Justin Wong

Director Enterprises Architecture

,

Unity Technologies

   |    

March 22, 2021

Unity has two separate businesses - Create business: traditional Q2C process, and Operate business: very different i.e., ads-tech, usage-based, and as such their sales process is very different Customers are across different verticals — automotive, media, gaming, etc.,

Podcast Transcript:

Sandeep Jain:

Hi. Welcome to the 2nd episode of “The Enterprise Monetization” podcast. And this is your host, Sandeep Jain. In this podcast, we invite thought leaders from monetization space that is CPQ billing, revenue operations, so that you can learn about challenges, opportunities, and best practices in setting up an enterprise monetization stack. Today, I'm pleased to invite our guest, Justin Wong. Justin is the director of Enterprise Architecture at Unity Technologies. Previously, Justin was at AppDynamics, GoPro, StubHub, Bluecoat, and Siebel. Quite a diverse range of companies if I may say. Justin, I was asking Justin earlier before we started the podcast as to what his fun activity is? And he shared that he likes to do dishes at home, as it gives him some quiet time. And I was telling him that, you know, this is something that I love to do as well at home. So we share something in common besides our passion about Quote-to-Cash. Anyways, Justin, welcome to the show.

Justin Wong:

Yeah. Thank you, Sandeep. Thank you for having me here.

Sandeep Jain:

Great. So Justin, we know what companies you walked out. But can you just provide a quick summary of your professional background? Like, what made you so fascinated about Quote-to-Cash space?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, definitely. So just a little bit myself. I've been working in IT for the past few years, you know, focusing on CRM, ERP, Enterprise Architecture, Integration and BI. And during this time, now, I have experienced working on premise application, and then the transition to cloud applications. And in doing that, I know have that several Transformation Initiative in defining core business process and technology stack. And then it just got me a lot of experience working with Quote-to-Cash and something there seem to be not a one size fit all solution. Every company has different flavor, different business model and processes. So there are definitely challenges. And I'm very passionate on kind of how we get better in fine tuning the Quote-to-Cash process.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And Justin, can you tell us more about what Unity does if people don't know? And a little bit more about the team that you work in? How many people what you guys want the charter of the team is?

Justin Wong:

Sure, definitely. So Unity, especially the world's leading platform for creating an operating library of time 3d content, especially a platform that is a very, has a comprehensive set of   solve a solution to let you create random monetize interactive, real time two dimensional and three dimensional content permanently like for mobile, tablets, PC console, and, you know, augmented and virtual reality devices. So at Unity, we have many creatives basically bringing from game developers to artists, to architects, automotive, filmmakers, and there's other various users, that use our Unity platform. So basically, there is a platform is an engine to let you create a lot of content, not just for gaming, but a various different vertical industries. So in terms of how we structure as a team at Unity, there's like two distinct lines of businesses. We call them like operate and create and both of these businesses are very different right in terms of their sales processes, sales motions. Create businesses geared toward a traditional you know, Quote-to-Cash process like using your traditional CPQ process. Whereas operator is completely very different, is based on because operator in Unity, we also have an ads tech business. So it's based on monetization and as well as usage base product, so their sales process is entirely different between create and operate. In terms of one my role here at Unity is that I'm responsible for the overall enterprise architecture, verify business system by supporting the various business units such as finance, sales, marketing, and engineering. So my team provides architecture oversight, customer development, design, and billing integration. So we work closely with our business partner right across the company to understand their gap, their needs. And how do we provide better automations around their processes and key processes such as Quote-to- Cash, procure to pay, financials, online integrations and all that, you know that impact our revenue base, bottom line as a company.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. I have a few follow ups here, Justin, with you. Unity, I suppose does somewhere around 800 to 900 million in revenue, annual revenue. Is that correct?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, currently, where last year we did, as I remember. I mean, it's public information. I think it's around 70 or 75 million for 2020. So yeah, that's 2020.

Sandeep Jain:

And then the reason I'm going over this is just to understand the scale of your operations, and not specifically the number. And you talked about create and operate. I want you to understand who are your specific like customers? Are these like the long tail of mobile app developers? Are these actual companies that you work with? And this has, I'm sure, a bearing on your Quote-to-Cash like, is it a self-serve thing? Is a direct sales lead go to market motion that you guys have?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, so it's a combination really. There's definitely a smaller company. The smaller developers, I think we call it Indie, which is like 10 developers shops, and it can be as big as the bigger company like Zynga. So that uses our product. So it varies. So from small company, you know, from 5-10 people to bigger company. Our customers also consists of not just like, under gaming industry, but also on as I mentioned, our product is useful by automotive industry, by media, like by Disney. So if the platform itself is geared toward those, not just gaming, but other vertical industry.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood, understood, and do use all these different levers in the go to market like self-serve direct sales partners. One is more predominant than other.

Justin Wong:

Yeah, we do have self-serve but it is a smaller customer base right now. At the Unity site a single user can just subscribe to one license where you have a Unity platform. And then on the manage customer, which is enterprise customer, we go through the traditional Quote-to-Cash process. And that goes into our back office system to go through the sales process, go to sales motion, and walk in the deal, where we have our bigger customers.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. And which is your predominant channel, is it your direct sales is the most dominant or do you have partners also in your go to market?

Justin Wong:

We do have partners. Most of them, I think are outside of US. But we do have partners in APAC, who have helped us go through their sales motion with that. In terms of the split level, I think it's more, we do just a volume. There's definitely more volume on the self-service channel in a high volume, low dollar. But on the other direct sales, traditional route, we definitely have the high dollar lower value, but the sales cycle is definitely a little bit longer.

Sandeep Jain:

Okay, I'm assuming the direct sales is your predominant channel, as the size of the revenue?

Justin Wong:

Yeah. In terms of sales here. And yes, we talked about dollar value, direct sale is the higher.

Sandeep Jain:

Can you talk about the Quote-to-Cash stack for these three different channels, like yourself serve direct sales and partners?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, sure, definitely. So for the direct sales, we have Salesforce CPQ, which is to go through the sales process of creating an opportunity quote, and contract. And then for the billing side, we have Zuora. And for revenue recognition, we have RevPro and for financial reporting, we have Workday. And through the stack, we are using mule soft to build a custom integration, between the various systems. So how will we create a quote and contract where we need to integrate that to Zuora. How are we going to build a customer, and then from Zuora to RevPro, there's a native integration to how we're going to recognize revenue. And then from the Zuora billing inside, we need to feed that information to WorkDay for that financial reporting. So that's the kind of the Quote-to-Cash stack for the direct sale. In terms of the self-serve online, that is still more on the legacy side right now. So we have a legacy ecommerce system that handles all the billing, the subscription base, the smaller customers. So that is to be determined on how we're going to move that into Zuora. But that's the kind of the next initiative at this year. For online, the plan is to move all those online customers into Zuora to do our billing, and then for the reseller direct is typically just, it will go through the regular direct sale Quote-to-Cash stack.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And I did not ask you this earlier, but do you do business in multiple currencies, or is just USD?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, we do business in different currency. So we support Euro, GBP, some are in GBP. Mostly Euro and USD, we have also a big impact in the APAC region. So we support Japanese Yen, Chinese Dollars and offering.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. And also, how would you say it's number of SKU’s? Like are these in 10s, 1000s? I don't think it'd be in 1000s. But could you give us a sense of how many SKUs that you're managing?

Justin Wong:

I think I mean, we do have legacy stuff. So I will say in the 1000s, I would say it?  

Sandeep Jain:

Yeah, awesome. Got it. I remember when I was at my one of the previous companies, I manually added roughly 800 SKUs for a product that I was responsible for. So I shouldn't be surprised when companies 1000s of SKU’s.

Justin Wong:

Yeah, I mean, part of it is something that is legacy, or you still need to continue to support something that legacy building. So you need to create those SKU’s. But as we go through the introducing new products and whatnot, so we can get more SKU’s to our product offering.

Sandeep Jain:

Fair, fair. So this is great. Justin, now, if you take a look at the stack, and you zoom out, what are the biggest things that the challenges that you see in the stack today, and you think that could be improved by either better products or by better processes, any view on that?

Justin Wong:

Yeah. I think, several challenges. First of all, first one thing is the ability to quickly set up the various billing charge models. For example, you just billing and go to market and now we're gonna sell usage product, I mean, that's going to be the future. Is how the ability to set up the charge model? How do we handle the different usage charge model for tiered pricing, dynamic pricing, so somebody who paid and usage discount, I think, that is one of the challenges. And the other one is, once we get into the online, supporting the online customers, because online customer in the census, some of the smaller but they have more diverse right, is supporting the various payment gateways for the international community. Because once you get outside of US, like Europe and APAC, they have various payment gateways, like the Alipay, the WeChat, with a different region. And supporting that is important because they are our customers. Especially if we'll plan to grow the market in those regions where we need to be had the ability, which is the GSF payments, right? And different types of gateways not just like a credit card through WorldPay, but we need to support a different payment method to allocate. The other challenge know for us is because as I mentioned, we have to treat these things business units, create an operator is to streamline and standardize the processes. The sales process, the sales, motion, sales prices can be different, but some of them is how we going to build them with the customer, is going to be somewhat similar. So it's hard to have the same process and standardize it, is kind of some, you know, design work and how we're going to come to that, you know, a standardization.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. A couple of follow ups here, Justin. On the usage side, you mentioned that this is a problem and this is the future as well. This is what I keep on hearing by the way from the industry as well, can you talk about like a couple of challenges, specific challenges that you see implementing those? Is it around setting up the usage? Like what kind of usage you're going to build on, or once you've decided, what usage axes are monetization axes that you guys are gonna follow? Implementing that is a challenge, like, is it the volume of the data that the billing system can consume? Like, what's the specific pain points or Achilles heel, if you will, for this implementing usage?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, I think it's more so is when you have a stack, credit cash stack like, for example, like Salesforce, Zuora, how we set up products that can be different? So that that needs to kind of mirror each other. So when you set up a product for usage is not going to be same thing as how you're going to set up the same usage product in Azure, because the data model is different for one thing. So part of the challenge is how do we map them correctly? And then at the same time, when you even though you set up the product, then how do you query a quote, in a contract that can also map accordingly to how we're going to do the billing in Zuora. So figure that out because they're not a comparison of apples to apples because they're two distinct, different platforms. So having them talk to each other. Something that you've done this up figured out, it's the mapping between one data models to the other data model. And then, of course, how do we automate the usage back to Zuora is also a challenge. So based on which product. There's a back end on how do you get some of the aggregation of the data pushed back to Zuora for each subscription so that we can build a colony for each customer? So because as we introduce more usage based product, where you need to automate the billing part of it, you cannot just continue to manually upload the usage. It will work probably, as a short term, but you know, long term as the volume is growing, it's not sustainable.

Sandeep Jain:

Now, that makes sense. I think the usage model best implemented by the cloud vendors, where you can go to AWS and figure out on GCP, or Azure for that matter, and figure out what your current usage based bill is based on how many compute and memory cycles that you have done, there needs to be, I guess, a self-serve experience around I guess what you're talking about as well. Interesting. And usage, is this like something that you guys are thinking about, or is this like, actively a requirement from you guys?

Justin Wong:

It's actually a requirement, we have set up quite a few of our usage products already, so that we have run through our Quote-to-Cash stack. So at this is, some of them is online. And some of them is a direct sale, which is run through from Salesforce to Zuora to map out how we're going to map out the contract out of Salesforce and into Zuora Billing. But that's something that those products are pretty straightforward in terms of how we measure, how we aggregate the data and measure the usage data, is when we get into the different parts of offering, you know, once you get into like, what have what you just mentioned around the different supporting the infrastructure base. Like AWS and GCP, those can be challenging because they has so much usage data. And the prices can change, based on how you set up? So you need to account for that. The volume of that usage, they can multiply.

Sandeep Jain:

Fair, fair. And with regards to your second point, Justin, about the payment gateways, multiple payment gateways, is the pain point just the ability of the billing system to support different payment gateways, I guess?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, yeah, exactly right, like Zuora right now in the process of building a general connector that can connect to various payment gateway. The pain points is that especially from online, customer, if you want to take them on the online community, you supporting the different payment gateways in a different region is very important.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood, understood. And let's take a take a different sort of step here. Assuming that you are restarting this thing, and you get to design these systems from day one. Would you choose your, would you do any things differently with this Quote-to-Cash system?

Justin Wong:

I think is to make sure to understand the business operation, The business requirements are very important. Understanding the different scenarios. What kind of products? How do we bill? It's important, because when you choose a stack where you need to take into consideration, the end to end solution, how do you recognize revenue is important. And then by the same time, the stack you choose where they should be flexible. And the thing to consider is, do you want to build integration between the stack? So it really depends on the use cases. Because if your company has different barriers offering, product offering, if it's subscription based and no usage, that that is a very straightforward way to implement a Quote-to-Cash stack, you know, by choosing either, you know, Zuora or Salesforce CPQ, or whatnot. But once you get into some of the complex use case, there may be you know, consideration of what type of customer integration is needed to do this.

Sandeep Jain:

Interesting. And this is what has actually consistently come out in my conversation with folks is, when people make decisions, they're making decisions for the requirements of the company at that point in time. But as you talked about just an earlier that, like usage is now a key requirement for you guys. Business Models evolve, channels evolve, so there's always a struggle between what you want to do right now versus what is available versus how much you should provision for what you will need in future. And there's not always a clear answer on how to navigate that conversation?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, there isn't. I mean, in hindsight, I mean, y'all can look at, you could have done this better. But you're not going to have that luxury. Once you implement a stack because you have invest the time and money to build a stack. So that's also something to consider. I think, before making any decision is to better understand the business use cases, and try to understand the operational side as well. Because you want it to scale for one thing, and when you want to have an ecosystem that's flexible, configurable, and the time to market is critical when you introduce new product as a company, you don't want to take a long time to set up a product to go through a Quote-to-Cash stack.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And how much is that time roughly for you guys for introducing new products or features? Is it in days or weeks?

Justin Wong:

I think it's in weeks for us. Because especially when you have a new product you want to go through, it's not just all of us creating a new product. It's not as simple as that you have to make sure that you have go through the testing to make sure you can create quote, you can. And then after you create a quote, and you go to billing, and you want to make sure that building comes out correct too. So that is definitely is a long cycle, every time there's a new product that needs to be set up.

Sandeep Jain:

And since you brought up the topic of testing, how easy or difficult the testing part of? I haven't heard many people talking about this, but I think it's it seems like a big pain when I talk to people just want to get your perspective on the testing side of things?

Justin Wong:

The testing is different, it takes time. Because we need to be able to set up the proper use case. Especially, let's say there's a new part of our usage. Because now our users privacy is going to be the same. It says but especially if there's a tiered pricing. And then you go to the motion of go through the test, you create a quote, you create contract. And then once you get into billing, you need to make sure the billing is correct based on the tier pricing. So you have to validate the outcome of the billing, so that that can take you know, a couple of weeks, if you got it the whole cycle.

Sandeep Jain:

Is this automated, by the way, testing? I don't know enough about this. So I'm asking you, is this testing automated, or is this like people involved in manually creating this and manually reviewing the results?

Justin Wong:

Well, right now it's manual. Well, we can definitely automate the testing, and create go to you know, a Selenium kind of test automation to actually automation to create this, but on our end, it's mostly human tasks right now.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood, understood. And shifting gears a bit, Justin. I think you talked about a couple of things, but what are the top priorities for you in the next few quarters? I know you talked about usage is a thing for you multiple payment games ways. I think I heard about self-serve going into Zuora. Is there anything else?

Justin Wong:

Yeah. The other than the ones you mentioned, I think one thing that's been a little bit challenging is, how do we do consumption forecasting? I think that's one of the goals for us in next few quarters. Because I think in Salesforce where you can have we are forecasting on subscription, based on TCP and ACV Contract values. But consumption is different. Because consumers are small, mostly billing area and you don't have some data points, where you can do, how are you going to forecast six months from now? What that will be like, for existing customer based on the usage? So you got to do some estimates based on the consumption forecasting.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. Anything else that stands out in terms of your top priorities, or I think that list seems to be quite full as it is?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, that's quite full for the next few quarters. Especially we're planning to do a PR transformation for the operate business, but we have some work for the ads business as well.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And once again, can you maybe folks in the audience understood this, but I did not. But you said this create and operate, I understood was more ads, or ad tech and usage based. And remind me what creed was again? Is it more direct sales driven?

Justin Wong:

Yeah. Creed business is basically more selling prescription like the Unity platform. So it's my direct sale.

Sandeep Jain:

Okay. Got it. And just in any sort of thoughts on Are there any, should there be any metrics, or are there any metrics to understand or estimate the health of your Quote-to-Cash implementations?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, I think a couple on top of that, I think is probably the average time I'll receive a payment from sales order. And probably average order entry time. So I think just getting those key metrics, and to measure how effective is your Quote-to-Cash process is? Well, we determine success of the Quote-to-Cash stack.

Sandeep Jain:

I see. So the first one was once again, this, how quickly you can get money from your, but isn't this a factor of like net terms that you have with your customers?

Justin Wong:

Net terms and also like the ability like to also create that sales order an invoice correctly, without going back and making an adjustment and so that plays a part into it?

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. So it could be possibly around like percentage of invoices that need correction before they are…?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, exactly.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And the other one was the quote time? Is it like the time it takes to generate the quote?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, the average time to create an order basically.

Sandeep Jain:

I see. And are these in like, seconds, minutes? Like, what's the timeframe for these things?

Justin Wong:

I think is more, so how effectively you can create a quote, and then from the quote to a contract and then sink that into unfulfilling. So that in terms of that cycle time. How long does it take away to for that order to be created?

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And Justin, on a different note, since you have worked on these products for a long time, and is there any vendor sort of listening? Do you have any recommendations on Look, guys, you know, this is how the products need to be redesigned or need to be thought through to solve or make it easier for practitioners like yourself? Any sort of product ideas, or suggestions that you have?

Justin Wong:

The main thing I think, in my experience is we need the platform to be agile or conflict from vigor and flexible, because selling is very important to the company. I think a platform needs to have that capability. And it's not about writing quote or writing you know, just what a current capability is. The platform that you have that capability that is configurable without much needed customization. I think that's a key in my experience to have a good platform, a Quote-to-Cash platform.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And on a scale of one to five, where do you think that the existing ecosystem is standing like five being absolutely massively good, and one not being good. What is this industry straight right now on this thing that you just described about agility?

Justin Wong:

I think three average you know, in my opinion so far.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. And related point, and this is something that comes quite often is, how to structure Quote-to-Cash teams internally? Is that IT sales? Is that IT finance ops? Is it one team sitting in engineering? Should it sit in IT? So any thoughts on how people should structure their Quote-to-Cash teams?

Justin Wong:

Yeah, I think, you know, from the business side, you gotta have operation team. From sales, there's a sales ops team, and then finance very this collection and operation ready to do to do the collection payments from the customers. And IT will kind of work alongside with finance, and the sales operation team to help facilitate or help build this process along with them. So it's important that we have the finance and sales operation team included, that's what I called a Quote-to-Cash because they are the one that we run into day to day operation and in creating the activities in that process.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. And Justin, I think you mentioned it earlier, but how big is your team at Unity for the entire Quote-to-Cash implementation?

Justin Wong:

Just my team along me. My team, I mean, responsible for various other stuff as well. But just in general, you know, in terms of my team size by 20-25 people, so

Sandeep Jain:

And you're part of the IT team at Unity?  

Justin Wong:

Yeah, that's correct.  

Sandeep Jain:

Okay. And could you also give an indication of like, how many people are like for Zuora, how many people you need to manage internally for Salesforce CPQ workday? If that comes in under your purview, as well.

Justin Wong:

Yeah, for Zuora right now is a little bit like, we have three people supporting it. Salesforce is a bigger team right now, because we have two different lines of businesses. So uncertain sigh, we have around 10 to 15 people supporting Salesforce but the kind of supporting the different business units, two different business units.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood, understood. And this is for the create and operate, that you mentioned?  

Justin Wong:

Yes, exactly.  

Sandeep Jain:

And this question also comes up as should people take help from external system integrators to map the systems, or do you believe that this should be done internally, or a combination of both I guess?

Justin Wong:

I think it's a combination of both. We definitely need a sensitive integrator because they can provide some the industry best practice as, you know, the experience as well, because they have experienced implementing several projects on Quote-to-Cash. I think it's a combination. Having internal working, IT didn't turn out, because then we did there needs to be some subject matter expert from the IT side, and then getting the best practice, from the system integrator side.

Sandeep Jain:

Fair. And is this SI help required at the initial implementation time, or do you think it is required on a continued basis?

Justin Wong:

I think it's a one-time thing. Because what was the initial condition where you need that subject matter expert in house where to continue to feel the process improvements to help the business or operate in an efficient manner?

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And the last question, Justin, since you have been in this industry for a while, do you have any sense on where this industry is going, or where this industry is headed or where it should be headed and it is not?

Justin Wong:

I think, from what I'm seeing, what I'm getting is that, I think there'll be some consolidation. I see that, you know, some of these vendors are going to build a lot more capability and try to have one ecosystem to support the other various use cases. You can see that now with Salesforce. They are slowly. I think they buy almost there. They have the capability to do revenue recognition side, billing, and then CPQ. So I think in the next two, three years, you see a lot more of a one ecosystem that can have other capabilities. One thing that needs to be considered a, we focus so much on the direct sale, but the online community is also very important. So having an ecosystem to support an online community, as well as a direct sale is where I think, you know, something that this industry has now moved to is just one ecosystem. I mean, I definitely prefer a one ecosystem, because that way, you have less customization and less integration to build. And it's all within the system that you can control, a more closed loop process within that ecosystem.

Sandeep Jain:

It's interesting, you mentioned that, Justin. In my conversations with companies you know, there's two kinds of companies. One which are, I call like the traditional enterprises, which is more direct sales lead. But they are fanning out into these different things as you guys are as well, in the usage based billing self-serve. So that's becoming a requirement. And the newer, which is more, what you call bottom up sales motion, where it is more product lead growth, you start selling on the web first, and then you go into the enterprise. So I see that you can either start from this end, either top down sales, or you can start from the bottom up sales. But eventually, you need like one system that combines your both self-serve and direct sales. I've even heard like customers who aren't just to sell their products on AWS or different cloud vendors, and you have customers coming from a marketplace channel as well. So there are these other requirements get being added, as well into the Quote-to-Cash.

Justin Wong:

Exactly. I don’t know where they are. You know, from finance, I didn't want to one centralized place to record the billing. They don't want multiple billing system, and that would just introduce more complexity on how embedded that integration to them put everything into for financial reporting, is much easier to manage, or were the one that uses but in order to get into one ecosystem or even their needs, you have other others capabilities, like I mentioned. It needs to be flexible and configurable to support the various use cases that?

Sandeep Jain:

Absolutely. Do you utter a word in Quote-to-Cash? And I mean, AI, do you see any of that conversation happening AI, ML in Quote-to-Cash?

Justin Wong:

I haven't heard much. I think it would potentially pay a key part. And because if you can build some machine learning language and how you run your Quote-to-Cash especially if you try to get, or the online community, you can put some intelligence in there to help facilitate some online self-serve customers, as well as from the direct sale. You can build some intelligence on how do you, you know, close a deal faster maybe. So I mean, part of that is playing into that kind of process. And AI is, I think, in the future, and maybe in the near future is going to play a critical part of this process.

Sandeep Jain:

It's very interesting Justin. You mentioned this, because I was reminded of this conversation with this person who manages Quote-to-Cash at their company. And his dream was, look, if there is a person in my salesperson is putting up a deal for let's say, a bank in India, right? Could there be a system that goes and looks at the past deals that were done for the banks in a particular region, and can auto create a quote. Like just a starting point? So you don't have to look at like these 15,000 SKU’s or what have 1000s of SKU’s, you're not starting from scratch, but you're starting from something that is already filled out, based on profile, who they are, where they are, what they have bought in the past and maybe some home ports. That's possibly a good use of machine learning is just came to mind while you were talking about this.

Justin Wong:

Exactly. It's just a matter of understanding the pattern right from your existing customer. So you can drive certain logic or based on pattern and kind of help, you know, create a deal or whatnot. This maybe in you know, a deal that a customer may didn't even aware of but then propose something right that they may be interested in.

Sandeep Jain:

Absolutely. Absolutely. They just didn't it was such a fascinating conversation having you on the show. Thank you again for your time today.

Justin Wong:

No problem, Sandeep. Thank you for having me.

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.