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TOPO Sales Operations Council #2 – A Recap

TOPO’s Sales Operations Council #2 gathered over 20 of the brightest sales operations leaders from the Bay Area’s fastest growing companies to the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park last Friday. The morning kicked off with a networking breakfast in which attendees made new connections with their peers and shared best practices. As for the food, the new “eggs benedict in a toasted bagel” was a big hit. The council event officially began with a brief introduction from Craig Rosenberg, TOPO Co-Founder and Chief Analyst, who announced the three speakers for the morning: Bill Schwidder, VP of Business Operations at Zenefits; Tom Gadd Director, Sales Operations at Nitro, Inc; and Dhiraj Singh, Inside Sales and Operations Manager at MemSQL.

Some of the highlights from Sales Operations Council #2 include:

  • Sales and sales operations leaders from over 20 high growth companies.
  • Sales operations leaders from companies like Five9, PagerDuty, and AppSense attended the event.
  • An incredible sponsor, PointDrive, whose executives traveled from Chicago for the Council.
  • Another amazing morning at the world class Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, CA.

Key Sales Operations Trends

At the beginning of each Council, we lead a lightning round of introductions where attendees share the current challenges they are trying to solve. The majority of attendees not surprisingly mentioned “scale” as one of their biggest priorities. The specific areas of concentration for attendees included initiatives around territory design, sales development process development, and implementing account-based marketing.

Sales Operations Council

Some of the highlights from the speaker sessions included:

  1. Bill Schwidder, VP of Business Operations at Zenefits, talked about the importance of operations in both go-to-market and maintaining order in difficult situations (the title of his preso was: “Stopping the Operational Madness”). Bill provided numerous anecdotes along the way from his experiences at Salesforce.com and Zenefits. He left the group with three important best practices: (1) let things fail (2) be judicious on where you spend your time (3) place smart bets.
  2. Tom Gadd, Director, Sales Operations at Nitro, Inc, presented details around his recent initiative for operationalizing their enterprise sales process and in particular, the MEDDICC sales qualification process. The MEDDICC process requires sales qualify sales opportunities for the the following factors: Money, Economic Buyer, Decision Process, Decision Criteria, Identify Pain, Champion, and Competition. He talked about aligning technology to the front-line management needed for coaching the MEDDICC process. Next step for Tom is to focus on enterprise deal forecasting.
  3. Dhiraj Singh, Inside Sales and Operations Manager at MemSQL, showed the group how he has operationalized the follow-up process for his company’s inbound lead process which produced 500+ inbound leads per week. He went into detail on how they leverage automation and process to manage their follow-up steps which they label as: capture (form-fill), routing, programmatic qualification, actioning (lead follow-up), handoff, and re-engagement (sales nurturing).

That’s just a small portion of what we discussed at this Council. If you’re interested in attending an upcoming event, we have a number of Councils planned for next three weeks, including:

  • Demand Generation Council #7 in Menlo Park, CA this Friday, May 20th.
  • Sales Development Council #12 in San Francisco, June 3rd.

About the author: Robert Koehler, Sales Practice Analyst, TOPO

Robert Koehler is the Senior Analyst for the TOPO Sales Practice. He develops best practice frameworks and actionable research that help clients cultivate world-class sales organizations. Prior to TOPO, Robert held sales consulting and sales effectiveness roles at LinkedIn, IBM, and HP. He has over twenty-five years of sales, marketing and sales effectiveness experience in the financial, publishing and technology industries.

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