepreneur
or kind of going out on my own.

I've always saw myself as a practitioner
working for, you know, working for

a company, whether it's a small
company or a really big company, but

working for a different organization.

But I think that over the last,
um, maybe four years or so, I've

been spending a lot of time.

Um, you know, advising for companies
kind of on the side in addition to

kind of the day job and really helping,
you know, organizations figure out

their go-to-market strategy, thinking
about product roadmap and messaging

and, and, you know, thinking about
setting up revenue operations.

You know, why do they need it?

And, sorry, my dog is very
passionate about this topic too.

Warren Zena: Yeah.

We'll, we be interviewing your dog.

We're gonna get the dog in on this soon.

So, yeah.

So, but

Rosalyn Santa Elena: anyways, but I
think, but I spent so much time advising

companies really on the go-to-market
strategy and on product roadmap and

messaging, as well as, you know,
how to build scale and grow revenue

operations kind of on the side, in
addition to doing sort of the day job.

And then also been doing a lot of coaching
and mentoring of rev ops professionals.

So recently decided, as you mentioned,
to really go out on my own and do more of

that because I felt like I wasn't having
enough time to dedicate, to be able to

help all the organizations and all the
people that I really wanted to help.

And so by going kind of.

On my own and doing this full-time, I'm
able to, you know, have the bandwidth

really, and the time to meet with more
organizations and really help more people.

So, hey, if I can make a
living off of it, great.

But we'll see.

That's still T B D.


But I think that, you know, it's
been really interesting to do that.

And then as you mentioned, I just launched
the community by the Rev Op Collective,

and really that's been sort of a passion.

Project for me as well because
there's so many great communities

out there, many of which I belong to.

I've had, you know, a lot of, um, You
know, effort put forth in terms of helping

to build out the rev ops kind of space.

But I always felt like in a lot
of these communities, rev ops is

still sort of, you know, kind of
the, the, the stepchild, right?

Kind of in a smaller corner of this.

Of a much bigger community, you
know, primarily of revenue, right?

Sales and marketing and cs, and it's
almost like within the community,

similar to being in organizations
where we are also a subset of the

revenue team in a much smaller,
um, A smaller group or function.

So really wanted to build out a community
that's truly focused on revenue,

operations, growth, um, and really
growth around those professionals, right?

Helping people who are interested
in operations or are pursuing, or

already in a rev ops career to really
navigate and, um, elevate themselves.

In terms of their career and helping them
to hit their personal and professional

goals while building sort of this
network of trusted advisors that they,

they can, they can lean on and, you
know, help and share with others.

So that's kind of the
gist of the community.

Um, But in selfishly, it's a place,
you know, as I've been telling people,

it's a place for me to, you know, kind
of dump, do a brain dump as well, and

really share just kind of my experience
and some of my ex my, my learnings over

the last, you know, couple of decades in
being in all of these different roles.

Because right now I
share a lot on LinkedIn.

I do webinars and events and such,
but having a place to really be

almost like a repository to kind
of share all of that content.

You know, hugely, I think selfishly
impactful for myself, and hopefully

it'll help some other people.


Warren Zena: I, I get it.

You know, I do.

I I certainly can relate.

Um, I mean, I think.

You know, I look at what you're doing
and I think it makes perfect sense.

I know it's, you know, running a business
is tough, you know, there's a lot of bells

and whistles and stuff associated with it.

It's, it's not an easy thing.

Uh, it's a love, you know, thing.

You do it cuz you just really wanna do it.

You know?

In my case, I think I've always
been entrepreneurial, but I'm

also unemployable, you know, so,
you know, it's like I gotta be.

So that all still never happened for me.

But, you know, I've always had a
business of my own always for, I

don't know, it's gotta be 20 years
now, so, Even when I worked for other

companies, I still had my own thing.

So, but in any event, I, I'm curious
about something around this, right?

So you mentioned a couple things.

One is a community, right?

So, you know, there's a bit of, what do
you think about community fatigue, right?

There's so many communities, right?

I mean, how many communities
can be a part of, and how many.

Communities are people
willing to pay for too, right?

Particularly when there's some overlap.

I mean, you look at like Rev
Genius and Pavilion and these

are all great platforms.

I have nothing but you know,
positive things to say about them.

But there's a point at which, and
even, you know, the growth forum, which

we're both part of, you know, there's
a lot of communities and you know

there's costs associated with them.

What are your thoughts on how to
navigate this issue and how do

you mitigate that problem with
I think people almost feeling.

They can't give the time that
you want them to give to the

community, which doesn't get the
value from either you or them.

What's the, I dunno, I'm just curious
what you're thinking about it, cuz

I'm thinking about it too, and, and
I, and I'm, I'm just curious what

Rosalyn Santa Elena: your thoughts are.

Yeah, no, I 100% agree.

I think there's so many
communities out there.

Um, and when folks ask me like, oh,
what's the best community for me to join?

Um, it's very similar to, you know,
if you're looking for a new role

or if you're thinking about a, you
know, changing, pivoting your career.

It's all about like, You know,
what are you looking to do and

what are you hoping to gain?


And I think with all of these communities,
um, that at least the ones that I belong

to, they all serve a different purpose.

And the reason I join them is because
it serves that particular purpose.


Because, you know, there's some
communities that are very, oh,

very tactical, very technically
focused around operations.

There's ones that are
more, you know, women in.


You know, there's ones that are
more kind of professional growth

around overall revenue experience
and some are just networking, right?

It's kind of like, hey, get
together and chat with other people.

Um, But I think you have to be really
intentional about what it is that

you are hoping to gain from the
community, and then looking for a

community that meets those needs.

Because to your point, you need to invest.

Sometimes it's money.

A lot of these communities
are free to join.

Um, but sometimes there's funds involved,
you know, membership dues, but it's

the time that you dedicate because

Warren Zena: I, I think that.

It's, it's really the time.


Because if I, if I'm paying 50 bucks a
month or whatever month, if I'm in it

a lot and I'm getting value out of it,
I probably won't even see that money.

But, you know, you make a good point.

I, I wanna say it, I think is the way,
way through this, cuz I think there is

community fatigue and I, I think the way
to navigate, you said it so well, it's

all about specificity and niche, right?

So mm-hmm.

You know, if you have general
communities, if I may say a sales c.

That's a big umbrella.

That's a lot of things fit under that,
you know, whereas if it was like, maybe

it's just telephone sales, you know,
or you know, s d r group, you know,

that's very specific and you know, I
think that if I'm, like you advising

people in the marketplace how to
think about a community, it's if fine

communities that are as specific as.

So that you get the most value
based on what you're looking for.

And I think what you're doing, and you
know myself as well, we're lucky in

that we've picked very specific things.

Like rev ops is a disciplinary,
it's a lot of specificity to it.

And then it's also, which
I want to ask you about the

approach you're taking, right?

So you mentioned things like technical
or tactical, like how would you describe

the way you're gonna approach Rev op
as opposed to like, let's say, any

other option that might be out there?

What, what do you think your
vision is for how your particular

platform is gonna focus?

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah.


That's a great question.

And I think that because we
are very, I'm very focused on.

Up-leveling the rev ops
professional, right?

And so that means very different things
for different rev ops people, right?

Depending on where they're
at in terms of their career.

They could be a year or two in, they could
have just pivoted into revenue operations.

They could be, you know, a seasoned
veteran who has, you know, 20 years

experience, 10 years experience,
and maybe has done a lot more.

And I think the ultimate goal is
that wherever you are in kind of size

and stage of co of your career and
where you're at in terms of years of

experience, you still wanna learn, right?


And you still wanna grow,
but how do you get there?


And I think that's where my primary
focus is around up-leveling the people.

And that means through content, through,
you know, learning, through meetings

and get togethers and, um, Uh, different
types of events around learning, right?

So we'll have fireside chats and
monthly meetups on different topics,

but all relevant to a day in the life
of a rev ops professional, right?

Because there's a lot of events that you
can join around social selling, right?

Or around different things
around brand, you know, marketing

and how to do your website.

And there's just so no shortage of topics.

Around the business, but
very specific to operations.

Like what does a Rev ops person
care about when it comes to sales?

You know, like you
mentioned SDRs, for example.

You might be in an SD R community.


But from a rev op perspective,
what do we care about?

We care about enabling the SD R, right?

The sales engagement platform.

What is that messaging?

How do we drive adoption?

You know, all of these
different questions.

I think from an ops perspective, and
again from a rev ops perspective, there's

no shortage of topics to cover, right?

The, the sure, the how broad our roles
are and how deep across the funnel is,

you know, lends itself to being very
challenging in a very positive and.

Not negative, but very challenging way.


It can be very overwhelming.

And so in this community, we're
really focused on things that are

top of mind for ops professionals.

You know, how to navigate their day-to-day
challenges, but also how do they

get to where they need to go, right?

In terms of kind of short-term
and long term goals.

And those goals are gonna be different
for everyone, which means that

there's got to be different flavors
of that learning so members can join.

Um, different types of initiatives
that make sense for them.

Um, and I think a lot of, I'm also
seeing a lot of more senior level

folks who wanna give back, right.

And they wanna be part of a community
where they can share their learnings

and be able to mentor others that are
kind of up and coming as well as mm-hmm.

Establish themselves as thought leaders.

So there's a lot of different, um, avenues
I think for, um, really helping to.

Um, accelerate your career and
accelerate your kind of positioning in

the market, depending on what those,
uh, ideal outcomes are going to be.


Warren Zena: Got it.

That's really great.

So we have, you know, very similar
perspectives on things within our,

with, within our own respective
swim lanes, so, not surprisingly

so, so I, I, let's switch gears.

I wanna ask you something you
and I talked about and that.

So, uh, I'll just give you the
anecdote like I'm, I'm very close

with a bunch of chief revenue officers
and other people whom are sort

of thought leaders in that space.

You know, there was a article, I think
it was in LinkedIn, it was like a

couple weeks ago, maybe a month ago,
that was basically talking about how

the Rev Ops role is now the number
one like role available, the head of

Rosalyn Santa Elena: revenue operations.

Warren Zena: Great news.

It it, it's good news and it's all
great and I, but I was so happy to hear

it cause I think it makes sense to me.

But I also thought about the way
that the article was utilized

by various organizations and
the way it was repurposed.

Like a lot of this
happens, you know, like if.

If I'm a, a rev ops software
developer, let's say for example,

and I see an article like that, it
makes sense that I'm gonna tout that

article as being, you know, someone.


And a lot of the articles, not
a lot, I won't say a lot, but a

few of them in particular seem to
sort of equate the Rev ops role as

being a chief revenue officer role.



And this is like a really interesting
area where these two sort of disciplines

sort of, I wouldn't say they both exist
together cooperatively and probably

necessarily like a, almost like a.

Ying and yang is sort of thing.


There's also some degree of like,
where do you see the role going?

You know, like, cause the, in my
perspective, we've talked about this a

lot, you and I, we'd continue to, is,
you know, I have a worldview of, of

a, of a revenue operation being led by
a executive leader, the chief revenue

officer, who has oversight over the
entire revenue function, which is sales,

marketing, customer success, et cetera.

And is it necessary for that person
to have a really smart rev op.

Professional within that organization
to help keep the intelligence and the

data and all the functions and systems
working in a way that makes everything

work together in a data-driven and, you
know, uh, uh, call aligned manner, right?


So the question I ask my participants
in my course all the time is if,

uh, you were interviewing for
a Chief Revenue Officer role.

And you're interviewing a sales
leader, a marketing leader, a customer

success leader, or a rev ops leader,
which one would you think would you

be more likely to hire as a C R O?

And it's sort of a trick question, but I'm
curious what your thoughts are in terms of

the way the role is evolving, what you see
the future of the role, particularly as it

pertains to running revenue teams and how
that's being like played out right now in

the world, or what the perception's like.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah.


That's a great question.

And I did see that article
as well, and I think you.

It was a LinkedIn, kind of the fastest
growing roles, right, for 2023.

That's right.

And head of Revenue Operations
was sort of that first title.

Um, and it was interesting because
I said, oh, well that's great.

That's no surprise.

But when you read the article it
says, oh, also often called Chief

Revenue Officer or called, you
know, some of these other titles.

And I'm like, that's right.

It was.

Warren Zena: Often call that kind.

Rosalyn Santa Elena:
And I was like, exactly.

A little annoyed.

I was like, it, it really kind of, yeah.

It took away a lot of that credibility
of revenue operations, kind of that

title being number one, because now
it led me to think about data quality.


Immediately my Ops Brainin goes to that.


And says, are they actually, um,
counting this as number one because

they're including all the chief
revenue officer titles, which has

also, you know, hugely, you know,
increased in, it's growing as well.

Question about that For sure.


And so then I'm thinking, okay, well
that makes sense why it's number one then

because they're including things that I
probably you and I both would not include.


Because I certainly would
never include a chief revenue

officer as a head of rev ops.

I mean, those are two
totally different roles.

Um, yep.

But then what, what was, um, what was
very positive in the article though?

There were a number of other roles.

I think there were five or six other
roles that were actually roles that

belong as part of a rev op function.

There was like a deals desk manager,
I think there was, um, you know,

an enablement function, you know,
enablement manager and some type

of head of enablement type of role.

I see.


Warren Zena: were like putting a bunch
of other roles underneath the rev ops

umbrella, so to speak, in a way, right?

Uh uh, no.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: So
actually they were on.

10 list.

There were other roles that
were also fastest growing.


But I'm like, oh, these fit into the ops.

So I was more focused, a
little bit more on that.

But I did see a lot of, similar to you,
a lot of companies saying, oh, head

of rev ops, you know, and I, I think
there was a lot of debate about that.

And you know, my perspective is
that a cro, r o is a very, very

different role from the head of
revenue operations or a VP of Rev ops.


I look at the VP of
Rev Ops as that, right.

You know, chief of staff person that helps
partner with the chief revenue officer.

If I think about, um, even the
skillset and sort of the mindset of

an operations person around running,
you know, processes, technology,

data, insights, enablement, right?

And kind of the, and keeping those
people, that people aspect as well.

I really think about them as running
that infrastructure the day-to-day.

Providing the partnership and
thought leadership to the C R O.


And then the C R O is then can go
focus in on longer term strategy

working with the c e O on kind of
what's, what's to come on the revenue

side and out meeting customers.


Being in front of clients and
customers and out there running

the overall revenue engine and.

I think people start to confuse
that thinking that, oh, uh,

head of rev ops, you know, can
it be a path to a cro o Sure.

If they want to be in sales and in
marketing and, and doing, you know, the,

the client facing work and being able
to carry a bag and close deals, right.

And be able to, you know, work with
customers on retention and keeping

them happy and driving that value.

It's a different role.

I think it's a different, um,
sometimes a different skillset.

But from a rev ops perspective, when
folks ask me, you know, what's next?


Okay, I'm a head of rev ops or a VP
of Rev op, what should I do next?

And I think there's
different paths, right?

And again, it, going back to
even that community answer,

it depends on what it is.

What you're interested in, where you're
strong and what's your ultimate goal?

Because from a rev ops perspective,
you could move into a COO role.

You maybe could move into a CR role role.

Maybe you're really marketing focused
and you wanna be more of ahead

of marketing or customer success,
or even in a finance role, right?

I've seen folks move over there or maybe.

System and technically focused.

So they move, move over more
into analytics or, you know, IT

role or even business ops, right?

There's tons of different opportunities,
I think because there's, you come in,

the entry point into revenue operations
is gonna be very different for everyone.


And then so where you go from
there can also be very different.

Um, agree.

But does it not?

I agree, but does a CRO
have to be an ops person?


And that's probably why they're so
good at being a C R O and they have a.

You know, kind of second in command ops
person by their side because process

maybe not their thing, you know, and
some of the things that ops people think

Warren Zena: about, I talk about it this
way, you're a hundred percent right.

I, I don't look at it as, I mean, I
certainly think that, you know, there's

the, uh, let's call it like the, the,
the brain type cro, you know, who's more

numbers driven and data driven and very.

Process driven and, you know, they're,
they're, they're gonna bring a

certain type of cultural nuance to
that role that someone who's more

leadership driven and more, you know,
strategically driven to the role.

And, you know, I think that
I've seen two types of really

successful chief revenue officers.

Ones that are grounded in really amazing
good data and business acumen, and they

analyze everything and they look at
things like systems and, you know, they,

they're not necessarily these sort of
like really, uh, You know, uh, let's say.

They didn't have like, a lot of this
sort of like, uh, strong leadership.

They're not like these,
um, what's the word?

Like charismatic.


Visionary types, you know, they're not
like leading the charge and creating

this big vision, but they're really
good at getting the business done.

And then they're the ones that are
really good at being like the ralliers

and they know how to build teams
and create this big vision and they

employ people that get the job done.


You know, and I see, you know,
it's not one or two, but I

see that's on the, on the.

Outer end of the rim of the two types.

That's where they are, right?


And that's why I think that as revenue
operations in the B2B space becomes

more complex, marketing becomes
more, becomes more complex, and more

software tools get added into the mix.

The way we're seeing now, more
automation systems get into effect.

You need to have.

A partner who understands how all
this stuff connects together and

naturally thinks that way because
you're ultimately gonna have everything

plugging into some centralized CRM and
all these other tools hanging off of it.

And if you don't have somebody who
can make sense of all of it for you

on a day-to-day basis and run those
things and keep everything running

together, you're going to fight against
the natural, uh, entropy of those

teams all started to try and become
individualized silos again, that's like.

Nat, it's like a gravitational force
of trying to push all these teams to

self net self-manage before someone
has to keep the thing together.

Yeah, and I think that's an interesting
thing people to understand is that

this, this misalignment that these.

Two functions that we're
talking about fix, they do it

because left their own devices.

People run their own thing.

You know, they don't cooperate.

They just don't.

It's not because they're not good people,
it's just that we are more inclined to

wanna survive, you know, and run our own
little ship than we are to cooperate.

And so to that end, you know, our, my,
the audience listening to this, right?

They're, they're CROs.

They're aspiring CROs, and then
they're also CEOs who are maybe

in the process of thinking about
maturing their revenue engines.

So to those three people who are
listening to this and they're thinking

about, Hmm, rev ops, what is this thing?

And, you know, what's
the right timing for me?

And, and, and, and if I'm in the process
of thinking about maybe getting past my

revenue stall or my revenue, um, plateau
or whatever area I'm trying to increase

and start to add, Disciplinary functions
or strategic direction to my company.

How does Rev op fit into that for them?


And what's a way in which they start
to think about it so that they can make

sense of it and, and pull it into their
organizations in a way that makes it work?



Rosalyn Santa Elena:
That's a great question.

And I think that, you know, I always
ask folks when they're thinking

about revenue operations, if they
are at a point where, um, you know,

obviously earlier, the better, right?

To start bringing in
some type of operations.

Like, like how

Warren Zena: early like I I, 1 million
in revenue, 2 million, like when's the

point at which you think about this?

Yeah, and

Rosalyn Santa Elena: I let people try
to put either a dollar amount or a

headcount number on it, but I think
that, you know, as we both know, a

million dollars in revenue could.

One transaction, it could be
a hundred transactions, right?

And so it really depends on your,
your selling motion and who do,

who are you selling to in the
complexity in terms of how you sell.

So kind of taking a step away
from those numbers, I think about.

When you have product market fit right,
when you are starting to sell, when your

c e O is no longer your only seller, it's
probably, it's time to start thinking

about some of that infrastructure.

Does it mean that you have to
hire a full-blown rev op team?

No, absolutely not.

Does it mean that you have to
hire an executive VP of rev ops?

No, but it does mean that you need to
start thinking about and start to build

some of that foundation so that you're
able to start creating a repeatable.


When you start to have somewhat of a sales
process, you want to not only align that

process to start to scale, but also look
at the information to be able to iterate.

Because in a small company, your ability
to move fast and to iterate and to

lean in on the things that are working.

Is critical to your survival.


And that's where I think
ops steps in, right?

It's where you're starting to get your
systems in line and maybe you just have a

crm, which is fine, and don't over, we can
go into whole section on, you know, whole,

whole session on, not over overengineering
your tech stack, but if you just

start to have some type of system, you
start to have a repeatable process.

You start to build, lay
out the groundwork, right?

It's almost like.

Cement of your foundation, of your,
your revenue, um, infrastructure, then

you can start to build from there.

Because more often than not, you
see companies not hiring ops.

And so what happens is their seller,
their C R O, right, their VP of sales or

their marketing leader, whoever, those
folks that are already on board, they end

up getting bogged down with the ops type
of work, or they struggle to get those

insights and information that they need.

In worst case, they build something.

Think is, you know, that works
for the company that isn't going

to work for the company, right?

It's not, maybe not best practices or
the right way to build it, but they're

kind of hobbling things together just
to get, you know, through their day

and get the information that they need.

And so when you do hire operations, uh, at
that point, a lot of times it's unwinding

some of the things that have been built
incorrectly and then start to rebuild.


The things that need to work.

Um, Aside from them kind of working
on things that may be building it

incorrectly or maybe not in the best
format for what you need longer term,

but also takes away from them doing
the things that they're really good at.


So if I'm a sales leader, instead of going
out and selling and meeting customers,

I'm spending time figuring out my systems.


Or just trying to get
the data that I need.


And so it may not be there,
you know, if they're, the more

the business acumen type of.

Then yes, maybe they know how
to do it, but do you really

want them spending time on that?

And if they're not that type of
process or systems person, then

chances are they're struggling and
they're not building it correctly.

Warren Zena: Yeah.

This make up great points there.

You know, I see a lot of my clients
struggle with pulling themselves out

of the technical quagmire, you know,
because they, they'll add a sales force

or a HubSpot system, and then there's
a lot of admin associated with it,

or just getting it set up properly.

We sort of turn all of our people into
technicians unwittingly, and they become

software engineers without realizing
it because we give them these tools to

work with and then they're forced to.

And then you get two
types of people, right?

So you get these certain
people that are, they're.

They're good at what they supposed to do.

Like you put them, let's say,
let's use sales as an example.

You hire someone who's a good
salesperson and they're really,

um, responsible and they like
getting on the phone and creating

prospect and having conversations.

And the more they complicate that
process, the more they realize

that they need to rely on the tools
they've been given to make it work.

And they become stuck in them and
they're doing it too much and they

kind of want to get out of it,
you know, but they're, they're.

And then the other type of person
is people who use technology as a

distraction to keep them away from
doing things they don't want to

do because you know, they're fun.

You know, software can be fun.

You know, it's sort of
like a neat little thing.

I see.

I've seen this a lot where you get a
couple of these salespeople that are

sort of like quasi engineer types,
you know, and they like sitting

inside of Salesforce and fiddling
with it and making things better.

And it's like, Steve, listen, you
know, that's not your job, dude.

Like, get on the phone.

Like, yeah, but I can make this better.

It would be amazing.

You know, I'm gonna add this field.

It's like, yeah, I get that.

But they don't.

And you know, it's, I think a rev ops
function is a good way to sort of keep

people focused on their jobs by having
somebody responsible for something

that is where it's supposed to be.

And it's putting people not only in
the seats where they're supposed to be,

but keeping them focused on the actions
that they're supposed to be focused on.

Because the reason why there's a
lot of salespeople, um, many times

in companies because a lot of 'em
half only selling half the time.

You're only only getting
half a person, you know?


And you need to get them efficient.

And I see that this is part of the issue
is that a rev ops function, it not only

drives intelligence and creates process,
but it also frees people up to do the

things that they're supposed to be doing.

And also gives them a
focus, like focus here.

Don't focus there.


This data or this particular metric
is more important than this one.

And, you know, if you do this more often,
you'll get this result as opposed to

this other thing that you may occur.

Like it's a good idea, but it's actually a
waste of time in terms of our bottom line.

And I think that's a big part of it is
rev ops is an intelligence, uh, layer.

It, it makes people smarter about
what they should and shouldn't do.

And, um, yeah.

It might be so much that you're
saying is that in a way the rev ops

function should follow any type.

MA maturity around their technology.

So when someone says, all right, we're
getting HubSpot, you know, it's probably a

good time to start thinking about bringing
somebody in whom not just knows how to

set up HubSpot, but actually thinks about.

The organization from a data perspective.

I'm just curious what your thoughts
are in terms of the timing.

Yeah, definitely.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: I think when
you think about the data and then the

processes and the governance, right,
as well as the adoption that needs

to happen around any technology and
even before you get the technology

right, what is that process look like?

Does everybody, is everybody, you
know, clear on what that process is?

Do they, are they enabled
to follow the process?

Do they understand the why?


And building a lot of that, um,
to be able to then bring in.

Um, technology to help drive efficiency.


And, and automation.

I always tell folks that before you
buy technology, I think a lot of

times people will buy technology as a
forcing kind of function to get their

processes right and to kind of really
think about how they wanna do business.

Yeah, it's true.


Warren Zena: it's, it's, it does, it
forced this things to happen when you

get tech, you know, cuz there's no way.

There's no interpretation left anymore.

It's like, okay, we're trying to
create facts that's right here, folks.


Rosalyn Santa Elena: know?

That's right.

That's funny.

That's right.

And so I think if you, yeah, and so a
lot of times it's like if you can, if

you have a process and the process is
working and you understand it, then if

you bring in tech layer on technology
on top of that, then you're getting

the true benefit and the roi, right?

Because then you're starting to
get the automation and getting

better efficiency through the te.


And then the technology.


In a lot of cases, when there's
really deep analytics or insights,

is able to then provide the level of
insights that maybe a human either

can't do or it takes them hours to do.


Being able to pull all this
data and be able to do that.

Um, the other thing I think to think
about, you know, we talked about

a lot of factors to think about.

Whether or not you need ops.

But yeah, I think another
reason is you know when you

don't have visibility, right?

I think when you are not really sure
what your forecast looks like or you're

not really sure where those leads are
coming from, or you're not really sure

you know what's working and what's
not in any part of the end-to-end

funnel, that's where your ops, kind
of that revenue operations around the

intelligence piece that you were speaking.

That's where it's super powerful, right?

Because yes, there's the kind of
the, the practical side of building

infrastructure, but it's about unlocking
those insights to really share, you

know, what's working and what's not.

Because I think that's the blind spots
that you hear a lot from companies.


They're selling, they have
12 customers, they're.

Generating some revenue, but they
don't really know why they're,

why did these customers sign up?

Why did these customers sign up
and not these other, you know,

a hundred that they talked to?

And really di diving more deep into
those insights and then feeding that

back into the engine is really important.

Um, And it's not just when
customers sign up, right?

I've been on my soapbox lately
about when customers leave you.


Really, there's so much learnings there.

If a customer turns, there's
so much learning there to

understand why did they leave?

Was it just because they went out of
business and they didn't have funding?

You know, was it because they didn't get
the experience that they were expecting?

Were they never a, a, a, a
customer that should have bought

in the first place, right?

But all.

Things, whatever those learnings
are, you can feed that back into your

top of funnel marketing, into your
messaging, into your sales cycle,

you know, all along the journey.

And there's so much to learn there,
but I think there's a lot of insights

there that we're not tapping into.

But then if you have a rev ops function
that is solely focused on a lot of

this kind of holistic view of the
business, that's where you're gonna

glean those insights, you know, those
deeper insights, and then also help

you see kind of what's around the.

And we always talk about the blind

Warren Zena: spots.


It's so important.

I it's intelligence again.

You know, I think that aside from
not knowing or not knowing how things

happen or when they happen, or you
know, what the events that occur that

make things happen, A lot of times
too, the companies I work with, they

don't even know the questions to ask.


They don't know what they're
looking for, you know?

Which is why we created a bunch
of diagnostics that forced them

to say things like, so what's
the time to market that you take?

How long does it take a
customer to become a customer?

How long does take a
customer to reach value?

What's the time that it takes for you?

When a person first reaches out to you
that you close a deal, what's the cost

it costs you to get that customer?

There's like a hundred questions you
can ask and you know, I'm amazed if some

of the CEOs I work with are eyes open.

Like, I don't know any of these interest.

Like, well, you know, you should, right?

And you know, think about it,
if you had all this information.

How much smarter you'd
be working every day.

Because the in intent would be to identify
we two or three key trigger events that,

you know, if we do these repeatedly and
we can make them happen repeatedly, a

lot of other ones cascade from those that
will result in us getting business faster.


That's right.

And when you can identify that,
that's when that repeatable

business engine comes into play.

I think the rev ops is such a key
component of that, because without

that intelligence, you're never really
gonna, you're always gonna be sort

of guessing all the time, you know?

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep.


And especially in this market, right?

When everyone's talking about doing better
with less or doing more with less, it's,

it's all about putting your money, your
resource, you know, all of your resources,

time, money, people towards the right
things that are going to drive the best,

you know, most likely I, uh, outcomes.


The ones that you want.

And I think we spend a lot of time
and money on doing thi a lot of

the things that people are like,
don't really see the value in doing.


Warren Zena: I.

So I'm gonna ask you a question.

Be helpful in this framework is
so to the CROs that are listening

to this conversation right now.

What would your, what would your sort
of perspective or advice to, to the

lack of a better word be in terms
of how to best, how A C R O should

best work with a rev ops person?

Like what's the right sort of cadence
in the right way in which that

particular role would benefit them?

And what's the, like, structure of it?

What's the cadence of it?

What's the nature of the relationship?

And so, uh, maybe even some ceros.

Maybe either a, being challenged
with the rev ops function right

now, or CROs who are thinking about
increasing or like augmenting the,

the, the rev op function they have.

What kind of advice would you
give them in terms of how to

Rosalyn Santa Elena: best utilize it?


I think, you know, st starting
to, you know, at a very

foundational basic, um, level.

Start thinking about your
revenue operations as really that

strategic business partner, right?

Stop thinking about them as just
the data or just the tech, or just

the tactical folks, and really
think about that leader needs to be.

You know, your business partner,
your thought leader, the one that

really executes upon the things
that you want to accomplish, right?

I think about me as a VP of Rev
ops, working with the C R O, kind

of in my past roles and the C R O.

He or she may have a
specific like idea, right?

That, oh, I think we should go do this.


And as an ops professional, that person,
if um, you know, if you hire for the

right, with the right expertise and
knowledge, they're gonna challenge

you right on a lot of this and either
support you and say, yes, this is right

because of the data, proves it, or,
Th that's just, you know, that is not

a good idea and it's not gonna work.

And they need to be able to be at
that level where they can challenge

you and help you make the best
decisions for the overall business.

And I think the sooner you think about
the role as being more of a strategic

business partner and thought leader than
as a tactical, you know, order taker or

administrator, then the, the faster you're
going to get that true value from someone.

And I think a.

Professional because we
are, it's a really unique.

Uh, personality, I think because we are
folks who are, can be very strategic,

but aren't afraid of the tactical.


And we are very outwardly facing
because one of the biggest, I

think, key traits of a successful
rev op leader is that they can.

Drive consensus and be able to
influence and align multiple

stakeholders who have very different
agendas and values and goals, right?

And be able to bring everybody
along for that journey.

That's a key trait that I think
is number one over anything

else, I think for a RevUps leader
is that ability to influence.

Drive consensus, that
really strong communicator.

Um, but on top of that, we're also not
afraid to go dig into the data, right?

And be tech, be technical
and not afraid of systems.

So it's a really unique kind of
balance of mindset for those folks.

And, and it's hard to find, you know, I
think it's harder to find that person.

Um, but at the same time, you can
co, you can compliment that by.

Folks that are in that kind of more
technical, tactical and then have

somebody who's more strategic as well.

If you can't find kind of that one,
we call it the unicorn or the purple

Warren Zena: squirrel.

Yeah, it's great you say this
cuz the thing I tell my clients

a lot is your rev ops person.

Is going to be the person that
will give you the evidence that

you need to make decisions and sell
the decisions into the company.


Because you know what happens a lot at
the executive level is it's a lot of

opinions being bounced at each other,
and it's the one who's in charge most

that wins when it's a battle of opinions.



I'm in charge of my opinions
more importantly, you know?


But if I have.

And that data is monetized data.

Like for example, we're losing this much
money, or we'll make this much more money,

or we'll gain this many more customers.


You can win any argument.

And so you sort of need to have that
rev op person to, to kind of almost put

them into a mission and say, all right,
I need you to create a rationale for me.

If please first, first, Val, validate
it, validate my claim, my thesis.


And then once you validated
it, if I'm wrong, fine.

Tell me.

Then I need to put together the story
using data to make my case so that I can

get movement and I can get consensus,
and I can get resources and authority

and permission to take actions.

And it's so critically important and I
find a lot of my clients are coming to

me and saying, oh, my boss won't do X.

My boss won't do Y.

And it's just all it is is they're just
arguing with each other about this.

That's right.

That's right.

Like, did you do any data?

Did you do any research?

That's right.

Can you bring your boss, like a PowerPoint
presentation that shows how much money

they're losing that one way, or how much
money they're gonna make the other way.

And when they do that, it's, it's, you
know, you really can be very persuasive.

So I think your secret weapon, You
know is your rev ops person whom can

first make sure you're not crazy.

And then second of all, then
help you tell your story better.



More persuasively.

So I think it's important cuz
so much of being a C R O is

about trying to get stuff done.


And trying to break down walls and
like get decisions made and get

resource allocations and approvals.

Oh God.

And so, you know, if I had somebody
who I knew can do that, then you know,

you, you got a great, a great partner.

Um, any other things you wanted to like
emphasize about the Rev ops role and.

You know, your own business.

Before we, we end here cuz we're
coming up on time, I wanted to make

sure that I have a chance for you
to, like, how do people reach you?

What are you working on?

What are some things that are happening?

Maybe important things you'd like for
people to listen to know about yourself

or the rev ops role, whatever the case

Rosalyn Santa Elena: may be.

Yeah, no, no.

Thank you for just the opportunity.

I'm super, you know, was very excited
to kind of be on this podcast.

I think it's been a long time coming,
so I'm happy to be here and you

know, just share more anytime I.

A platform to talk about
Rev op, I'm gonna take it.


I'm just so passionate about it.


And yeah, just definitely building,
if anyone wants to reach out,

LinkedIn is always the best way.

You can also come to the rev
ops website,

book, book some time with me.

Um, that's probably a better way to
get in front of me and to, to have,

just have a conversation because I
think all of us are probably in this

LinkedIn, uh, DM kind of madness.

You know, we can't find any messages,
um, in terms of their, things get lost.

But yeah, reach out anytime.

I'm always happy to talk shop,
always happy to talk to any, you

know, CEOs, founders, CROs who are
maybe more interested in learning

about rev ops and like, why do they
need it and when do they need it?

And, you know, if they are convinced that
they need it, you know, what do they need?

And also I think we, I see a lot of also.

I think you mentioned earlier
around they have rev ops, but maybe

they're not leveraging it properly
or they're not seeing the value.


Because it hasn't been, you know,
maybe set up properly or enabled

to be that strategic advisor that
we're, you know, that we're talking

Warren Zena: about.


It's like the, uh, Ferrari
in the garage, you know?


You gotta like unleash the power.


Well, great.

Well, so it's the Rev Ops
collective and uh, they can find

you at the rev ops

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Right.



And yeah, and for anyone who's
listening, they've gotta go back

and listen to our initial episode on
the revenue engine when you's Right.

Were a guest's,

Warren Zena: which is totally, I,
I haven't listened to it at all.

Yeah, I wanna hear what that was like.

I probably sound like
a little whipper snap.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Heck, I
was saying No, I'd be surprised.

I think I, I bet you we'd be pleasantly
surprised if we were to listen to

it, that a lot of the messaging is
still consistent three years later

or two and a half years later.


Warren Zena: I'll, I'll listen.

I, I, I, I trust you.

I, I'm a my worst critic.

Um, so to that end, um, thank you.

And, uh, you know, just a little
kind of a related plug, you know, uh,

Rosalyn's gonna be a guest speaker
on the C R O Accelerator course,

which is for aspiring Chief Revenue
Officers, and we're excited to have her.

We actually add some more depth to some
of the people who are participating.

And, uh, for those interested on
the podcast, if you're interested

in becoming a Chief Revenue Officer,
the next c r o collective Accelerator

course is coming up in April.

It's a great course.

Everyone's getting a lot out
of it, and I love doing it.

And then for CEOs, uh, we have
the, um, c o readiness program.

If you're thinking about hiring a
Chief Revenue Officer, you should

definitely talk to me because you
make a lot of mistakes along the way.

It can cost you like about a
million dollars, literally about

a million dollars in wasted money
if you don't do it properly.

Plus maybe a couple years of, of a,
of a stall on the way that you are

operating in revenue operations.

So gimme a buzz about that.

But anyway, this is always great, Raj.

Thank you so much.

Um, I know you're.

And, um, uh, I just love, uh,
having your, your, your wisdom

shared with all, with the audience.

And, um, I'll see you on your, in
your community and I'll see you in a

couple weeks on the, uh, on the course.



Thank you so much.

You got it.


The Rise of RevOps and The Data Driven CRO
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