Akira Mamizuka

AMA: LinkedIn Vice President of Global Sales Operations, SaaS, Akira Mamizuka on Building a Revenue Ops Team

July 27 @ 10:00AM PST
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LinkedIn Vice President of Global Sales Operations, SaaS, Akira Mamizuka on Building a Revenue Ops Team
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Akira Mamizuka
Akira Mamizuka
LinkedIn Vice President of Global Sales Operations, SaaSJuly 27
Any Rev Ops team's responsibilities include a mix of "run" work (e.g. quota audits to ensure Reps will be paid correctly) and "build" work aimed at accelerating growth or increasing productivity. "Run" work is table stakes. If not executed on a timely and effectively manner, things literally break with impact in revenue, customer experience and team morale. The most common pitfall in this category is, because "run" work is so critical, teams tend to spend the majority of their time here, and not enough time doing "build" work. Successful Rev Ops teams will focus on process optimization, automation and/ or outsourcing of the "run" work, so it can be done better AND with less resources over time, so the team can focus on "build". On "build" work, the challenge is there are always multiple areas the team can have a meaningful impact on; from evaluating how to enter a new market to re-defining the customer segmentation strategy. Since Rev Ops resources are scarce, prioritization and focus are key. At LinkedIn, we use the Prioritization Matrix (PMAT) to evaluate opportunities along 2 axes: Size of Prize and Likelihood of Success. By doing so, we can orient the team towards "Home Run" initiatives (high Size of Prize, high Likelihood of Success) and kill "Junk" initiatives (low Size of Prize, low Likelihood of Success).
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Akira Mamizuka
Akira Mamizuka
LinkedIn Vice President of Global Sales Operations, SaaSJuly 27
Three key considerations when growing the Rev Ops team: 1. Separate work between "horizontal" (i.e.; it common work across all segments and regions of the business such as quota modeling) and "vertical" (i.e.; work that is focused on a specific segment or sub-region such as Sales territory design and bottom-up forecasting). "Horizontal" work is better done centrally by a single sub-team, which creates leverage and maximum efficiency. "Vertical" work benefits from dedicated focus and deep expertise from a mapped sub-team in a given area of the business. 2. Assign a disproportionately higher number of Rev Ops resources to growth segments. This is a common mistake in the function; i.e.; to solve for equity by assigning similar resourcing levels across all parts of the business and managing for the loudest voice in the room. 3. Aim for scale. One of the roles of Rev Ops is to increase the productivity of the Go-to-Market resources over time, and this should include Rev Ops resources. A good rule of thumb is that Rev Ops headcount should always grow slower than sales HC.
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Akira Mamizuka
Akira Mamizuka
LinkedIn Vice President of Global Sales Operations, SaaSJuly 27
Rev Ops org design needs to consider multiple variables, such as the Sales Org structure and the remit of the Rev Ops team (for example, in some firms, quota setting is owned by Finance). Regardless of these variables, one aspect that is often a hot discussion topic is "span of control" for Rev Ops teams. In general, Rev Ops teams in companies that are past $100M in ARR should aim for a span of control of 1 Manager to 3 Individual Contributors. Higher spans of control hurt the ability for the Manager to coach their team members given the complexity and nuances of the job. Lower spans of control require the Manager to "double hat" as individual contributor, as well as create business risk when attrition happens as it is harder for the work to be re-distributed.
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Akira Mamizuka
Akira Mamizuka
LinkedIn Vice President of Global Sales Operations, SaaSJuly 27
As one of my early mentors thought me, hiring is the most important thing I can do as a leader. Hiring high caliber individuals is the best predictor of success of a team. When hiring for new Rev Ops team members, we fundamentally look for candidates who demonstrate two traits: "Scientist" * Distills complex data into a "so what". * Understands cause-effect relationships. * Natural problem solver. "Business leader" * Challenges the status quo. * Focus on what matters. * Comfortable in making tough calls. A few years ago, my team produced a video in which I talk about the target Rev Ops profile.
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Akira Mamizuka
Akira Mamizuka
LinkedIn Vice President of Global Sales Operations, SaaSJuly 27
A junior hire who is the first Rev Ops hire is an exciting role to be. They will lay the foundations for the company to grow and scale. However, this is also a chaotic role. At such an early stage, the company likely has gaps in processes, systems, tools, training and reporting, just to name a few areas. The first Rev Ops hire will be pulled in multiple directions to close those gaps. Here's some advice I would share with them: * Be intentional about the mix of your time spent between "run" and "build" work. While "run" work is fundamental, it is through "build" work that you will bend the growth curve of your company. * Build for scale. Most companies regret choices they made when they were small (e.g. how to design their Go-to-Market data architecture to offer users real-time, high-quality data), as they chose solutions that worked fine for a $50M company but are extremely taxing for a $1b company. Always ask yourself, "if we were 20x larger, would I be happy with this solution?". * Embrace the struggle. The first 2-3 years will be difficult, but if you excel at your role and the company is successful, the job will look and feel a lot different and bigger after that initial period. * Learn every single detail and aspect of the Rev Ops function and get your hands dirty. This unique context will set you up for success even after the initial phase of scaling.
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