Watching The Data – Samantha Richey – RevOps Rockstars

What role does data play in your day-to-day operations? If you’re in RevOps, it’s likely a big part of what you’re trying to generate or make sense of. Operations leaders are tasked to shape a narrative of what’s happening in the business, and determine what projects get fast-tracked and or put on pause. 

Joining this episode of the RevOps Rockstars podcast is Samantha Richey, former Head of Global Revenue Marketing and Operations at HYCU, discussing the importance data plays in an effective RevOps function. As always, Jarin Chu, VP of Marketing, and David Carnes, Founder & Chief Evangelist at OpFocus, serve as hosts, guiding the discussion.

Let’s hear how Samantha uses data to take her revenue growth to the next level!

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What is something in RevOps you had to learn the hard way?

Samantha learned that even the best-laid plans could go awry. Even when things work correctly in testing and staging, unattended consequences can arise when implemented. These consequences may impact users, processes, or other departments.

Although you may have a great idea in theory, the practical application may not turn out as you expect.”

Samantha Richey, Head of Global Revenue Marketing and Operations at HYCU

After making updates, ensure you’re regularly collecting user feedback to understand the impact of your changes. Each department has differing opinions, so it’s important to hear from everyone to know how they’re affected.  

What does your Head of Global Revenue Marketing & Operations title entail at HYCU?

Samantha’s team at HYCU oversaw marketing and sales operations. Combining the two enables better alignment and efficiency than siloing these functions. This centralized function gives Samantha better visibility and creates a more cohesive operations team.

“Having an aligned operations organization really helps to mitigate the opposition between departments.”

Samantha Richey, Head of Global Revenue Marketing and Operations at HYCU

By combining sales and marketing operations, you hear from both sides when planning and executing projects. Each department has different needs, with marketing at the top of the funnel and sales focusing on later-stage deals. Hearing from each provides a better picture, empowering you to strategize solutions that satisfy both groups.

“If you as the leader are not focused on the outcome, pushing back, and dictating the strategy, everyone is wasting time.”

Samantha Richey, Head of Global Revenue Marketing and Operations at HYCU

How does the RevOps function change between different-sized organizations?

Approach RevOps differently for different sized organizations - Watching The Data - Samantha Richey - RevOps Rockstars
Approach RevOps differently for different-sized organizations

The most significant difference between working in RevOps at a small organization vs. a smaller one is the number of resources. Samantha mentions she’s been at massive companies that have multiple in-house developers and large teams accessible, as where smaller organizations may just have yourself and one Salesforce admin. 

At smaller organizations, getting support on your core platforms is critical. Once these primary tools are covered, look at the rest of your tech stack to determine where you need help and if it makes sense to bring on full-time team members or leverage external resources. 

Another difference between small and large organizations is an overall understanding of operations and why they are essential. Samantha mentioned she’s been at smaller organizations where she learned how to communicate the need for additional headcount and how to make a business case supporting her request. You must ensure you communicate to leadership the value operations drives and that you have a seat at the table regarding resource allocation. 

What’s something in your role you wish you’d done sooner?

When entering a new organization, you always want to jump in and start optimizing processes that are holding your team back. Although Samantha always dives into the data when she enters a new position to understand the current process, Samantha wishes she had waited longer before introducing large-scale changes. Along with looking into the raw data, you need to sit down with members of each team and understand how they operate to understand their day-to-day. This approach provides a more profound understanding as you strategize how to improve processes. 

How do you structure your RevOps team?

The HYCU RevOps team included a director overseeing the department and managers for each core RevOps function. These leaders include a marketing manager, sales manager, and analytics leader. 

How do you determine the right balance of internal and external resources on your RevOps team?

Approach RevOps differently for different sized organizations - Watching The Data - Finding a balance of internal and external resources
Finding a balance of internal and external resources is critical to success.

Samantha notes that the balance of internal and external resources depends on organizational maturity. Smaller companies often rely more heavily on external partners as they grow their teams, enabling them to access a broad set of necessary skills without committing to bringing on a full-time employee. As you grow, leveraging external resources helps determine which skill sets your team needs to reach operational goals. 

What type of large cross-functional projects have you been a part of?

At NCR, Samantha took part in a project transitioning to a zero-based budgeting model when working in marketing operations. This project didn’t cleanly fit into operations but overlapped enough that leadership called on her to assist with the planning and rollout. 

How does presenting to the board change at different stage companies?

Depending on if the organization you’re with is public or private, and the stage of maturity it’s at, you may not present to the board yourself, but instead help your leadership team prepare for presentations. At public companies, the board wants accurate reporting, a readout of what happened the previous quarter, and an understanding of where the numbers are coming from. 

Private companies reporting to a board of growth equity investors have a different agenda. They want to help you solve challenges. Board members have worked with similar organizations and can help you solve issues. It’s important to leverage their expertise and network as a resource. 

What resources do you use to grow your RevOps knowledge?

Podcasts are a great way to expand your knowledge and stay on top if industry trends
Podcasts are a great way to expand your knowledge and stay on top if industry trends

As a proponent of continued learning, Samantha always seeks to expand her knowledge of the RevOps function and beyond. To continue learning, you don’t have to return to school; numerous resources are available. She mentions that podcasts, like RevOps Rockstars (shameless plug), are a great way to stay aware of the latest and greatest in the industry. For her internal team, she recommends they take 6Sigma courses. 

What tech stack tool can you not live without?

The one non-negotiable tool in Samantha’s arsenal is an analytics platform. She notes many CRM or marketing platforms can meet your needs, but she needs a robust analytics tool to visualize data. An essential part of this setup is integrating data sources, so everything feeds into one centralized view. 

She mentions Tableau and Domo as her preferred tools. Tableau is Samantha’s favorite BI tool since it’s quick to set up and intuitive. It’s also helpful when conducting business health checks.

What are your recommendations for consolidating marketing data from multiple platforms into a single view?

There is no perfect platform for consolidating marketing data into one complete view. Tableau comes the closest to this single source of truth. She suggests pairing this data with a qualitative understanding of the types of campaigns and messaging you’re using. Look at your data’s peaks and valleys and compare this to the campaigns you’ve implemented to understand your initiatives’ impact. 

What are you most excited about for the future of RevOps?

Samantha is most excited about the growing importance operations has in organizations. More companies are waking up to the critical role centralized operations plays in growth and moving away from a siloed approach. Finance departments are also investing more in their operation teams.

There’s a massive amount of platforms we’re using to the point where it can be overwhelming, but I see it as an opportunity…. There’s so much we can do to find new ways to engage with customers.

  • Samantha Richey, Head of Global Revenue Marketing and Operations at HYCU.

How did you get into RevOps?

Before ending up in marketing, Samantha spent some time considering a career in marine biology. Surprisingly, she is the second guest on the podcast that thought about this line of work! She ended up starting her career in a communications role. During this position, she was in the room during leadership discussions as the communications leader struggled to convey the team’s value. She got permission to pilot an automation & analytics program in-house through HTML and excel dashboards. The team immediately saw how powerful a centralized data repository is, and it quickly became Samantha’s full-time role.

Expanding your professional career

This has been another fantastic episode with a true RevOps trailblazer. It’s incredibly valuable to hear from a leader who can scale operations and drive growth! Connect with Samantha on LinkedIn or check out her company, HYCU.

We’ll continue the 2023 learning with our next episode featuring Stas Daszkiewicz, Senior Director of Information Technology at Sisense. Watch all our past recordings on the RevOps Rockstars Youtube channel!

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