< Back to Main

Building Alignment and Resilience in Revenue Operations

Mark Lerner:

All right. Very exciting. We’re back. Welcome to RevAmp. My name is Mark Lerner. I’m your host, and I’m joined today by Dene, who I’m very excited to hear all about your background. So why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself and how you kind of came into your current role and your current company, and some of the things that you do on a day-to-day basis?

Danae Ruiz:

Yeah. Well, I’m Danae Ruiz. I work here at New Breed. We are a solutions partner for HubSpot. We’ve been a top solutions partner for the past three years in a row only company to do it, so that’s also really cool. I work in the revenue operations department as a revenue operations strategist, and I’ve been here for a little over a year, but I think about 13 months now. But I was doing rev ops before. It was an actual title and other roles that I had, and how I came to RevOps is in my old job, I was taking HubSpot certifications. We were trying to migrate from Salesforce into HubSpot, and I just had to learn about how HubSpot worked. Then I learned how easy it was compared to the other CRM that we were using, and I took a revenue operations certification at HubSpot Academy, and I forgot who said it, but they were like, if you’re doing this course and everything that we’re talking about applies to you, you do revenue operations.

And I then took that role and found New Breed and just been able to grow since then. So the year has been super, super eventful and adventurous. One of the things that I did get to do was speak at Inbound last year talking about the migration from Salesforce to HubSpot, and honestly, that can apply to any CRM or anything that you’re migrating into HubSpot. There was just so much tech stack experience that it can apply to. So it’s kind of cool being able to do that. I’ve learned a lot about day-to-day business problems and solutions around that. So my biggest goal this year, and what has been my goal since I’ve taken on clients at New Breed, is team alignment and just having a better sense of conversations happening internally. So I’m an advocate for that, and I think that’s what I kind of handle in day-to-day. I do backend workflows, I’ll do team alignment, I’ll do strategy building, and there’s no short way to sum up Rev ops, so I just call it magic and then let it speak for itself afterward.

Mark Lerner:

That’s amazing. I love that. I think that should be the definition. Now, if you Google magic, magic, magic, like that meme of the guy going ‘magic’.

Danae Ruiz:

Yeah. Sparkles and everything, how it has to be, and I really enjoy it. I think RevOps is, I think, very analytical. So if not this, then that. And that’s kind of the best way to describe my day-to-day, if this, then that.

Mark Lerner:

Yeah, the Boolean workflow basically just the HubSpot workflow. I get there sometimes too if I’m, I’ve spent a lot of time doing automation stuff, and when I close my eyes at night, I’ll see kind of the branch.

Danae Ruiz:

I was thinking about a workflow yesterday, it was 8:00 PM, and then I’ve been stuck on this workflow for about two weeks, and then it hit me at 8:00 PM last night, and I was like, oh my God, I figured it out, and I did the workflow today, and it works, but the workflows will kind of live in your brain for a little bit.

Mark Lerner:

Yeah, yeah, I’ve definitely experienced that. So I’d love to hear about it; it sounds like you’re very passionate currently about this alignment and establishing alignment, and when you ask somebody what RevOps is, right? Alignment is one of a bunch of words that get thrown out; alignment’s always in there, silos, breaking them down alignment. But why do you think alignment is so critical, and is it something that’s missing in a lot of companies today, in your estimation?

Danae Ruiz:

Yeah, I realized with even the conversation from Inbound; I did a webinar last month with Ray from Teamwork and Sid from HubSpot, and what I realized is that’s such a big question on how are people communicating or how are we getting aligned internally? Or there’s a question that leads eventually to, well, we need to align on this, and I realized it’s absent from day-to-day business; what ends up happening is departments will just get really honed down on what they’re doing, forgetting that that can affect another department. And this applies not just to marketing and sales; it applies to marketing, sales, and service. And if you’re using a platform where there are multiple departments working within this platform, consistency is important. So in order for the CRM to communicate within itself, you also need to communicate internally. And I realize that that ends up being missed.

And some of these problems exist within one department, and they didn’t know the other department was having the same problem. And now, one department’s working on a solution, and the other department’s just going to catch up eventually. And what ends up happening is because there’s no alignment and that silo is still building, someone can create a duplicate workflow, a duplicate property, or frustration happens between departments, and now there’s tension in your communication. And without that alignment, it just doesn’t work. So my biggest goal this year is to help eliminate silos and bring in those internal conversations. And one of the things I learned about Inbound also, and I think Yamini touched on that as well, was conversations need to happen. So just driving that agenda, I think, is really what’s going to make a difference and streamline that communication. So it is very common across every public speaking thing I’ve done or every client that I’ve spoken to. So I have an agenda

Mark Lerner:

That’s fun. It’s kind of motivating to have an agenda, like a focus for, and we’re right now in early January, so it was the third day of 2024, we made it, I guess. Congratulations. So one of the things I wanted to talk about was kind of dive in with you about the ways you think RevOps as a role, as a function, as someone who’s working within a company in a RevOps role, can help build in a certain level of agility within the company that they can withstand the curve balls that are inevitable in this today’s world, such that there’s not a single point of failure or silos, and if somebody leaves or some downsizes, nobody knows what’s going on. What are your experiences or opinions on the ways in which RevOps can help establish that agility and strengthen a company so that it can handle such a wacky changing world?

Danae Ruiz:

That’s a good question. Honestly, it’s a couple of elements, and I kind of think of it as strategy building. So one leads to the next, and the other leads to that one, and it starts with streamlining your process. So one of the things that RevOps is capable of doing is optimizing internal workflows or procedures or strategies, making them more efficient for our clients or just within that company. And that agility helps with quicker adoptions to the process or the changing demands in the market or internal restructurings. So that’s definitely something that we help with because it’s a centralized documentation – ideally, or we know where to go, or at least we’ve mapped out current state and future state, and it’s something that someone can always reference back to. Again, just eliminating those silos. The other part is now that we have all these strategies built, we understand what their strategies are, looking at our data and making data-driven decisions by whatever reports we’re able to make, whatever dashboards we’re able to make, and just seeing what that consolidated data is telling us.

So RevOps helps build those reports as well, and that ties to the strategy that you’re building. Another part is the cross-functional collaboration between departments. So ideally, I’ll bring in, if I know that this is going to be a sales strategy and I’m talking to my POC as a POC being point of contact as a marketing leader, I’m going to say, let’s bring in those salespeople, let’s to the stakeholders because they’re just as important. This is going to affect their day-to-day. This is going to affect the things that they do. So just being able to invite them in, and hear their voice is also extremely important, and they can see what we’ve implemented. They can see the data and have that breakdown happen. So that’s also another element. Some other stuff is having a continuous improvement. So we have our reports, we have our stakeholders, everyone knows what’s going on, continue to collect feedback and see how people are experiencing the CRM within your company. And what I always advocate for is facilitating internal meetings, whether that’s sales, marketing meetings, or service marketing meetings, which any stakeholders that need to have a conversation about their day-to-day with other departments, and that could be weekly or every other week. So by having all of those elements compiled, you’re able to then understand the next steps, or if someone’s out of office if the market changes, or if someone leaves the company. Everything is in one spot, everyone is communicating, no one’s siloed, and that’s the best way to really get there.

Mark Lerner:

Yeah, yeah, for sure. So I know that in my experience when I have owned, or it had to be the admin of a CRM or any tools, any tool in the stack, marketing automation, whatever it is, the way I set things up makes perfect sense to me, but I know that if somebody else looked at it, it would just look like… It would look crazy. And I realized that that’s kind of the opposite of what we’re talking about. So when you’re doing implementation projects and working with clients, how do you go about ensuring that the people on the ground, the people who are doing the day-to-day, understand how things work and for changes that need to happen, as much as possible, they can kind of handle some of that on their own so that they don’t need to have some sort of administration work or democratize the process?

Danae Ruiz:

Yeah, that’s actually a really good way of putting it: democratize the process. A couple of things. First thing that I do is I’m communicating along the way for each step. So I’m definitely going to talk about what it currently looks like. We’re workshopping that together, and then we’re also going to talk about what we want our future state to look like. I’ll then take it offline and review how we can get there, whether that’s a workflow or what the strategy would look like based on my best practices or New Breed’s best practices. And I’ll share that with the client in a review for approval. So now they understand the current state, they understand what edits we’re making, and they understand what we want our future state and outcome to look like. The other part, by having all of that get implemented and approved, training is super, super, super important.

I say this wholeheartedly I don’t think I’d have the role that I have now without HubSpot Academy. I think I’m about 12 plus certifications in, and I’m not done. I’m just trying to do them as much as I can at this point, and I’ll advocate for that. I’ll always point out the resources that are available to them. So between HubSpot Academy, KB articles, and training slide decks that I would make for my clients is how we make sure it sticks. And let’s say the POC that is in my client’s account is no longer a part of the company; somebody else took over, and they need to understand that process. They still have the slide deck that I put together that’s unique to their use case, and it just really helps with the alignment. So training is the biggest part of adoption. The other thing is I’m very organized, so I love being able to say, Hey, this is what we’re going to talk about in an agenda email before we meet. And then after we meet, I’m like, Hey, this is what we spoke about. This is what the next steps are. Here’s my to-dos. Here are some links. And those links will include resources, KB articles, and anything relating the topic that can help them understand that better. And that’s the best way that I really get there.

Mark Lerner:

Yeah. How much of that is informed by the experience that you talked about? You said you shared about it when you were on stage at Inbound doing that, implementing HubSpot, and moving over from Salesforce. I imagine that can be a pretty overwhelming project. Were there lessons learned there that you apply in your day-to-day with clients?

Danae Ruiz:

Yeah. Honestly, the way that I learned about the migration was from all the errors that existed in the integration. And that’s kind of, here’s what can go wrong, here’s what to do to avoid those things that can go wrong. Honestly, the integration between Salesforce and HubSpot has not changed in the last couple of years. The only thing that really has changed is the integration page that HubSpot has. It’s a bit more informed with more articles, but the integration process itself has not changed. So a lot of what I’ve learned, I applied to clients where I’m seeing an issue happen, and I’m like, oh, well, that must be because of this because it’s all kind of in a pattern. We end up seeing it happen account over account, and they’re very common mistakes. Some people don’t know that if you have a property syncing between Salesforce and HubSpot and that property isn’t getting updated but another property on the contact record is getting updated, it’s not going to sync if there’s a sync error on any property.

So now you’re not getting those leads in Salesforce. And a lot of the dynamic that exists between the two CRMs is HubSpot is marketing; Salesforce is sales, so you need those contacts to go into sales. So I learned a lot of the big lift from all the errors that exist and how common they are. And then, I apply that to all the clients that I have because it just happens. But once we clean it up and we go through the sync errors page, it’s a whole new experience. It’s so much easier to use. It looks so much prettier. All your leads are actually going to sales. Sales are seeing that. And because, again, like you’ve mentioned, it’s a big lift. This requires stakeholders. So another Salesforce team, if that client has it, you definitely want to invite them on those conversations. You also want to invite the sales team at some point just because some of those conversations will affect their process. So just being able to bring in the people you need and talk about the issues that exist is how big of a lift that is. However, if you keep it organized, it’s not crazy. It’s just a little lengthy.

Mark Lerner:

Right.

Danae Ruiz:

Another thing that I always advocate for is talking points. I think sometimes it’s a little difficult for people to get on board without something to sell them to or sell them with. So my biggest thing is shared goals and metrics like, Hey, you want to be able to report on X, we have to do Y, we have to do Z first, and then we’ll be able to do that. And that’s kind of how we get there. And it’s kind of cool. We end up seeing all these changes happen. It’s just magical, honestly.

Mark Lerner:

Yeah, that actually that last point is one I want to double-click on. I think the word I was trying to find as I was talking about agility is ‘resilience.’ And I think that for any company, any department in a company, any individual person in the world, I think resiliency, especially with some of the macroeconomics things that have thrown a wrench in the world, is super important. So when you go into a project or in your previous role when you did that reimplementation or changing over, how do you build in the ability for the teams you’re working with to be kind of resilient and self-reliant going forward? I think you mentioned one of them is that given goals and having clear metrics that they can all work towards, are there any other examples around that that help them go off the training wheels and out into the world?

Danae Ruiz:

Yeah, I think the biggest part is hearing them out. I feel like sometimes there’s a lot of frustration or there’s a lot of fear, and that’s behind the resilience is what I try to figure out. And I try to reassure by, well if your fear is, let me see if I can think of an example. If your fear is I don’t want to enter all of this information because I’m used to entering it a certain way somewhere else or some way differently, we’ll talk about, well, it’s going to make you easier because or make your process easier because in automation, but in order for us to build this automation, we need to have the properties built. We need to have the data there; we need to know what to do with it. So we still do need you to do input or data input or data entry.

However, it’s going to make your life easier. There’s going to be parts that are automated based on what you do. So that’s kind of the talking points that we talk about or just understanding what the resiliency is coming, where the resiliency is coming from really. And that’s been my biggest talking point, just having them just bent, tell me what’s going on, how do you feel? How has the CRM treated you? And then we’ll tackle that together. So not only are we addressing concerns, but we’re establishing trust. And that’s also sometimes a lot of the fear, especially as a consultant or as a RevOps strategist; there may not be trust initially established because they don’t fully understand what RevOps is yet, or they are afraid of the change. So when you’re establishing trust, and you’re showing them quick wins or Hey, I built this thing, let me know what you think, and if it works for you, they’re like, oh, this is great, and now I can finally see it all put together and I see the value.

So by doing all of that, you’ll provide the value also. And it just helps getting to that point of, okay, maybe I won’t push back as much. And it’s not to say that you won’t get clients that’ll just continuously push back. That’ll probably most likely happen also. And that’s also probably coming from their own version of, I don’t like change, but we communicate where we can, and we talk about how it affects them. And I always give them pros and cons whenever I’m sharing, Hey, let’s make this change, and they’re stuck on a change, I’ll create a slide deck, 15 slides or so, and it’ll, what’s currently happening, how this gets fixed, what happens if it doesn’t get fixed, and here’s all our options for fixing. And again, now we’re seeing the value in what RevOps is providing, which is, if you think about it like a third-person point of view, I’m an outsider providing some opinion that maybe they were just so focused on, they didn’t see anything else. And that’s our role as consultants, and it’s just really cool to be able to do that.

Mark Lerner:

Yeah. So yeah, now that we’re in this new year, what do you think are some critical pieces that companies need in 2024 to be – I wouldn’t say perfect alignment, I don’t think perfect exists – but what are the critical things that need to be in place for the company to really benefit from having an aligned go-to-market team and all the value that they would get from RevOps? What are the things that they really need to have in place?

Danae Ruiz:

First thing, definitely understand their KPIs. If you start with that, you would least know what you’re looking for, and then you could see what’s missing or where your marketing efforts are currently going in those reports. And maybe we’re not putting enough in organic social or maybe people that are in lifecycle stages or not interacting as much past the lead status or lead stage. So what can we do to engage them more? So by having KPIs and reports, we’re able to see what currently exists, even if it’s not a lot of data that lets us know that we need more data, so then we can start understanding what meetings we need, what strategies we should implement, who we should talk to about those things to get it done. And then, from there, we’ll be able to kind of align for the rest of the year.

So, for example, if you’re seeing that, let’s say we have lead scoring implemented and we have lifecycle stages implemented, and we see that leads have a lead score of negative 30, we’re like, wow, leads aren’t interacting as much as they should. That tells us that over time, as they continue to stay in our system, they’re not interacting as much, so they have a negative score. And what can we do differently to engage them more? How about another campaign, or what are we doing currently? And if we’re not doing anything, let’s talk to our marketing team. Let’s talk to our sales team. How are those qualified leads looking so we know what we’re looking for, and how can we get those leads to get qualified? And then you start bringing in stakeholders to have those conversations. So that’s where the alignment starts happening. KPIs, asking questions, I guess, is the best way to put it.

Mark Lerner:

Yeah, cool. I would love to take a step back and what was it like? This is somewhat of a non-sequitur, but I was at Inbound this year. We, as a company, were there. We had a pretty big presence. I don’t know if it was this year or the previous year that you spoke. 2023. 2023, okay. So that was the one we were, yeah, so we were all there. We were there for a week. It was crazy. I didn’t really sleep, and there’s a lot. It’s a very big event. And so, what was it like being on stage there? What was that experience? What were the things you were talking about? What did you kind of learn from there?

Danae Ruiz:

Yeah, I guess my biggest experience, or the first thing that I noticed, is for the first five, 10 minutes, and I think my session was only 30, but for the first five or 10 minutes, I felt like I was vibrating out of my chair. I just had so much excitement because waited for this, I’ve prepped for this, I’m excited about this topic, and now all these people are looking at me and my manager. So it was just quite the experience. I vibrated out of my chair for the first five minutes, but once I got comfortable talking about a topic that I’m very passionate about, I just got over that. One of the things that I learned about the integration or making the slideshow, in general, was just how similar HubSpot can support enterprise-grade functionality companies. So a lot of the time, bigger companies don’t want to sign up for HubSpot because they don’t know if HubSpot can support their instance or their use cases, and they can.

I don’t think that it’s spoken enough about, honestly, because Salesforce was bigger. Salesforce is also able to support those things, but so can HubSpot, and not a lot of people know that. And that was cool. When the session was over, people were coming up asking questions like, Hey, I don’t need to migrate Salesforce, but I need to migrate something else. Or, Hey, I don’t need to migrate at all. I just need alignment. We’re like, yeah, that’s what we’re here for, and we’re happy to help. And we talked about it and we see how much of a problem it is that people think that they’re stuck with their CRM and that that’s the only one that can do it for them. It’s definitely worth exploring other options if it’s going to fit your use case and, if it solves a lot of your issues, if it’s end user friendly, if it has functionality for workflows, if it has.

Honestly, I think a big part of HubSpot that I love is the fact that they have an Open API because then we can do things through Postman, and it’s just so robust and customizable, and I think that people also get overwhelmed by that. They’re like, wow, this is a lot of options, but that doesn’t mean it’s less structured. And I think that that’s something I learned about it is just the ability to support big companies. A lot of my clients are huge companies that either do FinTech or they’re doing some type of finance, and HubSpot supports all of what they’re looking for. So that was the biggest thing I’ve noticed.

Mark Lerner:

Yeah, one of the things, so when we went to Inbound, one of the things I did was actually did a bunch of this kind of interviews with kind of ops folks I met. I was surprised – though I probably shouldn’t have been – that the thing that came up immediately with every single one of them was AI. I mean, without fail, I don’t know why it surprised me. It just was never really the topic I planned on covering, but it was literally the what?

Danae Ruiz:

It’s huge. It sprung overnight and then just kept growing, just kept going and growing, and I was taken aback also. I was like, wow, I didn’t expect it to blow up as much as it did, and now everyone has it or talks about it and everything that I’ve seen regarding RevOps, it’s kind of cool.

Mark Lerner:

And we have a mutual acquaintance, Nico, who was a previous guest on the podcast and is a ChatGPT guru, and I get to kind of geek out on some of the really nitty gritty stuff around it. But from your perspective in the work that you do with clients and just your kind of broad view, how are you seeing people reacting? Do they kind of understand? A, are they asking how we integrate AI into our workflow, and B, do they even really know what that means?

Danae Ruiz:

Honestly, I haven’t had anybody ask, which is surprising. I don’t think they know what it means, and that’s why they haven’t asked. I think that it’s so new that it’s not at the forefront of their mind as much. Another thing that I’ve considered with that is it’s so early in, even in HubSpot or just regular CRM day-to-day things, that it’s not as robust as people or even myself want it to be. Something I’ve noticed when I was at Inbound is they were creating, I think, landing pages and email templates through AI. If you just tell it what you’re looking for, but now this goes over quantity, over quality, it’s not going to give you the same quality if you were using New Breed or another solution partner to talk about how you want this design to look versus if you’re telling ai. So that’s something that I think’s also driven people away, just the ability to have better quality, and people do it better than machines at this particular moment.

I fully believe that at some point, it’s probably going to out-master us all, but right now, that’s where we stand. The only time I end up using AI is when I’ll use ChatGPT for formatting data. So if I’m creating a workflow, instead of having to enter each individual word or keyword in a workflow branch, I’ll just tell GPT to separate it by semicolons and then, boom, paste it there, and it saves my life so much time. The other piece is I have experience using Zapier, and as you know, Zapier is a third party integration system that can go between multiple places. My most recent experience was using email parsing. Have you heard of that before? I did not know what that was until last month and learned all about it because my client needed it. So it was kind of cool. The idea is we have an email that is hosted by Zapier notifications; go to that email, and then we’ll be able to create a contact in HubSpot through that submission into the Zapier email.

It’s using AI to extract that information and then create that contact. So first name, last name, email, phone number, all the personalization tokens. However, it’s not as robust. So as submissions come in, I’m monitoring that and then retraining the AI on what these values are and how to find them in each email. Even if the email template is similar, it’s not catching everything, so you kind of have to train AI whenever I’m using it in this sense. So that’s the only cases where I’ve seen it get used, but I haven’t really had a lot of clients say, Hey, what can we do with AI at this moment?

Mark Lerner:

Yeah, I suspect that that use case or similar use cases are the ones that are actually going to be useful. I think we all kind of are over the parlor trick of getting it to write kid’s stories or whatever. Like, oh, I wrote this very silly story. I know that for me, I can immediately know if something was written by ChatGPT. If a blog post starts with “in the ever-changing world of…” something, I immediately know and it’s everywhere. But I think that using it for parsing data, sentiment analysis, and predictive things like that, I suspect, will be the next frontier. And maybe people don’t necessarily associate that with AI, but I suspect that’s going to be a big deal. The predictive part, in particular.

Danae Ruiz:

Yeah, I guess that’s also something that people have asked for, but I don’t know if they knew if it was within the AI realm, predictive reporting, and forecasting topic. I’m seeing, even on LinkedIn throughout my clients; they want to be able to have better forecasting and then see how they meet against that forecast and goals. So that’s also something. Another thing, the only other thing I’ve seen it too, I guess it’s not only if I’ve said it like three times, but the other thing that I’ve seen is a chatbot. A chatbot is kind of straightforward. So it’s, Hey, here’s a question. Keywords sound similar to an article that maybe we have or some answers that maybe we set the chatbot up with. And that’s something also, so it’s not completely useless. Not to say that’s what I was saying it was before, but it’s just there are so many use cases for them, and I think what I always advise people when they’re considering if I should use this or not, do you have the person power internally for this to be handled by a person? If not, can it be handled by a chatbot? Can it be handled by a parsing AI? Can it be handled through a consultant? And then just see where that resource is internally, and if you don’t have it or the experience to have it, then start looking elsewhere to source that. It’s kind of the best way to go about it.

Mark Lerner:

I think that’s a great rule, and that’s a really nice place to kind of put a pin in it. So as we wrap things up, time really flew there, huh? Why don’t you tell the folks at home how they can best find you, learn more about the stuff you’re doing, and maybe read any content that you put out there?

Danae Ruiz:

Yeah, I actually have LinkedIn. It is my favorite place in the world, so it’s LinkedIn slash IN slash CRM, Denae, so D-A-N-A-E, and then you’ll find me, and I like to reblog things that I’m learning about from on the RevOps side, whether that’s workflows, tips and tricks, HubSpot stuff, so all types of things. I think that’s the best way to get in contact with me, and also happy to connect and just expand my network to other RevOps individuals or ops-looking individuals. It’s always fun to learn new things on top of HubSpot Academy. LinkedIn has also been a really good resource for me, so I advise everyone to do the same. Always use LinkedIn and all your resources when you’re trying to learn new things; you just have endless possibilities. Honestly. Another thing is I always tell people, even my clients, at the end of each call to drink water and do something they enjoy today.

Mark Lerner:

Okay, that’s great. I often forget both of those things. No, I think I enjoy this, but drinking water or doing anything but work is maybe that’ll be the new sendoff for the podcast going forward.

Danae Ruiz:

You should. It adds a personal touch. I think because we’re talking about work strategy, this can get very lengthy, very tedious, and yes. Awesome. I have three cups next to me, one’s coffee, one’s tea, and then one’s water four. It’s a trifecta at my desk here, but it adds a personal touch, and I think that it just makes our clients feel more at home and less business talk all day, I guess.

Mark Lerner:

Well, Danae, thank you so much for joining us; you already hear folks go drink some water, and thank you again, and look forward to checking out some of the stuff you’re putting out there in the future.

Danae Ruiz:

Thanks, Mark. Thanks for having me. Have a good day. You too. Bye-Bye. Thanks.