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On-Demand: The Rise of the RevOps Developer

Inbound 2021 Session

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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Hello, and welcome to a special recorded session of my 2021 Inbound Talk Rise of the Rev Ops developer. Uh, this will be a recorded version. We're really excited to share it with you, even if you didn't a chance to check it out live, uh, at inbound this year. Um, I'll go ahead and introduce myself if you're watching the recorded version of this. Uh, you may already know me, uh, but, uh, I want to give you a little bit of context on why I'm talking about this topic at all. Um, so right now, uh, I run a company called Aptitude Eight. Uh, we are a rev ops and demand gen consulting firm, uh, and we're the fastest company to hit HubSpot's highest partner tier, uh, as an elite partner. Um, and the reason for that is that we've been super involved in a lot of the new HubSpot product launches, um, with Operations Hub Custom Objects and the C R M driven CM s modules, uh, and those launches with the broader HubSpot team.

Speaker 1: (00:53)
Uh, my team's also built some of the coolest solutions on HubSpot. Uh, we've won awards for, and we'd love to push HubSpot to the edge of what's possible. Uh, before Aptitude eight, my career was primarily in running growth teams for venture backed businesses and doing rev op stuff before I or anyone else, uh, knew what to call it. Um, after spending some time in-house at a couple different companies, uh, I went to the venture side. It was an operating partner at a venture studio out of Chicago, um, where I found that there was this huge need in the market for CRM and marketing automation and general business process optimization. Uh, and that's what led me to really start aptitude eight and, and focus in and around HubSpot. And originally, um, we were actually hyperfocused on Salesforce and our foray into HubSpot was largely on the marketing side.

Speaker 1: (01:39)
In the last two years, um, I've been amazed at the new functionality within the HubSpot platform that makes delivering true rev op solutions possible. Uh, and so much of what has made it the become the platform of our choice. Um, so enough about me, uh, let's get into what this session is all about. So we're gonna touch on a couple things. Um, one is, we'll talk about what is rev ops. We'll do that briefly. Uh, for folks who are at Inbound, I'm sure that you've heard this a bunch of times, but it's helpful to kind of restate quickly. Um, we'll talk through why it matters so much to your business. Um, we'll also talk through how Rev op developers can actually help you and give you tactical items and takeaways that you can leave this session from and actually go and, and seek to implement, uh, in your organization.

Speaker 1: (02:24)
Um, we'll also talk about what skills rev op developers need. So if you're an aspiring rev op developer or you're looking to hire one, um, you'll kind of know exactly what skills that person needs to have or what skills that you should be developing. Uh, and we won't do any QA in this recorded session. Uh, but if you wanna get in touch, I'm more than happy to talk to you. Uh, just shoot me a note or reach out on, uh, on our main site. So let's get into the first piece of this, right? So what is Rev ops, uh, as a good place to start? And so the, the sort of textbook definition here is that rev ops is the mindset, the practice, and the manifestation of unifying all of

Speaker 2: (02:58)
Your internal operations. Um, so I, if, if you're, if you went to inbound or if you're familiar with sort of any of these concepts, you're probably really used to seeing this flywheel graphic. Um, and so the goal of rev ops of sort of the team or the function, uh, is reducing friction across all of your go-to-market teams. So the ones that you see here in this flywheel graphic, your sales, your service, your marketing teams. And while Rev op seeks to eliminate friction between your internal teams, the end goal and sort of what you're seeing here where Rev ops lives between those service groups and then sort of that end customer is to reduce friction between these teams and your customer. With that, the ultimate goal, right, is delivering that better customer experience. And so Rev Ops really approaches this problem of friction across internal teams, friction between your company and your customer, uh, with a combination of people, process, and technology solutions to ultimately reduce friction across the board.

Speaker 2: (03:53)
So let's talk about why that's actually important. So this is an amazing graphic, uh, put together by, uh, the HubSpot team and, and Allison Elworthy, um, as the VP of Rev ops at HubSpot, that, that illustrates why Rev ops is so powerful. So the, the problem with growing a business, uh, is that you have to hire more and more people, which costs more and more money. And as you hire more and more people, you have to have more business. You have to be able to have more revenue coming in to pay for that added staff. And generally these lines, right? Their total company headcount and the revenue that you're driving stay really in parallel and they grow at the same rate. And the way that companies really break out and become radically successful, achieve super high valuations, become companies that we all look to and admire is by decoupling these two lines.

Speaker 2: (04:39)
And so that's what Rev ops really does. The goal of Rev Ops is how can we figure out a way to get more productivity out of our headcount? How do we actually make them more effective and more productive as opposed to just hiring more and more people? And so, what Rev Ops does for your business is figure out how to remove parts of people's jobs and automate functions so that those people spend more time doing things that drive value to the customer, less time sort of doing manual tasks or performing things that are, are minutia and they're actually focused on how they can deliver more value across the whole organization. And so what we do at Aptitude eight, uh, with our rev ops practice is really, we really help companies uncouple these curves and help them cross this line faster in their life cycle. But the end goal of rev ops is to get you to break through that line so that you're able to grow revenue without just consistently hiring more headcount.

Speaker 2: (05:30)
So what does that actually mean? Uh, so let's take a quick lesson from history and talk about why that's so important and what the impact could potentially be for you and your organization. So let me start with a question. Uh, I'll spoil this one cuz we're, we're kind of doing a recorded version, but, uh, for anybody, we'll give you a second to sort of look and guess, uh, at the image here. Um, I'll give a couple of clues. This is a, uh, early 19th century piece of industrial equipment, uh, kind of came in, took over one of the largest industries at the time, uh, which was textiles production. Um, so if you haven't gotten it yet, that's okay. Uh, so this is an automated loom, uh, and the automated loom changed fabric production, uh, from an equation of how many people do you have to employ.

Speaker 2: (06:15)
So how many people do you actually hire, have weaving, sewing, producing fabric? And how do you change that from this linear equation where in order to produce more fabric, in order to sell more fabric, in order to make more revenue, you have to hire more and more people to one where you a have to actually add workers to get that output to all of a sudden you can now produce way more fabric with far fewer weavers with the automated loom. And when the automated loom came on the scene, the result was this enormous reduction in the cost of fabric, or conversely, in a better way to think about it, is an enormous increase in the productivity of every worker. And at the same time, the actual product that was getting produced, cuz it was produced consistently in an automated fashion every single time was actually of a higher and more consistent quality.

Speaker 2: (07:02)
So how significant was this overall impact? So the automated loom actually made people so much more productive that it drove the price per pound of fabric from about $120 per pound down to less than $20 a pound in the span of less than 30 years. Um, this was so significant of a change that it actually shifted the course of civilization and drove the beginning of industrial industrialization across the entire global economy. And you started seeing the rise of factories that focus on machines, really looking at how we can take processes, make them replicable and produce stuff at a much greater scale. And keep in mind when you think about the technological advancement, is that the loom is hardware. It's largely manufactured by hand, and it's distributed across the world and the country, uh, by horse and buggy and train. And this, this price change is so significant in scale and speed compared to technological innovations we see today. So the loom having that big of an impact over 30 years, you can compare to sort of software solutions and how quickly these things can really drive productivity, um, across organizations, across teams, across groups.

Speaker 2: (08:12)
In fact, the Loom was so effective, uh, that it resulted in some disgruntled folks. Uh, so does anyone know who, who this is? Uh, and and I, I think the link kind of here gives it away. Uh, but this is, uh, Ned Lud, uh, of the Luddite. So the Luddites are famous and you say, oh, you know, don't be a Luddite. Um, the Luddites are named after Ned Lud. And the Luddites were famous for advocating against machines, but also actively destroying looms and sabotaging factories because the loom was so effective that companies needed far fewer unskilled workers to produce textiles. And so what they ended up doing is they actually laid off a lot of these weavers and they started hiring in and bringing in folks to actually man and, and maintain these automated looms. And as of course, you know, the Loom did not take all of our jobs and we all got busy building webinar platforms and spending our time in virtual conferences, uh, like inbound or if you're watching this virtually, uh, sitting in front of computers and sort of learning from folks overall.

Speaker 2: (09:08)
Um, but ultimately the looms really important because ultimately, why do I bring this up, right? Why is this so important to this talk and this story and something about rev ops. And the reason for that is that similar to the time of the Loom, right before the automated loom, when you had manual weavers, you had people sewing just like the time that the Loom was invented. We have efficiency problems today. Um, we're seeing for folks that spend more money to hire more people and solve more problems. We're buying all sorts of different technology and disconnected tools and people are being blocked from actually efficiently doing their jobs. And what happens is people spend tons and tons of time doing manual work, clicking between systems, copy and pasting information, and trying to solve this problem, uh, across the board. And this is no different than the weaver, which is in order to make more revenue, we have to hire more people and we just consistently have to sort of make investments in more headcount as opposed to making our people more productive and really bending that overall revenue curve.

Speaker 2: (10:08)
So Rev ops is the automated loom of your business. Um, and people have been approaching this problem for a while. This is not some brand new thing, uh, that's just happening now. But Rev Hops has kind of this unique take, right? Because historically people have been approaching this with building CRM platforms and getting different tools and kind of connecting them into what they're doing. Uh, maybe they're using declarative automation tools, things that allow them to sort of do basic if thens, and that's maybe remove some copy and pasting from someone's day-to-day job, uh, or integrating some of the tools in their Franken stack. Uh, so you have more and more point solutions and you're sort of stitching them all together with duct tape and glue. But that doesn't go as far as we need it to go, right? Uh, ultimately that really only gets us from one to end.

Speaker 2: (10:52)
It's incremental improvements, it's incremental change, it sticks some preexisting parts together and that's really valuable, but it's not an automated loom. It's taking those bits and pieces of your existing process and finding ways to eliminate steps. And an automated loom will fundamentally change the way that you operate. It will take something from, uh, a piece of a process that we're trying to make go faster to a piece of a process that can get removed entirely through some of this, this different functionality. So how do you get a loom? Uh, how do you build something that doesn't just make your weavers more productive, give them spindles, give them workstations, but actually eliminates whole functions of what's happening and and reduces the number of people that are needed to do these different tasks. So Rev op developers invent looms for your business. Uh, this is sort of the rise of the Rev op developer. Why the Rev, why Rev ops is, is the big focus why Rev ops developers are becoming so significant of a, of a labor pool and people that are really gonna change the way that your company operates is because the goal of a rev op developer is to actually invent and build those looms for your company. And so what we're gonna do is let's talk about some really tangible ways that a rev op developer can help you build solutions right inside of HubSpot.

Speaker 2: (12:12)
So one of the first ones is custom coded actions. So this is an Operations Hub Pro feature. It's one that we're really excited about as it launched earlier this year. And a rev op developer can use this custom coded action to actually extend what HubSpot's capable of. So no longer are you limited to some of the, the functions in workflows that you would standardly see, but you can now custom code your own action that can do things inside a HubSpot that you don't have sort of standard actions to do or go and interface with external systems. So we've seen solutions here. So whenever a deal is marked, one, maybe you want to go and create an automatically create an account in your accounting system, provision an invoice in your E R P for that account. Maybe you want to go create a project and copy a bunch of information over from your sales side into that project in your fulfillment platform where you're managing sort of service delivery or customer onboarding.

Speaker 2: (13:06)
And you could also go and provision a new customer account in your software solution or use different field updates and HubSpot to go and extend a free trial or cancel a free trial or do something in sort of your SaaS product. And so you can do so, so much with this and it really extends what HubSpot's capable of in kind of infinite ways. And so a rev ops developer can come in, you can sort of define, here's an automated action I want to do. And this really takes HubSpot from here are the things that we can support to, you can build anything that you want right inside of the platform. Another one, and this is something that was launched uh, last year, it's available with enter any enterprise hub that you may have is custom objects. Um, so a rev ops developer can create custom objects inside of your HubSpot portal to actually tailor the solution to your business.

Speaker 2: (13:52)
And so you can create new objects for things like subscriptions or orders or shipments or hospitals or tools or contractors or anything else that you use to manage and track data about the folks that you work with directly inside of your C R m. And this lets you tailor the HubSpot c r m platform to your business as opposed to trying to shove the way that you do things into a preexisting process. So let's get into a really tangible example of what that means, but the big takeaway on this one is you'll be able to actually craft HubSpot to work the way that you need it to for your business, as opposed to trying to figure out sort of like, what data can I stick into the deal object. So something that's a really tangible example. So this is a, a case study with Lucid Press.

Speaker 2: (14:36)
Um, this is a customer of ours. We worked with them a little earlier this year to migrate their entire sales force, Marketo, Recurly Outreach, sort of all these different disconnected tools over to HubSpot in just 90 days, um, due to a sale of assets in their parent company and sort sort of splitting out into a couple of different works. Um, and, and really this solution was only possible because of the power of custom objects. So what we're doing for Lucid Press is we're we've created a lucid press subscription object to put a table of real lucid press subscription data into HubSpot. So which plan is someone on? Are they on a free trial? When does their free trial expire? Are they on an enterprise tier? Are they on a pro tier? And so because Lucid Press was already using Snowflake as their product data warehouse that was powering a lot of their front end product interactions, um, we used a tool called High-Touch.

Speaker 2: (15:25)
They're awesome. I can't recommend them enough. If you're using Snowflake and you're using HubSpot or really any other c r m or marketing automation tool, I check them out. Um, what it lets you do is actually connect that Snowflake database data warehouse back into HubSpot. So we're actually pushing information from Snowflake real subscription data, real subscription, uh, fields back into HubSpot as that custom object. And so we now have associated to our contacts and our companies and our deals inside a HubSpot. We now have all of our subscriptions. And this lets us do really amazing things. We can do data activities, we can report on things like customer l t v, we can trigger automated upsell or cross-sell workflows, and we can go after people who are on trials, maybe they're on a pro account, we sort of drive them to upgrade. And we can enable proactive customer success by triggering actions with a combination of revenue data.

Speaker 2: (16:18)
You know, how much is somebody spending when does their subscription renew or expire? And we can combine that with behavioral information like when was their last login date or what's the last time that they created a new file. And by bringing this custom data into HubSpot as custom objects, and it's just a simple data table, but it's associated to our CR r m data as we can now leverage the context of our CRM data and the automation engine to deliver really amazing customer experiences and fundamentally change the way that we engage with our customers on a day-to-day basis. So another one that we really love, uh, that we've been building a lot of cool solutions on top of is workflow extensions. So a little dissimilar from custom coded actions, which is a developer defining, here's the code that's gonna run, here's what it's gonna do.

Speaker 2: (17:04)
A workflow extension actually lets you define, uh, sort of this custom-built action where a user who's not a developer, uh, can put in information into that workflow action and actually have it do stuff with the information they're passing in. And so this is how integrations like Zoom or Go to Webinar allow you to add people to that webinar right inside of a HubSpot workflow. And building workflow extensions lets you expand what HubSpot normally can do, uh, and really extend it to custom action. So let's give an example of of sort of what that actually means. So earlier this year, um, we built an app called associate. Uh, it lives in workflow extensions and it allows users to create associations between different objects in HubSpot using this kind of like, like v lookup, uh, functionality. So you could use this to link a contact to a different company than the one that's in their domain.

Speaker 2: (17:57)
So for instance, if someone's coming in with a Gmail address, but their company field says HubSpot, you could use associate to actually go and find a company in your system called HubSpot and reassociate them to the right company instead of using that Gmail, uh, auto association to Google, you could also use this to automatically link an incoming ticket to the deal a customer has an issue with based on an order number field. So you could have a form on your website, someone fills out a request support, you have them input the order id, uh, which guided to be a custom field or maybe that deal ID into that form, and then on created that ticket associate can run it, can go find the deal that they're referencing, it can link them to that deal. And then you can do all sorts of declarative automation after that as well.

Speaker 2: (18:42)
Uh, and you can also extend this to really complex use cases and build entire code free applications using custom objects and linking things together by IDs, um, associates in the marketplace. Check it out. Uh, we also just added functionality for flexible associations. So you can apply all those custom labels inside of associate as well, uh, if you're just sort of getting started with that feature. And the reason that I bring this up is because workflow extensions allow a rev op developer to build a solution that then your non-technical operations folks can use to power their day-to-day. So this is an application that we developed. We built, it has custom code in it, but the front end is usable by an operations person. They don't need to know any software development. They don't need to be able to code. And what this lets them do is automate a way different parts of the business process and ultimately both help them and the people that they serve be far more productive than they otherwise would be.

Speaker 2: (19:37)
So really, really awesome example of where a rev op developer can create something that fundamentally changes the way that you operate on a day-to-day basis. Another one I really love is CRM cards. So CRM cards live right in the right hand sidebar inside of HubSpot. This is an example of a product called org Chart Hub. Uh, let's you launch, uh, org charts right inside of HubSpot, build that org chart, uh, sort of see the org chart of an actual company. Um, and a rev op developer can build the c r M cards and you can display data from another system. So let's say you wanted to pull in information from your internal product, or maybe you want to embed information from something that's linked. Uh, we have a customer working with right now that does lots of events and scheduling, and we're actually using this to pull in all of the events that, uh, a particular contact has that are booked at the, uh, at the venue, uh, directly inside a hub site.

Speaker 2: (20:27)
So they don't have to leave, they don't have to go anywhere. And you can also use that CRM card to open a custom application. So something like a pricing calculator or maybe a map to geofenced area, sort of what's the nearest location that you have to that individual customer. Uh, a really cool example, this is from our Good Friends app chemist. They have a couple of apps, uh, in the the HubSpot marketplace. Um, but they've built an app that lets you link records together without actually associating them in your HubSpot portal. So this is for something like visualizing family relationships or different team relationships, uh, directly inside of HubSpot. And what this does is it actually adds a full feature to HubSpot that you otherwise wouldn't have right in the ui. So instead of using sort of a different tool or trying to manage this somewhere else, you can build this feature and build this functionality lives right in the portal that your users are using. And the extent of what you can do here is, is pretty much limitless.

Speaker 2: (21:21)
One of my favorite HubSpot features and one that we're doing a lot of work around is the custom quotes tool. Um, so quotes are amazing if you haven't checked them out, uh, by bringing together the HubSpot cms, uh, and then deal powered quote templates. I think that this is in the, the sales pro tier. Um, you can auto generate beautiful and really complex quotes, uh, with logic to automatically deliver a really amazing buying experience to your customers. So this, this screenshot is our actual quote that we use. We send customers, um, and it has a couple of features that are really awesome. So one is we automatically generate the M MSA language, uh, based on fields on the deal. So what's the overage rate? What's the in retainer rate? When does it expire? What's the minimum terms? And based off of fields we're collecting in our deal process, we're then auto generating the correct legal document, um, so that we make sure that all of our customers have the right m MSA every single time.

Speaker 2: (22:13)
We're also breaking out recurring and non-recurring line item. So a customer can see here's how much you're gonna be paying every month versus here's how much you're paying upfront. And we're doing that automatically based off of product fields. Uh, and we're also embedding the sales rep's calendar links. So a prospect can easily book a follow-up call with their questions. And because this is a live webpage, it's literally the HubSpot meetings tool directly inside of that quote, um, quote templates, uh, empower your sales reps to deliver a better customer experience while spending far less time formatting word docs, creating PDFs, building proposals, going through legal review. And it makes it easier from your customer to buy from you. And so this is something where rev ops developers can fundamentally pull time out of your sales rep's days, letting them sell to more customers, talk to more customers, and be able to also make sure all of your compliance and your legal language is succinct across all of your deals on it's right every single time.

Speaker 2: (23:07)
So you're actually pulling hours outta people's day and getting them laser focused on things that drive meaningful value. And if you came to inbound yesterday, uh, the HubSpot team talked a lot about the sync framework and the integration platform. Um, you can connect other systems in your, uh, business footprint. So with HubSpots, open APIs and some of the newly added sync frameworks, uh, with Operations Hub, you can connect HubSpot to all of your other business systems and extend its automation capabilities to those other tools. So by pulling in data from other systems, you can build automation on top of that data. You can also use this to create a single source of truth so that all the information about your customer, regardless of which system it originates from, is available and accessible inside of your CRM platform. And finally, uh, my favorite new frontier on HubSpot, uh, in this year is the c r m powered c m s.

Speaker 2: (24:01)
Um, so this is something that we're so, so excited about. We think that this is one of the most significant differentiators of HubSpot. If you're not doing anything on c m s hub, you should definitely check it out. Uh, and the reason is it's gone are the days of a website being a billboard. Uh, and if you wanna offer anything more than that, anything more than a basic marketing site, you had to build a full custom application to deliver something more. CMS hub lets you build fully functional web applications on top of your CRM data. So the potential here is really limitless. Um, the example that I have up on the right here is of a partner portal, uh, which lets partners log in. They can see the stage of the deals they referred to you and even track their payouts and commissions all built natively on top of HubSpot.

Speaker 2: (24:47)
This data is also being driven by your core c r M data, which means that everything's in sync cuz it's the exact same data set. A rev op developer could build a custom application for your business on top of c m s hub like this one. Um, you can even extend this beyond a partner or a customer portal to things like intranets internal websites and full applications that let you extend the ways for people to interact with your business. Um, and with memberships and some of the other functionality, the depth here is really limitless and I think we're gonna see a lot more people building full applications directly on top of c m s hub to really extend your c r m and infinite ways to your customers, your partners, and your employees. Now that we've touched a little bit on what a rev op developer can do for you and your business, let's talk about what a great one looks like.

Speaker 2: (25:38)
Um, and, and I think in this one, maybe you're a developer already and you're trying to think, you know, what additional skills do I need to really start building a lot of these types of tools? Or maybe you're an operations professional looking to get into more technical and advanced use cases, uh, for your customers or for your team. And so here are some skills that I think would make you an extremely potent developer in the hub study ecosystem that I would love to hire. Um, the first one is really an understanding of APIs. Uh, APIs are how systems talk to each other. It's how you interface with different applications, uh, and not only the HubSpot APIs, but APIs in general. Um, learning how J s O works, learning how you can query APIs and webhooks and endpoints and really having a robust understanding of that is gonna be critical for someone to succeed.

Speaker 2: (26:23)
You also really are gonna wanna hone your JavaScript skills. So JavaScript is how all the operations hub coded actions are written today. Uh, it's also how you're gonna work with some of those, um, CMS serverless functions. Uh, and JavaScript's gonna be the language that you'll probably spend the majority of your actual coding time in. Uh, the other one, and this is probably one where Operation Soaks have a huge advantage, um, over someone coming in as a developer is a really good understanding of business process. Know what teams do, how do teams hand data off between each one? How do they actually manage somebody through that customer process and what does that look like? And to be a great rev op developer, you have to understand how a lot of that works. And another component of this is be an end user of HubSpot. Uh, use the tool, know what it does out of the box.

Speaker 2: (27:07)
Um, things that I think make Rev ops developers amazing is knowing what can a workflow already do and how can I extend it or what information is in the c r m contact record already so that when I build a workflow extension, I'm pulling that down with everything else that I'm doing. And I think if someone has all these skills, uh, it makes them a really, really powerful, uh, resource. Um, if you have these or maybe you're looking to build these, please get in touch with us. We're hiring like crazy. Uh, we have tons and tons of openings, um, in the support resource, uh, that we'll send out in conjunction with this. Uh, we'll have more details there and if you're trying to bring this to your company, um, our folks do a lot of this work all the time and, and we'd love to work with you.

Speaker 2: (27:47)
So I, in closing, right, let's tie back to kind of this metaphor, which is if you build these automated looms, if you yourself are, uh, kind of a rev ops developer and you're building these tools, you'll, you'll eliminate jobs just as Ned feared. But those jobs aren't going to be someone's entire employment or what they're doing every day. It's gonna get you higher efficiency of your teams. People are gonna be spending more time doing things that actually drive material value for the business and for your organization instead of minutia and copy pasting and clicking between different, uh, systems and doing things that we should let the robots do. Um, you're also gonna get strategic insight from Rev op. They're gonna help you identify where's your customer process broken, what are things that you could be, uh, optimizing or automating that you aren't today. And by bringing in sort of this rev op function, you're gonna be able to make your people more efficient.

Speaker 2: (28:38)
You're gonna reduce a lot of the minutiae that they go through and ultimately make their jobs more enjoyable and more focused on things that drive material value. And you're gonna start to figure out how you can improve that business process. You can deliver that better customer experience. So since this is recorded, we won't do any live q and a, uh, but if you do want to get in touch, you want to talk about these, you want to work with us, you want to hire us, uh, we'd love to work with you in any way that you want to. So check out our site, um, LinkedIn checkout. Uh, feel free to email me directly. I'm more than happy to chat with you. Uh, and thank you all so much for the time.

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