Arvind Sathyamoorthy

Senior Director of Product Management

,

8x8

   |    

May 14, 2021

8x8 is a leading provider of SaaS solutions around voice, video, chat, and contact center, all in one global cloud communications platform. Sandeep Jain is joined by Arvind Sathyamoorthy who is their Sr Director of product management. In this episode they discuss how 8x8 is able to handle subscription based revenue on such a global scale.

Podcast Transcript:

Sandeep Jain:

Hi. Welcome to the 5th episode of “The Enterprise Monetization” podcast. And this is your host, Sandeep Jain. In this podcast, we invite thought leaders from enterprise monetization space like CPQ, billing, revenue operations, so that you can learn about challenges, opportunities, and best practices in enterprise monetization. Today, I'm pleased to welcome our guest, Arvind Sathyamoorthy. Arvind is currently Senior Director of Product Management, commerce and integrations at 8x8. Before that, Arvind served in both engineering and product roles at companies such as Malwarebytes, Symantec, M Technologies, HP, Thoughtworks, etc. It's kind of interesting that Arvind us today here on the podcast because our window and I spoke a couple of years ago, when I was researching into Quote-to-Cash space, so it's a pleasure to speak with you again, Arvind, and welcome to the show.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Likewise, thank you for having me on, Sandeep.  

Sandeep Jain:

Awesome. So Arvind, before we start and get into the depths of Quote-to-Cash, could you talk about just share a fun fact for the audience to begin with?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Well, this is mostly an unknown fact for most people give you and beyond my family. But I get to all the candy levels every week, and what 9000 plus levels right now, I think I've got this week left to go. Because there's a reason why they haven't had a chance to get on it this weekend.  

Sandeep Jain:

Did you say Candy Crush?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Yeah.  

Sandeep Jain:

Oh my God.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

You know, a lot of people commit to it as well. Man, it's not that hard.

Sandeep Jain:

I have a lot of friends who are in Pokémon. But I guess you're the first one I've heard who's on Candy Crush. So that's certainly a fact.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Since you can actually see me while we're recording this podcast, take a look. Basically with four digit, 8000, whatever.  

Sandeep Jain:

So why specifically Candy Crush? Why not anything else? Like did you not find anything new or was it just, you just got to?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

No, it isn't. Actually the reason I got started paying Candy Crush, I think my wife was the one who introduced me to her. And then she got bored of playing. And there's actually a good two years in between where I did not play, actually took a break. So no specific reason, man. It's just something that's easy. That's accessible on the phone, you know. It's just mobile accessible, right. Here before I used to play things like Age of Empire and stuff of that sort many years ago. But obviously don't play much of that anymore. Unless I get a chance. Plus, it takes a lot longer. And a Candy Crush level takes maybe two minutes.

Sandeep Jain:

Interesting, Arvind. So when I was looking at your profile, you were not in Quote-to-Cash when you started. I mean, you did a bunch of different things before you jumped into Quote-to-Cash. Okay, can you tell our audience about your journey to this vertical or this?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Sure. I'll kind of start with my journey getting out of college. I did my MBA, got out of college and spent about my first three and a half years working at a company named Thoughtworks, which was a boutique consulting firm. And one of the primary industries that they were focused was in equipment leasing. And from there, I spent 3 odd years at Thoughtworks, then spent a year at HP when they had their merger with Compaq, having kept those switching systems aligned with each other. And after that, I moved on to Symantec and spent about nine years at Symantec. Right from the time and Symantec was starting to launch when he was, so free subscription based products, helpful to first when you're centered Symantec. And to my journey at Symantec then went on to help build auto billing as that became a rage in the early to mid-2000s. From there, Symantec, as we bought those things in house because we primarily done a lot of the Ecommerce to an auto-billing to third party vendors. And we bought all of that in house both that in house. So and then at the end of that journey, not just on the B2C side at Symantec, we've also started moving into the B2B side, more on the SMB end of the world and starting to scratch on mid-market. From Symantec, I went on to M Technologies with startup in a span a couple of years there, primarily focused on BI type, cloud based software for the commercial real estate industry, but still a lot of pleasing related items, and then move over to Malwarebytes where my primary focus was B2B with oversight on B2C. Essentially pouring ordering subscriptions, billing. And after Malwarebytes, I got to 8x8 where for the last two and a half years, I've pretty much been focused. I started out with my first year 8x8 focus on Ecommerce and then move on to taking all commerce integration scoring and everything QTC at the end of the day.  

Sandeep Jain:

Awesome, Arvind. Hey, can you tell us more about what 8x8 does? I'm pretty sure most of us know that, but it'd be good to hear from you again?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Sure. I’ll share a little bit about 8x8. So 8x8 essentially in the communication space, essentially is a SaaS company focused on Business Communications, provide essential voice, video, chat and contact center applications. NSF enterprise class API solution is right globally. At the core, we look to be the one single communications platform for any company.  

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. And you guys are a public company, and I believe your revenues are around 350 million to 400.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Yes, it's a little bit over 400 million at this point in time. We are a public company. Well, we are the public company for many years.  

Sandeep Jain:

And since we're going to talk about Quote-to-Cash, but it's a reflection of who the customers are. So can you talk about the customers of 8x8? Like, are they big enterprises, specific verticals? Are the individual users, small businesses?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Very great question. So 8x8 pretty much caters across all segments. I'll tell you a funny story. So like I said, we cater in the SMB space, mid-market, the enterprise space, we also work with a lot of partners. And when I got hired on to 8x8 you know, we want to start getting into Ecommerce and that's where I spent my first year. And as we launched our Ecommerce, one of the key thoughts that we had was whether Ecommerce would end up cannibalizing some of our SP revenue and our SP business. And what we surprisingly found out was that there's actually a micro segment in there, which doesn't really do like the SP sector. These are people who want to go online sign up, and just keep get things up and running, or come and try things without wanting to get on the phone with somebody. So what we found out, we never cannibalized any of our SP market. When we rolled out ecommerce, and we just found a new segment.

Sandeep Jain:

That's interesting. But is one segment more predominant than others in your case? Like is direct sales more predominant is Ecommerce or small business?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Well, Telco itself is a regulated industry. So the channel in Telco is a little different or a little harder, and also channels a little different, a little harder to do than your standard also channel. So the dominance of the wholesale channel is not necessarily as large as the direct channel. But Telco also operates a lot to the partner based channel model where you've got partners bringing in revenue as opposed to them being wholesale partners, so the more like affiliates or referrals and things of that sort.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And I'm pretty sure this information may be public as well. But if it is not, then then you can choose not to answer this. But how many customers do you have and across which countries? And what currencies do you deal in?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Though, so we deal with customers globally. And I'll try to keep it to publicly available information, we do deal with customers globally, we operate in multiple currencies across the globe. We do have some subsidiaries that offer many, many currencies in Asia, because that's very prevalent in Asia. In North America and Europe, it's very limited in terms of currency, for obvious reasons. And of course, we operate in Australia, New Zealand also.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

So it's very global in nature.  

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. And since we on the same topic, roughly how many SKU’s we're talking about across all channels?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

I don't know off the top my head, I would say.

Sandeep Jain:

Like 100s or 1000s?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

100s, yeah. Now keep in mind, Symantec, who's in the 1000s.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And this is all subscription based, or is there a one time? Would they buy it?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Though, if I doing that, we're in Telco, we've got subscription base, you got one time charges. And then you also end up selling a lot of hardware. Classic phones and things of that sort.  

Sandeep Jain:

Understood? And how about usage?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Usage of the sounds on beast. You definitely got to use its complement in there, especially when you're a Telco.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. We'll talk more about that in a second. But that's good. Arvind, now can you talk a little bit about your team, like what your team does? How many people are there? And what are they work on?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Like you said earlier, my role at 8x8 is focused on product management, with a complete view of commerce and associated integrations to commerce. So what my team works on, if you look at the QTC framework, it has everything that starts at the end of the opportunity, and goes all the way to cash. So essentially start if you were just looking at individual silos you obviously starting with the catalog CPQ, which is configured price quote, you get into order management next, after that you're starting to get into billing, invoicing and payments and then you start getting into the whole process of RevRec, GL, bookings. And then adjacent to it of course, is all of the fulfillment functions which take integrations. And given that we've got both hardware and software. So there's integration for provisioning within our licensing systems. And then there's integrations with third party vendors for hardware. And then, if we ever sell any kind of third party products, there's integration to those systems. So that's kind of the spectrum of everything that's within my team. And my team drives product management, meaning which we got, we got a bunch of folks on product managers, business analysts, but then we ended up driving in engineering and QA, crazy.

Sandeep Jain:

Arvind, tell me this thing. This is something unique that I've not seen before. I talk to people who do, who are in IT, who do business applications, enterprise architecture, but I've not heard of product team and looking at Quote-to-Cash. Is it something to 8x8?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

No, I don't think so. I've seen it in other places. But it's definitely not the norm. Because you know, as I've chatted with some of my peers across industries, or even other folks across the industry, they do ask the same question. Why are they PMs and RPAs? And here's, here's what you're looking. I mean, if you look at what we do from a PM perspective, maybe a little bit of a nuance in there. Because what you're really looking to do is as you put these solutions out, you're looking to productize them. You want to build a solution that works for everybody. I don't want to build a quoting system that works for say, the wholesale channel, but does not work for direct. Why do you want to maintain two flavors of it? I don't want to build a pricing engine that works one way for wholesale, a different way for direct, a third way for channel partners. Now you just started to create a lot more complexity within your ecosystem. But if you look at it and say, can we productize it? For example, you know, I think about six months ago, we were looking to add started selling our Ecommerce offerings with channel partners. We were talking to one channel partner that time, it would be very easy to say, let's go build a thing for one channel partner, which is what most places would do. But we basically built it in a way where it would work agnostic of channel partner, because what's a partner a partner within your system, at the end of the day is an ID. And the ID that's basically got to flow to the systems from multiple places. And so if I can productize it and do it one way, why would I do a different way?  

Sandeep Jain:

No one explained. It does make sense. But tell me this thing. Are you part of the IT organization, or are you part of the product organization at 8x8?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

And so when I came to 8x8, I was a part of what you would maybe look at as a CIO organization. Right now I am part of the product organization, but all of our product and engineering, including IT is all contained in one org. It is all technology sits together.  

Sandeep Jain:

I see. And in the reason I was asking this is because traditionally the Salesforce systems or your CRM, or ERP, they are never part of the product org, they are always part of the separate IT org. And that's where that dichotomy of two different things come along.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

But look, look at SaaS, look at any SaaS company out there when it starts out. But how does it start out? Where do the business applications sit? They sit in the product.  

Sandeep Jain:

Absolutely. Absolutely.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

And then when the company grows and becomes bigger, that's when they start thinking about how do we transform to have the separate business applications organization. And then you get into a lot of models about how do you separate these things? And then you say, I can do it this way in Java, why do I have to do it the other way in Salesforce?

Sandeep Jain:

Fair, fair. I think this traditional separation became was I believe, I think an artifact of traditional enterprise, where these pricing and go to market was very different or separate from your product, because of their business model, which was one and done. But subscription, everything kind of comes together as you're talking about. And probably that sort of makes your business applications team which is running in a silo not any more relevant because your product and pricing are now sitting on top of each other.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Let me see if I can throw some food for thought there. This might sound like a disagreement to some extent, but all sorts of food for thought. IT organization itself only been around for about for 20 years, for 30 years, sorry. Yeah, maybe 40 If I were pushing it, and at God born out of the need to have a separate skill set, which did not exist before. How long do you think subscriptions have existed?  

Sandeep Jain:

Well, subscriptions and they have, as far as I understand the subscriptions have existed in the support. I don't know if you'd call again, if you can call them subscriptions. But the idea that you're not paying for something one and done but there is a term to what you're selling. That has existed for as long as I don't know if 20 years or whatever.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

That's what most people will tell you, 15 or 20 years by the early 2000s. I want to change that paradigm for you, about 4000 years.  

Sandeep Jain:

Okay.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

I mean, let me tell you why I say that. When you look at an equipment lease, what is it? It's a subscription. At the heart of the whole thing, it's a subscription. You're basically paying a recurring charge every month or every year you use something. That's what an equipment leases and equipment and leasing has been around since 2000 BC. That's a good 4000 years if you come to think about it. Subscriptions as, the word subscriptions, and as an industry is maybe existed for 15, 20 years, like you say, but at the heart of that whole thing around doing business that way that's been long for a long time. And that whole formation of an ITR started out and saying, didn't start out with building online products or electronic products. It literally started with saying, how can I automate the business? And that eventually, it asks for the same. How can I build products in the technology space? And that's when you started a lot acceptation from IT.  

Sandeep Jain:

So let me ask you this, Arvind, would you recommend companies of the size of 8x8 or similar companies to structure their Quote-to-Cash themes, like the way the structures are structured at 8x8?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Well, let's put it this way. I can't really answer that question. Every company is on its own. And a lot of it boils down to intricacies of what they have to deal with. But does closer alignment of product health? Absolutely. Because what you see in most companies is this, this wall that stands between Sales and IT all the time.

Sandeep Jain:

Right.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

And I'm not going to say, how do you structure it for them to be one team? But it's the only a question of how you structure that wall is actually now. And I recall was when we did a transformation project at Symantec, we bought that wall down. Same thing at 8x8 now, I'm seeing us being in the field that we bought that wall down as we put the teams together. Because that's where a lot of the friction happens. Because you got one team that's charging one way or another team that's got to charge another way. But now you can align direction that helps a lot. Structure structuring it, different story, but alignment of directions, what else?  

Sandeep Jain:

Sounds good. And how many people in your team, Arvind?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Right now my team, I think I've got about six people.  

Sandeep Jain:

And what are they focused on? Are they focusing on CPQ billing ERP, as you said earlier?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

So we focus them a little interestingly. Yes, we've got somebody who's focused on product launches. So essentially, you take it, you launch the product, you make sure it runs into it. Then we've got somebody who's focused on billing and payments. I've got somebody else who's focused on integrations. And then I've got a fourth person who's focused essentially on the subscriptions. And then I've got a third party team, actually, that's more focused on the building to GL building the NetSuite side of things.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

And then I've just gotten a new member on my team. And we've got an idea of what he's going to focus on. But we're still working that out.  

Sandeep Jain:

Awesome, awesome. And you described earlier Arvind, you have multiple channels like ecommerce, direct sales and your partners, can you talk about what systems these channels sort of touch in terms of your Quote-to-Cash stack?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

So we've got Salesforce, which is the heart of our CRM. And sitting inside Salesforce is a CPQ system. And then beyond that we've got a billing system. We've got a homegrown billing system, we've got another billing system also in the works. And then lastly, at the end of the stack, we've got NetSuite which is our ERP.

Sandeep Jain:

For billing, you said you have two billing systems.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

We got a homegrown one, and we're working on a SaaS one.  

Sandeep Jain:

Okay. So this is a third party or this something that you're building on your own as well?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Third party.  

Sandeep Jain:

Okay. And then you have NetSuite as an ERP.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Yeah, ERP.  

Sandeep Jain:

Okay. And can you share the name of the third party thing, or is that something that you guys are still launching? So you want to be a little quiet about this?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Well, I think there has been a public announcement about it already. But we are working with a third party company called Gotransverse.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And all these ecommerce goes through the same channel directs and partners like how does that work?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Yep, everybody goes to the same. Well, let's put it this way. QTC is QTC, right. We did not want to go build a separate QTC for Ecommerce, with a separate QTC for channel. But we wanted to make sure that all our customers go through the same flow for QTC. How they get there could be different avenues.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. So everybody entered into an app to CPQ whether it's coming from the web, ecommerce or your partners?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Our partners, or wherever it's coming from.  

Sandeep Jain:

Okay.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Because that then gives you the ability to access other features that are indirect. For example, if an Ecommerce customer wants to upgrade into one of the higher level products, now they can get on the phone itself and say, upgrade me.  

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. We'll talk a little bit more about that in a second. But can you tell me this, the two billing systems story here? Like, are you going to have this for long, or are you gonna phase something out?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Oh, no, no, we're in the process of facing one thing on bringing a new billing system. And that's what we're doing. We have a homegrown billing system that's been around for many, many years, working on phasing it out bringing something else in.  

Sandeep Jain:

Okay, can you give us the backstory there, like, what made you change that equation, and go to look for third party?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Sure. I think there's a few things that are happening in the market. Let's put it this way, business is evolving. But I'll tell you what I mean by that. 15 years ago, everybody was talking subscriptions. In the last five to seven years, everybody started talking usage. And the next evolution of that market, I think is more on consumption. Because see, with subscriptions, you had this flat amount of money that somebody had to pay every single month, every single year, whatever the case may be. And you said, let's break some pieces off, and we won't charge you that much. But we'll basically charge you for usage of certain components, and you'll have to pay less way of subscription. And then the next evolution of the market is now saying, hey, maybe we'll charge you a really small amount for subscriptions, and everything is consumption based. Because what are customers pushing for robust. What are customers putting forward, they don't want to have to have that high a capital expenditure on the business. They'd rather take some more operating expenses sometimes. And now you've got the option to say, hey, I want to buy this full blown product, or I want to buy the small product, but then I want to add consumption on top of it. So that's the market evolution that's happening. The second market evolution that's kind of happened over time is, you know, we call subscriptions. So 15 years ago, it was always going to be yearly billing once a year. It moved to monthly and then over time, it's moved to month to month and things of that sort. You had contracted, now you've got un-contracted, which are perpetual in nature. And so with that evolution in the market, there's a lot of billing changes that are happening. And the third evolution that's happening in the market is you know, 15 years ago, a lot of companies are focused on saying, I want to build a subscription system or a billing system, and those things are starting to now come together. And so if you want to keep up with the rate of change that's happening in the market, you've got to build all this stuff yourself, or go buy somebody who's good at doing just that piece. And so that evolution is now I mean, is where we've gone from saying, hey, you had a billing system that's been in place for a long, long time. But we're at a point where we'd rather get to some industry standards, and people will keep their systems up and running and up to date, so that we don't have to build all those features. But we can start leveraging those features, and adapt as the market changes.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Because we're not experts at billing, somebody else's. So why not have them do it?  

Sandeep Jain:

Fair, fair point, Arvind. So now let's talk about the challenges or pain points of friction, as you might call it in this Quote-to-Cash stack from your viewpoint.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

There's some interesting challenges there in Quote-to-Cash stack. Here is one that I'll give you. A CPQ usually doesn't do order management well. And when you go start looking for order management, the first place you look for order management is in is more solidly, ERP or CRM. And so when you look at CPQ, is most of them are focused on CPQ and maybe get into billing, a lot of them are not focused on getting to order management. And the reason they're not is because when you look at the subscription industry, there's not really a large need for order management. You buy, you provision, you're done, you get built. But when you're talking to somebody, like you know, somebody in the Telco space, like an 8x8, we're offering telephony services on SaaS. There's an effective need for order management. Because you've got people ordering hardware, you've got people ordering lines, you know, it takes some time to get those lines deployed. Even though you can turn it on the cloud immediately. I can't get, you know, 500 of my users to switch phone systems tomorrow. Maybe I have voice prompts that need to be configured. Maybe I've got to get call queues in place, which routes the phone lines when the call comes into contact center based off of the phone quantity, and so takes time to configure all those things. So there's a whole concept perform management. And then there's a second concept that order management has to play with the telephony company is the need for serialization, which doesn't exist, SCP, cannot tell you what I mean by that. Today, if I were to buy an antivirus license for 100 users, I get one license who works for 100 users. Done, I don't need to know who the 100 users are none of that stuff. But when I'm buying a phone line for 100 people in the company, I can't now take Sandeep Jain's phone line, and give it to Jeff. But Sandeep Jain's phone line is Sandeep Jain's phone line. He has got his voicemails in there, it's got his recordings in there. And simply if I pick it up and hand it off to Jeff, guess what? Now Jeff has access to all that which may not be good from a privacy perspective and many other reasons. So now you've got the whole concept of feeding serialization, which doesn't exist in the CPQ. I haven't come across a CPQ in the market that deals with taking one license and blowing it up. Because all of them deal with them as an asset, and an asset which has 100 seats of antivirus and that's it. But now I need to know what each of those 100 seats are? What's the serial number for each of those 100 seats, or what's the license for each of those 100 seats? How are they assigned to people? How do I upgrade Sandeep Jain's phone line for an upgrade, or how do I cancel Sandeep Jain's phone line if I want to do a cancellation because a cancellation and the CPQ is taking a license count down from 100 to 99. But it doesn't mean that it takes down Sandeep Jain’s license just mean this takes down a license. So now you got to start looking at the next evolution in my world, pleased to say how do I cater the CPQ to a specific industry?  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. So the first challenge you talked about as order management, we're just going to interesting, which I think is probably an artifact of the vertical like telephony that you're in and be the fact that you have hardware associated with what you sell. Okay, anything else?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

So order management was the one, serialization was the second. Now if I just look across the CPQ stack, is another interesting one that comes to mind. Why do people see errors in billing?

Sandeep Jain:

It's a rhetorical question, or you want me to answer?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Think about it. It's a very good question. Because if you see errors in billing, let's put it this way. Billing does nothing, it's a pretty dumb system. It does what you tell it to do.

Sandeep Jain:

Fair.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

You send it garbage, it's going to spit out garbage. And most people who say that they've got a billing problem, are usually trying to battle the symptom and not the disease. Because they go look at billing as a place to solve the problem. And many times, what you will see is the problems, you'll realize, I've seen the CPQ stack or the order management stack, or on the serialization stack. So that's another interesting thing that happens. And then the last thing that you kind of got to see is you know, as the system start to separate out, we've been CPQ, and billing, and ERP, which is where you're doing your actual booking and RevRack, and all of that stuff, the stuff that happens over here and CPQ, that doesn't necessarily get seen in the ERP. There's a lot of customization you've got to build to make that happen. So if I sell something as one time SKU and my CPQ, but as the only way to monetize the revenue over two years for that SKU, because that's the life of the contract. What the heck do I make it happen? Because the way accounting does, accounting is vastly different from the way you do selling. And so some of the challenges are the ones bridging those gaps across the needs of multiple teams.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. Arvind, a few follow ups here. So how are you doing order management today?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Very carefully. You know, so we essentially built some custom solutions on top of our CPQ to do our management. That's what we had to do. And then there's not just custom solutions, but there's also a lot of manual processes and manual interventions that have to happen to it. So it's kind of multi fold.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it, and you talked earlier about ecommerce channel and I didn't hear you say that as a pain point. How can you, was it straightforward to take your CPQ and billing stack and expose it to the ecommerce or where?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Great question. So the short answer is no. But here's why it's not a pain point. The way we chose to build ecommerce was this, a couple of guiding principles. One, what the customer sees, and what the customer has to do, has to be easy, simple, and painless? And so the first thing we did was we separated our ecommerce stack from our CPQ stack, there was no direct integration between the two. So we made sure that the customer could buy what they wanted to get, their lines will be provisioned, and they will be able to use them, separate from us having to make sure that all of the order processing happened. So through the ecommerce flow, they purchased the phone line they wanted, they gave us their credit cards, we did what was needed. And then we essentially went back and back filled our CRM, CPQ and billing systems using API's to seek the data in the right places so that the future of billing will continue to work seamlessly.  

Sandeep Jain:

So if I understand you correctly, what you're saying is, you copied your product catalog from app to CPQ into something else, and where that ecommerce transaction takes place. And once the thing is finalized, then you do an asynchronous kind of thing with this now Quote-to-Cash System. So they kept independent.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Exactly. They kept independent, because here's what happens. So a couple of things. See, there's nothing wrong with these infrastructures. But these infrastructures are purpose built for certain things. Like when I look at a Salesforce infrastructure, I mean, Salesforce is evolving. They have started to make some of these changes. But when you historically look at a Salesforce infrastructure, it's very processing heavy, it's not expected to respond in sub one at one second API calls and things of that sort, which is what you need in the ecommerce world, you want something that goes fast. And you don't want to wait for all the processing to happen behind the scenes. Again, not a knock on Salesforce. It's what it's built for. And they are evolving that infrastructure with other things that we've been adding over time. But when you look at ecommerce site, you're looking for something that's up and running all the time, that's reliable, that responsive, that's scalable. And so we basically, instead of trying to pull Salesforce every time, we basically print that catalog, and this is the thing what I did at Malwarebytes too.

Sandeep Jain:

And Arvind, we talked a little earlier about build versus buy. But in this particular case, it seems that you chose to go with the build approach.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Yep. We did. We chose to go with the build approach, because one ecommerce was new 8x8. We were trying to figure out what and how much we put for into ecommerce and the beginning of was going to be small, footprint wasn't going to be very large. And for purposes of testing the market, we did not want to go invest millions of dollars and you know, going and buy a custom package doing an implementation of the custom package, because it was new. We still wanted to test the waters, we wanted to see what we could and could not do.

Sandeep Jain:

Any, Arvind, side effects of separating that? I know you get efficiencies, because now these two systems are separate in some way. But does the separation cause some undesired side effects as well?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Well, it does not cause undesired side effects directly. But one thing you've got to keep in mind is if the underlying Salesforce CPQ system changes, the ecommerce input to that has to change hand in hand. So if I decided that one more field became a required field, if I change, the validation on a field, on the support system, I had to make sure that the ecommerce system could meet the same validation needs for instance. So if that's true, not just from a Salesforce perspective, but that's also true from a licensing system perspective. Any underlying system that could change we had to accommodate it.  

Sandeep Jain:

In your ecommerce, I think I forgot to ask earlier. Is it like a credit card transaction, or is there quoting and invoicing happening on ecommerce as well?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

It's a SaaS like transaction, we're going through an onboarding flow. And to that onboarding flow, we collect a credit card along the way.

Sandeep Jain:

But if I want to get a quote, and I don't want to pay through a credit card, because my company does not want to put that charge, can I get a quote on your ecommerce?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Not right now. Right now you got to get, you can request a quote through our website. And you know, one of our sales team will pick it up and give you the quote.

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. Is this a requirement that you see? Like, how big of that thing is, or is it even a thing?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Getting a quote online?  

Sandeep Jain:

Correct.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

I think it's still a nice to have. I don't think it's a must have yet.  

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. Cool.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

That will change in the next many years likely.  

Sandeep Jain:

Yeah. I'll tell you that when I talk to people, I've heard this thing though I don't know how true that is. But I've heard that any deal, which is sub $50,000. You don't want to involve a salesperson. And if your deal is like less than $1,000, it's a clear credit card. But that boundary between $1,000 to this 30,000 or $50,000, that's the space where you don't want a salesperson to be involved. And you want online self-service, zero touch, no touch or whatever phrase goes?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Let me tell you, that's where the industry specialists and I'll use an example for you. Would you buy a car online?

Sandeep Jain:

Well, so…

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

A 100% online?

Sandeep Jain:

Some people do.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

No, would you?  

Sandeep Jain:

I did, actually.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Okay, how many people would?

Sandeep Jain:

I don't know about that. But it's done today.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

I know it's done today. But how many people would have? What's the market penetration for that pretty small? Light at all. Good question, but it's pretty small. And so the reason I asked you, I asked you that question, like you said, sub $50,000. There's a lot of sub $50,000 cars out there. Most of them do not get bought online.

Sandeep Jain:

Yeah, that may be an artifact of the auto industry, which has…

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Exactly, it’s very industry specific, and products specifically depends on what how complex your product is, and what your industry does?  

Sandeep Jain:

That's fair.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

And so yes, somebody might tell you a sub $50,000 is okay to buy online. Other folks will say no, because the complexity of the product or the artifact of the industry, or how business is done in that world impacts it.  

Sandeep Jain:

Well, absolutely, absolutely. And you're absolutely right in the sense that if your product is self-serve, like the experience itself or self-serve, then you can sell it and do whatever it like, you don't need a person to usher you through that experience.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Exactly.  

Sandeep Jain:

And but for certain kinds of products, you may need, like configuration to be done before you can make use of it. So you of course, want the person to be more there.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Exactly. Let me give you another example. What would sales really like to do a $10,000 deal online? I don't know. And the reason I say I don't know is this, is the customer picking the right product that they want, or is there an opportunity to upsell them which would not be there if you just do it online?

Sandeep Jain:

Yeah, I think it goes back to this complexity element. Like if the product is easy to understand, the customer says, Look, why do you want me to talk to a person? I just don't want to talk to anybody and I know what I'm buying. But if the product is complex, then of course, you have to talk to a person. So I think it's a function.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

That’s exactly what we did on our ecommerce space. Simple product, put it online, complex product, get on the phone.  

Sandeep Jain:

Yeah, make sense. Hey Arvind, shifting gears a little bit. If there are product managers for these vendors, in the Quote-to-Cash listening to this podcast, what would be your advice or recommendation to them and how to rethink you know, the things that you're facing problems in your Quote-to-Cash or the things that you're thinking about?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Great question, so here's the thing. The whole CPQ ecosystem is built for subscriptions. And not built for serialization. So every industry has its own specific needs, and the Telco space, there's only so many companies out there, so it's obvious that, you know, they will not necessarily build for Telco, or build for leasing or build for a specific industry, because you're looking at mass market every time you bring a product out the door. Right. But then when you start looking at evolution, the question is, where do you evolve? Then you've gotta evolve to a space, which is mass market for you, otherwise, there's no dollars behind it. They completely understand that from an ecosystem perspective. So you're not going to build a product, which five companies they gonna use, you're gonna build a product that 500 companies they may use, or 500 companies they may use. So if I were to talk to product managers in the space, the real question I would have for them is not necessarily built for this. But it's really a question of, how do you keep things like CPQ at pace with the industry, or with the technology industry and so on? And for example, I hardly see a CPQ out there with too much around rules management or rules engine behind it. Yes, there's some they're scratching the surface. But in reality, how can I help? And those engines have been around for over 20 years at this point in time. But how can I start incorporating technologies like that into my CPQ, which makes life easier, which makes life a lot more robust for us to use. Again, like I said, there's some out there which are already doing it, but they don't necessarily give you all the flexibility you want.  

Sandeep Jain:

Understood. Arvind, on a related note, what about this problem that I hear consistently? What's your take on this about product catalog being different from the CPQ to the billing to the ERP?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Well, I wish I could show you a picture I have on my, which I built. And this is something that I built back when I was at Symantec, I'm gonna say, what, 14, 15 years ago, and it's something I've evolved over time. And it's a picture that I check, which I kind of carry because here's the one thing, when people say, hey, I want to set up a SKU in the system, what do they think about? It think about an eight digit number. There are a fair statement, Sandeep?  

Sandeep Jain:

Absolutely.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Think about launching an eight digit number. But here's an example of what a SKU was. It's not an eight digit number because you've got catalog elements there from a selling perspective, which have things to do with bundling, packaging, pricing, discounts, merchandising features, then you've got ordering elements to it or on coating, putting it in the cart. What rules do you have in a cart? How do you present it for example? Do I want to present a bundle as a bundle, or do I want to throw its elements broken down? Then you've got the whole subscription management often allotted. I'm sorry, that's a long winded answer. You've got to deal with renewals, you got to deal with cancellations, you got to deal with add-ons, upgrades, and you got to deal with fulfillment, provisioning, tax, accounting, billing metrics. That's your eight digit SKU.  

Sandeep Jain:

Got it.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

And it's different for each one of those folks. So when you're looking at building a catalog, you got to find a way to pull the catalog that's going to accommodate all those needs. All you build separate catalogs for each one and then build an engine that translates it as it goes through the various systems.  

Sandeep Jain:

So in your case, Arvind, this was interesting. But in your case, you're using three separate systems for billing, ERP and your CPQ. So does the difference in product catalogs affect you in some way, or is that a…?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

So we're using three different systems but we've aligned our catalogs to good extent, that doesn't mean we don't have problems, it's just that it works for the way we build things. Can it be done better? Absolutely. For instance, tax actually has its own catalog which is different from the rest of the world. And we do maintain these three catalogs at least in alignment between our ERP, our CPQ, and billing Union. But there are actually things which have different catalogs on their own. For example, our provisioning engine has its own catalog where I sell a SKU, but it breaks down to nine different things in provisioning.  

Sandeep Jain:

You already mentioned that ecommerce has its own catalog as well. And you said there's a person in your team who works on product launches. So is that a huge pain when you're launching new offerings that you have to look at these different catalogs and see what you can do, or is this like a check mark thing or checklist thing that you have to just take care of it?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Here's what we did. Nine months ago, we actually put out a template, which brings all of these things together into a single place. Yes, it's a huge pain to get the template filled out. But what that did for that as well, we made sure that everything that was needed to launch a new SKU came in together in one place, and any dependencies can be identified together. Before that, what would happen is, you know, the product manager would say, hey, I want to launch this new product. Great. Thank you. What's it? Tell me what it's about? What's the packaging? Great. Now, let me take this go to Marketing, what are marketing needs, or he tells me this is all I want to go to market. Other sales want to sell it? Oh, I want to sell it differently. How do you want to tax word? I don't want to tax it that way, I need to SKU broken up into five things to tax it. And now you got somebody in business applications, who's running around all over trying to find a way to connect these together. Our goal is to basically bring everybody together upfront to knock these things out. Because then you can easily get into saying, here's how I can build it. As opposed to saying, I'm going to cater to everybody's needs. And each one does not match the other ones needs.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it. And, hey Arvind, on a semi-related note. Assuming, based on what you know right now, and you have a clean start in setting up a Quote-to-Cash stack, are there any things that you would do differently? And I'm not talking in just in terms of you know, I'm not talking in terms of like picking vendors, but conceptually, would you do anything differently if you were to start a fresh in the Quote-to-Cash, and assuming there are separate channels?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Yeah, absolutely right. Let me put a little differently. And I know this podcast is monetization podcast but here's the thing. When you're looking at Quote-to-Cash, you're not looking at Quote-to-Cash, what you're really looking for is a monetization ecosystem. A monetization ecosystems goes like, just goes a little bit beyond Quote-to-Cash. It goes into things like commissions, it goes into things like partner payments, it goes into things like affiliates. There's a lot of other things that come into a monetization ecosystem when you kind of zoom out and say, is this just Quote-to-Cash because everything that happens in Quote-to-Cash affects all of these other things around it. So you need to first make sure you're building an ecosystem. So would I do anything differently? Absolutely. And this is a principle we applied, I applied when I was back at Symantec, where we were building a transformation where we're building, we're bringing in all of our ecommerce and auto renew, auto billing and everything else. We spent hours on end, laying out use cases, laying out every example and taking it from beginning to end. It wasn't that we spent time just with sales working on a piece that sales wanted or just with finance, looking at a piece of finance wanted, because this thing needs to tie across the world. And so if you've got a problem here with taxes, now you gotta go revisit your SKU silos catalogs and say, how can I do my catalog differently to make sure I don't have a taxable? Then you get down to revenue account, and your revenue accounting says, Nope, I need RevRec done differently. Okay, that means maybe the auto placement needs to change in how the auto placement happens, or maybe how you do your pricing needs to change. And so laying that down across the board is very hard to do, but it's very essential to do.

Sandeep Jain:

Got it.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

And if you can't see that picture end to end, you're going to have something that's broken when you can add to go or many things that are broken out.

Sandeep Jain:

Okay, interesting. Arvind, slightly different question. But what are the top priorities for you and your team in the next coming quarters?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Well, I think the top priority for me and my team at this point in time, is to make sure that we get our security systems better structured, scalable, and working end to end, like a well-oiled machine, without people having to touch it along the way, unless they're just looking to place an order.

Sandeep Jain:

Okay, so it's like optimization of the stack in some way.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Optimization, scaling, performance, and reliability.

Sandeep Jain:

And I'm just trying to imagine what kind of work is in more. Is it like making your connectors efficient, I'm just trying to translate into actual work of what you say?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

If you were to translate into actual work is not just getting our systems efficient, but it's also aligning the systems with the processes, the policies that need to go with it, and get everything moving in the same direction.  

Sandeep Jain:

Okay.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

And, of course, the systems are important because they need to be reliable and perform for scale. But we also need to make sure that people using them are enabled to use them right.

Sandeep Jain:

Last question Arvind. I know this has been very interesting in depth conversation. But do you see any intersection of AI, ML, you know, the fancy words in Quote-to-Cash? What do you think about that?

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

There are some key areas where you could. See, if you kind of look at where I'll take my Quote-to-Cash data for a second, put on my ecommerce site and see where does, AI, ML play a nice value on there even in the ecommerce flow? See, a lot of us around pricing offers AV testing, and you could absolutely do that in a Quote-to-Cash ecosystem. But obviously, published pricing is something that's very important in the B2B world. To play with pricing is less of an issue, but maybe playing with offers or even in terms of saying, how can I surface a better information to the salesperson when they're working with the end customer? Be it in terms of offers, be it in terms of questions that they might ask, be it in terms of anything around the conversations they're having with the customer? Upsell opportunities, things of that nature all come into play.

Sandeep Jain:

Interesting. Is it something that you see happening already, or is this something that you think would or should happen?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Well, product recommendation engines have been around for the longest amount of time. So other CPQs have tried to do it, but I don't think anybody does it very well yet.  

Sandeep Jain:

Okay.  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Our product recommender is definitely something that would be useful, because now we can ask the customer 10 questions and say, here's what I would offer you. It will be much easier than saying how many people are sitting in your company, okay, wherever they said, how many phone lines you need, how many call, or you know how many servers you have, see them saying? Maybe some other key questions might help in terms of building a product recommend.

Sandeep Jain:

nteresting, Arvind. That brings us to the end of this podcast. Arvind, this was a really a fascinating conversation with you, especially going in depth into some of the topics we discussed earlier. But before we go, could you share any resource like a book, a blog or a podcast that you would recommend to the audience?  

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Well, there's multiple books have read. Being a product manager, there's two things that come to mind. There's an interesting book I read last year. It's called “Principles”. It's by written by Ray Dalio who's who started out Bridgewater associates. And he talks a lot about putting systems in place. And it's something I use not just at work, but also in life. Right about putting systems in place allowing me to make things continue to run. That's one interesting that comes to mind. But the second interesting thing that comes to mind is a book called “Boundaries”. And I'll tell you why it's important for product management perspective and product management perspective, you need to learn to say no, a lot of times, and this book called Boundary is all about setting boundaries, but it's about setting boundaries in life, but it's also a great way to think about how you go about setting boundaries at work and how you learn to say no to things and stuff like that. So I think those are two that come to mind right off the top of my head.

Sandeep Jain:

Okay. Hey Arvind, once again, thank you for your time today. This was a great conversation.

Arvind Sathyamoorthy:

Absolutely, thank you for having me on Sandeep.

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.