Growing RevOps With The Right People – Danny Schonfeld – RevOps Rockstars
Danny is an effective leader who is skilled at leading diverse, international teams.
His early career involved working for both Deloitte and LinkedIn, allowing him to cut his teeth in the world of RevOps. Welcome to the show, VP of Revenue Operations at Glia, Danny Schonfeld. Hosts David Carnes and Jarin Chu interview Danny to uncover his strategies for leading teams across multiple time zones, striking a balance between strategy and operations, and using data to paint a narrative when presenting to the board.
“You need to be excited about both the destination of the cool stuff that we’re building, as well as the journey of getting there.”Danny Schonfeld, VP of Revenue Operations at Glia
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Here are the top takeaways from the discussion:
- Hiring energized individuals: Danny emphasizes the importance of hiring people who are energized by both strategic and operational work in RevOps. They learned the hard way that skills alone are not enough; successful RevOps professionals need to be excited about both the destination and the journey.
- Measuring strategy excitement: To determine if candidates are genuinely excited about strategy, Danny suggests using case-style interviews that incorporate both operational and strategic components. By probing their experiences and motivations, interviewers can assess if candidates are eager to engage in both aspects of the job.
- Modeling behavior: Leaders must be aware of their own behavior and become an example for their team. By demonstrating their willingness to be hands-on and involved in the details, even at a more senior level, they set an example for the team and reinforce the importance of both strategic and operational contributions.
- Day-to-day responsibilities as a VP of Revenue Operations: The day of a RevOps leader is primarily focused on strategic discussions, problem-solving sessions, one-on-one meetings with team members, and reviewing data to provide a data-driven perspective for critical business decisions.
- Building the Gila RevOps team: Within nine months, the Gila RevOps team has grown to seven members with plans for further expansion. Danny aims to balance the seniority of team members, hiring more experienced individuals initially to establish the function and gradually adding more junior team members to handle operational tasks and support the organization.
Hear from Danny about any of the topics discussed on this week’s podcast
- What’s something Danny had to learn the hard way?
- How does Dannny ensure you hire for both strategy and operations?
- What does Danny’s role as VP of Revenue Operations entail?
- How does Dannny successfully build out a global RevOps team?
- How does Danny balance in-house and external resources?
- What recommendations does Danny have for speaking to the board?
- How does Danny determine metrics and gather the right data?
- What tech stack tool could Danny not live without?
- Learning more about Danny’s background
- RevOps shout outs
Expanding your professional career
Hearing firsthand how Danny vets and develops his team is truly inspiring. There are a lot of insights other RevOps leaders will certainly want to adopt in their own hiring/training processes!
Connect with Danny on LinkedIn to hear even more RevOps insights, or look at her company, Glia. Our next episode features special guest Dustin Brown, Senior Director of GTM Operations at Flashpoint. Watch all our past recordings on the RevOps Rockstars Youtube channel!
This podcast is part of the #RevOpsRockstars network.
Full Automated Transcript
Danny Schonfeld: It’s really important to make sure that you, you know, you’re thinking anyone, anyone can pull numbers, but making like understanding the story that they, that they are telling and what decisions we should and should not make off of that based on a million factors is, is at the end of the day what I do.
David: Today’s guest on the podcast is a talented RevOps leader with a lot to share. He helps companies run more efficiently and optimize their go-to-market strategies.
He’s a skilled ops leader who has led teams at LinkedIn and Deloitte. Today’s guest is VP of Revenue Operations at Glia. Danny Schoenfeld.
Danny Schonfeld: Thank you so much for having me, David. It’s great to meet you and be here.
David: So, Danny, we’d like to start off by asking you what’s something in RevOps that you’ve had to learn the hard way?
Danny Schonfeld: What comes to mind is, making sure to hire people that are energized, both by the strategy and operations work. I’m an optimistic person and I’m always, excited about the, big projects that people are going to be able to get involved with. And it’s important to not only be flexible in being able to go from one meeting where we’re focused on the, what’s gonna generate, long-term revenue, what new geographies or new industries are we gonna enter, and then 30 minutes later go into fixing some, backend data issue in connecting, one data source to a dashboard or, many other iterations of that.
And I’ve, I, remember especially earlier in my, in myRevOps tenure thinking that, okay, you know, we’re gonna fix this. We’re gonna fix these, these issues, and we’re gonna do more of the, of the, the cool strategy work that people, people talk about and get excited about. But it’s also not enough to just have the skills to be able to go back and forth.
I, I’ve, I’ve found that people who are energized by both are what make them really successful in the role, right? You need to be excited about both the, the destination of, of the cool stuff that we’re building, as well as the journey of getting there.
David: And then specifically, when trying to hire people who are as excited about the strategy, how do you determine that?
Danny Schonfeld: Well, I mean, there, there’s some tactical things around the, the interview process, right? Of really probing and really, really understanding what, what sorts of experiences they’ve had that have energized them. I also like to use case style interviews. I, I, I grew up as a consultant, a managment consultant, and it’s kind of bred into me, and I think it’s a really good way of seeing how people think and trying to weave in both operational and strategic components into that.
To find out what really excites them and motivates them to, to like why they’re, why they’re coming into a role like this, why they’re coming into a, you know, if it’s a, if it’s a career switch or moving from something like an, an external consulting role to a more internal, you know, RevOps like position, that getting at why they’re doing it and making sure that they’re, they’re eager to do both.
And, you know, you talked about learning the hard way, as you can probably infer from my points, I, I did, I did do that early on and, and hired some people who were, you know, like, yeah, I’m fine with the OP stuff. I’m excited about doing the, the strategy stuff and, um, having, having some issues as a result and it not always working out and, and needing to, to make some hard decisions and shifting my style in terms of the conversations that I had with people upfront of, Really aligning the, the expectations with the reality of the job so that it does line up with what people are expecting is, has just been, been a complete shift.
The one other, one other point I’ll say is just, is modeling that behavior right? Early on in, in being willing to roll my sleeves up and, and showing that, and demonstrating, you know, that at this, this point in my career, I’ve been, you know, leading teams for, for many years and I’m still very involved in the details and have, have a lot of examples of, of doing so, even at this, even at this stage.
Jarin: I, really love what you’re describing about modeling behavior, and it’s a good way to kind of zoom into this particular piece around your current role. Your title is VP of Revenue Operations, and I’m interested in learning for you personally, not, not your team yet, but you personally, Danny, what does your day-to-day entail and related to that is really how you measure success personally in your.
Danny Schonfeld: Yeah, so my typical day these days is basically wall-to-wall meetings of some sort. But what entails those meetings partially by design. I’m someone who’s, who’s energized by meetings, especially working remotely. I, I like spending time with,
Jarin: I’ve never heard anyone say that I’ve energized by
Danny Schonfeld: I, like, I’m much more of a, of a meeting person than, than an email person.
I’m also kinda a night person, so if I, if I have something to crank out, I’ll, I’ll often sign on after, after my kids go to sleep and, and just, you know, get my, get that done without distractions. I’m very flexible. However, people on my team like to work. That’s what, that’s, that’s what I embrace. But that’s, that’s part of why it’s good to have those conversations, right?
How, how people work best. Some people just wanna sit in a, sit in a room themselves and crank out work. Some people like me, like I like connecting with people and I, I don’t do it physically and nearly as much as I used to, in a, in a remote-first company, but also, you know, everyone on my team living in different cities, the, in, in some cases different countries.
But my, my day-to-day then is it’s, it’s often, you know, I’ll, span from the. The categorically, right, the, the sort of exact level meetings where I am, representing the go-to-market org from a, from a both strategic and tactical level to be able to weigh in on if there are some critical, you know, business driving decisions or, or board preparation discussion, board meeting preparation discussions that we’re working through, making sure that I can share the data-driven perspective of implications for the RevOps team, right?
Mm-hmm. And I’ve got my one-on-ones with my team that I’ll, I’ll spend time with each of them. I’ve got my often some problem-solving sessions with a few people, whether within my team or, you know, cross-departmentally to work through if there’s, you know, a specific project we need to make progress against.
And then, as I said, I, I tend to, I’ll, I’ll sort of catch up on slacks during the day as, as needed when I can, when I can be a little bit distracted. I Spend a number of hours after work with my kids, help get them to bed, usually eat dinner, workout, and then sign back on in the evening to go through if I have some, some work, I’m on the hook for Just to, just to crank out.
Jarin: And I’m a night owl myself. I find my most creative times to be very awkward hours. Sometimes definitely after dinner or, or sometimes. Mid-afternoon. As a night person, it sounds like yourself. Do you have any tips for other fellow kind of night people, owls of sorts, in terms of how they structure their days so that you can get both the social, the communication out and that deep work that is so essential for the strategy piece of revenue, operations.
Danny Schonfeld: Yeah, I know. I, wish I could say I, I’ve, I’ve cracked that code because I don’t think I have, but I think I’ve made progress toward that and I appreciate the, I think the, the, a, a side effect of the remote environment is letting people. Operate in, you know, different, just whatever works for them rather than all needing to be in the office and congregating at a certain time, right?
So I can meet with my morning people on my team earlier. I can meet with my night people on my team later. And similarly with people in other countries, right? You can kind of, you can kind of calibrate accordingly. So, so understanding what’s, what works for different people and then, and then timing it as well.
Now for me personally, what I do, right? I know I sit in this, this chair for, for many hours staring at the screen. I don’t, I don’t move around a ton other than, spending time with my kids. And I, I need to, I need to move around. So I’ll always, always block time for, for myself just to, just to get on the Peloton or, or whatever for, for a few hours.
Catch up with my wife around our respective days, and then, make sure that I, I can block out that time at the end of the day. So that I, whatever that, that sort of deep work, like you said, and actually process everything that I did actually turn around everything that I committed to so that I can set myself up for the next day, right?
I really make sure that I go through everything. I’ll review everything. I’ll, I’ll outline my list for the next day, what I need to get done, as well as for the week. I tend to be a, a list oriented, str, fairly structured person, which is probably common for this community and your listeners, but that’s, that’s, that definitely works for me to have that, that kind of structured time.
And I’ll also often time my emails or my Slack responses so it doesn’t look like they’re coming in super late, cuz I know I don’t wanna create stress for others. That’s kind of a, something that, that certainly works.
Jarin: Yeah, I’m hearing your thoughtfulness, and also flexibility you’re building into your team, especially with folks in different time zones, different countries, but certainly also some of these other habits you’re describing. You know, different ways to book in different ways to ensure that you are setting aside time to, get the activity in spend time with family, et cetera.
When we think about the team a little bit further, I do wanna dive into your RevOps team a bit. Your company, Lia serves banking, FinTech, insurance industries. I think you’re close to 400 employees right now, or three, you know, something in the mid-300s. You raised a series D back in March of 2022. me a sense of, what kind of size RevOps team you are working with and kind of where they’re all located, time zone wise.
Danny Schonfeld: Sure. Yeah. So my team, so we actually, I am very fortunate to have found this opportunity at, at such a great company in Lia and one that is continuing to thrive in the environment and, and growing and, and has committed to investing in the RevOps function. So before I joined the different go-to-market leaders were sort of doing it on the sides.
So our C F O was, was, was managing the, some, some aspects of it. Our head of marketing was managing some aspects of it, and they realized as the org became more complex that they needed more of a dedicated function. So they brought me on to actually build out a RevOps team. And in that time,, I joined in May of 2022, so it’s, I’m, I’m getting close to nine months I’m now up to, we have seven people on the team.
With very discreet roles, right. Supporting different departments, and hiring an additional floor right now. So growing to 11, again within nine months of the, the function existing, which is, which is pretty exciting and, you know, a testament to the company as a whole, but the impact that our team is having on the, on the org time zone wise,
Danny Schonfeld: yeah.
Time-zone-wise, the majority of us are based in the US right now. But in, in every time zone across, across the country with everyone being in different cities, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s the, the, the way that, that tech has evolved in many, in many cases. Glia also has a huge presence in Estonia. That’s where our, engineering foundation was started and our CTO is lives there and, basically built out the engineering function there.
And we have a number of, like our BDR function is there as well. So I have a, I have a team called a BD, a Business Development Analyst team that, where we have one of those individuals is based in Estonia as well. So definitely, you know, different time zone wise from the rest of us, we’re also hiring in Mexico and, to, we’re not, not as much of a, of a time zone difference, but certainly a, you know, being able to partner with the team members there and, be on the ground will also be a part of the RevOps function as a whole.
Jarin: Having gone from, you know, building out the team, you know, essentially zero to seven, in seat in the last nine months, and with a handful more that you’re trying to fill. Give me a sense of how you are trying to allocate headcount. Like what are, what, what are the kinds of, functions within the team that you’re trying to fill?
And also how does, how do you balance the role seniority with the different folks you’re hiring?
Danny Schonfeld: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So I’ll, I’ll start with the latter because attend, I found that what’s working is I want to have the, the department leader in place who is flexible in being able to, right? I talked about the strategy and operation. Someone who’s gonna be excited not only to, to deal with the bigger picture items, but also get into the details.
So to hire the relatively more senior person who is there to build similar to what I wanted to do, right? And coming in and, and helping build out this function. And then as we start to establish our, our, be additive to the organization and, and bring value and demonstrate that to then bring in more, you know, junior people are gonna be able to take some of that more operational, day-to-day stuff off of their plates.
So I have, I have a team that’s relatively, relatively more senior and like I said, Split across individual functions. So I have the marketing ops, sales ops, CS ops, right. Partnering with our direct go-to-market leadership functions, as well as some, some cross go-to-market teams in data and analytics to help cross support across those orgs as well as enablement.
Similarly, across those orgs, but leaning into to different areas specifically. So I’m not sure that that completely got it, what you were looking for, but that’s how I’ve thought about, about building the teams so that we have, we have our bases covered. And then I constantly think about, we need to be, we need to be additive to the organization.
We need to make sure that everything, like, it’s not, it’s not just replacing work that was being done by others, but it’s, it’s creating more efficiencies and more value for those teams that we’re supporting as well through leverage, through tools, through processes, things that wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t there.
Jarin: I wanna definitely seize on that last piece you’re talking about, because you’ve mentioned a couple of times now, both in terms of, hey, the team’s growing because we’re increasing impact in the business. But also you mentioned just now around trying to build more efficiency, trying to increase, tool adoption processes.
Can you speak a little bit more specifically on that point on how you articulate that kind of impact in the business in particular? Like do you tie it back to revenue r o I, like how do you justify a growing team in what for a lot of companies in the industry are tightening budgets or, you know, just trying to be more conservative with their hiring.
Danny Schonfeld: Yes, and I, I do wanna say we, glia as a whole is hiring. This is not, this is not unique to, to my team, which is very fortunate. I fully recognize, at the same time we’re not, we’re not immune or ignorant of immune to, or ignorant of what’s happening in the broader market, which is this tightening of budgets and a greater focus on, well, not, not stagnation by any means or, or just cost cutting, but efficient growth, right?
In that we need to, we, it’s, it’s no longer a grow-at-all-cost environment. It’s one that needs to be deliberate and. Part of the way that we do that, which I was, I was hinting at, is there are, I mean, one, one headcount is not necessarily equal to another, right? In terms of the cost and, and expected impact.
And that’s what what brings me a little bit to being creative in looking at countries where there’s often incredible talent that we can, where, where the, the cost of living is lower. And as a result, you know, salaries can also tend to be a little bit lower. So that’s a way that we can, we can creatively add additional headcount that has really strong impact on the organization without breaking the bank at the same time.
And at my, my, my last role at UiPath, my team of, I’m about 25, was split across five different countries. Right. And that’s, that’s part of. I where, where I, learned more about this, this type of model and of integrating teams across different regions in a way that where some of the most brilliant people I’ve worked with were in countries all over the globe and I, there are certainly trade-offs of, and drawbacks of being in this vote first environment.
But there’s a lot of benefits in not only, you know, on the cost side, but on the, just widening of the talent pool that we can pull from at the same time. So that’s, that’s one kind of specific example. There’s a lot of others and tying back to actual revenue created. So yes, I do try to, and we, we know that, you know, business cases aren’t perfect.
Pulling an ROI calculation and everything you’re doing isn’t perfect. But if I can, if there are ways to demonstrate actual value, if it’s, if it’s speeding up ramp time of an AE through better enablement practices, right? That’s an actual dollar in our pocket sooner. If it’s, if it’s speeding up cash collections.
Through improved processes on our professional services or launch management process. Right. That’s actually collecting a dollar. Cuz we collect, we collect dollars on go live, that’s actually collecting dollars in a way that we wouldn’t have previously. So I can measure in our, you know, ROI associated with that.
Not everything is as cleanly tied, but I do push my team and have a very, I, and feel very strongly that we, we should continue to demonstrate our value because like you said, we’re a cost center and I, it’s on, it’s on me to continue to prove the value that my team is bringing so that not only do we get the investment, but when, when, if, and when bad things happen, the leadership doesn’t say what’s RevOps doing?
Right. I want it to always be obvious in front and center.
Jarin: Those are two very powerful examples because what you’re describing in those two examples is not only efficiency, it’s not only doing things better, but it’s also all about speed Right now, the sooner you can get someone ramped up, the sooner you can get the dollar in the door. That is what determines whether or not, you know, the business can make that next big decision.
Before the competi.
Danny Schonfeld: Exact couldn’t. Yes, you said it. You said it more eloquently than I did. And speed in so many ways is critical. And I know we haven’t spoken, excuse me, we haven’t spoken about glia as a company to extensively, but we are at a critical inflection point in many ways of we were more of a startup, startup e you know, Picking at the, the big players in this business, in this the, in the c a contact center as a service business that we’re, you know, kind of, kind of pesky in some ways, and now are a major threat to them.
And they are innovating in ways or trying to do so in ways that is, is replicating or, you know, trying to use a lot of the ideas that are, are coming from our product side. So it’s a, a really critical time for us to, if, if we’re gonna win, right? Put our, put our acce accelerate, you know, and, and try to win in all these segments and beat these more established competitors as best we can.
Jarin: I love that. I know we’re gonna talk about GLI a little bit later when we talk about your background. My last question as it relates to your team, before we move on to some other interesting topics, is, given that you are hiring in different countries, can you give me a sense of whether there are certain roles that you prefer to keep, here in the us?
Are there things, are there certain kinds of roles you wanna keep in-house versus you’re okay with outsourcing? Say having, outside consultants, developers, et cetera, bolster your team. How do you kind of approach that distribution.
Danny Schonfeld: Yes, and you’re right because I have, I have onshore offshore and outsourced resources on my team and have for, for many years now. And yeah, I do try to think about it in, in what makes the most sense. Now, I will say, I’ll, I’ll start with the outsourcing cuz it’s, it’s maybe a little bit easier and I, I have found, you know, the, the level how, how ingrained we need to be in the business and our data and our system and our tools is, is really complicated to the point that it’s very hard to bring someone on as a mercenary for a short time.
Such that it warrants the amount of investment it takes to get them ramped up in a way that they can really add value without needing a ton of handholding. So for outsourcing, it’s more for, I more use it for more transactional tasks. Who for and individuals who don’t need to be as embedded in our data as others.
Regarding the, regarding the onshore versus offshore. At the same time, like I said, both Lia and UiPath are relatively global companies, so it’s not as critical of an issue. That said, Lias go-to-market leadership team is based in the US and there is a lot of value in us being able to work very closely with those leaders.
So I, I tend to, for the, for the partners that are aligning, For my team members that are aligning with those go-to-market leaders am hiring more, more in the US, right? So that they can be closer, they can be more regularly in person. We don’t have the same time zone issues. They, you know, for, for all of the reasons that they, they need to be connected.
That’s, that’s tended to work for me for more, you know, j maybe junior team members who are looking to grow and learn how to be that primary point of contact for a go-to-market leader. That’s that I’ve, I’ve been more flexible in where I’m hiring them and they, you know, in the future, if you ask me in five years, I’m sure I would tell you that I’m hiring go-to-market leader leadership partners in the RevOps side, right?
Everywhere. We’re just not there yet. But I definitely see it as a trend both for me personally and, and where the industry will head.
David: One of the exciting ways that RevOps teams have an opportunity to engage with the board or investors is the preparation of board materials. Is that something that your team is actively involved with?
Danny Schonfeld: Yes, yes. We prep a pretty substantial portion of the, of the go-to-market board materials.
David: And is that, something that, you’re doing with specific tool set or, are you, are you, doing it in a set way each, each time?
Danny Schonfeld: I tend to have a, a series of slides that resonate with the board that I do. I will update, you know, there’s, there’s the kind of standard high-level performance metrics and how we’re tracking against them that, that the board does care about, but also knowing where and when to probe on some of the specific initiatives and what the data’s indicating and how we’re progressing against those.
Right. And, and being able to unify that, right. Part of why I’m, I’m doing it every time cuz our, our board meets quarterly, is so that I can unify that, that story of, okay, we talked about this big plan we were making, how are we doing against that? What’s the data that’s showing that progress? And even if it’s not an explicit template, right?
It becomes sort of templatized and, that’s the way that I, my reports, the COO. What’s the way that, that he and I have, have kind of structured those materials and, while, while recognizing things they care about. So yeah, I, already mentioned the efficient growth piece. Making sure that that’s weaved in through the materials, being able to show yes, if there was this big investment that we’ve made, how it’s progressing and both from a, from a cost and, and return perspective and projections of where that’s heading so that we can keep having that barometer of, of measuring against.
I wanna, I wanna preempt and predict what questions they’ll ask. Make sure that we have that information ready. Cuz again, I’m not in those meetings.So we’ll spend a lot of time going through that and, and, and thinking through the different types of, of questions they’ll ask about and scenarios that, that are likely to.
Jarin: We’ll stay on the topic on reporting for a little longer, and I’m interested, you know, as you shape and craft that narrative and also, present that at accountability of what you’ve, you know, kind of looping back on what you’ve presented previously. Where do you typically go to for that ATA glance view so that you can focus your time on narrative rather than just trying to find and collect the.
Danny Schonfeld: It’s a good question. I’d say I spend, it’s, it’s also an iterative process. I wish I could say I had the narrative fully fleshed out before looking at the data, but often I’ll have some crazy idea that I’ll, I’ll run by my COO or my, my data and analytics person and, you know, we’ll look at it and it’ll tell something slightly different than we expected.
And there’s value in that too, right? Because that kind of gets at the story and then refine the narrative. So it’s probably a, a fairly similar amount of time that goes into it because it’s, it’s really important to make sure that you, you know, you’re thinking anyone, anyone can pull can pull numbers, but making like understanding the story that they, that they are telling and what decisions we should and should not make off of that based on a million factors is, is at the end of the day what I do.
Jarin: do you see that data? Are you looking at a specific system? Do you have a dashboard that you always go to?
Danny Schonfeld: We use, so for the go-to-market, datas are all originating in Salesforce. The with cost data, we also, we use, we use NetSuite as our, as our ERP. So cost data’s coming from net, Netflix or NetSuite, excuse me. And, so there’s some, something, some integration of those tools, regarding specific tools.
I then feed. Salesforce data into Tableau and have some more, more, consistent reports that I’ll look at and modify off of Tableau. Cuz there’s, there’s often different ways that I need to cut the data that I can’t just look at a specific dashboard to do for our, you know, the, the dashboards I view more as for our, our go-to-market leaders who aren’t gonna go in and, and actually manipulate a Tableau table, but the, or a Tableau dashboard.
Whereas that’s, that tends to be the, the primary tool I’ll use for, for cutting data. I also am a Excel junkie, so which I’m, I’m being forced to migrate over to Google Sheets, but I’m resistant to, somewhat resistant to doing so just cuz I used to teach Excel classes and very much,
Jarin: Did you really, I guess that sticks to your management consulting background. Can’t get away from Excel
Danny Schonfeld: I, well, I’ll say I also like, like I, I mentioned before, I like being in the details, right? I, and, and that’s one of the ways that I, I am able to speak to that, that level of, of detail, right, is by going through the numbers themselves. I build a planning file. I have for many, I don’t know, 10-ish consecutive planning cycles that I refer back to and my leadership team refers back to and can cut in a million different ways.
So, you know, short answer is Tableau, Salesforce, Excel, but there are many other offshoots that pull specific reports from as well.
Jarin: and I think there’s nothing wrong with trying to build out models in Excel because it is so flexible and extensible. I think the key, of course is at some point, how do we migrate it into a place where everyone else has that same visibility, that set amount of filters and different ways to look at it.
So we are on the same.
Danny Schonfeld: Yeah, back at LinkedIn I implemented Anaplan. At UiPath implemented adaptive, so have, have implemented different planning tools even with them. I will say having the, the planning file that summarizes all of our targets by, by year, by quarter, by segment, by land versus expand by ARR versus, versus, well, I guess ARR bookings versus, annual right exit ARR that we’re, we’re expecting the year and net dollar retention rate.
Having these in a way that aligned to how our business is structured and I know are, are at my and my exec team’s fingertips is, has been a really helpful tool for me over the years and something that I will always build every planning cycle.
Jarin: Yes. And having those shared definitions, you just kind of rattled off a whole bunch of, tools you’ve used before, you’ve implemented before. Is there a current tech stack tool that you feel like you cannot live without, that you wanna implement and you wanna make sure it’s there for every single RevOps role you’re in?
Danny Schonfeld: Oh man. I feel like I gave, I gave some of that away in the form of my, my planning file, right. Tableau is, is certainly a great data visualization tool. I have a love-hate relationship with clarity of the, the, the visualization and UI capabilities are great. The customization not quite as much, but it’s worked for me because for the use case I’ve needed that, that, that those visualization ability is so, not really, but. I, you know, SalesLoft versus Outreach for instance. Yes, I want one of them. Am I, am I tied to one or the other? Not necessarily. Cuz I’ve, I’ve seen success with both. So, I mean, Salesforce is a boring answer, but I haven’t seen a better, a better CRM solution that, that helps collect the data on, on Salesforce.
Jarin: Yeah. And we’re hearing that a lot just to have, certainly a lot of the top leaders in each of these kind of tech stack categories deliver similar types of functionality. But there are certain categories like what you just said. You know, the, the BDR tools, the forecasting tools, of course your core c r m, that’s a must, for a lot of RevOps leaders.
Danny Schonfeld: Yeah. Yeah, a hundred percent. And, I will say just on the, on the topic of, Tech Stack, not, excuse me, exactly what you ask about, but it, I have noticed a trend of vendors moving toward more consolidation. Horizontally across different like functionalities. I feel like everyone’s PI pitching me a forecasting tool these days.
And, I, get it. And it’s a good way of thinking about that. Efficient growth and cost-cutting. If I can consolidate across platforms, there’s ease of use benefits. I’m not, I’m not quite there yet, but it’s certainly a trend that I’m following and considering. But you know, I’ve, I’ve yet to see a, a substitute for Salesforce that will, will take its place.
David: Let’s, let’s think about tools that might take the place in the future. And specifically looking ahead, what do you think the next disruption will be within Rep Rev, op?
Danny Schonfeld: You know, I guess I, I mentioned the, the on sourcing versus offshoring versus outsourcing. I think that question is going to, Become more and more prevalent in the function and, you know, not to, not to scare many of your listeners are in, in the us not to scare anyone. There’s obviously, it’s still a place for it, but I think the, the level of talent that we have access to is just.
It is just so much larger versus, I mean, when I was at LinkedIn, I was in New York, I was hiring people specifically in New York. Even then when we moved to the remote environment as part of the pandemic, suddenly I was hiring people all over the country and then, like I said, over at UiPath and now, yeah, I’m looking, I’m looking internationally.
So there’s, there’s just so much more talent to be able to choose from, which is, is incredible and has, let me hire some and find some just really amazing people over the years. The, that said that, that speaks to the broader trend, right? That’s kind of a subset of that, that greater focus on cost and gross margins.
I talked about that efficient growth perspective in working with the board and us thinking about it from a, a more of a return perspective than a grow at all costs perspective. And that’s something that being able to report on our investments in a way that reflects their returns is, is going to be a continued trend that we pay attention to.
And I, I would, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention automation, AI, machine learning as part of it. That was, that’s what my, my past employer UiPath did. We recently acquired Alia, a AI provider. So it’s, these are, these are not specific to, they’re not specific to RevOps, but there’s a lot that, that we’re doing and I’m thinking about of applying automation to our processes, right?
That’s more process automation, which is UiPath bread and butter, but ways to do more for less and. Use the, the same trend that is, is all over tech nude cycles of, you know, in a, in a less explicit way, but of, of applying those concepts as you know, AI as a general purpose, technology to what we’re doing as well.
And I’m, I’m dipping my toes in it and see a ton of potential there.
David: So the first part of the podcast episode today, we talked a lot about RevOps. We talked about the role and, and what you’ve been doing at Glia. We’d like to shift now and talk about you. So you are in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You studied economics at Rice; you did an MBA at the Kellogg School at Northwestern. Your previous position, you were senior director of RevOps at UiPath. You’ve talked a little bit about that, today. What I’d like to know is, how did you get into SaaS RevOps?
Danny Schonfeld: Sure, and, I’ll say when I, when I first entered RevOps at LinkedIn, I was actually in the media function. So I, most of my, most of my RevOps tenure has been in media, not in SaaS. But I’ve, I’ve made that transition in the last couple years into SaaS. I think there’s, there’s benefits to both, and I’m, I’m, I think I’m, I’m thankful for my experience in media now being in SaaS.
Now with that said, what, what got me into it in the first place was I’ve always been interested in, in technology. I always wanted to work for a large tech company, and I, I was, you know, certainly a, a fan and follower of a lot of the, the tools that they’ve created. A lot of my consulting work was with tech companies or at least platforms that, that we’d work with them on.
And I also love that the combination of strategy and operations that I did as a consultant. And wanted to get off the road. I was traveling Monday to Thursday, basically every week. So living in New York where I’m from, it was, I, I found this opportunity at LinkedIn and it was, it was just a, a chance to get into the tech world.
I didn’t know much about sales ops or RevOps at the time. I just knew it was a way too mixed strategy and operations and Yeah, sure. Sales organization, I can, I can apply what I’ve done to that. That’s great. So it was, it was a, you know, I did a, I did a lot of research on it, of course, before the interview process, but I didn’t have explicit experience there.
It was more just I wanted to get into tech. Now, what I soon learned after that, which is, which is what brings me here, is that it was a great fit, for my, for my skills, for my interests, for, for being in a, in a visible and impactful role in, in tech companies, of being able to work on, you know, these really critical projects that we’re setting the, the, the blueprints for how we were gonna grow and expand and, and reach the next level.
And I, I love, I loved that. So that’s what, that’s what got me into it, and that’s what kept me.
David: So you’re coming up on a year in your current role at Lia. If you could go back to day one and give yourself some advice, what would that.
Danny Schonfeld: It would, it would be to, to look for the things that I found interesting versus kind of gunning for the next role or the next, the next promotion even I should say. I feel like I was, I was maybe overly invested in, you know, oh, what’s, what’s gonna, what can I work on that’s gonna help the organization and in a way that, you know, reflects well on my team that’s gonna grow my team and get me promoted to the next level and give me a bigger scope.
And, you know, I was, it was almost on the overly focused on the en extrinsic motivation factors rather than the intrinsic motivation factors. And when I look back on my time earlier in my career, especially the things that stick out were the ones that when I worked on stuff that was just really cool and motivating to work on.
And I found that that tended to be, when I was more invested in, it tended to also then create more value for the organization because it was, you know, there were, we had so many ideas that we could work from and so many things that can impact the org and. That like, there’s, there’s a lot more overlap there than I thought, and things kind of work out when you work on interesting things that are, are, you can, you can talk about passionately and I, I wish I, I dedicated a little bit more time toward, toward those bigger projects versus the, the constant, okay, I need to go there, I need to go there.
David: Well, what’s so great about focusing on interesting things is you’re, you’re gonna be more excited to learn and do more with that topic. You know, Danny, you mentioned having children before and you know it’s okay to focus on promotions and, and other things like growing your team. it’s totally understandable having little ones to think of.
Danny Schonfeld: Yes, yes, exactly. That’s, and, and, I don’t have, I don’t have great parallels for, for what I do and what my kids do other than, or, and, and like instilling lessons to my kids, but, I, they’re, they’re young. I have a four-year-old and a one and a half-year-old daughter, two, two girls and I, right. I mean, right now we’re focused on what’s, what’s most, what’s the most fun?
What do they have fun doing? Let’s do that, and are, and much less trying to push my hobbies or my interests on them than maybe I had expected to before having kids.
Jarin: We typically want to find out, you know, what’s next on someone’s career bucket list. But given what we just had a discussion about, maybe I. Wanna shift it a little bit. I mean, I do wanna hear what’s next on your career bucket list. That’s okay. You know, looking for the next thing. But I think more specifically, I wanna know what are those interesting things?
What are those skills? What are those areas that intrigue you, that you’d want to build on further? I maybe you wanna learn about, or, compliment what you already have in your experiences. Perhaps it’s not necessarily just the next role, but like what’s, what’s keeping your obsession, in terms of something you’d have a lot of fun, doing next or exploring next.
Danny Schonfeld: Yeah, sure. So, well, well, I’ll use, I’ll use the answer to, to the initial question that you wanted to ask to help, help answer the overall one, which is, which is a couple things that I’m, I’m excited about doing. One is to take a company public, hopefully that’s in, that’s in Glee’s future, and I, I don’t know yet.
We’re still, we’re still early stage, but that’d be a really exciting way to apply a lot of what I’ve learned to a, a new interesting challenge. The second one is, is being on a board. We talked a little bit before around prepping materials and finding the things that they, you know, thinking about the things that, that they’re thinking about from that very high-level perspective.
And I’d love to be on the other side of that someday as well. And, you know, what wanna think about working toward that at the same time. Not in a, not in a a rat race way of, of get the next promotion, but just as a interesting thing that I, I’d like to do someday. Back to the, the point though of, of, I guess, motivation and, and exciting things to work on, I, I, like, I, I’ve en I always enjoy learning about new functions and getting exposed to more aspects of the organization.
And one of the things that I’ve done is moved from relatively smaller scoped roles in larger companies to progressively larger scoped roles in smaller companies. So LinkedIn, right? Pretty huge organization. I was, I, I had, I had my, my org that I ran, but it was in a, it was in a relatively narrow part of LinkedIn as a whole.
UiPath, smaller organization, couple thousand. You know, LinkedIn was 15 to 20,000. By the time I left UiPath was a couple thousand. So I had a larger role running the central operations function. But moving over to Lia now and running revenue operations as a whole, that’s, I mean, that was really what excited me about coming over here and being able to now run all of the, all of the different go-to-market ops functions and just being exposed to, and getting the chance to learn about and apply the skills of making, making an organization or a company run more efficiently to these new functions.
And see that there’s both more in common that I can apply some of the things I’ve done well in other parts of the, of the org. Well, also, there being a lot of, of new different things to consider as well. That’s sort of, that’s sort of, mix of, of aspects is, is exciting. So I’m not saying I’m, you know, next is go to a smaller company, but I would like to continue to work more closely with maybe these other functions that either we don’t have yet, or I’m, I’m less exposed to than I, I hope to be.
Jarin: And let me just do one follow-up and get specific. You know, you’ve mentioned wanting to expand kind of your purview horizontally across an organization, get involved with different functions. You mentioned wanting, potentially maybe sitting on a board or taking a pump, company public. Are there specific skillsets that as you’re looking back at your very, very impressive journey and, and resume?
I mean, you’ve spent time at LinkedIn, you’ve done two stints at Deloitte, that you feel like, Hey, I, I wanna be able to round out my skillset in this way so that I feel prepared and so that I have this, the, the necessary requirements to go do those next things.
Danny Schonfeld: Yes. Something that’s been on my list for a long time is to spend, is to spend more time with, with clients, whether from a pre-sales ae more, you know, sales engineer AE perspective, or from a more post-sales CS perspective. But I do think that’s something just to, just to understand their, their con, their, you know, interests and concerns around using our product around interacting with our go-to-market teams.
It’s been something that I’ve, I’ve, I’ve had in the back of my mind and think that, think that would help. The other, it’s, you know, partially comes with experience and, and positioning, but I talked about building a lot of the materials for the board meetings. I’d love to, to move into, you know, being there and, and being able to engage in those types of discussions and, and be pushed in even more.
Interesting way is then than I, or different, you know, ways that are coming from a different perspective than what I’m used to at my day to day.
Jarin: Yeah. Makes a ton of sense. I know also you’re not a work-only person. You mentioned having, two daughters and obviously spending family time is important. Outside of work, who are you? What do you do to unwind? What are the things that bring you joy, make you sing literally or figuratively?
Danny Schonfeld: Yeah, yeah. Do a lot more singing than, than I used to with, with two young girls. Frozen music is pretty popular. The, and yeah, I mean, it’s a ton of family time, right? I, live with my, my wife and two young daughters. We got, we live in a fairly, fairly traditional suburban, you know, America, environment, which is very different than, than New York City where I grew up.
But it’s a, it’s a great place to, to raise my kids. And, you know, our block has within, within a block, there’s like 10 other families with kids our age. So it’s, it’s fun to have them go run around when it’s not quite this freezing. But, otherwise, I, I do have, I do squeeze in a couple hobbies. I’m, pretty competitive, especially outside of, outside of work.
So I play ultimate Frisbee, actually. I played since high school, pretty fairly competitively. I was in a, was in a, club team in col in high school and college. Traveled on a team for a few years after college until it wasn’t really possible anymore with work and, and, and growing up. But now I more play casually with, with the league over here.
And then along those lines, I play strategy board games, also known as hobby board games in the community. It’s a good way, it’s a good outlet for, for competitiveness while also having a shared activity with, with people who just kind of something to do well while getting to know a lot of the, the neighbors and people around here.
The, the last thing I’ll mention is I do, I do enjoy reading and consuming content and, I read a lot of behavioral economics books and, listen to those sorts of podcasts as well and just to try to be a more interesting, thoughtful person. Well, I’m just getting Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s just a lot of fun to, to do that stuff for me.
David: So very cool. So I imagine Settlers of Katan has been in your repertoire of games at some point in the past.
Danny Schonfeld: It is. I have a, have a version that’s about 25 years old
David: Oh, that’s great.
Danny Schonfeld: is falling apart, so yes.
David: That’s great. So you mentioned some rev, some, resources you turn to for behavioral economics learning. What resources do you turn to for RevOps learning?
Danny Schonfeld: The number one is people who I trust and have worked with over the years. So I actually have a text thread with, with two former colleagues, Kyle Stout and Bart Pi, who are just both really amazing close friends and, who I will sometimes we’ll all kind of run crazy ideas by. Kyle was my manager over at, at LinkedIn and UiPath and, remains a very close friend and mentor and.
Someone I will always look up to and be grateful for, for everything he did for me in my career. Bart reported to me at both LinkedIn and UI Path, and also we’ve, we’ve stayed really close, and I am, is is just a brilliant person who will I know, give me a thoughtful response to whatever, whatever crazy idea I give to him.
They both, they both work in the field as well and, are, are really good resources. There’s a lot of other former colleagues that, that I do still keep up with regularly, both as a mentor, more as a more, as a, as a mentor for many of them.And I like, I like thinking, hearing the sorts of things that the, they’re thinking about in their careers.
On the other end is I listen to SaaStr podcast. I read the Selling Brew emails that are, I always enjoy the, the metaphors that they’ll come out with. For thinking about various RevOps or sales ops issues and, and, would be lying if I said I never applied any of those to some of the work I was doing and how I share concepts.
So I do try to, try to read some content as well and, and consume some content that keeps me current and think through ideas. I’m sure a lot of people, when you ask the trend question, you’re talking about PLG. That’s less of the case for us right now, but I, or even use usage based pricing, right?
Those, those are on my radar and, and I’m always thinking about whether it’s time to start introducing some of those concepts over here. But, my biggest and most important resource is my, my network.
David: Thank you for sharing all that. That’s fantastic. And I hope for all of our listeners that each of you are building up that network of trusted, individuals like Danny described. It’s so, so incredibly valuable. So, Danny, where can people find you? Are you out on social media, perhaps LinkedIn.
Danny Schonfeld: Yes, LinkedIn would, is the, is the one form of social media that I use. I’m not, I’m not the most prolific poster, but I aspire to be more of, more of one and, would love to, you know, maybe, maybe that’s another career bucket list item is, is become more influential in the field as well. It’s one that I really love and, and am excited about its growth and opportunity and how we’re able to make a difference and, and be recognized at organizations.
I mean, one trend is the, the existence of RevOps and, and proliferation of RevOps as a whole, and the fact that, you know, you two are here doing this sort of thing. This is, this is, this is amazing. I love this. And, it’s very much where I’m excited to continue to grow my career and, and hopefully help a lot of others as.
David: So Danny, where can people go to learn more about Lia?
Danny Schonfeld: Well, if you’re on video, you’ll notice a, my, my virtual background, advertising a digital Customer service summit, a conference that we’re, we’re hosting this year. Excited to share. So both to, to learn about the industry and about Lia itself. We actually have Magic Johnson as our keynote speaker there, which is, which is really exciting.
That’s coming up in April in Arizona to help share the I idea in the future of where this, this rapidly growing and bu industry is, is headed. That that Lias helped pioneering, helping pioneer, otherwise our lia.com or the digital customer service book that our CEO actually wrote and helping establish the category.
David: Oh, that’s so great. You know, Danny, it’s been so, such a pleasure to have you on the podcast as our guest today. Both Jarin and I know we’ve learned a lot. I know our listeners have learned a lot. You’ve shared so many great examples of how you’ve structured your team, how you think about systems and processes and data, and how you interact with your peers to continue your learning journey.
We really appreciate you sharing all this on the podcast.
Danny Schonfeld: Well, thank you so much David and Jaren for having me. I, it’s, it’s been, it’s been a blast really, thankful to have, get gotten to know you two as well. And like I said, my, my best form of staying current and, and learning is through my network. So I’m glad to have been able to add in to add the two of you to it as well.
Jarin: And I. Thank, our audience for listening today. I know a lot of the audience are folks in similar positions, you know, trying to grow their teams or trying to manage, their teams through this challenging economy right now. Also, lots of up-and-comers. I think your advice, Danny, on, focusing on the things that you are interested in and focusing on the things that you’re enjoying and having fun, doing is perhaps more important than just that extrinsic next position.
And I think money and promotions tend to be a, positive side effect of doing things well. So I, learned a lot from you today, Danny. I enjoyed the conversation and certainly for the folks listening, if you got a great tip from Danny’s conversation with us today, please share the podcast and tell a colleague about, this episode.
Thank you, Danny, for coming on the show today.
Danny Schonfeld: you. Thank you so much.
Jarin: And this has been another exciting gem-filled episode of RevOps Rock Stars. See you next time.
David: Stay classy, rock stars.