Introducing Order to Chaos – Ali Seibel – RevOps Rockstars
Ali has a passion for scalable processes and a knack for keeping people on their toes. She is a constant innovator who consistently goes above and beyond. Welcome to the show, Director of Revenue Operations at Groove, Ali Seibel! Ali joins hosts David Carnes and Jarin Chu to talk about what it means to be a RevOps leader, how to effectively enable your teams, and the challenges faced when running a RevOps team.
“When I first start at a company, I ask the leadership team, ‘hey, give me names of some high performers and some people that are struggling.’”Ali Seibel, Director of Revenue Operations at Groove
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:
Here are the top takeaways from the discussion:
- The importance of gathering data and insights: Ali Seibel highlights the value of collecting data and insights by directly engaging with the company’s high performers and struggling individuals. By understanding their day-to-day challenges and pain points, she aims to make them more efficient. This approach allows her to identify and address common themes to improve overall productivity.
- The challenges of introducing a new role and function: As the first RevOps hire at a company, Ali Seibel faced the challenge of introducing a new role and function to an organization that had never had it before. Doing so required defining the role’s responsibilities and bringing order to the existing chaos. Some individuals may resist such changes as they prefer a more flexible and unstructured environment.
- The importance of internal champions: Ali emphasizes the significance of finding internal champions, particularly those who are curious and eager to drive the adoption of new processes or tools. These individuals can help ensure the success of RevOps initiatives. However, finding suitable internal stakeholders can be challenging, especially in smaller companies with limited resources.
- The importance of technology in RevOps: RevOps heavily relies on technology to ensure the proper functioning of essential tools for the revenue team. The conversation revolves around the significance of a specific tool called Groove, which integrates seamlessly with Salesforce, making it easier for sales representatives to update data and improve overall efficiency.
- Passion for the product: Ali expresses her strong passion for Groove as a former customer and RevOps professional. She not only loves the tool but also recommends it to others and would purchase it again without hesitation. An employees passion for the product and their roles within the company is a key characteristic of successful SaaS companies.
Hear from Ali about any of the topics discussed on this week’s podcast
- What’s something Ali had to learn the hard way?
- What does the RevOps team at Groove look like?
- How does Ali manage a growing RevOps team?
- How does Ali balance in-house and external resources?
- What does Ali’s role as Director of Revenue Operations entail?
- How does Ali measure success in her role?
- How does Ali hone in and stay close to the revenue numbers?
- What type of tech stack tools are most critical to success at Groove?
- What does Ali think the future of RevOps looks like?
- Learning more about Ali’s background
- RevOps shout outs
Expanding your professional career
It was incredible to hear from Ali how she cuts through the noise and chaos to craft a well-oiled RevOps process. So many great tips and tricks for RevOps leaders to bring back and try out in their organizations!
Connect with Ali on LinkedIn to hear even more RevOps insights, or look at her company, Groove. Our next episode features special guest Danny Schonfeld, VP of Revenue Operations at Glia. Watch all our past recordings on the RevOps Rockstars Youtube channel!
This podcast is part of the #RevOpsRockstars network.
Full Automated Transcript
Ali Seibel: when I first started a company, I asked the leadership team, Hey, give me names of some high performers and some people that are struggling.
And I just wanna talk to them like, what are they doing? How does their day-to-day, like, what do they struggle with so I can make them more efficient and kind of like just gather data and kind of look and say, Hey, did you know that every single one of your sellers mentioned the same thing as the pain point?
No. Great. Let’s talk about it.
Welcome to RevOps Rock Stars in Pursuit of Unicorns. I’m David Carnes. And I’m Jaren Chu. Join us as we interview RevOps leaders to explore the challenges they have faced, the biggest lessons they’ve learned, and what they think makes a RevOps rockstar. This show is brought to you by Op. Focus on a mission to help companies run their businesses better by letting you focus on growth while we scale your operations.
Let’s get this show on the road.
Jarin Chu: guest on the podcast is our newest RevOps rockstar. She’s a RevOps Swiss army knife by day, cheesehead dog, mom, and wine enthusiast by night. She has a knack for keeping people on their toes and a passion for scalable processes before, during, and after work hours. Wanna hear more about that in a little bit.
She is constantly innovating and as a leader who goes above and beyond. We’ve got the Director of Revenue Operations here at Groove, Allie Sebel. Welcome to the show.
Ali Seibel: Thanks for having me. Super pumped to be here.
Jarin Chu: Allie. We have seen your really impressive background, and you’ve worked in, a variety of operations throughout the years. As you kind of reflect back on all of those different kinds of roles, what is something you feel like you’ve had to learn in RevOps? The hard.
Ali Seibel: I would say that not everyone loves RevOps. I don’t mean that not everyone wants to work in RevOps way, but in the sense that people do. Always appreciate the work we do. And I learned that the hard way by being the first RevOps hire at a company. And that’s pretty challenging because you’re introducing the role and the function to a company that’s never had it before.
And you’re not only defining what you do there, but you’re also someone who has to essentially introduce order to chaos. And some people like chaos because that means they can do whatever they want, and it’s the wild, wild west, and you’re coming in as a sheriff. So I learned the hard way, and in the same kind of, situation, I learned that when you are the first hire, it means you don’t really have someone to go to.
There isn’t someone at the company for you to learn from and grow with. So you have to rely on online resources and the kindness of other people who have gone through what you’re going through. And that was a really tough pill to swallow for.
Jarin Chu: I can definitely see the need to build affinity groups and communities. Just who, people who get what you’re going through. But when you mentioned, you know, joining a new company and, and not having folks to exactly understand your function or role, who are some of the folk’s types of roles that you’ve found over time that, hey, these are good people to have kind of in, in, in my corner, who are the folks who you can rely on to be good all.
Ali Seibel: Yeah, I’ve found that the people that ask the questions when rolling out a new process or changing a process or implementing a tool, the people that are really curious are the people that I like to. Identify as internal stakeholders and say, Hey, I really need a champion on the sales team to help really drive adoption of whatever it is that we’re trying to do.
And usually, that person is really eager to help because they want to see the benefit of whatever we’re doing. So we’re implementing, Hey, we really need more meeting data. Go in and update your meeting outcome and purpose because I want to teach you the math of sales. And I can’t do that without data.
And if this, if someone’s like, oh my God, you know what? I’ve been wanting this information for so long; what can I do to help you? And I tell them, and they like to work with their team. And I think finding those internal stakeholders can really help with that. But sometimes, depending on the size of the company, there’s not that person.
If there’s like two or three sales reps, and they’re all just like quota driven. So I think it kind of depends, but you do kind of have to poke around and, and find those people.
David Carnes: So, Allie, your company Groove, works with enterprise sales teams that use Salesforce. You make a sales productivity platform; you have just over 200 employees. You’ve, you took a series B round of funding 45 million in 2021. Tell us about the team that you’ve begun, your RevOps team.
Tell, tell us about, you know, how many folks are on your team and how you divvy up.
Ali Seibel: Yeah, so it’s just me and one other person on my team. And Eric Wa started as a support specialist, and today’s actually his three year anniversary, and I was his first ticket. On his first day of work, I was his first customer ticket, which I just think is amazing. But it’s just me and him. And he moved into a RevOps role about six or seven months before I started.
So he was in a very similar boat to what I wa was in, in my first RevOps job. And right now, we’re really kind of deciding, you know, who’s gonna own what. And we’re still working through that, even though it’s been almost a year. But we really kind of focus on the, like, I let him do some of the technical stuff because he’s really good at it, and he’s a really good learner.
And I try to focus on the strategic stuff while also including him and like, Hey, this is what I’m thinking about. Does it make sense to you? I know it’s technically possible, but like, is there a better way of thinking about it? So I try to handle most of the meetings where I’m talking to the stakeholders and getting the OKRs for the business for the year and for the quarter.
And then work with him on identifying stuff that he finds interesting so that he’s more than just a, like ticket pusher and then stuff that I found interesting. So we’re kind of like, Both getting the, the stuff we’re passionate about, but also have to do, you know, the, the dirty work that not everyone loves.
But, we’re really a, we’re really a team, and we kind of like jive off each other and we, we have a Jira ticket board, and if he sees a ticket that he can quickly do, he grabs it. If I see one, I quickly grab it. So, I hope to grow the team this year. I’m hoping to get two heads, but I’m really not sure yet what that looks like because we’re, we are growing so fast.
So what I need today is probably different than what I need three months from now. But yeah, I’m just, I’m really excited to have my team.
David Carnes: So you’ll smile. I was, I was speaking with someone yesterday at a software company, a SaaS company, with a company size of about 600. Their RevOps team has 40 on it. So you, you think of, you know, the growth between where, where you’re at and, and we see this all the time. The importance, the significance, the strategic nature of RevOps just increases and increases with that growth.
So you may need, you may end up needing more than two headcounts,
Ali Seibel: Yeah, that would be a dream.
David Carnes: in the short term. So then, how do you, how do you determine, since you’ve basically begun this, this organization, how do you determine what functions that you’re owning and sort of stay on top of the changing needs of the growing organization?
Ali Seibel: Yeah, it’s kind of, It’s kind of challenging because when you, when you joined a company, you know, kind of like saying the opposite of what I said earlier, where, we were 150 people big when I joined, but we really didn’t have a RevOps function. There were Salesforce admins, and we have like, you know, sales engineers and customer success engineers kind of doing what they need to for their teams.
So I’m right now in the process of saying, Hey guys, like this might have been owned by someone on your team previously because there wasn’t me. And kind of like taking that away from them slowly and helping them understand why it should sit with my team versus their team. And then really like identifying, okay, like we don’t have a dedicated marketing ops person.
Marketing ops is just not my passion. I don’t really know Pardot, but we have a really great director of DemandGen who came from Marketing Op. So, you know, I had a conversation with him and said, Hey, I think you’re better equipped to kind of handle some of these systems and some of these pieces. Are you comfortable with that?
And, you know, he, he agreed to it until we get to a point where we have that headcount. So it’s really identifying what we need to own right now, and then what I like to call future US problems, which is like, yes, ideally, this should be owned by my team. Right now, we just don’t have the bandwidth. So I just work closely with the people who own it now to understand exactly how they’re using it.
So I’m better equipped to take it over, or someone on my team is better equipped to take it over down the road.
David Carnes: It’s such an interesting balance between, you know, on one end, it could be seen as you’re trying to grow an FTO and keep taking on more and more, more stuff. But in other, in other situations, like just practically, it makes more sense for these various functions within the business to roll up under RevOps.
So, it’ll be interesting to watch your journey over, you know, the next period of time as, as groove continues its growth, because, you know, so, so many interesting changes will be coming to your team. How how do you determine the right balance of in-house workforce versus outsourced work?
Ali Seibel: yeah. I think, I personally kind of look at it in terms of. Is this something that I’m not able to do technically, or I just don’t have the knowledge to do it, versus is it something I just don’t have the bandwidth to do? Cuz I’ve worked with Salesforce consultants or like, Hey, I’m not a developer, and I need 60 hours of developer time to help fix something that was built years ago, whatever.
Versus we need someone to scrub data, and we need it done quickly and cheaply. I. Don’t love outsourcing that kind of work to offshore contractors. I know a lot of people do because it’s quick, it’s cheap, and you know, they can get it done. But for me, like I would rather pay an intern twice what we’re paying someone offshore because I can really manage the project and check in with them and give them feedback on, like, Hey, this isn’t exactly what we’re looking for.
And hopefully, like, grow them into a person I can hire eventually. Or they have a skillset they can use elsewhere versus like we’ve, we just had a contractor project that we got the data back for, and they didn’t follow the instructions completely, and there was a middleman between them and us. So when we got it back, we had to spend a bunch of time like cleaning up the data and that just seems like.
You know, counterintuitive having done out, outsource that work and then having to clean it up myself anyway. So, I think there is a balance, but that’s kind of how I look at it. And I really love to tap into, you know, resources that I find online of like, Hey, you work for this consulting firm, I need this project done.
Like, let’s chat and see if it’s a good fit for both of us, because especially at your size like we have to be wise about where we spend our time and money and make sure that it’s like gonna give us a good ROI.
David Carnes: That makes a lot of sense. So your title is Director of Revenue Operations. What does your day-to-day entail?
Ali Seibel: I think it depends on the day and the week and, you know, kind of like what month and the quarter it is. But, I spend probably half of my day. In, in meetings, talking with the stakeholders of the various projects that are influenced by our OKRs. And then a little bit of, you know, firefighting depending on like someone’s report’s broken, this is broken, whatever.
And then I do try to block off chunks of my afternoon to kind of work on those projects that are impacted or influenced by our OKRs. Cuz I feel like a lot of the stuff that I do requires being just heads-down for a couple of hours. You can’t just work on it for 30 minutes at a time. And then also just documenting what I’m working on and the progress it’s making so that anyone on our team or outside of our team can see kind of what we’re doing.
So like right now, a lot of my time is spent on territories. We implemented a new tool, and it wasn’t the smooth smoothest implementation. So if you had asked me in November if I would still be working on territories in February, I would’ve laughed at you. But yet, here we are. So that’s kind of my focus right now.
And then, once that’s done, I couldn’t even tell you what the next, next week or month looks like after territories are wrapped. And that’s kind of why I love RevOps, is it’s something different, and it’s kind of like evolving as the year goes.
David Carnes: Yeah, and, and that evolution probably makes it a challenge. How do you measure success and even convince others of success in the role? So out of curiosity, how do you measure success in your role?
Ali Seibel: Yeah, so I like to call it word-of-mouth success. This is maybe not the best phrase, but essentially when end users or managers or whoever comes up to me or Slack, me or my boss or someone else and say, Hey, that thing you did, man, did it make my life easier? Or, now I have more visibility into this, or, thanks for coming to office hours and just telling us about some of the stuff you do or talking with a customer of ours.
And just the positive feedback is kind of how I measure that success. You know, I had an example of that during our company offsite in January, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if those new processes or change in the process actually had an impact. So asking for that feedback or having it come to me organically is really kind of how I measure success because it is hard.
Tie a number and an OKR to some of the stuff that we do.
Jarin Chu: Allie, let me expand the conversation a bit, and I am interested in some of the things that might not be so traditionally considered RevOps. RevOps in, you know, the Forester framework is; usually, there’s a component of product marketing, marketing, sales. Maybe there’s enablement in their CS when we think about the capability of RevOps to affect so many of the different functions within, and also knowing that RevOps tends to inherit or take on projects that no one else really has space for.
Ali Seibel: Mm.
Jarin Chu: are some of those other kinds of functions you’re collaborating with, initiatives that you’re working on across the business that might not be so neatly tied into, RevOps traditionally?
Ali Seibel: Yeah, I would say, all three companies I’ve worked at where I’ve done RevOps, there’s been a little bit of like, oh, this isn’t traditional RevOps, but it makes sense for the role, and the business. Like my previous company and my current company have, Salesforce apps, right? So they would come to, they come to me, and they say, Hey, we’re thinking about rolling this out as a product feature or adding this, you know, new product, and we wanna pick your brain because you are, our ICP and we wanna see if this would be valuable to you.
And sometimes, like, it misses, and I’m like, Hey guys, I really don’t understand what you’re trying to solve for. This is cool, and it’s like a nice bell and whistle, but it’s not really doing anything for me or for the team, my support that would use this in, in the long run. So, working with products is something that I really, really love, especially if I am their ideal customer profile.
I’m like, use me, like, pitch it to me. Sell me on it because I can tell you what your challenges, like, what, you know, you’re gonna face in terms of. , Hey, I’m not gonna buy this for whatever reason. Like I can help you with objection handling so you’re better equipped from a marketing side and a sales side.
So I think I, I really love that piece about it. But then also having been a former customer, I get to connect a lot with our customers because they are in RevOps and they’re trying to solve for problems that either I’ve solved for with using this tool or using a different tool, or just like having someone to, I like to call it rubber ducking, where like you just need to talk to someone about what you’re thinking about to see how they react to it and to see if they have any input for you.
And I would say like that, those two things specifically I think are pretty non-traditionalRevOps things that I do that I really just love. And I think it’s what makes, RevOps so great, like, it can include a bunch of other things that aren’t RevOps specific.
Jarin Chu: I love that, the way you said, Hey, leverage me as a resource because I know the pain of our buyers, so, Don’t, you know, just don’t just go out there making assumptions. Like, let me tell you, walk you through what are the things that would get me excited. Features, certain kinds of messaging, and ways that you’d help that buyer actually make their lives easier.
You’re talking a little bit about kind of that front end, what happens at the start of the business on the product marketing side, product messaging. Do you also work with folks kind of more on the back end of that customer experience? Folks like finance, um, folks like operations. How does that kind of overlap with your role?
Ali Seibel: Yeah, so I work pretty closely with, our finance team. It’s partially because my boss, he’s the VP of operations, so he overseesRevOps and finance. And, some of the stuff that I owned at previous companies, like, you know, contract management or deal desk, is really owned by our finance team and they, you know, implemented a CPQ before I came on.
So now I have to work closely with them because, our CPQ was built for our finance team because they’re the ones that implemented it versus for the end users and for reporting and stuff like that. So I’m working with them on, hey, what is the CPQ stuff that we like with our current product and what are we missing and how can we get to a path where we find something that checks most of our boxes?
And then even when it comes to like rolling out a new commission plan, getting involved with, Hey, does this make sense having been an SDR like where you comp similarly or even are we able to report on this in the system? And are we able to trust the data that’s in the system to pull it into our commission planning system?
And I think working with those people, especially when it comes to like rolling out pricing, like how we’re gonna address that with our, with our sellers or new discount, you know, thresholds and how it impacts their commission. We just rolled out, you know, an incentive for multi-year deals. So making sure that whatever RevOps is incentivizing our teams with and rolling out there is actually trackable in the systems and we can actually like, implement it in a way that isn’t like, Let me do all this, you know, calculations in a spreadsheet and then dump it into Salesforce, then have to redo it a bunch of different times.
So I would say they’re one of like my main stakeholders because they do work with a lot of the other, cross-functional teams that I do. So it makes sense for us to kind of, you know, make sure we’re locked in step.
Jarin Chu: Yeah, I think it’s great to hear of course, that RevOps in this case is kind of rolling up to a centralized ops function. And, given that, you know, your, your VP manages also financed to be able to have that unique opportunity to be closer to them to talk about things like product pricing or making sure commissions are aligned, which of course is so important to any RevOps function.
Because of this alignment, because of the way you roll up to your head of, operations, does that make you feel like you could be further, or you wanna be closer to certain other functions? Like, you know, the, the difference I think between having a centralized ops function versus ops rolling up into a specific revenue team, there’s a different dynamic there, right?
How do you stay close to the revenue-generating.
Ali Seibel: Yeah. So, there’s, there’s kind of two different ways I do that. The, the first is, Well, the, the discovery calls with my internal users when I first start and then implementing some sort of cadence of meetings with the leadership. So when I first started a company, I asked the leadership team, Hey, give me names of some high performers and some people that are struggling.
And I just wanna talk to them like, what are they doing? How does their day-to-day, like, what do they struggle with so I can make them more efficient and kind of like just gather data and kind of look and say, Hey, did you know that every single one of your sellers mentioned the same thing as the pain point?
No. Great. Let’s talk about it. And then really just having, like, I have a weekly, meeting with our head, with our like sales leaders and then a bi-weekly meeting with our, CX leaders and then some other bi-weekly or monthly meetings with some other cross-functional roles. The on, especially in this like work from home world, I need to make sure that we’re on the same page and that what they’re telling their teams is aligned with what I’m working on with my team and just making sure that, Hey, this isn’t a problem, but this is something that I think we should work on or identify that we need to get better at.
Like, not maybe today, but let’s talk about, your OKRs for your specific teams and what you need help with from my team so that I can work it into our OKRs. Cause that’s really where I get our OKRs from, is I give each of the GTM teams one OKR or quarter. Sometimes they get two if they’re, if they’re really needy.
And that’s kind of what I, I use to drive my cross-functional alignment with them because if they’re dependent on me to complete one of their OKRs, then they have to talk to me, and most of the time they like to talk to.
Jarin Chu: especially the way you’ve described, you know, trying to incorporate some of that user experience and pain points maybe that you’re hearing about, maybe not even their leadership is hearing about you, you know, as a function that becomes the darling of all the other revenue teams. That’s
Ali Seibel: Yes, I would.
Jarin Chu: RevOps can’t get away from tech, of course, because the big part of what we do is to ensure that all of this tech essential to the revenue team’s job is functioning appropriately. Is there something in your tech stack today that you’re like, I cannot live without that.
Ali Seibel: Honestly, it’s, it’s groove. The company I work for, you know, as you guys mentioned, we’re a sales engagement platform that helps enterprise teams execute on their revenue strategy. And from a RevOps perspective, it makes Salesforce data more accurate and makes reporting more reliable. And I’m, I’m not just trying to pitch the product, but as a former customer, when I first saw Groove, it was love at first sight.
So much so that I reached out to my former boss and the head of the SDR team at the company I had left to tell them about it because I knew they were struggling with their current solution. And as a former s d R and end user of other tools and an admin of, of similar tools, I was just blown away by Groove’s seamless.
Integration cuz it’s, it’s Salesforce native so it just makes Salesforce easier to update cuz reps don’t love being in Salesforce, but they love working in a tool that they don’t necessarily have to go to Salesforce to update things. And it just, it just makes things so much easier from my perspective.
Cause I don’t have to worry about, Hey, is the data not flowing from one system to the other? And I can actually tell my sales leaders like, yeah, you can trust this stuff. So, there is no situation where I would not buy it again at any other company I work for and, you know, 10 outta 10 would, would buy it again.
And I just think, I’m really lucky to work for a company whose product I’m so passionate about. And there’s a lot of other people that, customers that I talk to that, that, that feel the same way and kind of, you know, nudge me like, Hey, if you’re ever hiring another RevOps person, you know, I’d love to work for Groove.
So yeah, I think that is a, that’s a tool that I would just never live.
David Carnes: How great is that? I think, you know, having spent a, a career in and around software, the, the best synergies I’ve seen are where, when a former customer becomes, a team member helping to grow an, an organization and you just bring so much, you know, real life, you know, pain points from the past and awareness of the solution, ideas for future enhancements, all that.
So really that’s, that’s out.
Ali Seibel: Yeah, and it’s actually pretty cool because my boss is also a former customer. He started two, I think two months before I did. And then our senior Director of customer success, she was also a former customer and started a couple months before, before Craig did. So, it’s just really powerful to see three, people in director level or above join the company.
All because they just love the product so much. And I think that’s pretty.
Jarin Chu: I think that’s probably the hallmark of some of the best SaaS companies out there on the market now. I think on the podcast alone, you know, the last, probably 20, 25 episodes we’ve recorded, we’ve had more than a handful of folks who were like, well, I was actually a customer and it was so amazing and that’s why I joined.
I think that really is, the best representation. A company being truly valuable, right? It’s not, I feel like a lot of, pundits out there will say, well, SaaS companies are just selling to SaaS companies and, you know, trying to solve these problems that may or may not really have an impact when you join as a customer, you’re like, this made my life better.
That’s why I wanted to join. It’s
Ali Seibel: Yeah, I was actually kind of worried that they weren’t gonna hire me because the sales team, used me a lot for reference calls. And I was like, dang, I, I wonder if they’re not gonna hire me because they don’t wanna lose one of their top, referenceable customers. But luckily that wasn’t the case and they hired me.
So I’m very
Jarin Chu: Well now you’re working very closely with marketing, with their decks and their materials, so I’m pretty sure they got more than the reference value.
Ali Seibel: that’s right.
Jarin Chu: Allie, where do you get your, at a glance view of how the organization is doing, how the revenue teams are, are doing? You are helping everything from product marketing all the way down to finance.
How do you keep tabs on the way things are running in.
Ali Seibel: Yeah, so we, we have a lot of data that doesn’t necessarily flow into Salesforce right now. So while we have some really good Salesforce dashboards for our teams and our end users for, you know, measuring where they’re at with meetings booked, pipeline generated, all that good stuff, We do have like one of those like god awful, massive Google sheets that’s pulling stuff in from a bunch of different systems because we just don’t have a data lake right now.
And we, we hope to eventually, and especially cuz our customer data is so important to like kind of loop into all of this. We’re, we’re working towards that. We’re definitely baby stepping our way there, but we do have some good dashboards and reports in Salesforce. We use. We also have a forecasting tool which our, our sales leaders use, and our own product has some pretty awesome analytics that our leaders use as well to get an idea of like what their team is doing per, in terms of performance and number of meetings booked, number of conversations having, and then also kind of like is it positive conversations?
Are we booking meetings off of those conversations? Are emails landing well? So, um, we, that’s kind of bunch of, different places right now, but we’re definitely moving to the world of let’s get it all in one place. But it’s just a matter of like when
David Carnes: So Allie, we’ve talked about a number of different topics. RevOps, I’m curious if we come up a few levels and you, you know, you look ahead maybe into your crystal ball, what do you think will be the next big disruption to RevOps?
Ali Seibel: Yeah, so I don’t, I don’t know if you would consider this a disruption, but maybe it could be depending on who you are, but I think, there are still people who consider when they think of RevOps, they just think of systems. They don’t think of, kind of like the, the other things that RevOps can offer in terms of process and just like change management and other things that we do behind the scenes.
I’ve dealt with this in the past. I’ve heard it from my peers that someone says, oh, we don’t need to loop RevOps in until the system needs to change, or we need to buy this tool or implement this tool. And that’s just not true. I think that sometimes there’s this idea that RevOps professionals are systems or technical people who understand how business works.
And I think it’s the opposite. I think RevOps people are business-minded people that also just happen to love systems, understand what’s technically possible, and are dangerous enough to, to do some stuff in systems to make things happen. But we’re not just systems and we’re, we’re not it. And I work closely with our IT teams on some things and like the IT function is very important, but it’s different than mine.
And when you’re locked out of your email, you know, don’t. Don’t ask me, ask it. But at the same time, you know, when it comes to things like rolling out new comp plants or territories, sometimes they root, they loop in RevOps too late because they think it’s like, oh, we just need them to make a bunch of changes in Salesforce.
Versus, Hey, do you think this makes sense how we’re looking at territories? Does the data that we’re using actually tell us what we think it’s telling us? Or are we grasping for straws here? So I think,I think, I hope that that is kind of like the next disruption to RevOps because I think it would do everyone some good to kind of understand, you know, that we’re more than just our tools.
David Carnes: Yeah, it’s so, so important. I was, I’m, I’m mentoring a, a group of people earlier in their careers hoping to, you know, make a splash in the Salesforce community. And that was one of the topics we were talking about last night, like, you know, if you go at this headlong just thinking about being a tech resource, you’re kind of missing a big opportunity.
And, you know, if you think of a broader thing likeRevOps and the value you can bring to the business, you, you still get the chance to play with the technology, but you’re bringing so much more value to the business, and you know, that’s more likely to be hired.
Ali Seibel: Yeah, I mean, I, I got my RevOps start by like becoming a Salesforce admin at like, as I was learning what RevOps was. So it’s definitely a way to get into it. I, I’m not trying to say that I need to be involved in every single conversation that happens, but I can usually tell you after one meeting what my level of involvement needs to be or should be and then when you actually need to bring me in.
And I think that’s what the missing piece is. And to your point, like, I think it’s great that, people are like, Hey, I’m good at systems. Could I be good at RevOps? But I don’t think you necessarily have to be, and I don’t think just because you’re good at systems means you can be good at RevOps.
David Carnes: Yeah. No, that’s such an interesting point. All right. So I think you’ve, you’ve brought us on a nice, you know, segue to talking about you. So you are based in Santa Barbara. Interestingly, we have something in common that it’s snowed in your area and it’s snowed here north of Boston in the last few days.
That’s not something I expected to say on this, on this episode so you studied at St. Louis University. You did a. Of business administration and marketing. Your prior role was at HG Insights where you were the Senior manager of Global Revenue Operations. It seems like you’ve had a number of roles progressing over the years.
Can you tell us how did you get into SaaS RevOps in the first place?
Ali Seibel: Yeah, I would say, my RevOps journey isn’t typical, although I don’t think there is a typical path into RevOps. But after I graduated from Slew, I worked at an experiential marketing agency working with liquor and tobacco brands to execute on events that would drive brand awareness and customer acquisition.
Which at the time I didn’t really think was operations. But looking back at it, it definitely was. I had to find the right events within our target market and audience collect data to see if we were actually interacting with that intended audience. Tracking sample numbers and then seeing what impact that had on sales.
So I really love that and it was fun for a while going to events and music festivals I wouldn’t normally go to. But it was a grind as you can imagine, like having to work like, you know, 15 hour days on weekends and then also be in an office. And there just wasn’t a lot of, vertical growth and I really.
Something more out of my career and my entire life. People had told me, you know, you should go into sales. So I decided, you know what? I wanna get into sass and I really wanna be the captain of my own success. And I think I’d be really good at sales cuz it, you know, depends on me doing my job well.
So I joined a startup as an SDR. I was employed number nine. There had never been an SD r, never worked in SaaS, never worked in healthcare tech, and I had never even been in Salesforce. Not to mention I moved from St. Louis, Missouri to Santa Barbara, having never stepped foot in Santa Barbara.
Just packed up my dog and my boyfriend at the time. Now my husband and, moved here. So I worked as an S D R for a couple months, did well and loved it, but realized the lack of process, chaos in our systems and just general confusion on what was happening, distracted me. So the c e O approached me and said, Hey, you know, we really need someone to own.
Sales operations and sales enablement, clean up our tools and also run our conferences. And, you know, having done one out of four of those jobs, I was like, yes, I can do this. Really kind of grew my career there. Fell in love with RevOps and, you know, never looked back and left there going to HG Insights where I was for a couple years and, and now I’m at Groove.
And, you know, I, I really feel like I was born for RevOps, even if my journey to get here took me a little bit of time and to move across the country, but, couldn’t be more grateful for it.
David Carnes: That is so awesome. You were born for RevOps, what a great feeling, that harmony of being in a role that you feel like you were born for. So, a plus for you, you get a gold star. That’s fantastic. So you’re coming up on one year in your current role. Congratulations.
Ali Seibel: Thank you.
David Carnes: If you could go back to day one and give yourself a piece of advice.
So day one of this current role, what.
Ali Seibel: To not make assumptions, and I think that’s the same piece of advice I would give myself for day one at any job or even any like networking event or conference I go to, because I assumed that just because I had worked at companies of similar sizes, In similar revenue, also B2B with a Salesforce product that our, the challenges would be the same and the people would have the same, idea of what RevOps does and doesn’t do.
And that’s just not the case. And I should know better, than assuming that everyone knows what RevOps does. Because what RevOps does looks different depending on the company, the business model, the stage. And even if it is the same size with a similar product, it just doesn’t mean that you’re gonna do the same thing.
So I assumed walking into it that I’d be solving the same challenges that I wouldn’t have to be, you know, explaining what I do or what I don’t do or the benefits to having someone like me. And that just wasn’t the case. And it wasn’t, it wasn’t like their fault or my fault, but it was just, I could have done a better job of, listening and doing the, I did those discovery calls like I’d mentioned, but it was more of like, tell me about your problems versus a reverse discovery call where I’m like, Hey, let me tell you what I’m.
what I was hired for and see like how that lands with you. So I, I did a lot of, like, Hey, I think this project is great, and then planned for some stuff only to find out, a couple weeks later that, Hey, maybe this isn’t the most important thing and there’s some steps we have to take before we can even get to this project.
The project’s beneficial, but there’s like, we have to backpedal a little bit because of, you know, there wasn’t someone like me in a role before.
Jarin Chu: I think it was one of our, former, podcast guests might have been Pablo Dominguez, who’s an operating partner over at Insight Partners, on the show previously he had mentioned a piece of advice after working as an operator at lots of companies and also now, helping advise, hundreds of SaaS companies.
He was like, don’t assume that’s something you’ve done before at that SaaS company you were really successful at, is something you’re gonna do at your next company. Because to your point, Allie, Each company has different sets of priorities, different size, different ways of divvying up the functionality or the responsibilities.
And it really does require that thoughtful discovery upfront, the alignment across the business and those stakeholders so that we are prioritizing things that the company needs right away. And you know that I think the, the experiences we’ve had, it’s kind of like a toolbox we can draw upon. Those are things we can introduce or suggest, but then the reprioritizing has to happen, at every new role.
Ali Seibel: Yeah, I would totally agree with that. And I, I think it’s just one of those things that you, sometimes in RevOps, you just turn yourself on autopilot once you get comfortable in the position you have at that company. So going into a new company where you’re like still kind of on autopilot can make it hard.
But really like taking a step back and understanding the, why I’m proposing this and the how we’re gonna do this and are we ready for it or do we need to start at some basics or kind of like unravel some of the stuff that has been happening for however many years because there was just no one else here to tell them otherwise.
And realizing that kind of, even that, that untangling can be a little bit of like a, a touchy area depending on, you know, how attached people are to their tools, process, whatever. So yeah, I think, and that’s just something I would tell myself at any new opportunity is just to not make those assumptions because it’s easy to, but it’s not always the right, it’s never the right path.
Jarin Chu: It’s also easy to fall back on because we’re familiar with those initiatives already. Yeah, really great advice. You mentioned earlier, Allie, that you started out, in experiential marketing. You mentioned liquor and tobacco brand awareness, which I thought was quite cool. I’m, I’m thinking in my head, I’m like, thank you for smoking all of the industry movies.
So you’ve, you’ve taken quite a fun journey throughout, and I think later on you were also in healthcare. You then landed up in SaaS. You, you’ve really done a little bit of everything. In an ideal world, what might be next on your career bucket list?
Ali Seibel: I would say, so right now I, there’s a lot of people who I consider unofficial mentors or just people in RevOps that I really admire professionally and I’d really love to get to the place where I am that person for other people. And I think I’m slowly, starting to make headway thereby putting myself out there, being on podcasts like this other speaking engagement engagements.
And I hope to expand into like, round tables or speaking at conferences. Because I think that especially being a woman in RevOps, making other people feel comfortable and making people aware that they don’t have to have all the answers to the questions they’re being asked because there’s other people out there who are just such great resources, that you can tap into.
So, cuz I, I’ll, I’ll follow people on LinkedIn and I’m like, dang, that is such a good point they’re making and I save it and I read it later. So that’s kind of, you know, where, what’s next on my career bucket list. The next thing, but I would say like I have what I also like to call my growth and development bucket list, so my non-career-focused stuff.
And that’s to go through my Pilates teacher training and become certified. I love Pilates and I don’t necessarily wanna become a teacher, but I really wanna grow deeper in my practice and understand all the benefits, that it can offer. And I think having kind of two different bucket lists, one career driven, and one kind of just like personal growth driven helps me stay balanced and makes me remember that not everything is about working.
And you can have goals and aspirations outside of your eight-to-five job and outside of your, you know, office or garage, if that’s where you’re working from, or your kitchen, if that’s where you’re working.
Jarin Chu: I love the way you positioned having two bucket lists as a way to stay integrated and balanced, because it’s hard to always ensure it kind of on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis. But if there are these kind of big rocks in that bucket list that we’re trying to eventually move or, or, or attain, then it helps. Make our decisions in alignment with those things that would get us really excited. And especially I think looking back, right? You’d be like, oh, I’m so glad that I did or had this experience learning about X, Y, and Z.
Ali Seibel: Yeah, definitely
Jarin Chu: That’s really cool. I think you’re already starting to answer one of my, favorite questions on the podcast, which is what do you do to unwind from the insanity of your role?
And I know, I, I feel like we could talk wine and cheese. You’re in Santa Barbara, you’re, you’re in wine country there. You mentioned Pilates teacher training. Definitely wanna hear more about how that, how, how you got into Pilates and what made you motivated to get into, teaching that. But there was one thing when I introduced you at the start of the podcast alley, where you mentioned.
You, you really enjoyed scaling processes during, like during work hours and during your off hours, and I’m curious what you are scaling in your private personal life off hours.
Ali Seibel: So I have this like joke with a lot of my friends and even people at work that like somebody will mention something they’re trying to like, figure out in their like personal life, whether it’s like, you know, downsizing or like starting a new something or whatever. And I will just say like, I will RevOps the shit out of your life if you let me.
So, one of the things that, I did, so I used to live in a 500 square foot tiny house, when we first moved to Santa Barbara. And 500 square feet is probably smaller than what you think it is, and it was me. My dog and my, and my husband. And that was also during, Covids where we didn’t have extra space for me to work from home.
So I had to basically make my kitchen, which was also my dining room and my living room, my office, and had to like, make it work. I had, I just had to make it work. So I feel like that is something I had to make scale for that time that we had in the tiny house. And then, you know, when I was, in between, I took some time off between jobs to just enjoy Santa Barbara and I was like, you know what?
We have a tiny house, but I think I can make more space because I really want an air fryer. So I reorganized all of our cabinets. I made them fit better. And I was like, yeah, I bought some shelves and I just made it more efficient and made better space of our, made better use of our space. So I’m kind of like, I can’t turn that part of my brain off.
I’m always like thinking of how can I make these pieces fit together better or how can I make things more efficient? Like even in, and this is so embarrassing. So I used to run, I actually, one of my, growth and development bucket list items was to run the Disney Princess half marathon. And I did that three years ago.
And when I was training, I really loved to run along the beach because it’s beautiful. You forget that you’re doing something terrible, like running 13 miles. So I would plan my routes. Based on where there was crosswalks versus where there were stop lights, because I knew that if I went to where the crosswalks were, I wouldn’t have to stop and go and stop and go, and my run would be more efficient and my heart rate wouldn’t go up and down, and I would have a better understanding of what my actual, mileage was or pacing was for each mile if I didn’t have to stop as frequently.
And I could go give you like a million more examples. But like, that is what I mean by even after hours. I’m trying to develop scalable processes. And I think my husband, sometimes like, like hates me a little bit for it because I’m always like, you know, if you put your wallet in the same spot every day, you would always know where it is versus like, Hey, have you seen my wallet?
So like, but he’s a ying to my yang and I think it, you know, we, we work good that way. He’s a creative person. I’m a process person. So yeah. I think, I think that’s what I mean by that. But then, To answer your question of, what do I do to unwind? Pilates is definitely one of them. I’m in Santa Barbara, so we love being outdoors.
We, are members at some wineries in wine country, which is great to go up there. Pilates is kind of like a therapy for me. I turn off my brain for, for 50 minutes and focus on me, and then, when I’m not on crutches, we love to go hiking with our dog, Casper. We usually, on Thursdays is our day that we go for a hike and then we pop into one of our favorite spots to grab a beer or a glass of wine, and kind of unwind and kind of take that day to just be outside and then chat with each other.
Jarin Chu: I have to say I actually am a closeted optimizer myself. So everything you mentioned about your personal life, I was, very much, I had the biggest smile on my face because I’m like, oh yeah, I’m the person who creates a 60 row spreadsheet for what to do before, during, during, and after cooking. So that everything is me and tidy.
\I love being able to find things like making sure I never forget, for example, the keys or my phone. I’ve got, I’ve got all sorts of setups. So, I empathize and honestly, I’m, I’m, I’m the same way.
Ali Seibel: I asked my husband, I said, Hey, cuz we’re going on our honeymoon in September or August and September, we’re going to Greece. I said, Hey, would you rather have me make our daily agenda, be a Google sheet where the main tab is every day and then each day has its own broken down? Or would you rather have it be a Google doc with, you know, a clickable, you know, outline in the summary.
And he would just kind of like stared at me, like blankly, like as if I was joking. And I was like, all right, so then I’ll just like maybe make a version of each and you can tell me which one you like better. Cuz that’s just like not something, he would do. And, and my sister is the same way. We went to Hawaii a couple years ago as a family and she like shared this spreadsheet and I was like, dang it, you got to it before I could.
And yours was so much better than mine.
Jarin Chu: You know what I do when I travel is I put calendar holds on all of the events so I know when do I need to get on the train, when do I need to get to the museum? You know, at which point sh can I make a reservation for dinner? I have all those slots blocked out, and then on vacation, then I can. Present because I get notifications, letting me know, Hey, it’s time to get ready.
Go use the bathroom before I hop on the train to the next city.
Ali Seibel: Oh, that’s great. I love that. I might start you doing that because that sounds like a great idea.
David Carnes: You two are really birds of a feather here with your, with your process. I felt that way, Allie, with what you shared about preparing to teach or preparing to present as, the inspiration for, for your own self-learning. I feel that way with, the, the work I do in reports and dashboards that just preparing to speak at an event.
I do so much learning, for that. So staying on that topic for a moment, where do you go for your RevOps learning? What resources do you take advantage of?
Ali Seibel: so I think one of the ways that I’ve learned the majority of my RevOps knowledge is following thought leaders on, on LinkedIn or trying to connect live with other RevOps professionals. That’s my absolute favorite way to learn. Especially once you follow people, they will likely post something that tags someone else who is also worth a follow.
And honestly, like I have no shame. I will cold LinkedIn message someone who has posted something that I find insightful or interesting to see if I can pick their brain. And it definitely takes me back to my s d r cold calling days, but I, I’m not afraid of rejection, so I will hit up someone more than once and I will not take a hint that their non-response is a response until they actually respond with either they’ll talk to me or like, you know, they’re not interested.
Whatever. And I think there, are some people that I just wouldn’t be where I’m at wi without them, especially knowledge wise. Jordan Henderson and, and Brandon Redling, they host a podcast that I was on a few weeks ago. It’s called the OG Ops Pod. And it’s it’s really great cuz it’s not just RevOps focus, they talk to business ops, marketing ops, CX ops, and they’re just really good dudes on top of that.
They’re just fun to talk to because they have an interesting journey to where they were at. Jordan was a lawyer and now he does RevOps. And then there are a few women who I just really look up to. Hillary Headley and Rosalyn Santa Elena are both, two RevOps leaders who I admire so much. And they’re kind of what I said earlier about like, what’s next on my career bucket list.
Those two women immediately pop into my head because I followed them. I’ve actually had the pleasure of talking with both of them about kind of like, what can I do next? How do they get to where they are? And I think that. I probably couldn’t tell you much from my time at sl getting my master or my business administration marketing emphasis degree, like, you know, SWAT analysis and all that stuff, but really picking people’s brains and just reading some of the stuff that they post and whatever they link to articles, what have you, has really just, made me a better, well-rounded RevOps person.
And I’m hoping to find some in-person RevOps events to go to this year, but I feel like they’re really hard to find. They’re all like sales enablement or sales operations and not really RevOps focused. So, if anybody has any, I’d love to. I’d love to attend.
David Carnes: oh, that’s great. And thank you for sharing all of those names. We’ll make sure to, get the LinkedIn profiles from you so that we can include them in these show notes.
Ali Seibel: Yeah, definitely.
David Carnes: speaking of that, how can, or where can people find you online?
Ali Seibel: Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn, Allie Sebel or my, my LinkedIn handle, I guess if you call it, is the RevOps Swiss Army knife. So linkedin.com/the RevOps Swiss Army knife. And, feel free to hit me up. I love connecting with, like-minded people and I’m always, always willing to respond to, cold outreach, to have someone pick my brain.
David Carnes: Oh, that’s great. That’s quite an offer for our listeners. And, and where can people go to learn more about.
Ali Seibel: They can go to groove.co. and they can also hit me up and I’m happy to introduce them to someone on my team that can, give them a little pitch if they’re interested.
David Carnes: So, Allie, it’s really been a pleasure to have you on the podcast with us today. You’ve shared so many insights about your first year in your role at your prior history. You talked about, the Pilates training that you’ve been doing. Being a wine and cheese lover, it’d be great if we could just keep hanging out and talking about more stuff.
But the show’s gonna come to an end. We really want to thank you, sincerely for being on the show today and sharing so much with, with our listeners.
Ali Seibel: Yeah, it was an absolute pleasure and I, and I love chatting with you guys. It was, it was a blast.
Jarin Chu: And I’d also like to thank the audience who’s listened in on our banter today. If you also, are a closeted personal and professional optimizer, and enjoyed Ali and I talking about, ways to get organized and, you know, stay on top of our really, really busy lives and found something useful to apply in your own life, we’d love for you to subscribe and of course, share this podcast with a friend or colleague.
Allie, it was so great to have you today on the podcast. Thank you for coming,
Ali Seibel: Yeah. Thanks for having.
Jarin Chu: and this has been another exciting, fun, laughter-filled episode of RevOps Rock Stars. See you next time.
David Carnes: Stay classy rock stars.