Alisa Liebowitz

Director Business Applications

,

PagerDuty

   |    

March 13, 2021

Alisa manages a team of roughly 15 people who work on Salesforce CPQ (~ 5), Zuora Billing (~4), and Netsuite ERP (~2) Had a homegrown billing system and migrated off of that during IPO prep GTM is self-serve, direct sales and partners Partners do not quote directly but are sent information by the PagerDuty team Roughly 35 SKUs, selling in USD only No usage-based billing for now The average lines on the quote are 1-5 Challenges.

Podcast Transcript:

Sandeep Jain:

Hi. Welcome to the 1st episode of the Monetization podcast. And this is your host, Sandeep Jain. In this podcast, we invite thought leaders from B2B enterprise monetization space that is CPQ, billing, revenue operations, etc. so that you can learn about challenges, opportunities, and best practices in setting up an enterprise monetization systems. Today, our guest is Alisa Liebowitz. Alisa is currently Director of Business Applications at PagerDuty. Now Alyssa has been there for over nine years. And she started when PagerDuty was a private company, I guess less than 20 employees and no systems in place, to the point where it is right now is a public company with of course, a very set Quote-to-Cash systems. So Alisa, it's a great pleasure to have you as the first guest on my show.  

Alisa Liebowitz:

I'm very excited. Thanks for having me.

Sandeep Jain:

Awesome. So hey, before we start, can you give us a quick summary of your background and your journey to PagerDuty?

Alisa Liebowitz:

For sure, yeah. So as you already mentioned, I've been at PagerDuty for quite a long time, very, very long when you think about startup world and help people bounce around. So I've seen the transformation of the company as well as our systems. And regarding our Quote-to-Cash systems, I actually started on the support team. So I was actually support for our PagerDuty product. And we were selling everything basically online through credit card. And we didn't really have a sales team, no Salesforce, no. We had an internal billing system that I think was built with an accounting for dummies book kind of thing. So it was very interesting. But as we matured, as a company, as we hired our first salespeople, I really began to explore other options in the company and where I could grow my skills and what really suited me. And I actually transition to sales operations, which, at the time when you're a smaller company that houses a lot of the systems configuration and implementation. So although I was sitting under sales ops, I had a lot of those responsibilities, and I learned the tools, and I learned Salesforce. And then as the company continued to grow, those functions became separated. And that's pretty common. And we actually developed a Business Systems team. And I was lucky enough to be kind of one of the founders of that team and really build it up. So yeah, and that's kind of where I am today, I have a team of about 15 people that manage our Salesforce, our Zuora, which is our billing system, our ERP, and those systems that support the Quote-to-Cash function.

Sandeep Jain:

Awesome. Awesome. And I think all of my guests would know what PagerDuty does, but could you just describe quickly what PagerDuty is doing?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, so PagerDuty is an incident management platform. We integrate with monitoring tools that are monitoring your website or your online platforms or presence to determine if there's issues and then we actually notify the correct people to quickly and efficiently resolve those issues, we have on call schedules and escalation policies. So that the right people are alerted at the right time, we also have advanced reporting and analytics, and we're moving towards a model where we want to be proactive about not only responding to incidents, but preventing those as well.

Sandeep Jain:

Awesome. Understood. And Alisa, you mentioned that you have a team of 15 people. Can you describe roughly like, what people are working on? Like, is it CPQ, billing, was it all across Quote-to-Cash stack?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, so I would say the three main tools are Salesforce, which houses are we leverage, we use Salesforce CPQ, as well. Zuora billing, which is our billing platform, and then our ERP is NetSuite. And we have I would say, five or so developers and admin supporting the Salesforce and Salesforce CPQ tools. We have four engineers supporting the billing service and Zuora billing, and then two folks supporting the NetSuite product.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And you mentioned earlier that you had a homegrown billing system. Is that still being used today?

Alisa Liebowitz:

No. So we luckily migrated off of that many years ago before we became a public company. So and that transformation was really interesting, and I definitely learned a lot but we were scrappy in the beginning and started with a homegrown system.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it, got it. And do you also have a self-serve and a partner channel utilizing a Quote-to-Cash stack today?  

Alisa Liebowitz:

We do. So we have a self-serve portal. We partner with the growth team who manages more of like the front end and we manage the backend, so ensuring that anyone that actually goes to purchase on our self-serve portal, we actually collect the money, the invoicing is correct and all that stuff. We also have partner channel, they can also purchase through our self-serve. And today, our direct sales team quotes on behalf of our partners and actually send the quotes to them directly. And then they interface with the end user.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. Got it. So shifting gears a little bit, one of the biggest challenges in this system today, as you see right now?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Biggest challenge, it’s definitely like a loaded question. I probably could pick from a number of different things. I think right now, there's a lot of like process and prioritization challenges like we're getting asked from the business, I think we want to continually change pricing and products and how we sell or be able to customize for a specific enterprise customer and do something maybe that's not within our current use cases and being able to do that quickly. And it's a little bit difficult, right to be able to get all the requirements, make sure your ducks in a row get you 80 done and be able to keep up with how fast we're moving and changing with that.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. And is this is this partly is this process and tools combined, or is this like more process than tools or more tools than process?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah. I mean, I think honestly, it's a little bit more processing in my experience, just because we do have like a scalable and a good foundation with our systems. And there's a lot of business decisions that change frequently and often and keeping up with that is a challenge. So getting the requirements dialed in at the front and not changing them is definitely something we're working with all the time.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And Alisa, what are the priorities for you and your team in the next few quarters, as you see?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, for sure. So you mentioned we have Salesforce CPQ. So this past year in 2020, we actually completed the implementation of Salesforce CPQ, and integration with the Zuora Billing. So that was kind of the huge milestone of last year and set the foundation for really what we're going to do going forward. As we look into next year, we're really going to prioritize a lot of our self-serve business. So we've scaled up CPQ. And we can do a lot of things. Whether it's early renewing, doing quarterly billing, all these permutations, tiered pricing, everything like that, and we have more limited set on the self-service side. And we're going to try to mirror the two and get that more quotes out so that customers can go and an auto renew early renew in the platform directly, easily and seamlessly. So I think that's one of the biggest initiatives. Secondly, we PagerDuty actually acquired our first company since our first acquisition, I guess it was in Q4 of last year. So we're learning how to integrate this run deck this company into our systems and processes, and ultimately be able to cross sell, sell both PagerDuty and RunDeck products on the same order form or in the same quote. And then the last piece is automatic bookings. So now that we've had, we've set up CPQ, and we think it's scalable, and it's proven itself, and it's a proven model. We want to be able to auto book, those simple deals. So hey, I have this cookie cutter, 10 licenses, 10% off, like why does someone need to manually touch this? Once the customer is agreed and signed, it should just seamlessly get lumped into our billing system, and the licenses should get automatically provisioned for our customers.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood, understood. And a couple of follow ups here, Alisa. So you talked about the acquisition of a company and integrating doing cross sales there. Do you see any challenges in doing that, or is it mostly like a work that needs to be done?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, I think we're very early on right now. So I think, luckily, it seems fairly straightforward from the front end. And I think we have a good plan in place. I think what we're most concerned about is what the architecture will look like and how having customers from another company will work within our systems and anything we need to be aware of. Right now, I think we have a good plan, but of course, the devils in the details and I'll probably learn more and be able to refer back and at a later date, what challenges we really faced there.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. And the second one is LSL. What I've heard from most people is that if they have like two separate product catalogs, one, which is in the CPQ system. And another is in a separate billing system that causes a lot of friction in. Is that your experience as well?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, I mean, I don't know, friction, but it's definitely time consuming. And there's a lot of things that need to happen to map the two products together. Luckily, it's a one-time setup, and then you're done. So once you've gotten the right plans and SKU’s set up in your, in your billing platform, then you can create them in CPQ and set and forget type of thing. But it is time consuming, a little bit more time consuming than I would like. We've toyed around with the idea of an internal tool for our team to do this in a more automated way. But unfortunately, we haven't gotten there yet. There's just been too many more like end user facing priorities. But it's actually bubbled up again, just because we will have to create way more SKU’s than we ever had to integrate RunDeck into our systems, we'll have to build out their entire product catalog. So it might be the right time for us to build something to better enable that mapping.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. And Alisa, you have been in all of these systems from literally the day one, do you have any observations on like you see, when you look at your colleagues, or peers that these are mistakes that people are continuously making, while setting up their Quote-to-Cash systems? Any sort of recommendations on like this is to avoid or keep this in mind, or do it this way? Anything along those lines?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah. I mean, I think something I've seen over and over. Both we went we use or is quoting solution before we move to CPQ. And I found true in both situations is trying to deploy all at once and not breaking out into smaller chunks, it's always a challenge. When you have two different systems running at once and ultimately are doing the same thing. But doing the Big Bang deploy is always a recipe for disaster. And we did much better when we broke it down into smaller use cases. And you have to be creative and figure out ways that the end user is not going to be impacted, it's going to be intuitive for them to understand when they need to use System ‘A’ versus System ‘B’. But it's critical to continue keep your velocity and minimize the risk. Another thing I can think of is when we moved from our homegrown billing system to, to Zuora. We the data migration was definitely the most challenging we had a system before that, that we didn't really have clear start and end dates and figuring that out. And mapping that was super challenging. And at the right time, we were focused on that. And we put a lot of effort into that exercise, and it paid off because that definitely was the most challenging thing. Your business is always easy. But moving your legacy customers as not always.

Sandeep Jain:

Interesting. Got a couple of follow ups here Alisa, again. I was thinking let's, if these PagerDuty was starting today, instead of 10 years ago, all the knowledge that you've gained 10 years earlier. So would you start like, what would you do different right now? Would you still write your own billing system? Would you advise against it? Like, what's your thoughts on that?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, for sure. So when I got there, even though we were under 20 employees, the homegrown billing system was actually already in place. I think it actually at the time did serve our purpose. I have less knowledge on how long it actually took to get up and running. But I think it was actually minimal in terms of level of effort, not minimal, but not too large. I think now 10 years later, what was looking at what's in the market and what's available, I definitely look to buy maybe overbilled I think that I wasn't part of that initial evaluation. But I think going through the pros and cons of that, and if there's something in the market, I am normally preferring to buy, then you can leverage they're consistent, they're focused on that product. And they're going to continue and continuously enhance and improve it and, and support you, especially if they have a good like support and community team and then something that's flexible that you can customize, but have that good base for, so I probably evaluate what's out there, but I don't know if I can say what I would do for certain.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. Got it. So Alisa, when you shifted from sell serve, I believe that's what you started with initially and then you got the direct sales element into your selling. Was there any sort of experience from that transition, were that smooth? Like, what are the problems to watch out for during that transition?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah. I mean, I think it came mostly with understanding customer’s subscription terms and customizing that right. When you're self-serving, when you're accepting a credit card, it's very easy month to month or one year and they just swipe their card and everything happens seamlessly. But when customers start getting specific, oh, it needs to start on this day because of this budget. And that needs to do that. It just adds a lot of complexity to everything right off the back, I remember we actually were using standard quotes in Salesforce and Salesforce, the standard quotes are not built for SaaS, they are built for singular, I guess, one time products. So being able to do a SaaS model in with that, it was really challenging, and you kind of got to work through the pains and get through some hacks there.  

Sandeep Jain:

Yeah, that's interesting. You mentioned this, because a lot of people have spoken where they do the same thing. You know, once they're growing, they try to use or some people call abuse, the Salesforce CRM, is there CPQ by creating a product catalog there, which does not scale eventually.  

Alisa Liebowitz:

I remember we used to have like Product ‘A’ three months Product ‘B’ four months. It was like by the, by the time we were on, or close it was, we had been able to get down from like, many 100 to under 30 products, and it was a huge come up.

Sandeep Jain:

On that note, Alisa, are there any metrics that you would suggest to measure the health of this Quote-to-Cash pipeline, if you will?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, for sure. So I think that there's a lot of things I think, measuring time it takes to quote. So there's a couple ways you can do that. Like how long our sales taking to actually generate a quote. So we captured like number of clicks, pre CPQ, number of clicks, post CPQ metric. A lot of the metrics are also dependent on business. If you're measuring how long approvals take, but leveraging simultaneous approvals to show that also, we had a lot of manual processes, what we call like a manual order form if the system did not support a specific use case. So measuring how long those took, and then once we were able to automate and CPQ, like bringing it down. So we, we saw some use cases where we were doing about 40 or so deals a month with this, and it was taking upwards of two days to get the quote out to the customer. And once we released the functionality, we were seeing it out in under 10 minutes. So it was just a huge, huge win across the board. So those are really key metrics. I think also just seeing just capturing bugs and questions like over time, and making sure those are trending downwards are critical. And then also just measuring the velocity and the capacity. How many quotes am I able to do, or how many how many are the system running and how does that compare to previously

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. Typically, how many lines of quotes are there in your case? Like, is it 10s, 100s? I don't think it'll be 1000s.

Alisa Liebowitz:

But oh, like do you mean products on like, a single Quote-to-Cash?

Sandeep Jain:

Yeah, just roughly your quote sizes. So that…

Alisa Liebowitz:

We have pretty low numbers. I would say probably one to five is like average. So I know a lot. A lot of companies have hundreds of lines. That's probably a little bit different. But we have I think our whole product catalog we have about 35 SKU’s or something like that.  

Sandeep Jain:

Well, maybe I should have started with that so that people have a context. Because I some of the folks have spoken with you know, they had their public companies like few years they've been public and their skews are like 1000s At this stage 1000s and their biggest struggle is around training and how to do coating because a salesperson goes there and it's like, Oh my God, what should I even quote right now so different scale of challenges for them?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, and we've honestly done a really good job of keeping the product catalog clean because we you know, we overhaul or release updated pricing and then you have all these legacy customers that are still on the old skews or plans and we do a lot of work to transition our map then to the new plan so that everyone has our like, greatest and latest and it's a more scalable process because then we only have to maintain the most active current SKU’s.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And I should have asked you this earlier, do you support multiple currencies at PagerDuty? I know you guys have you sell globally, I think?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Right now only USD.

Sandeep Jain:

Okay. But do you sell globally as well with USD or is it USD in US only?

Alisa Liebowitz:

We sell globally in USD right now.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. Is that by the way, have been asked like multiple currency support in your Quote-to-Cash systems, has that been an ask?

Alisa Liebowitz:

It has been an ask just continues to be a lower priority than some of the other things coming up but I'm sure we'll get to it. It might be in this year.

Sandeep Jain:

Okay. And any recommendation either quarter caster steps, the present some challenges are when CEOs think about this audit, is there any guidance that you can give to the leaders when they are thinking about these systems? Like, in terms of the budget or timelines, any anything to think about? Like, this is not an easy thing, or any recommendations that you have?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think I'll just speak to the CPQ project, because it's the most recent in my mind. But I think there were a couple things that I underestimated when I predicted like, the level of effort and how long it would really take us to deliver this work, we use our internal resources, which was awesome, because now we have subject matter experts, they got trained in CPQ, and they built it from the ground up. The problem, the flip side of that is they also had their day jobs, right, we had to keep Salesforce operational and, and all of this while we were building this, this brand new system and tool. So as much as I would have loved that they would be heads down, like working on net new functionality in this huge project. The reality was their time was not fully dedicated and, and stuff like that. So I think that that was something I should have called out earlier and figured out how to resource appropriately. And then the other thing was we actually, IPO while we were undergoing this change. So that actually increased a lot of like our requirements for change management and compliance. So we were held to a more stringent process. And, and as much as I think that that was a great thing for us to deliver a product that was really great by the end, and then that the velocity had to give a little bit and slow. So it ultimately ended up taking a little bit longer than I would have anticipated. That answer your question?

Sandeep Jain:

Yeah, it does.  

Alisa Liebowitz:

Okay.  

Sandeep Jain:

By the way, as part of this process, do you recommend having an external help, like system integrators to help with this thing or do you think people can, if they're tight on budget, they can do it by themselves?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah. I mean, I think a combination is probably what I would recommend, we had external resources, but we really only ramped up our velocity when we got internal in house developer, probably a third of the way through the project. And then we just started to accelerate our velocity. I think having those expertise and benchmarking against other organizations and, and consultants that have maybe gone through this transformation before is super helpful, but leaving it all to them and not having your internal resources involved. It's just going to leave you in a bad situation when they move on to their next project, and you have to support this. This is not a project that is necessarily done, right. Like I've delivered it, but we're continuing to enhance it and change it and develop it. And it's super, super helpful to have the expertise in house.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And a related question there, Alisa. Now, since monetization spans across different functions, like it does an engineering, it has roots in finance, sales, and even marketing and support. Do you have any recommendations on how to set up the team, monetization teams given that it is a multifunction domain right now?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, I don't know if I have a great answer for this one. I mean, I think our teams have are set up really well but not perfect. Like I said, there's their shared responsibility, and you kind of need to involve three, if not four teams to really hit every single piece of the entire puzzle, which sometimes slows down the whole process. Like I need to engage our growth team to be able to change the front end, I need to engage our Salesforce team if I want to just make a CPQ and our monetization team if we want to do something like in the backend. So it I think there's benefits to it is that we have subject matter like expertise in certain areas. But we definitely toyed with the idea of moving it all into one like global monetization team at the company. So I think Stay tuned on the answer on that one, I don't know. I'd love to hear other people's opinions because I think that there's things that are working for us and things that are that are not and we're definitely open to hear that stuff.

Sandeep Jain:

Interesting. So Alisa, I probably didn't catch this earlier. So are you part of the IT team or finance team? And I've seen business applications in kind of both areas?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yes, I report directly to the VP of IT. But IT actually the VP of IT reports to the CFO. So we are I'm in IT and finance, I guess you could say.

Sandeep Jain:

I see. And you talked earlier about a monetization team, backend team, which function is that sort of under?

Alisa Liebowitz:

So that's under myself. There they manage like the Zuora and our internal billing service.  

Sandeep Jain:

So that's with you then, right?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yep, that's me, correct. Got it.  

Sandeep Jain:

So the growth team that you talked about for the front end changes that that's probably a separate team under marketing, I guess?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Correct. So they're more focused on like, hey, like, where should we put this? How should we optimize the account setting so that customers have a seamless experience can easily check out and purchase and then we're there on the back end to make sure that purchase goes through that we're sending the right preview numbers over to the front end so that they can display almost like a PDF quote, within the account settings and stuff like that. So we partner really closely with them on a lot of our key initiatives.

Sandeep Jain:

Interesting. And I've heard all sorts of different ways that companies are dealing with this right now. For example, a certain company moved this entire function under engineering, because the kind of changes that they had to make, it required more engineers on the team. So they decided to do that another company, they created a separate engineering function completely to handle this. Another one, they had engineers and product managers sitting in the IT team to deal with more of these issues. So it's kind of all over the place, as I'm seeing it right now. So I was curious as to what you guys are doing yourself?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, for sure. I've heard those same things too, and honestly, are the monetization team that is under me, and IT now has in the past been under engineering, specifically, when we did the huge transformation of our homegrown billing system to Zuora. So it sat under engineering during that implementation?

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And changing gears a little bit, Alisa. Do you guys do usage based billing? Or are you thinking about this, or any thoughts on that?  

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, we’ve used it in the past very lightly. I think it's mostly deprecated. Now, but yeah, I have less experience with usage based billing. We did it I think, at one time for international alerts, because they were more costly for the business, where we basically at the end of each month would run would run a job and determine, Okay, how many international alerts were sent on this customer's account? And those were billed a certain way? But that was that's a legacy product. So we don't do any usage based billing now.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. Got it. And a related question, or maybe a partially related question. I think, since you were in support earlier, would you be able to share like the percentage of questions that come up in support because of billing things? I don't know, quotes not being right?  

Alisa Liebowitz:

Oh man, I don't. I was in the support in 2012, 2013. So I think those metrics have changed pretty drastically. So I don't really, I don't have those up to date numbers. And I don't really remember it that I've heard.  

Sandeep Jain:

The number I’ve heard by the way, it's 40%. And this is for a company that's not heavily direct sales based. But this is like more self-serve getting into direct selling. So they deal with more with self-serve flows and customer service issues. So yeah,

Alisa Liebowitz:

I mean, we luckily we have pretty good knowledge base and like tech and documentation for the customer to access and I think it's pretty intuitive and self-explanatory. Customers can view their invoices through the portal and kind of see all the information they need to, so I believe it's not super high, but I can't speak to the actual percentage.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. Any recommendations or advice to vendors in this space? Like, folks, you need to be focusing more on this and not that, this is what your customers are feeling the pain, customer says to you. So any recommendations or advice on what things should be in your Quote-to-Cash that are not currently?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, for sure. And I think most people would probably agree but we're using tools that are you know, owned by different platforms owned by different companies that are being worked on in in like no silos. And we've done our own internal integrations, to link them to make them work together as seamlessly as we possibly can. But I think it would really benefit these vendors to work closely to each other. And I know, sometimes they are in direct competition, but you know, so and so is best in class in billing, but another is best in class and CPQ. Like, how do they make it easy for our customers, or do we have one product that makes it the most easy for everyone? Because that's where we spend most of the time. And it's where a lot of the technical challenges and thinking time really comes into play.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. Any advice or maybe actually predicting where this industry is headed? In the next few years in the Quote-to-Cash, and maybe I think it relates to what you said earlier bout, you know, best in class CPQ and best in class billing, maybe if there's a unification?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, for sure. And I think I don't know if this is, it might be a little bit unique to PagerDuty. But we, like you said, we have a direct and we also have a self-serve business. Another thing we allow our customers to do is buy through both channels, seamlessly. So I can go and buy through a sales rep. And then day to the next day, go on online and purchase five more users if I want and having those two processes work seamlessly. So then when I go back to re-quote the customer on my third transaction, I'm able to see that they bought five users through the platform and only modify their most current subscription version. Maybe think about, I think a lot of the vendors today have really focused on one channel or the other, and really thinking about it more holistically. And making sure you can support both and in a real way.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. Got it. Alisa, brings us to the end of the podcast, but before we let you go, can you share with the audience? Any sort of business related resource, like a book or a podcast that you come across that you'd like to share with the listeners?

Alisa Liebowitz:

Yeah, for sure. So we recently had our company leadership kickoff for fiscal year 22. And we had a bunch of guests. And one person really inspired me, his name is Adam Grant, he has a lot of books and podcasts. And he talks about how teams should work together. And he gave a lot of like, really cool recommendations that I took back that were super actionable, and maybe not intuitive at first, but thought would really benefit the way my team works. So I really appreciated that. And then we all got the book, think again, that I'm about to written by him, and I'm about to get started on it. So I would check him out.

Sandeep Jain:

Interesting. It's interesting that you mentioned Adam Grant. Frankly, I'm not a big book reader. I don't have that much patience. I’m mostly a bite consumer, like shortstop, but I did end up reading his book “Originals”.  

Alisa Liebowitz:

Really?  

Sandeep Jain:

Yeah. And it was one of the videos refreshing reads that I've ever had. And the interesting thing about that book was, at least for me, was it was not pedantic. It's not like somebody standing on a pedestal and saying, Thou shalt do things this way. And this is the only way of things. Adam was giving examples of how things can happen. And I believe that's a good way of at least how I learn things better when people share examples with what they're saying, and I think that book was really great.  

Alisa Liebowitz:

So yeah, for sure. He gave a lot of great ideas he even talked about, like how technical teams should be brainstorming and that a lot of times when you're getting together as a group, people are just more inclined to agree with it. I think he called it the highest paid person in the room and giving time, people time to go off on their own and really think about the problem and then come together after they've had that time. Get some really creative and different ideas that you may have probably would have not gotten before. So that was one thing I took from the talk.

Sandeep Jain:

Awesome. Hey, Alisa, thank you so much again for your time and great to have you on the show.

Alisa Liebowitz:

Awesome. Thanks so much.

Sandeep Jain: Hi. Welcome to the 8th episode of “The Enterprise Monetization” podcast. And this is your host, Sandeep Jain. In this podcast, we invite thought leaders from monetization space that has CPQ and billing, so that you can learn about challenges, opportunities, and best practices in enterprise monetization. Today, I'm pleased to invite Navin Persaud. To this podcast, Navin has a deep expertise in running sales and marketing ops. He's currently the Head of Revenue Ops at a company called 1Password. I'm pretty sure all of you would know what that company is for. But for those of you who don't know, 1Password is a private company based out of Toronto, Canada, and they do password management for both businesses and for personal use. So they are like a Product-Led Growth company, if you're familiar with the term Product-Led Growth. Prior to that, Navin managed operations at several companies such as Fixed Software, Ceridian, Leader, Lenovo and IBM Canada. With that, I want to extend a very warm welcome to Navin. Navin, welcome to the show.
Navin Persaud: Thanks, Sandeep. Happy to be here.
Sandeep Jain:  Awesome. So, before we start, can you share a quick fun fact about yourself that you'd like to share with the audience of this podcast?
Navin Persaud: Sure, sure thing. I think people who know me know I love to fish fishing. I'm not exactly a great fisherman, but I love the analogies that that fishing offers me in my work life to my personal life. And really that persistence, the amount of effort preparedness, these are all things that work in both elements, whether, you're fishing or whether you're that sales rep trying to close that up order.
Sandeep Jain:  It's interesting. I don't fish but I could never call it that analogy. Well, we've all seen the fisherman just sitting and just waiting for the hook to be engaged. I don't know, what's the right phrase there? But I can imagine the patience and the diligence required to get this thing done, it's very interesting. Do you fish often, by the way?
Navin Persaud: Anytime I can get.
Sandeep Jain:  Wow. Okay. So I'm assuming you're close to a place which allows you to do what you want to do?
Navin Persaud: Proximity water doesn't stop me. If I have time, I'll go find it
Sandeep Jain:  How much is this, if you don't mind me asking this, the paying for this activity is like a few hours like what's the time commitment?
Navin Persaud: Yeah, usually, you have to know that you're gonna go a day before because then you have to pack the vehicle and make sure you have all your gear, have bade know that you're waking up early the next morning, and then you go.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. And once again, my goodness, but is it kind of a solo sport, or is it?
Navin Persaud: It's either, but like, the great joy for me is taking my son. So my son is 18. And he loves fishing as much as I do. And sometimes he's pulling me to go fish when? No, I'm not thinking about it. So it's actually really great.
Sandeep Jain:  That's interesting. That's interesting. My son is eight years old, probably, that's a good dad and son bonding exercise, I guess. So thank you for sharing this, by the way. Let's come to some other fun stuff that we want to talk about today, which is monetization. So I give a quick summary to our audience. But Julie, just quickly share about your professional journey. You know, it seems that you started in marketing, sales, and then you're now into revenue operations, which is sort of an over encompassing thing?
Navin Persaud: Sure. I started my career as an IBM 15years, right at a university, I thought I was going to be a lawyer at IBM. Opportunity at IBM was amazing, as you know, entering the workforce, starting off as you know, an operations moving into sales roles, finding a home operations, and then eventually moving into SaaS organizations Rev Ops 2015. And then learning SaaS from there on in having never experienced Salesforce, didn't really know what SaaS was never sold software, moving from like a commodity based business to software and, you know, looking back, I wish I had done it sooner.
Sandeep Jain:  Go ahead and dial up one password. Can you talk more about the company and your role at 1Password?
Navin Persaud: Sure. I've been to 1Password for just over six months now. It's been an amazing journey, their Product-Led Growth Company, they serve as both individuals so like a B2C model, and companies as a B2B model. They're on an incredible growth curve at the moment. Product-Led, and my role here as leader of Rev Ops is to really just look at the internal processes and systems and sort of help the team remove obstacles, to just keep that efficiency rolling out, it's been a great journey. I've enjoyed the ride. And I look forward to more projects and initiatives that we're about to embark on here shortly.
Sandeep Jain:  Understood. And could you talk more about, like how your role is structured within is apart of the sales organization? Because revenue operations crosses the multiple boundaries of multiple functions. So that's why I'm curious about how it is organized at your company.
Navin Persaud: Yes, for sure. So I reported to our CRO, so we're part of the go to market organization, which is effectively sales, and that's typically what I've seen in my career. I think, once I've reached this particular level, I've always reported into either CRO or CMO. But generally in sales, because that's where the pain is felt. That's where they need someone to help them with the systems, and the process, and the reporting and the data. So it's a natural fit, and a natural home sales affords you the opportunity to be on the same team on the same page, so that you're working with each other as opposed to against each other, which is always great. In order to get things done, get buy in, and to generally just move initiatives forward.
Sandeep Jain:  Understood, and what companies have a separate revenue operations function, do they also have a Sales Ops as a function or is it kind of merged with the Revenue Ops?
Navin Persaud: I think Rev Ops is a new creature in the last few years, it's a buzzword. I think sales ops was more of a legacy term that companies are sort of just shifting away from. In the past, I've seen sales ops, I've been a sales ops leader, and it's really about, you have an MQL, you've created a customer, you have an MQL, you've created a customer like that was the journey. And your role was to operate within that. Whereas Rev Ops is a lot more encompassing is you have an MQL, you have a customer, then you have an upsell, you have a renewal, you have a churn, you start all over again, you have expansion. It's more of a full cycle. And it marries well into organizations where you have a CRO, who owns not only the new customer sales teams, but also the customer success and expansion teams as well. So it's a nice little wrapper.
Sandeep Jain:  Awesome. I think you explained this very well. And I mean, I've talked to quite a few people on that, but I think explanation hits the mark. So thank you for sharing that. And so look, we talked about a Product-Led Growth scenario. So can you talk about the challenges in this journey that you talked about, from a view point of a Product-Led Growth company?
Navin Persaud: Yeah. So first of all, it's great to be working in a Product-Led Growth company. Because here you have great virality in your product, great demand. And really what you're coming in, at least from my perspective, to fix are effectively the plumbing of all the systems and the billing and the process and the lead flow sand how all of that works in behind the scenes. And your hope is you're just trying to fix things and those processes to get out of the way of a product. So that the velocity people can you can acquire new customers that can move through your sales teams, and then into your customer success teams at great speed. Whereas the inverse is if you're not working in a Product-Led Growth company, you're really trying to fix those things to help drive velocity where it doesn't already exist, and that's where it's really challenging. In terms of challenges, I would say, having the ability for customers to self-serve is paramount. Lot of Product-Led Growth companies has the ability to acquire customers. So they would have like an Ecommerce solution where customers can sign up for a trial and then buy on their own. But not a lot of them have the ability for customers to move to different forms of payment. They have to get to a human in those instances. And that's where these bottlenecks start to appear and surface. And if not built and sort of planned appropriately. You run into scaling resourcing issues, because then all of a sudden, this, this big wave of customers who potentially needs to be upgraded or pay in a different way, needs a human to do it. And therefore you need more humans to kind of meet that demand.
Sandeep Jain:  So let's just focus on that. So this is the B2C workflow that you're talking about. And is there like the tools existing tools don't have that. They don't have an answer to that workflow that you're looking for. And you have to build these experiences yourself, or the experience is not great from the like, what's the problem there?
Navin Persaud: Well, this is actually B2B as well. But I find that a lot of Product-Led Growth companies, their product, and the way in which they bill is something that is inherent and built within their product from the get go. And over time, they extend the reach of the product to service billing and integrate with other systems. Sometimes it's not ideal, like it's not the best way or not really what the intentions of the product were solely there to solve for. And then you reach that period of limitation where it's either you, you scale back what the product is, and you buy something that just doesn't well in the market to solve for those pains, you just have to reach a certain amount of growth where you have to make that decision. And in the meantime, you have to make things work with the product you haven’t place, and the structure and a process that's already built into your platform, to scale allow for growth, and give that flexibility and upgrade paths etc.
Sandeep Jain:  Understood. And with respect to this particular like there are two workflows from B2C and B2B.And the tool that comes there is the CPQ, which is workhouses, the product catalogue, do you see any challenges there having a CPQ service these different channels, where your customers are coming from?
Navin Persaud: WithB2C, it's pretty simple. Like you try the product, you like it, you put down a credit card, you pick your tear away, you go, it's really not, from what I've seen, the CPQ use case there, where CPQ is most prevalent is on the B2B side, specifically, where you have a customer putting their hand up saying, you know, I hate pricing. CPQ is really your subscription engine, your ability to understand what the customer needs price of that quote, and then turn it into a customer with a subscription and a contract to be able to amend upsell down, sell churn renew over time. And it's really the management of that engine across 1000s of customers that makes it complex, if not done quickly. And in an efficient way, I've seen significant challenges with companies where they've waited. And then they decided, yeah, you know what, we need to go do this, and the work is just a lot longer, a lot longer. So because CPQ, and the systems I've dealt with are complex, it's that you have to translate or almost rinse everything that what was built into the CPQ framework, so that it can spit out what you need for it to go forward. And that's where all the challenge lies.
Sandeep Jain:  Understood. And then you'll experience Navin, for product like good companies, even for the customers coming from B2B. Is there a requirement for a self-serve CPQ that I don't want to put my credit card, but I'm gonna do a deal of several $1,000 or10s of 1000s of dollars. But I'd still want to talk to a salesperson, is that a valid scenario that companies should think about?
Navin Persaud: Absolutely. For the point that I raised earlier, if you're aren't building a fly wheel within yourself serve engine, your website's always on, and the ability flexibility for customers to buy what they need, without necessarily always having to talk to a human to get it done. You're hurting yourself, because then you're really relying on your ability to scale on the people that you have to service that demand in a timely fashion with the right price points, and all the other administrative actions that follow it. Companies who are Product-Led Growth and build that flexibility in from the start before them the ability to ramp sales teams over time to be extremely targeted, focused on a specific cohort of customers, whether it be in your enterprise or specific industries, or specific product types, etc. that’s really powerful. But if you're really requiring on the humans to service your demand, because you have a limitation of what someone can buy on their own, then you're sort of at the bit at the mercy of the people that you can hire and putting see.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. And so one side of the CPQ may have been but the other side is a billing for that. Do you see any challenges with billing for both your B2C and B2Bcustomers?
Navin Persaud: Yeah, from personal experience, B2C is a new thing for me, so I won't go into that. I see. That's pretty straightforward. A lot of vendors out there I think Stripe was one of the most predominant ones. From a B2B standpoint, yes, because even if whatever CPQ you decide to choose and use, you then have to play nice with your billing system, a lot of companies that I've been with almost all of them, except for one, use NetSuite, which is typically your ideal stack. And you have to basically have the two systems play nice like you're going to do a set of calculations and understanding of ARR, and subscription and term and everything else and then basically tell the other system, here's what you need to go and do with that data. Here's how you need to create sales orders and invoices and renewals and billing schedules. And at any point, we may send you something else to upsell and down sell, etc. and your systems need to be handling that. I've never seen it. I've never joined a company where that process was great at the get go.
Sandeep Jain:  Understood. Well, from a NetSuite perspective, running subscription billing, do you find this, is this flexible? What do you think about the flexibility of the tools to support the amendments and renewal cases? That's something that is brought by all, every time I speak with somebody who say I have a very complex or unique renewal process or an amendment. And so what do you think about the complexity of the tools or ability of the tools to do service, this core requirement of SaaS businesses?
Navin Persaud: It's never really that can solution, do it. It's almost always do you have the skill in house to make it happen? I've seen this time and time again. So I mean, we just came off of a CPQ implementation, it was a huge lift. We're now sort of like cleaning up thereafter. But now we're focused on the next piece, which is like how do we integrate this data that we're getting on a CPQ, to our billing system, and what needs to change or what needs to be accommodated so that we can automatically send data back and forth. So it's not a capability issue, it's whether you have the skill and hours to turn on the feature functions that are necessary to accommodate. Quite often, I've seen that suite instances really just be stood up to generate invoices, and a lot of manual work being done by a finance team, just to accommodate that. You really don't want to be building like a massive building team, because that's just an administrative burden into GNA. What you want to be able to do is understand the areas whereby you can automate things, so that you can eliminate the time it takes for you to send out invoices, so you can improve the time it takes to collect cash, so that you can keep customers happy and renewing. So you can just be sort of pro active. And so like to recap, it's never the capabilities of the systems. It's the complexity and the resources of skill to actually make it happen.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. And Navin, any thoughts on usage-based billing?
Navin Persaud: As a customer, I've seen it. So I've bought a lot of SaaS in my SaaS career. You have Salesforce and DocuSign, all these other solutions. And I'm constantly managing how many users do we have available today team, because we're hiring more people. And I need to make sure that I need to either go buy some or use what I have. And some companies do really well, they get you right when you need that license. You know, you can go into their self-serve like Sales force, the greatest example, I can go on self-serve my own licenses right now, whatever I need, I don't have to talk to anybody, will I get a deal? No, but I will get the licenses I need right now. If I'm thinking I'm going to need to make a bigger purchase off to call up my rep, and we'll have to talk through it that way. But night or day that's afforded to me, and that's available. Other companies have soft caps. I've dealt with a number of vendors whereby you can go over we'll catch you on a true up either at renewal or at some interval that you reach through their head. It's easier for me as a customer, because then you know, I can deal with it. It's more of like a deferred pain and it doesn't interrupt my business flow. I sort of liked that model being the vendor. I'm not sure how much I like that model, because I'm potentially leaving some error on the table, or I'm potentially hoping that my team has the right visibility to the reporting to understand where those trips scenarios exist. So they can go after that revenue at the right time.
Sandeep Jain:  Understood. So you're talking about mostly like a seat-based model where your number of seats are growing…
Navin Persaud: Unless you're also referring to like how much you use the product, DocuSign is a great example of that, I believe they have two models. I've used both where you have seat based or you have envelope based. An envelope base where they basically say, you get this many envelopes in a period. And you can just have as many different users in the system as you want doesn't matter, we're just going to charge you based on the number of envelopes you send out. And when you exceed that, we're automatically just going to bump you to the next year.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. So I was asking more about that use case, which is, as a revenue offset, 1Password,that's if you decide to have usage billing for your own product. I don't know if you have it currently or not. But if it is based on I don't know, number of different sites, or number of different licenses that are stored in 1Password,and you charge your customers on the basis of that, does that add complexity to your own billing, like how you build your customers and how you do your operations for your customers?
Navin Persaud: On the self-serve side, companies like that, not really. I mean, every time you add a user, you get a charge. And when it's done through like systems like Stripe, or otherwise, the get you as soon as you add the user your credit cards on file, you get sent an invoice immediately. Where it becomes more challenging is when you have to move to invoicing as terms of payment, or something other than credit card. That's where you're having to understand that the change in usage, translate it into your billing process, and then issue an invoice. That's where it can be more complicated if you don't have the right systems talking to each other at the right times to actually automate that work. If that work is manual, it's not scalable.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. I think the first use case which is more an advanced sort of billing, so pre-buy is what you need. So if I'm going from 5 seats to 10, I go and do the transaction on the website, which is going to be simple versus the scenario where somebody has to monitor how much I'm using. And then at the end of the quarter, month or year, generate an invoice based on how much I used; this requires a different billing scenario.
Navin Persaud: Great. Other companies are also adopting like packs or bundles, whereby you can pre buy, you know, like a bundle of 30or 40 seats. And then you can, you know, start using them and filling them upas you go for the company. You get the immediate purchase of that number of licenses straight up for the user, you have a threshold right away that you can fill and then figure out once you get past it.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. So, Navin, when you look at this from now, let's say 100,000 foot view, B2CB2B,CPQ billing usage. And you look at this whole thing, is there one big challenge that sort of comes out for you saying, well, if somebody would have solved that actually will make sense or make your life easier as a RevOps person?
Navin Persaud: So I'll say this, the start, I love Salesforce. I'm like, I absolutely adore the platform, because it has made a different career for me. But the way that it's designed, unless you have the right skill in house, and your know what you're doing, and you have a plan, you can fall off the Yellow Brick Road in an instant, you can then decide to go and customize a bunch of things. And then realize, oh my god, I should have just configured some things because now it's so much complexity. You know, CPQ is a great product. I've implemented it three times now. And the biggest challenge each time that I've implemented, it was that we didn't start with it. We ended up with it. Because we realized the homegrown or existing process we had just wasn't going to cut it anymore, was creating downstream problems with our billing our ability to invoice, track renewals, understand churn, we needed something systematic programmatic. And moving to that system was the biggest pain every time that I've done it, not because the system is a pain, it's because you have a wealth of migrated data that you have to translate over. So there's advice that I could give to someone, it's don't wait. Don't try and build it on your own. Figure out a plan that's scalable for your business now, and portable life and when you need to move to something else. But if you don't allow for that, you're just deferring a whole lot of pain for your future ops team that's going to come in here and try and solve what you didn't plan for from the get go.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it, got it Navin. Anything about the interface between the CPQ and the billing systems. I think you alluded to that earlier. I think he talked about NetSuite versus and there could be other accounting systems as well, or billing systems, I should say?
Navin Persaud: You really need a partnership there with your ops team or whoever is going to manage your CPQ and your billing systems because you know, your hand in hand, you have one solution, generating quotes and renewals. Another solution highly dependent on that output to generate invoices and ensure payment. They have to be speaking the same language from like how you're recording revenue, if you have ramp deals, what are you going to invoice, is it staggered? What amendments look like? And then related to that is compensation, something that we're not even talking about here, but you have another team and finance needs to figure out how to pay your sellers, and how to incent them, and how to ensure that the revenue and the data they're getting is accurate and aligns to the plans and programs that are in place. So it's not just billing and solving that issue. There's another element of compensation that also has to play nice in this world.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. And follow up on this. This the management of this accounting system of the billing system fall into the RevOps team or the finance team sort of owns that, I'm assuming it's a mixed responsibility, but I was just curious too?
Navin Persaud: It is definitely a mixed responsibility. One I'm continuing to learn and understand and grow through. And in my world today, if it's in Salesforce, my team owns it in terms of understanding untangling, making sure the data is accurate. We then partner with our finance teams to ensure that their invoices are accurate, and they go out the way they need to go. Finance owns everything, once it's passed it over to their system, invoice collections, all that thing. The ongoing management of subscription is where you really need to ensure that you have the right resources in place, regardless of which team so that you can understand those one offs, those nuances, you know, sales reps will always you know, apologize in advance to all my sales reps, they will always take the simplest path again. And because that's the nature of the beast and I applaud them for it. And I'm always trying to make them have that simplest path. The reality is, you got to make sure it's right, because then you have so many other things hinging off the accuracy of that an accurate invoice accurate comp, a renewal that needs to go out in a year's time, an amendment that could happen at any notice, a notice of churn expansion, etc. All these things hinge off accurate data and your system. And if you're billing if you're CPQ engine isn't accurately you know, keeping track of that data and managing contracts, you've just created a cycle of pain
Sandeep Jain:  Actually a good segue to this is how to structure the teams. Like you have done earlier talked about Sales Ops being more tactical, RevOps is now being more encompassing term. But now there is also this billing piece we were just talking about. So what's your recommendation, how to structure the teams to sort of minimize the friction and maximize your and go to market efficiency, I guess?
Navin Persaud: Yeah, I can talk a little bit about my team, we’re structured into three pillars, I have like a technical side of the team that handles our CRM and all the related integrations. They manage for of our projects and what we prioritize, I have a Reporting Analytics and soon to be managing the subscription or deal desk function. There did generally ensure that you know, the top of funnel is working, pipelines progressing, deals are getting closed accurately, rinse repeat, and then the analytics from that. The third function is a newer one, one that I'm starting up in sort of like the growth ops function. A resource or team of resources dedicated to understanding the customer success business, to ensure that there are renewals and amendments and upsells and growth. A repeated trend that I've seen in every SaaS company had been with, you grow through expansion, you may acquire logos on acquisition, but you grow on the backs of your customers. So ensuring that you have the right level of insight and data around how your customers are performing over time, their health, their metrics, etc. is absolutely vital for that engine to be, you know, firing on all cylinders.
Sandeep Jain:  That's very interesting. You describe that, Navin. And so companies have a customer support function, which is a post-sales support, but there's also customer success, which is post sales account management. Is your customer happy enough? Are we solving their pain points so that you know once the time comes to renewal, you see the flywheel effect at that point. Is this, How is your this third pillar correlated with a customer success team?
Navin Persaud: So shout out to all my customer success colleagues, customer success as a function, they're the quarterback in my mind. If you follow sports, specifically football, they're the quarterback. So sales makes a sale, they get the glory, then it's off to the customer success rep to make you successful. So speaking as a customer, I've worked with some amazing customer success reps that have increased my time to value with their software simply by being a knowledgeable and accessible resource around their product. And that's no different now, like with our customer success mission is ensuring that we have successful onboarding, that we have a single point of contact on all product related questions that were up to date on new feature functions, that we have our renewals on time. Like it's a super important function, because any subscription business cannot succeed if subscriptions aren't renewed. And your customer success function is the one that is totally armed at making sure that happens.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. So what you're saying is, look, there is a place for customer success as a project manager or as a quarterback to make sure that the account is overall successful. But this third pillar that you talked about, how does that function relate with the overall customer success team?
Navin Persaud: Yeah, partner in crime almost like to help that team, understand their customers, segment them, help them understand renewal, help them coalesce all of the data that comes that companies like us collect to understand the health of that customer adoption usage, whether they're happy, generate a health score, which can then understand customers that are likely to renew customers are not likely to renew, what actions can we take to mitigate? What actions can we take to create advocates and promoters to grow and expand and create virality within your product, and more advocates, all of these things are data points that lives scattered in your CRM, or if you're lucky enough to have like a solution, like a gain site. They live there. But you need people to help pull it out and present it in a way that you can action it on a daily, monthly quarterly basis.
Sandeep Jain:  It's really interesting you're talking about this. Over the weekend, I was talking to a friend, he's a Sales Engineering Director at a security company, they are like the 5 billion in value that file. So they're a big company. And he's like Sandeep, I'm in sales engineering, I need visibility into what happens. It is what is happening with my existing customer accounts. And I think they're using gainsiteas well. It's like, well, I don't know, the visibility into the data that I can give to my team that they can make some sense out of it, and they can start helping them. So his particular ask was, look, I need to find out what features are being used by certain sort of customers like, what are the tickets that they're finding out? Are there about feature requests, which means that you're engaged with the product, or is it about more complaining that, hey, this thing doesn't work? So he's like, I'm flying blind. So can just somebody provide me the data? And so I can kind of relate that comment with what you were talking about, is there's a separate customer success team, but your team is in the middle that can help provide that visibility.
Navin Persaud: Absolutely.
Sandeep Jain:  So very interesting. Another related question, when you look at this whole B2B and B2Cworkflows for a product, lead growth company, is there like one of the minimum number of tools that you think teams off such as yours have to deal with to get things done? Now there's a CRM going to be there, there is a billing system CPQ. Like for usage, would you think about another system? Like how many systems do you think people shouldn’t?
Navin Persaud: Generally, SaaS companies have what I call like the SaaS spinal cord, you've got your marketing automation, that passes through your CRM, and then you have your billing system, and then connected to all of those things should be your product or way to provision it. Those are like the four core things that should be standard in every SaaS company. How are you marketing acquiring customers? Are you managing pipeline? How are you billing them? And then where are you provisioning them? Every SaaS companies should have those elements, it could be all one element. And then you have another element for your product, but they've got them all represented in some way or another. Each of those pieces of tech though, require ownership. So that you understand both the process and the data as your workflow moves through them. Without like naming any names, but I feel like companies tend to focus in one area and not so much in the other and they leave these bottlenecks. For example, great acquiring leads, but don't really think about how to make sure they get to the right humans at the right time so that they can make the right impactful connections to create pipeline, where they have a great CRM and don't think about, how are we going to sell a product? How are we going to price it quoted, renew it, etc. We're having an invoicing system that just does invoices and leads you to hire so many people in finance, because it's all manual. And lastly, don't have a means to provision the product in a timely manner. That's probably one of the things that I've seen in a lot of other companies and that it's super manual, it's not connected, there's no connective tissue when you close the deal, it says it starts here, when does it actually available to the customer for use? Those are all like, I say that the four key areas that you need to have structure and teams around and specific ownership to those systems, and then they all need to be sort of working together collaboratively. So if there's an operational function across those departments, they should all be talking to each other.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. And Navin, if there's one or two things that you think can solve your biggest pain, what would those be assuming Gods are smiling at you today?
Navin Persaud: Let's play this fictitious example. Let's say in year two, I landed another SaaS company. And I get in there, I'll be like, okay, day one, I wouldn’t know how I'm doing it today, if you're selling anything, if you're just starting out, or if you have at least some inertia, we need to standardize this now. Because the pain, it's a road of pain, to get to CPQ once you have a lot of customers, because then you have this massive amount of history to crawl through to accurately understand all of your customers, their commitments, what they're worth, when they renew, etc, that the project that could be simple, becomes quite extensive. And I think a big barrier for a lot of companies is that, yes, Salesforce is a great product out there. But they feel as though they have to reach to a certain size before it makes like financial sense to get there. Totally get it, they got to figure it out somewhere in between, because like waiting, makes what could be simple, really difficult. CPQ like the Salesforce product, it's not hard to implement. What makes this hard is the time that you've waited, before you actually decide to go and do it. That was that's what makes it difficult. So they need a bridge, that there's definitely a market for companies that are atX to X size, that needs something to just manage that within their CRM in a more structured function. Format, don't do custom will try and build something, find something that's successful in the marketplace, it's compatible, and run with it.
Sandeep Jain:  One thing that's a great piece of advice, Navin, and one thing that I was thought about while you're speaking is if I'm a customer, and I will self-serve experience. Now if I'm dealing with two separate products, one with a CPQ and billing. So I need to self-service experience for buying. So that's brought by the CPQ. But I also need a sales of experience for invoicing. Now, if those are two traditionally separate systems, what happens to me as a customer? Am I looking at two different universes then, or how does that work? Actually, I'm just thinking aloud here.
Navin Persaud: Yeah, from a self-service standpoint, if it's a credit card transaction, it's typically one system. You buy you transact, you get invoice it all in one, sort of stripe is making a killing. It's when you get to limitations in your product, because your product is sort of like an extension or a legacy billing system that is maybe reaching a little further. And you didn't build a way for customers to move from tier one to tier two. And you then say, well, you've got to talk to a human. So there's a little problem, you have to go to a human. And you add, like inadvertently, you're adding friction to that.
Sandeep Jain:  Yeah, got it, Navin. Actually, I was referring to that particular workflow because what I've heard from folks is, look, credit card payments is easy schmoozing. You know, that's everybody gets it. But the problem is when the deal size goes up, your number I've heard is more than $2,000, some companies have limits on how much money you can put on the corporate credit card. So they say well, I need an upgrade for $3,000. I know what I want to buy as a sale person, so could you give me a quote, a self-serve quote that I can give it to my team. And I want to get an invoice as well there, but without talking to anybody. So that's where the self-serve CPQ self-serve billing, and bank to bank transfers and all that thing sort of comes up, which is I think what you're saying is a human has to get involved. As the consumer doesn't want it, the vendor does want it. But it just so happens that that you have to deal with.
Navin Persaud: Huge pain point, think of government entities, nonprofits, companies with you know, certain invoice requirements, like a lot of companies would love to buy self-serve, but can't because they have rules and policies that requires a paper invoice or a digital invoice, or they have a VAT ID or they have some kind of requirement that prevents them from transacting through a credit card. And that almost always in what I've seen remains talking to human.
Sandeep Jain:  Got it. So how do we get human out of the quote of the cash?
Navin Persaud: It's not always how you get out, its how do you ensure that you're deploying your humans in the most effective way as possible. Like, if you're you know, I love sports,so it's a great time loving sports right now with football and hockey and basketball and baseball going on. And you think of yourself as a manager, how do you deploy your players so that they can be efficient and lead you to winning outcomes, and deploying sellers to small transactions that are high volume, that's not success? That's employee churn. That's difficult to manage, it's difficult for your reps to get to quota, your response time suffer. So those are the things that you've got to look for to understand, okay, you've got great volume and velocity here. But you don't have an automated means to. It's all for it. And what you really want to do is put your humans on these larger customers to expand them and grow them. And that's what maybe takes more time. This smaller flywheel stuff that opens and closes quickly, you need a system to do that quickly. You know, there's a stat out there today that says, most buying decisions are 60% made before even talking to a human. And I agree, any SaaS that I've looked to buy, I've already done my research, I've taken as much of my demo, I've gone into G2 crowd or Trust Radius. I've looked at their support documentation. I've done everything that I think I need to do. Then at the last point, I'll be like, Okay, let me see your demo and send me a quote, that's when I'll engage as human.
Sandeep Jain:  That's a good way of putting in. And it's not about taking people out of the equation, but figuring out where they are most useful. And I think that's the big, big challenge in quote to cash today. Awesome. I did hear that calendar bell, a few seconds back. So I know the clock is ticking. So before we let you go Navin, do you have any recommendation on a resource, like a book, or a podcast, or maybe a blog that you want to share with our audience, that something that you identified with, and you want to share why as well?
Navin Persaud: Two things. One, I'm a huge Ted Lasso fan. Anyone who knows me probably knows the character that I fit in really well there. So I won't say it. The book that I've really enjoyed, as I've worked through it, as it's called “The subtle art of not giving enough”. And it's a great book, it really just summarizes that. There's only so many things in your life that really requires all of your attention, and effort to actually like, throw your passion behind it. And really be upset when you don't have the outcome. Everything else just work through it, it happen. Because if you don't, you're just going to stress yourself out. You're gonna have these outcomes, you're gonna have this all around you where people are not going to want to approach you, you're going to be combative, you're just never going to be happy. And once you realize that there's this inflection point in your life where so many so many things that I can manage within my control, to really, really care about and the rest, I still care about them. And if it's out of my control, it's out of my control. And it's a super resource. Mark Manson is the author, the subtle art of not giving a f$%^, basically the counterintuitive approach to living a good life. I recommend for anyone in a high stress situation.
Sandeep Jain:  So between fishing and this book that's how you manage your time, I guess.
Navin Persaud: I do. I try and get away from the screens as much as possible connecting with nature. And it's really for me, it's not about fishing. It's about being somewhere, some quiet some nature, focusing on just a single thing that bobber in the water and letting everything else just kind of like leave my mind. It's amazing. It's refreshing. It allows you to recharge and come back. Focus on the 30 things that enter my mind, the minute Monday 8am rolls around.
Sandeep Jain:  I love this, Navin, and I'll actually read this thing. The book that you suggested is just makes so much sense. While I hear you say that. So hey, look, it's been a fascinating conversation. I wish you the very best of luck at 1Password. The company is doing awesome. That applies for a lot of growth, which means a lot of work. Good work for you and your team. So best wishes there and thank you for your time today.
Navin Persaud: Great, thank you. Take care.