Accelerate revenue execution
CPQ (Configure Price Quote)
Automate quotes & subscriptions
CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management)
Streamline contract signings
Manage revenue lifecycle
Collaborate between buyers & sellers
All right, everybody. Welcome back to the RevAmp podcast. I’m super excited today to welcome a very special guest. Matt M is the founder and CEO – I think – of RevOps co-op, which is a fantastic community for any revenue operations professionals. I’m assuming most of the folks out there watching and listening have either heard of or are members of Rev Ops co-op. But Matt, why don’t yo
u go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you kind of fell into the world of ops.
Yeah, so yes, hello everybody. As Mark said, the community, RevOps co-op, we have about 12,000 members from all across the globe. A majority of folks do work in rev ops, but all you really need to be in the community is a passion for revenue operations, regardless of job title. And we’ve got 45 plus countries represented, I think. So truly kind of a global reach and if you want to hang out in person, we’re also doing our conference, RevOpsAF, where we’ll be getting together with 300 plus folks like Mark, folks from Deal Hub, a bunch of other companies, and a bunch of our community members getting together and sunny San Diego at the end of May. So that’s definitely worth checking out as well. RevOps friends, SoCal, sunshine, ocean waves sounds pretty good if you ask me. And in terms of, so that’s kind of where, I guess where I’m at now. But yeah, I guess quick spiel on me and my background. I think most people fell into, call it rev ops by accident a little bit.
We started the company in the community about three years ago, and before doing that I was the VP of business operations at an early stage software company called ally.io, which was building OKR software. And I was around the 10th, 11th employee at the company, and my job title was VP of BizOps, but that encompassed a whole lot of things. It was Finance, there was some legal stuff in there, HR, and then there was RevOps, and I think at the time RevOps was just getting started. And so they decided to just kind of call it rev ops because it was easier than saying marketing ops, sales ops and CS ops, but it was all on me and I had absolutely zero prior experience doing any ops related kind of roles. And now here I was responsible for fixing the CRM and building stuff in Salesforce and integrating all these different tools and leveraging some contractors and stuff to help with that. So very much learning on the fly and learning on the job quickly. And then actually it was after that company that I started a Revs software, a Revs software company called Funnel IQ. And as part of that, we started RevOps co-op. And fast forward to today, we’re no longer working on any of the software stuff because in typical startup fashion that didn’t work out and we’re fully, fully focused on our community ops co-op. So that’s the abbreviated version of the story
Amazing. That’s amazing. That’s a really interesting nugget there about the founding of RevOps co-op. It was kind of like as an offshoot of the actual product, but it was the community that the thing that’s probably a story for another episode, but a’s super interesting one.
And I love the idea of being dropped in the deep end with kind of a new kind of role where you have to figure it out. That’s always been, we were talking before I turned the camera on about the way my brain works is in order for me to be kind of stimulated and fulfilled professionally, I really have to be challenged to solve problems. And I love that idea of just kind of figuring it out, but that obviously a super can be a very overwhelming role. So maybe we can talk about that experience because it was definitely a nascent position, job title then, and probably knew within the company. How did you prioritize? How did you goal set? You were writing the playbook for building a ops role and managing the Go-to-market function without ensuring there are no silos. So how did you go about planning and operating?
Yeah, so I guess I was a little bit lucky in the sense that this company, ally.io, it was OKR software. So very much goal setting, goal driven was part of the culture and leveraging that framework as a way to execute it quarter by quarter was just kind of embedded in every member of the team. And my background before that role was mostly finance, finance and accounting. And so that was the experience that I brought into the role. And so for me, the thing that I kind of started with, and I think also anyone kind of either jumping into a new role or in their current positions, it could feel very overwhelming, got a whole slew of different things that you could work on, whether it’s different projects, different technology deployments, process improvements. There’s just a lot of different things that you could do. And trying to figure out what to do first, how to prioritize things can be really, really hard.
So for me, I always started with what are the things that are important to the company? What are our goals? What are the things that we’re trying to achieve? And at least for us at this early stage company, mostly around revenue growth and kind of new customers. And so again, the next step was like, okay, well this might sound not basic. How do you grow revenue? It’s like, okay, well you got to keep your current customers and then you got to add new ones and you can drive more revenue from your current customers. And it’s like, okay, well what are the specific activities or things that I can do that I can influence to drive each of those different buckets? And so it’s like, okay, well we want to keep our customers. It’s like, well, what are we doing on the customer success side? Are there things that we can do, say with implementation to maybe deliver a better user experience, deliver a better first impression for people when they become customers?
Is there a way to cut down on the time between when a customer signs and when they go live or they kind of get that, have that value achieved date? And same thing on the expansion side in terms of driving more revenue from current customers is like, okay, well what is our current process today? How do we identify customers that are ripe for expansion? But also just like, well, how do you drive? What does expansion mean? Are you a one product? Do we only have one product to sell? So the only way to expand is to sell more seats or do we have multiple products where a customer doesn’t need to have more people and we can just sell them product B, C, and D, but understanding how you can actually drive those results in those different areas. And then kind of last thing is just understanding some of the effort related to those projects that can go into each of those.
So if it’s maybe on the implementation your side, you see like, oh, we have a lengthy implementation cycle. It’s kind of clunky. We were sharing all these Google sheets and stuff like that. Maybe we should move into more of a project management implementation tool like Asana or a Notion or Rocket Lane or Baton. And so those can all be things that you can then work on to help influence those particular outcomes, but you need to understand also the effort and the time and the dollars and prioritize things that way. So that’s always very much just how my brain kind of works, because again, coming from the finance background, understanding the math between behind how things show up on a financial statement and then the individual activities that you or your team can do to actually help influence those things and making that connection is always where I tried to focus and me, it always started with that tops down approach and then trying to align the different things that I was able to do or I was able to control with those specific outcomes.
You were thinking about the math that wasn’t really all that popular for a while. People were not growing based on doing the math. It was based on Pike, a lot of it. I think we’ve seen a lot of the outcome of that. Math is cool again; I think, for better or for worse. So being able to have a completely blank slate to work with is one thing but coming in and having existing processes and tools or lack thereof in place and maybe some inertia there. How did you decide on rip replace as opposed to optimize the existing process? Did you look for the problem, work on a process, and then if the process required a tool go to a tool? Or were you because of maybe a smaller team, were you relying more heavily on automation and tools?
Yeah, so definitely like you said, always start with the problem and also understand that typically within rev ops, you’re supporting marketing sales. So a lot of times the real problem will not be maybe the initial thing that you encounter or the thing that people come to you with. And so there’s got to be some investigation there. If one of your sales reps comes and is like, Hey, I think we should get this tool because I hate putting notes into the CRM, I’d be like, okay, well, you can’t just take that at face value, do some digging, ask some questions, understand what the real problem is there. Is it because it is actually hard to get things into the CRM? Is it because this person’s not taking notes in the first place, or maybe they don’t know what to do or where to go or how to do it the right way?
So truly understanding what the problem is is always step number one. And then for me, step number two is always what can you do now today, this afternoon in the next hour to spin up a V one solution of that problem? And that’s going to mean it’s manual. It might involve clicking buttons, it is going to involve using existing tools, spreadsheets that you already have, but what’s the manual way that you would solve that problem today given the current environment and the tools and the systems and processes that you have? And then once you solve for it that way, then the third step is going to more automation technology. Is there a technological way to automate this more or to improve this? And I am a big believer in especially these days just trying to consolidate tech stack, like avoid buying point solutions or technology just to solve a very specific thing just because again, it’s like anything, the more intersections you add, whether it’s tools, whether it’s people screens, just the more complexity you add as well.
And so the trade off there is typically not worth it in terms of the value you get from a point solution solving a very specific problem compared to the new problems that you’ve created with adding another tool to your tech stack, additional data points that are now going to start flowing everywhere and can begin confusing people, the training, all that stuff that’s associated with it. So that’s why it’s always number three in my bucket in terms of identify the problem, spin of a very quick manual solution, then look at how you can automate and use technology from there.
It’s so funny, we’ve kind of come full circle because that conversation I don’t think was really being had for so long. It was really just taken as almost a point of fate that everybody kind of gets their pick of the litter in terms of their point solutions, and we will just kind of figure it out. No one ever really, I mean, I’m sure they ask, but really that question wasn’t really given much weight as to what are the downsides here. Every point of friction or complexity you add is another potential point of failure. And if you have so many potential points of failure when something fails, actually identifying the point of failure and reverse engineering what’s causing it is even more complicated. And so I think that the SaaS startup world kind of thrived on a market where those point solutions were in vogue and then that switched pretty quickly. What were you going to say? Sorry.
Yeah, and it makes it hard too for if you are a startup or someone starting a company these days, it’s very, especially in the revenue technology space, whether it’s marketing or sales or post-sales, you’ve got to be solving a real problem to be able to make it. But it’s also really hard because typically when you’re creating something new or typically something from scratch, the more narrow you can get, the more success you can have. And that’s kind of how you drive your wedge, right? So yeah, it’s hard. It’s probably the same conversation we should have been having, but just one of those things that people doesn’t necessarily care about. But again, if you’re thinking about things end to end, that’s again kind of the job of ops. Those are all the things that you should be thinking about is not just how this tool might solve the problems that you have today, but okay, so now I deploy this, what new problems am I going to have that also need to solve? And just make sure you look at that stuff collectively.
Yeah, for sure. Thinking about just the whole kind of, I’m visualizing it in my head as an end to end of marketing, sales, customer success, and then accounting, finance, whatever, the whole thing. Part of the idea of having someone in rev ops was to make sure that those roles, those positions are not living in isolation from each other, that they’re aligned. There’s often now a chief revenue officer role that is kind of the roll up. But from a rev ops perspective and kind of building out the support and operationally for those roles, solution agnostic or whether or not the tool that you need to do it or not, what are the things that you need to empower these people with? What are kind of table stakes that these people need to be able to do that is on ops to solve for? Whether that’s to get a tool, build something internally, use existing tools to make it work, what’s the just baseline requirement and then maybe what’s the Ford and then Ferrari?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean at least if you think about the different teams and how things flow through on the marketing side, marketing automation tool of some sort, and then a data provider as well are table stakes things that everyone’s going to need to do their job successfully. And when you look at sales, obviously the CRM also going to need some sort of sales engagement technology, which maybe might be something you can get in your CRM. HubSpot has some prospecting and sequence building and automation stuff in there, but also there’s obviously incumbents out there like outreaches and sales lts and other tools that do things on the sales side. So CRM automation to support outbound efforts, things like that. Some sort of salespeople always need some sort of sales enablement support as well. I think tools and technology in that space, once your sales team grows and things get bigger, you can start looking at that.
But I don’t think that’s anything you necessarily need upfront or from the get go. And then on the post-sales side, I think the one thing actually that I’ve heard from a lot of people in rev ops is they always wish they would’ve invested in some sort of customer success platform sooner than they did. Interesting. And so I think, again, whether it’s main ones that everyone talks about, Gainsight Catalyst, there’s others out there like Vitally and some tools like that. But that is one of the things that, again, because Post-sales always gets forgotten a little bit, and I think a lot of people just say they wish they would’ve invested in some sort of tool sooner. And then again, especially I guess going back to the sales side, there’s always the connection between or all the stuff that happens between call it quotes or proposals getting sent out, and then when the deal actually get signed and making sure that those things get billed and invoiced correctly. So I think early days of companies, a lot of those things, again, doing the identify the problem, fixing it manually, you can get away with some Google Doc templates and a DocuSign and some other and then manually create the invoice and Stripe, but eventually that gets unwieldy very quick. And so you do need some sort of CPQ solution in there to help with that.
And I’ve been on the receiving end of phone calls of when it got unwieldy quickly without them, the company grew much faster than they were able to solve with Google Sheets and Google Docs, and then they’re like, it becomes much bigger of a problem. I’ve always found that Google Docs is an enabler for all sorts of risky and bad ideas that you think you can do yourself. I myself, quite a few crazy automations hooking into Google Sheets that are mostly MVPs right now. But I think this idea of ops taking on some of the role that maybe a developer might have taken with APIs and things like that, what level of developer skills experience do you think someone in ops either needs to have or should have?
It’s one of those things I feel like I’ve seen people on LinkedIn and some other platforms be like, oh, if you’re in rev ops, you need to know Python and SQL and all this other stuff. And if you do, great, yes, that will most certainly help you. Is it a requirement? No, I don’t think so because having those skills like anything else, the broader your skillset, the more things you have in your toolbox, but is that a requirement to be successful in the role? No, and I think especially where technology is at today and where it’s heading with, again, here I am talking about AI in the podcast is just think about how I, at this time last year, I don’t think anyone was talking about open AI or chat GBT or anything yet, or when that came on the scene.
Yeah, it came out in Thanksgiving of last, not November, 2022, so towards the end of the year of 2022. But it was still brand niche.
So think about a year and a half ago, right? No one was, that was not a thing. So just look at all the things now that people are doing with that, all the companies that have just spun up in that space. And the fact that it is literally seems to be the only thing that people can talk about, but you don’t need to understand any coding developer, any developing skills to be able to leverage a tool like that to do your job. And again, even before that, there’s this big push towards no-code tools and putting the power into the hands of non-developers, right? People that may not have that skill set or solution, but in other areas, and actually that was my background. I mentioned finance and accounting. I have zero developer skills. I do not know how to do Python or SQL or any of that stuff, but you throw me tell that I’m not responsible for ops and I’ve got to jump into Salesforce and build out some flows and some different properties and fields and build an integration with outreach.
I’m like, okay, I’ll give that a shot. No idea how to do that. Never did it before, but here we go and you figure it out. So yeah, so I don’t think that those are necessary helpful. Yes, a hundred percent, but everything else, and when it comes to leveling up your skills, there’s a whole slew of different things that you can do. One of them might be learning new skills like that. Like I said, going out and learning SQL also, that can be hard, take a lot of time. And there’s other things you could do at that time. So weigh all of the options that you have and level up in the areas that you think are best for me, a lot of learning on the job and diving into those new projects and learning by doing. That’s the best way that my brain works and how I typically will learn new things versus just sitting down and say, taking a course on SQL or something. But that’s not the way that other people’s brains works. And so do what’s best for you, but also understand that you’ve got a whole slew of alternatives out there. And yeah, it’s not a one over the other sort of thing.
Yeah, it’s kind of bizarre. I’m hearing myself talk because that’s exactly how I am as well. I can’t do a course learning the normal way, never worked for me. I’ve always learned by doing and usually just doing every wrong way until I find the right way. And often that will end up being longer and more strenuous, but it’s just the way I learn. But one of the promises I think of AI that’s actually come true in a lot of ways, more so than a lot of the other hype has been this ability to democratize certain aspects of knowledge, especially in this way, because rev ops was never really expected to be a developer, but there are some people who say it’s kind of developer adjacent. You need to have context and understand. But now you can come in and you’re like, I don’t know Python, I couldn’t start from scratch, but I kind of understand overall what it looks like.
Then you can interact with ChatGPT or copilot and GitHub or whatever, and you’re probably not going to get the right answer the first time, but back and forth a little bit, you will. And if you have no context and no experience with any of these development languages and you don’t really understand ’em at all, it probably won’t work. But if you have a little bit of understanding of the way to talk about it, how to ask the question, it’s huge. It’s a life changer. But you don’t need to ask someone in your team, Hey, I need you to write a SQL query. I don’t know how to do it. You could just say that to chatt bt, and it’ll give you a query. It’ll be wrong. You’ll beat it, the error. It’ll tell you, okay, try this and then you’ll be able to do it. And I really do think it’s offered so much value to people in this kind of role in the rev ops world and rev ops adjacent and really any role.
And even if I was even thinking of tools like Zapier that are out there, for example, that can always be a great, especially if you’re talking about pushing data between tools or systems and understanding and building out workflows to accomplish things. That’s actually another great place for a V one of, call it your product, because I’ve hooked up things between our Slack group to HubSpot to spreadsheets, and then that allows you to figure out, oh, okay, if I need a unique identifier for a person in Slack, and how do I attach that to their unique contact ID in HubSpot? And it’s like, oh, it’s based on email address. And then it’s like, oh, now there’s 30 different fields in HubSpot for emails. There’s primary email, personal email, all these additional email addresses that you can have. And so that’s also a great place because that’s also the foundation of if you’re building any sort of integration or going through any sort of developer language and building it that way, you’re doing all those same things, you’re just doing it in a different way. So yeah, doing stuff like that very much provides you with the framework and the context to think about how someone would also build technology to solve those problems. And it kind of forces you to at least have that mindset.
And I think my hot take for 2024 is that before AI was the thing everyone talked about, it was the no-code revolution. It was like, and then AI kind of came along, and that’s the only thing people say, I think no-code is going to come back in terms of people kind of rediscovering its importance. I love it. So we’ve used Zapier. I actually got the team to start using kind of a self-hosted open source tool called N eight N, which is similar, but requires I think a little bit more coding knowledge. And so it’s been super good for training my brain, but also to think that way, to think a biller to think of flows and how data works. And it’s the same thing. I get a Slack message and someone will be real quick, I need to figure out how to update this field by doing this.
I’m like, okay, give me an hour. I’ll figure it out. And I think that’s going to become more and more valuable as companies are downsizing and cutting budgets and being able to have that skill, that ability to make it work with what’s available by using, I think building the internal functionality that’s needed to make an organization run is going to be more and more valuable. And I think some of those tools like Zapier clearly isn’t making a run for getting more users. They changed their pricing structure because for me, it was also, there was a certain thing, the task limit was getting onerous in terms of the costs. They clearly understood that and are trying to grab market share times flies. Were actually kind of running down on time here. So Matt, I really appreciate your time today. This is super awesome to be able to talk to you within this context. Before we close up for the day, why don’t you tell the folks at home how they can find you? I think I know the answer and maybe where they could consume some content you write or anything like that.
So can find me on LinkedIn. If you want to chat, send me a connection request. I’m in the rev ops co-op Slack group as well. So you can join our community at rev ops co-op dot com. We have a free membership option and a paid membership option available for you. The website, rev ops coop.com is also where all of our, we’ve got our blog, we’ve got recordings of all the digital events and write-ups that we’ve ever done. We’ve got rev ops demos that don’t suck series if you’re interested in different ops software solutions and stuff that are out there. So lots of different content available on the website. And then rev ops af.com is where you can learn more about our conference. And yes, the AF does stand for what you think it stands for. Yeah, annual festival. But yeah, so check that out early bird tickets are kind of out there still on sale, and we’d love to see you all in May in San Diego. And yeah, that’s where y’all can find me and connect.
Alright, Matt, thank you so much for your time today and safe travels.
Yeah, thanks Mark.