The 6 Pillars Of RevOps – Kay Dastgheib – RevOps Rockstars

Joining us for Episode #19 of the RevOps Rockstars Podcast is Kay Dastgheib, VP of GTM Strategy & Operations at Mural.

Kay develops top-performing teams and has a passion for scalable and sustainable business growth. As a RevOps leader, he focuses on establishing a proactive data-driven culture. David, Jarin, and Kay dive deep into Kay’s 6 pillars of RevOps, how he empowers team members to utilize data, and the ways to use your RevOps skills to build an effective garden.

“Our stakeholder’s success is our success.”

Kay Dastgheib, VP of GTM Strategy & Operations at Mural

Listen on your favorite podcast app:

In this episode, we discuss how RevOps leaders can create the foundation for a sustainable, scalable, high-growth RevOps function — and we discuss the questions and topics listed below:

Questions and topics:

  1. What’s something Kay had to learn the hard way?
  2. What does the RevOps team at Mural look like?
  3. How does Kay balance in-house and external resources?
  4. What does the day-to-day of a VP of GTM Strategy look like?
  5. How is the RevOps team at Mural structured?
  6. How does Kay drive PLG within RevOps?
  7. What tech stack tools are critical to the Mural RevOps teams’ success?
  8. What does Kay think the future of RevOps looks like?
  9. Learning more about Kay’s background
  10. RevOps shout outs

Here are the top 5 takeaways from the discussion:

  1. Data communication in RevOps: RevOps professionals deal closely with data, but they must remember that not all are as familiar with it. It is important to communicate data insights effectively to non-technical stakeholders and package information in a way that is easy to understand and act upon.
  2. Structuring a RevOps team: The RevOps team at Mural, a company serving sales consulting and product design industries, is divided into six operating pillars: sales operations, customer success operations, marketing operations, go-to-market systems (including Salesforce), business analytics, and revenue enablement.
  3. Balancing in-house and outsourced work: When determining the right balance between in-house and outsourced work, Kay considers two factors: redundant coverage to meet stakeholder expectations and evaluating the talent available internally versus externally. Their team leverages external consultants with specialized expertise to support specific projects or areas of expertise.
  4. Managing multiple functions within RevOps: The RevOps team at Mural covers various functional areas, and priorities shift based on daily dynamics and specific needs. Key principles include viewing oneself as a revenue leader, keeping an eye on metrics and performance, relying on talented leaders within the team, and maintaining an operating cadence across different pillars.
  5. Supporting product-led growth (PLG) with RevOps: RevOps plays a crucial role in supporting a seamless and optimized PLG function. PLG must be integrated with traditional demand generation and sales-led activities to create a comprehensive customer experience. RevOps professionals can contribute by ensuring a cohesive customer journey and aligning PLG with other go-to-market strategies.

Expanding your professional career

There was so much to take away from how Kay uses the six pillars of RevOps to build a long-lasting and effective RevOps process for his team. He offered great tips for leaders to incorporate into their teams!

Connect with Kay on LinkedIn to hear even more RevOps insights, or look at his company, Mural. Our next episode features Ali Seibel, Director of Revenue Operations at Groove. Watch all our past recordings on the RevOps Rockstars Youtube channel!

This podcast is part of the #RevOpsRockstars network. 

Full Automated Transcript

Kay Dastgheib: while an operating leader, I see myself as a revenue leader. So it’s important for, it’s honestly important for every revenue operations professional to see themselves as a revenue leader.

Our stakeholder’s success is our success. If the business is not growing, that is not just their problem; it’s our problem too.

David: Today’s guest is someone we’re thrilled to feature on the show. He develops top-performing teams. He’s passionate about building scalable and sustainable business growth. He focuses on establishing a proactive data-driven culture.

VP of Go-to-Market Strategy and Operations at Mural Cavan. Dos Gabe, welcome Kon.

Kay Dastgheib: Thank you for having me on the show.

Jarin: Hey, in looking at your extended experience, you’ve done a ton in operations. Um, you’ve done client success in operations and sales ops; you’ve done revenue ops at different size companies and levels. Reflecting back on all of that time, what is something in RevOps that you had to learn the hard way?

Kay Dastgheib: Data is a language like any other, and some people are more conversant in it than others. It behooves us to ensure that we’re communicating on the least common denominator to ensure everyone is aligned with the story that’s being told. It’s a fun question because I think depending on who you ask, you get a lot of different answers, and for me, RevOps is data-centric.

This means we’re closer to the numbers that define business performance more than most other teams in the organization. And as a result, family familiarity fosters this false perception that what we see in the data is obvious to everyone else. That, coupled with the fact that I have a background in science, made it very frustrating for me early on in my career when trends or flags and data seemed to or needed to be explained far more so than I thought they did, from early indicators on retention risk based on inactivity, on specific, features within a platform, towards looking at, inconsistent activities that generated pipeline.

Those little nuances seem obvious to us, but we need to be able to package them in a way for the non-technical stakeholder to understand them. And that was definitely a hurdle for me in the very.

Jarin: Was there a specific, um, instance where you had to distill? Um, that learning, what, what happened and, and how did you manage it so that you have this great takeaway around, you know, communicating very simply using data like a language, um, and, and sharing that lowest con common denominator.

Kay Dastgheib: There’s one instance that very com, very, quickly comes to mind, and it was, during my time at ZoomInfo when we were building our first iteration of a customer health score and, you know, predictive analytics. I could go on for days talking about that, and l love it like I think most of our ops leaders do.

But at the end of the day, I, we had built this, you know, very intelligent model that six to eight different variables within it that were driving an outcome that says, Hey, this is the likelihood that this customer’s going to churn presented this, you know, statistician’s dream of a thesis to our business stakeholders.

And it was a sea of blank faces, because I was presenting it like I was presenting a data thesis. I was not presenting it like this; this is data that you now need to now digest into action items. I was not; I did not take that step for them on converting these variables into benchmarks or milestones that their teams can work towards achieving.

And that was a very key learning moment for me where I have to kind of take that next step and coach my teams to do that going forward on how we take what seems like an obvious next step and actually package it into, you know, pro a proposed solution.

David: So, okay. Your company mural serves the sales consulting and product design industries. Mural has over 600 employees. You raised a 50 million C round back in July of 2021. I’m curious about your size; what size RevOps team are you working with?

Kay Dastgheib: I have a high-powered team of about 40 individuals that act as that nexus operational hub for Mural as a whole.

David: So, tell us more about how the team is structured

Kay Dastgheib: So my RevOps team is divided into six operating pillars. We have sales operations, which include sales compensation, deal desk, as well as your sales ops, and sales operations analysts who are responsible for the day-to-day reporting KPIs, strategic insights, et cetera. CS Operations, marketing, operations, go-to-market systems, which is Salesforce, and its Connected Technologies, a business analytics team, as well as revenue enablement.

David: and, um, How do you determine, so given that size of a team and just how many different areas you cover, how do you determine the right balance of in-house versus outsourced work?

Kay Dastgheib: When I look at in-house versus outside work, I examine the needs of the business through two lenses. The first lens is what level of redundant coverage do I need to ensure that my teams are best able to meet the expectations of our stakeholders. And the second lens I use, Is an evaluation of the talent I have in-house versus what is available externally.

You know, we often ask ourselves, when it comes to technology, what can I build versus buy? We should ask that same question when it comes to talent. For example, let’s look at time-bound projects like acquisition integrations or the deployment of a complicated configuration like C pq. Staffing up a systems team with two to three or more administrators or developers is not a sound use of capital.

However, leveraging external consultants to bolster a roster with professionals with that in-depth domain expertise substantially augments any RevOps seems ability to deliver critical business objectives.

David: I think that’s a great way of thinking about it. And I, I, I like the idea too of you know, if you can partner with, um, consulting shops that wanna share what they know, it can be a way of enriching and enriching the talent that you have on your own team by working alongside consultants who’ve done it x many times before.

Um, so, um, can you, um, can you tell us, with a team of 40, given the company’s growth, are you hiring

Kay Dastgheib: We’re shoring up some key IC functions within the team. Right now, I’m hiring, go-to-market data analysts across our business analytics team, two sales ops analysts within sales operations, and a Salesforce administrator within our go-to-market systems team.

David: Oh, that’s, that’s fantastic. Um, how, how exciting to be adding more folks to your team. Certainly, there’s a lot of talent in the marketplace for you to choose from, so I’m excited.

Kay Dastgheib: I’m excited too.

Jarin: Hey, you mentioned earlier you’ve got, what is it, five or six different functions, right? Within your purview. You got your traditional sales ops, deal, desk comp, planning, blah, blah, blah, CS ops, marketing ops, awesome. Like, that’s a true RevOps team. And you have, of course, the systems, analytics, and enablement to help me like understand what happens in your brain, right?

On a day-to-day basis, what’s, what’s the way you prioritize what to focus on? How do you run a typical day? How do you shift between these areas of focus? Basically, give me your secret sauce for managing and thinking about all of these different functions within your RevOps.

Kay Dastgheib: The dynamics and the priorities of my day-to-day shift and usually depending on the time of the day but there are a few. Key principles that I try to keep in mind as I navigate the week. The first is while an operating leader, I see myself as a revenue leader. So it’s important for, it’s honestly important for every revenue operations professional to see themselves as a revenue leader.

Our stakeholder’s success is our success. If the business is not growing, that is not just their problem; it’s our problem too. Just going through my day, I start my day looking at how we’re tracking toward our booking targets. That’s how I start every morning. I believe wholeheartedly if you’re a RevOps leader and you’re not keeping an eye on the forecast pipeline coverage, you’re pacing on gross and net retention, you’re doing yourself and the business a disservice from there.

And this is one of the real secrets to my success is I have an extremely talented roster of leaders across the six pillars of my team. I rely on them for critical escalations that need my attention. And let’s be fair; it wouldn’t be RevOps if there wasn’t a fire at 8:00 AM in the morning. So, Relying on strong leadership and hiring talent that is capable of not only managing and working with their stakeholders effectively, being agile in the way that they prioritize, you know, their solutions, and being adaptable to the needs of the business in each of those pillars is necessary.

It’s a skill set that I don’t think a lot of people have, and you need to search for that while you’re in your talent acquisition process. From there, my day-to-day, my week shifts from weekly rhythms of business and high-touch cadences like standups less frequent or more seasonal cadences that specifically focused on discussions and updates on OKRs and how we’re shifting our priorities.

There’s a range of cross-functional tactical syncs related to set OKRs, and I’d definitely like to spend some time with deep work so that I can prepare necessary strategic updates, you know, go-to-market strategy, planning, alignment, evaluation of the drivers of success require enough mental bandwidth to review, assess, and draw insights, and provide direction and elements of the discussion.

So, obviously, that means that I have to maintain a fairly rigorous operating cadence, which ethers each of these six pillars and their stakeholders. Missing a step with either one of them means that I’m unable to support those functions effectively.

Jarin: I know we’re coming right up on SKO O season if, if not already, right. Um, and probably when the podcast goes live, most teams have already done it. Um, certainly at the start of every year. There’s the comp planning that takes up a ton of time in territory planning when you look back on your last few months and also know what’s ahead, which is some amount of turbulence in the marketplace.

What have you found to be the best use of your attention and time in terms of the functional areas in, in your, in, in, in your team? Like, is their particular area that you’re like, this is an area I should double down on, stay close with, stay in lockstep with, to make sure things are on track and that we can pivot very quickly.

Kay Dastgheib: There are two that come to mind. One may not always be applicable to the organization. We’re a PLG company, so our PLG focus remains front of mind for me, at all times. The second is, Effective use of resources, and that means technology and people in the turbulent macroeconomic climate that we’re in right now.

Capital is expensive, and as, as revenue operations, it is in our best interest to ensure that the capital that we’re gonna be applying to technology, to headcount, to surrounding our team needs to be put in place in the most effective way possible. So what might have been good enough a year ago, two years ago, may not cut it anymore.

And we have to be that very rigorous use of the scalpel when necessary. So from everything from fiscal year planning to do, we need three technologies that do the same thing in-house. Those are the questions that come up and making. So going back to it is making sure we are being as effective with our resources as possible, knowing that. The ability to acquire more is far less likely.

Jarin: And at the VP level, knowing that you have some very capable team members you’ve referenced at the start of this call, what is the level of information you would prefer your team to kind of elevate to your level of visibility in terms of an ANA analysis and evaluation for things like optimizing efficiency, right, or streamlining the tech stack.

What is too much information for you overseeing a 40-person team? What is the right amount of analysis that you would want, you know, your deputies to be prepared with so that you can help them effectively make decisions?

Kay Dastgheib: I’ve empowered my teams to make decisions, and I encourage them to think like revenue leaders as a result. That means that they know if it’s going to be an alarming thing for A C R O, they definitely wanna bring it to my attention. So that’s the first kind of, like, rule that they keep in mind.

If it’s gonna impact our bookings number, if it’s gonna impact our plan, our ability to, at a hit plan, they bring it to my attention as well arguably before it gets to the case where a CRO would be seeing it. That way we’re able to identify the root causes, propose solutions, and prepare a mitigation strategy as soon as possible.

The second thing that I encourage them to do is, When it comes to extreme cross-functional failures, or cross or cross-functional gridlocks, as a VP, at a senior level, it’s my responsibility to provide air cover when necessary. And so when it comes to our ability to move the needle on major milestones and initiatives, it’s important for me to be able to maintain those relationships across r and d, across finance, across through all, all of go-to-market to ensure that those dependencies and those priorities have alignment.

So it’s either, does it affect our bookings or plan number, or have we fallen out of a critical alignment on a strategic initiative that the organization has previously aligned on? Those two things essentially warrant the do not pass. Do pass, go collect $200, go right to Kay’s desk.

Jarin: I love that. That’s really good too. Rules of thumb, um, to use, and it makes it relentlessly clear for, um, the team that sounds like you’ve been really good about enabling and empowering to make their own decisions, to know when to pull you in, when to ensure that, um, that decision is discussed or that implication is discussed at.

You mentioned PLG earlier. I know a lot of our listeners probably have used Mural in their own work. Um, can you speak specifically about how your RevOps team actually supports, um, creating a more seamless, more optimized pl l g function? What are some of the things that are maybe unexpected for folks in RevOps in terms of how they could help their own PLG motion?

Kay Dastgheib: Absolutely. Um, I mean, if you think about a PLG as one of the extremely important cross-functional corporate-level initiatives. And it’s front of mind for me right now because we’re aiming to expand and evolve our PLG motion as a critical vehicle of our go-to-market strategy. PLG needs to be integrated with traditional demand generation and sales-led activities to provide a comprehensive, interconnected, seamless customer experience.

It is as critical for us in the customer journey as an outbound motion, so it should be no surprise that RevOps acts as a driver here, as a centralized RevOps team, due to broad and deep subject matter knowledge across multiple facets of the growth engine. We will be regularly called upon to help lead cross-functional corporate-level initiatives, and things like PLG feed our funnel.

They feed growth; they feed retention, and. If we’re thinking we’re only gonna look at those aspects when they apply to cx, then we’re truly not being a full cycle customer journey team. And that is the whole premise of revenue operations, your full cycle. It’s not a full cycle except when it comes to product.

So that’s why it plays such a key role. And let’s be fair, the complexities of deploying a fiscal year plan and the timeframes we do establishes these teams as professionals capable of managing concurrent interdependent work streams on strict timelines, and PLG benefits from that level of expertise.

David: So, um, I’m really curious, given your background and given your interest, what tech stack tool could you not live without?

Kay Dastgheib: Oh boy. ZoomInfo is the tool that I can’t live without. Um, I know it sounds like I’m biased. Having been there before but ZoomInfo s technographic and firmographic data is the backbone of my go-to-market strategy. Not only do I believe that most leaders are doing themselves a disservice if they’re not providing their marketing and outbound sales teams with up-to-date and reliable contact data to build a pipeline.

Their teams also have a fantastic mentality for customer partnership. That helps augment my operations teams to ensure we’re feeding our sales Cs and marketing teams with what they need to succeed. So it is essentially the backbone to which everything is connected; it’s how we understand our company hierarchies; it’s how we understand our segmentation and our TAM planning.

ZoomInfo is necessary for that.

David: And how about on the. Reporting side, where do you go to get an at-a-glance view of what’s going on in your?

Kay Dastgheib: I have three stops on my data visualization morning routine. First off is Aviso, which is our forecasting tool, Salesforce, and Tableau. From my perspective, there are probably three buckets of visualization that we need to have at the ready. The first is the broad visualization tools that capture the bulk of insights needed for leaders to understand what’s happening in the business.

These include your primary business KPIs, the things that will appear in board decks. Um, it’s really the central repository for the data language that everyone needs to share. And that’s I see Tableau playing a very key role in that. And we as an organization are also making a very concerted effort to centralize a lot of our visualization needs that are multi-department dependent in Tableau.

The second type of tool is things that are far more niche and serve a very specific function. For example, a forecasting tool, which I believe every sales team should be using. It’s very difficult to build that into Tableau, so you might as well use something that’s far more niche to do it effectively, like Aviso or Clarity and other tools that are coming on the market.

The last tool, which I see playing a key role in this, is Salesforce. This really plays a role for our go-to-market teams, and I do like to make a point of stopping and checking in on these various dashboards, but our go-to-market teams themselves, those who are interacting with our customers, they need visualizations that are flexible, dynamic, quick to deploy, to ensure that they’re able to do their jobs effectively.

These would be your Salesforce reports and dashboards that help them prioritize their day, your new leads, your upcoming renewals, your open opportunities without a meeting in the last 30 days, and things like that. So there’s a, there’s a purpose for each of them. It’s really about centralizing your functions around those purposes.

David: And I’m curious, with three tools in place, do you run? Situations where the numbers don’t true out across the systems, and how do you reconcile or attack those differences when that happens?

Kay Dastgheib: I think I would be lying to you if I said I never encountered any numerical differences whatsoever between systems. That said, it’s about really ensuring where the source of truth is. I think that’s the first piece here because people can pull reports on their own, and if they pull it from Salesforce without a lot of the data context around it, the stories can come out very differently.

So I’d say the first thing is to ensure that the recipes that were used to build those reports, those visualizations are synonymous, that they, they are interchangeable. Very, more often than not, it’s something like a simple filter, a timebound, something that was pulled between those two different systems that skewed a projection where someone indexed on close-date and someone indexed on create date.

Those are very different fields. Ask anyone. And the reality is that it can have massive impacts if people aren’t using a central source of truth. So I would actually argue that let’s focus on the source of truth data. And if we’re trying to pull from somewhere else, then you have to go and recreate what were the steps that helped me get here.

Jarin: I’ve got a follow-up question for UK on reporting. Um, and it has to do with a couple of topics we’ve already talked about earlier, which includes balancing, you know, empowering people to go do things, versus of course, you’ve got a team of 40 RevOps and even larger team you’re supporting, um, making sure that they are using the right data, they’re pulling in the right fields.

Um, recently during a sales team meeting, at op focus, there was a conversation around, Hey, Open up certain kinds of reporting privileges a bit more so that I can go create my own dashboard, create my own, um, reports, et cetera, look at my own accounts in different ways, slice and dice the data. And I think, you know, a lot of teams that are in this trajectory of growth run into similar, situations where traditionally everyone’s kind of done all of that themselves.

As the complexity of the schema increases, as the different systems and object complexity increases, it doesn’t make as much sense anymore. But you also don’t wanna be a roadblock for people to be able to understand the data in their system for their accounts. So, seeking your advice here, how do you balance those two things, right?

How do you enable and empower folks to say your data is at your fingertips? You know, go make sense of that. Versus everything should be centrally requested. We build it; you use this, you don’t change. Um, you know, the, the, the criteria or the fields that we use, lest you pull in the wrong field for some other purpose that’s named similar.

Kay Dastgheib: So it’s not as black and white as, as that situation can, can unfold. The reality is, I think every sales team, at the end of the day, if you tell them the thing I gave you helps you put more money in your pocket, they’re generally far more apt to listen to you. And that level of partnership has to be the framework with how we’re doing anything when it comes to visualization. At the end of the day, if you ask sales reps, would they rather be on calls and closing or would they rather be trying to fiddle with a Salesforce report? The reality is, I think there’s a, it’s a 99% chance you’ll find, they’re gonna go one way or the other. The 1% that isn’t, they can probably come onto the Alps team, when it comes to, you know, those reporting needs.

When we find salespeople, or CS people, or anyone who’s on the go-to-market team who’s trying to build their own reports, it is because there’s a fundamental gap in the visualizations that is present for them right now. And that burden now falls on RevOps to do a business case analysis. What are we not providing for them that they need on a day-to-day basis?

And addressing that question and understanding what they need to succeed. And then taking that as a part of a planning exercise to roll out what I like to call reporting packs. Here’s your new dashboard with everything that you could possibly need that’s built by us. We’re gonna take the keys away from you now, but you told us what you wanted.

Now here it is. That’s the extremely streamlined version of that timeline that change management. But there has to be that first step by RevOps to go; what are you missing? And how do I get Get it to you? Why? Do you not have it right now? That resolution then starts to build that trust, that accountability, where you’ll find go-to-market teams are now perfectly satisfied with never building a report ever again and relying on their business partners to do it for them.

Jarin: I think you’re totally right. Like if someone could read my mind, you know, filter out all my requirements, build me the thing that I exactly need, I would love to not need to touch it. But oftentimes, the ask to do so is more of a reflection of something underneath that’s missing. Right? And what you are calling out here is to not just solve the symptom of the ask, but rather understand the why behind it.

How do I equip you with what you need so you can focus more on your job and let us, you know, put something together? Hopefully, you know, not taking a ton of time. Right. Salespeople love what they want right away. Um, Pairing that with speed and making sure that they have the data they want at the speed they need, and they’re able to focus on theirs.

Kay Dastgheib: I one hundred percent agree there.

David: So, Kay, I think I figured out one of your recruiting strategies, finding people that are already on the team, on one of the business teams and, that is, tinkering with the tools and, and bringing them on board. I think that’s out. That’s outstanding. Um, so, we, we’ve talked about a number of topics, talked about, you know, how your team is structured, talked about some of the tools that you have in place.

I’d love to come up for air for a moment and just look ahead into the future. What excites you? About what’s coming in RevOps.

Kay Dastgheib: Honestly, I am most excited to see the visibility and broader appreciation for this business-critical role. Selfishly, the more people know about it, the less likely I have to spend 10 minutes explaining what I do at family gatherings. That is the number one biggest thing I’m looking forward to.

David: Oh, I love that. I, you know, 17 years into, you know, being part of op focus, I still have to explain to my parents a little bit about what the company does and, and all that. So I totally, totally know, what that feeling of freedom will be when somebody says, you know, ask you a question very specifically about, you know, based on their knowledge of RevOps.


Jarin: Hey, since you mentioned it, what has been the latest iteration of what you say during Thanksgiving to your family about what you do in your day job?

Kay Dastgheib: So this one is actually not even my own creation. I saw this fantastic short clip on LinkedIn and the life of me; I can’t remember who posted it. And it was an analogy where you’re a toy store owner, and the RevOps is the person who’s deciding what to do with the toy. Whether it’s like stocking the shelves or I need more, cashiers tomorrow, or I need, or I need more shelves to store toys ahead of next year.

They essentially used another business example that everyone can relate to, like planning for the holiday season, but you’re a toy store owner, and I just send that clip to people now. I just, essentially, outsource the explanation to that LinkedIn video.

David: So then they think that you should be in the movie Toy Story or. Something like that. 

Kay Dastgheib: It makes it seem a lot more magical,

David: Yes. Yes. I guess that’s, that’s a good, good outcome. So, Kay, let’s talk about you for a little bit. So, you’re currently living out on the West Coast in Portland, Oregon. You studied molecular biology as your undergraduate. You did an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology. Your prior role was also VP of RevOps at Indebted.

Um, you know, I’d, I’d love to understand, so you’re currently, currently at, at Mural. Um, what, what does Mural do, by the way?

Kay Dastgheib: Great question. Mural is a very powerful tool for team brainstorming, idea generation, event planning, mind mapping, where everyone can contribute no matter where they’re located. Essentially, any member can simply click into a shared virtual canvas where a team can draw, add notes, pin images or gift files, build diagrams to map out complex workflows and, you know, brain and brainstorm in the best asynchronous way you can imagine.

The whole goal is, you know, essentially taking, taking our asynchronous remote work to the next level.

David: so, Kay, I’m really curious; how did you get into RevOps?

Kay Dastgheib: Like most people, I fell into RevOps. I was actually leading customer success and a customer support team, which didn’t have a dedicated operations team. I was moonlighting as the operations group for a healthcare division at Encore Learning. So there was an e-learning platform focused on healthcare.

And during that time, I realized I really appreciated how I was at the nexus of people, process, and technology, the big three. And it was the ability to work with my team and identify what they were running into in terms of interacting with the customer. What was helping them succeed, which, what was standing in their way, and then having the ability to change how they did their job, how to change the tools that they were using, optimize their, time that they were spending on administrative versus actual customer benefiting tasks essentially opened my eyes at, Hey, wait, there’s a, there’s another world here that I could potentially jump into.

And when an opportunity at, at ZoomInfo, appeared to join their customer success operations team specifically, um, it helped me widen the aperture of what could be done when you’re focused on those initiatives specifically, it was, it was very much a light bulb moment,

Jarin: Hey, it’s given that, um, Mural is such a great collaboration tool; it’s great for visualization. Um, do you use it internally, and how does your RevOps team, five Mural be useful for your own collaboration and visualization needs?

Kay Dastgheib: Oh, we absolutely use Mural. I have an unnamed number of tabs open right now with different murals. I’m looking at can’t disclose that. It’s embarrassing. But the reality is mural is where my teams can give me those insights without ever being in a meeting with me. Let’s be fair. Nowadays, our ability to manage our calendars has become somewhat of a superpower and allows me to have not only in-depth discussions completely asynchronously but it also allows to visualize and mind map with my teams for OKR planning, for sharing those OKRs with other teams and linking those documents together to help us see where that, interplay.

It helps for offsite planning; it helps for, workshopping ahead of fiscal year planning mural was where we handled everything from our segmentation to our load rate workshops, to our compensation planning, to philosophies and the systems that are present that we can use in that tool. I couldn’t imagine doing my job without it.


Jarin: And is there like a template that’s one of your favorites or a, a use case that’s one of your favorites where you’re like, I wish every RevOps leader out there who had the budget could use this to effectively manage RevOps. Something maybe you had to do in another tool or a different way, prior to joining, but now you’re like, I can’t live without it.

Kay Dastgheib: part of it, it’s part of the Luma system is using rosebud thorns, which is, you know, what, what’s going well, what’s, what could be done better and what didn’t go well? But framing it with every initiative in a workshop where we have specific initiatives, And we’re looking at what we’ve done historically and applying this Rosebud Thorn framework and giving everyone five minutes, quiet time, start the clock on Mural, everyone goes and kind of puts in their sticky notes based on where they are.

You end up spending far more time actually assessing what we could have done better and what we should be doing next. Rather than going around and getting individual feedback, collating it, and then coming back from another meeting two weeks from now to read out your findings. It cuts out half, like, half of your weeks of meetings just by thinking in that framework,

Jarin: Wow, that is really cool. And I can. I can see, you know, the use of that. The, the, the rose, what’d you call the Rosebud

Kay Dastgheib: rose, Rosebud Thor.

Jarin: Oh, the Rosebud Thorn, yes. For some of our own team meetings, because, it does allow then everyone’s ideas to get right on that page. Um, it doesn’t get lost anywhere, and it makes for a more meaningful discussion.

Kay Dastgheib: You’ll find out that many people are thinking a lot of the same things you were. So you don’t end up getting ten different interviews. You have one where everyone can say, Hey, now, actually, I agree with that. Post-it note. I’m not gonna put another one down. That one’s me.

Jarin: That’s brilliant. Um, I know we were talking about your experiences in your career already earlier, Kay. Um, you’ve really been at a bunch of really cool companies. If we were to shift and look forward, what might be next? Are there certain things on your career bucket list? Are there, um, certain types of experiences you wanna have professionally?

Kay Dastgheib: Right now, I’m definitely focused on shaping Mural for its next major chapters, whether that’s a next-stage acquisition or an I P O, whatever is in our future. So I’m definitely focused on building the framework and the foundation that allows for murals growth to continue to accelerate down the road. I would love to take on the role of a COO at another scale up helping them shape the best practices of the business as a.

Jarin: That’s super cool and especially with the experience of managing a 40-person, RevOps team. I feel like, um, it, it makes a ton of sense and, and it would be a natural path, after you take mural to as far and as high and as big as you can. So one of our last questions here is about you and. We all know that you know, managing a 40-person team can’t be easy, especially when it crosses over six different functional areas.

What are some of the things you do outside of work that may be your colleagues or coworkers might not be aware of? Um, are there go-to ways you unwind?

Kay Dastgheib: Absolutely. RevOps is a high-intensity job, so it’s very important to find something that you can do to unwind. For me, I’m an avid gardener. I live in a fairly rural area now. So my garden is definitely substantial. But even before that, when I had a small, very small suburban backyard, I was able to maintain an excessive number of raised garden beds, and I grew far too much zucchini, tomatoes, or cucumbers for any single family to eat.

I use my RevOps superpowers to enhance my gardening as well. I have detailed seed plan schedules, project plans for my crop rotations, as well as, to ensure I mitigate risk when it comes to disease. So at the end of the day, I like to be able to do something with my hands outside, and it’s a really fantastic re release for when I’m spending a lot of time in front of screens.

David: I love it. That’s awesome.

Jarin: Yeah, to borrow something another guest recently said on the podcast, it sounds like you RevOps the shit out of your garden, and that’s pretty cool.

Kay Dastgheib: That is true. I have family and friends who come. It’s like, how did you get it to, like, be so green out here? It’s like, how much time do you have? Because it’s gonna not gonna be a short explanation.

Jarin: And tell me, do you have, like, quarterly reviews of whether or not your garden process is optimal? And, um, tracking yields by each raised garden bed to ensure that each of them is getting the attention and TLC it needs to perform at its highest level of plant product.

Kay Dastgheib: I mean, we’re joking, but I kind of do, like, I do track based on the, the pH levels, the, the, the, the different types of, compost I’ve used. And I keep track of if something isn’t moving in the direction I expected it to based on the data I had beforehand. I make adjustments. I will sometimes empty a bed that hasn’t been performing and give it the fuel it needs.

David: And, is that at all, based on your background in molecular biology and the types of testing and experimentation that you did while you were doing that degree?

Kay Dastgheib: Oh, absolutely. I definitely have, kept some science journals and I build it with my RevOps agile mindset to to keep my backyard, a wealth of organic vegetables and fruits.

Jarin: I also imagine that you probably maintain a Salesforce instance on the side or a, a spreadsheet on the side, tracking your results over time. Maybe your analogy during the holidays shouldn’t be about the toy shop. Maybe it should be. Basically saying, Hey, this is how I, this is how I manage my garden.

And by the way, this is how I manage my teams during work.

Kay Dastgheib: That’s a really good point. I actually will probably pivot, ahead of time. We’re 10, and we’re ten months away from major holidays, so I should be able to 

Jarin: Refine your metaphor; that’s great. Okay. Um, one of our favorite questions is, what resources do you turn yourself to? Kay, for RevOps.

Kay Dastgheib: Oh, well, sort of, as I read a lot, and I talk to whoever is interested in their thoughts on a particular topic. Um, I’m a member of Pavilion, RevOps co-op, and I’ve really taken part in, a lot of the knowledge sharing that’s available within those communities. At the same time, neural is an insight partner as Portco, so I also do my best to take advantage of their insight Partner Centers of Excellence.

Um, the, the reality is there’s a wealth of knowledge and best practices and resources at their fingertips that I would, um, that at sometimes I would be, lost without. So combine that along with listening to podcasts like these, attending, conferences when possible, and remembering that I don’t know everything, and I can always learn something.

Jarin: Love that. That’s really great. If we get a little bit more specific, you’ve mentioned, um, you know, communities you’re a part of. You’ve mentioned that you read and you listen to podcasts. Um, are there specific people out there in the RevOps community today who you look up to, you’d like to give a shout-out to, or you just think would be actually a great fit to share their experiences on this podcast?

Kay Dastgheib: Over. Sure. There are actually three that come to mind. First would be, Josh Van HEAs. He’s a fantastic mentor and thought leader in his own league. He’s now leading the; he’s the VP of RevOps at Clary, Aneal Somani, who is recently the s v VP of Revenue Operations at Pluralsight. He’s a people leader is the exceptional caliber, and as, but not least of one of my first, coaches in the world of RevOps is Chris Hayes, who’s the Chief Operating Officer at ZoomInfo, who’s fundamental in a lot of my early perspectives of sales operations and the importance of thinking like a revenue leader.

Jarin: Very, very cool. And if folks want to follow John, Neil, or Chris, we’ll make sure to include their LinkedIn profiles in the show notes as well.

Kay Dastgheib: It’s Josh Van

Jarin: Sorry, Josh; thank you for clarifying that. If folks want to find the LinkedIn profiles, For the folks Josh and Neil, and Chris that Kay just mentioned, I will make sure to include their, links in the show notes.

Where can people find you? Kay? Where are you active?

Kay Dastgheib: I am active primarily on LinkedIn, so that’s the best place to find me. I, I am in the, you know, pavilion and RevOps, co-op Slack channels as well, so people can’t ping me there as well.

Jarin: Great. And if folks haven’t yet used Mural, they haven’t tried it out; where could they find out more about the tool and platform?

Kay Dastgheib: Well, absolutely add to the website. Um, neural dot code is, is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips as well as availabilities for, you know, free trial experiences to wet yours.

David: Hey, it’s been such a. Having you on the podcast today, I really appreciated hearing about the six pillars of how you structured your 40-person RevOps team. I, I really like the way that you described your thoughts on analytics, how excited you got, talking about how you use Mural and how many tabs you have open.

I just personally sharing that love of gardening, I’m, I’m, excited to hear, that you’re a gardener and, and that you apply RevOps principles to yours, your work in the garden. That’s super. It’s just been such a pleasure. We’re honored to have had you on the show today.

Kay Dastgheib: Well, thank you very much for having me on the show. David and Jarin really appreciate it. Um, looking forward to, you know, to staying in.

Jarin: Fantastic. And to our audience today. Thanks, of course, to tune in, on this RevOps Friday. Um, we release new episodes every single Friday. If you found this conversation or any other episode to be exciting and interesting, please tell someone about the podcast and, of course, subscribe. It helps spread knowledge.

Let’s not do RevOps on our own. Thanks again for being. Cascade. And this has been another exciting episode of RevOps Rock Stars. See you next time.

David: Stay classy. Rock stars.