Hi, welcome to the 14th episode of “The Enterprise Monetization Podcast”, and this is your host Sandeep Jain. In this podcast, I talked to thought leaders from the monetization space that is CPQ and Billing so that you can learn about challenges, opportunities, and best practices in enterprise monetization. Today, I'm super thrilled to have Rudy as my guest. Rudy has deep expertise in the field of revenue operations spent several years. Rudy is currently director of revenue operations at impact.com and prior to that, Rudy was at 8x8, TalkTalk and several other companies and Rudy joins us from UK as well. So welcome Rudy to the show.
Thank you very much for having me after all. Genuinely honored.
Awesome. So let's first start with a quick background, I just talked about the companies that you worked with, but could you just give a trajectory of how your career has spanned over several years to our listeners?
Yeah, of course. So, I guess, like, from a standard kind of career path, I've definitely not had that. I left school at 16, 17, and moved out and I had to find myself work. So I've, I've done pretty much every job you can possibly imagine. I've been a cleaner. I've done painting, I've done collections on the phones. I've done basically anything working away. Eventually, I kind of, I ended up working doing collections during around the 2008 financial crash. I ended up doing my collections on the phone for a credit card company trying to collect money, which was great when no one has any. And then kind of moved through, I ended up falling into TalkTalk, started doing processing of payments, working and learning loads of stuff around bank reconciliations and how direct debits and, or a CH in the US, how that all kind of works. And from there kind of moved on to do sort of audit, internal audit and control. So making sure processes and money was moved around. So it was kind of looking after around 1.2 billion I think in revenue and making sure that all lined up. Then I moved to 8x8 because kind of for a next step of progression, I took over a small, very small building team 8x8 and a by a is a, is a platform, I guess competitors with like Ring Central and Zoom. And from that point, I kind of grew and had billion collections work to moved across into business systems, took kind of a sideways step into business applications and looked after salesforce managed all of that for customer support as well as building on finance and moved back into finance to do revenue operations and kind of build out building platforms. And then I've taken the leap to move into more traditional robots, impact.com and frankly, I've, I've kind of, I guess grown a little bit more there. I'm currently responsible for quite a small team in the mayor, but global responsibilities for, for projects and and I guess I have kind of just grown with that with, with a more focused around like the revenue technology and kind of stuff really. So it's been a, been a weird path to get to where I am, but it's certainly one that I've enjoyed and hopefully I've been able to pick up a pretty well rounded view of how everything kind of works. So hopefully that takes me on.
There's a very interesting story really. We'll talk more about impact.com in a second. But before that, could you share just a fun fact about yourself? I think we've heard a little bit of your trajectory, but anything specific you want to share.
Yeah. I mean, I like to think of myself as a fairly, like, interesting person but maybe, like, not necessarily doing lots of interesting thing. But I guess, like, from my, something that I guess is, interesting is that I've kind of had dyslexia as I've grown up. And so I've kind of struggled with, with writing and reading and stuff until it was quite, quite a lot older than the standard. And so, whilst it's maybe not your traditional kind of interesting fact, I thought I'd go with that one and kind of, I guess also show a little bit that kind of doesn't really hold you back if you can kind of go go with it. Thank you.
Thank you so much for sharing that actually. Cool, let's talk more about impact.com. Can you just share what the company does? And a little bit about the revenue operations, like how many sales people you have?
Yeah, of course, of course. So if you don't know who impact.com, then you're definitely missing out. So firstly, if you do anything around affiliate marketing, then you'll know kind of the traditional issues with networks and attribution and management of I guess just your general partnerships and marketing and so impacts offer a pretty good platform whereby you can basically sell and manage all of your affiliate networks in one place. Oh, sorry, your affiliate marketing in one place you can do all your attribution and we've got a market place for you to be able to share, and contract with new brands or new influences together. And I think that's something that's, pretty comprehensive with thousands of publishers on there at any given time. Also being able to automate and drive those strangers. We've, we've got around 100 115 sales people in total. So it's, it's been growing over the last sort of 5 to 6 years, quite substantially. And then in, in addition to that, we've within the kind of str organization, we've got around 110ish as well. So it's about the same number. I guess from a rev up side, we've got a fairly small team. So there's about eight of us globally. There's two in two in a media. Then I think it's five in the US. And then one out in, in Australia. So we've got a fairly distributed team. And so we're covering a very wide range of regions, market segment, all sorts of things at this point.
Got it. And could you also talk about your quote to cash stack? Like what is the, what are the different systems that you use internally?
Yes. So where we use sales sales force primarily, we've got Salesforce CPQ. You, we also have we have Ironclad as our kind of CLM and contracting. We use an in house kind of billing platform and then to provide invoices and finance we've got next week.
Understood. And what is your primary sales channel? Is it just a sales people selling or do you have any cell service or do you have any utility based pricing?
Yeah, so we, so we have got some level of channel. So we've got quite a good focus on channel, but most of it is coming in from, from our marketing and sales teams. We have got a small but growing PLG function and the plan is to go quite big on that this year. So we're expecting to do that, that kind of PLG transition this year.
Understood. And could you talk about some of the challenges that you have currently with this global team, different markets, I'm assuming different currencies.
Yeah, different currencies.
So I'm pretty sure most companies aspire to grow their like you have so many sales straps, different markets, different currencies, like how do you manage everything?
So I think this is gonna be an interesting conversation. So yeah, I mean like most businesses are based currencies in dollars. We operate in any currency pretty much that you can name at this point. So we do, we do have and there are intricacies and the differences between, I guess how we manage looking like generally operating because we, we have like a model of payouts. So as we sell, if you as a brand set, like want to charge or provide commissions out to your affiliates, we essentially take a percentage of that. So we have that fluctuation of currency and then we also have the actual, just the baseline currency of how we report in. And it's quite tricky frankly, but we've, we've got a pretty good a good kind of process to manage currency at this point.I think. So we, we kind of fix it at the beginning of the year will review. And if it goes over a certain tolerance, we'll look to adjust, but as a rule that's just a fixed currency for valuation over the entire year in terms of a conversion from dollars. And then, and, and it makes it slightly simpler because it is based on a percentage of payouts opposed to being like a general traditional fixed fee within each kind of products and, and country. So it's generally a case of like $500 or £500 or whatever. It's not, it's not a case of its $500 and then it's actually like £422 or whatever, it's, it's a fixed value and then we just report everything in dollars.
Got it. And so what would you say Rudy are your, let's set up three challenges that you see in terms of revenue operations.
So they are kind of biggest challenges that we, we have our obviously generating pipeline for our teams, making sure that we've got that kind of tracks and specifically as well is trying to onboard different parts of the business on to CPQ. So making sure that our products all exist, having the right kind of visibility and into each of our accounts for being able to do ourselves. Because whilst we have CPQ, we don't really have assets and products like licenses listed within the account today. So it's quite tricky to know exactly who owns what products without looking at the building platforms
Understood. So is your amendments then pretty hard to do because as a sales rep now, I need to figure out what this customer has bought over a period of years.
Well, because we've only like considering the size of our business, we only really introduced CPQ last year. So we're not even a full year into having a CPQ. So thinking about having like a sales order of what 100 plus people, not having any kind of like not a fixed proper CPQ model. It was all built pretty much out of a spreadsheet before with the brains of someone much bigger than me kind of coordinating all of that. And doing that transition in means one, the migration of all the customers, all of the contracts we had before was really, we did, did a pretty good job and our business seemed very amazing, but you're not gonna get 100% right when there's custom stuff here and there and everywhere. So, knowing what people have is tricky for amendments, trying to make sure that we've got a good clear understanding of, line of sight into renewal's, those kind of things have been much easier since we've implemented CPQ. And I think impact.com is probably a really good example of why you should have a CPQ like the, I guess like the level of data that we've got since before is night and day, but it does mean that some of the transition of cost of existing customers has been difficult. So yeah, we have the sales people doing cross sales are up, sales have not always got the best data to work from.
Do you do pricing changes often Rudy in your catalog? Like how often?
So I would say probably not as regularly as we could and given that we've only had CPQ for less than a year. It's not really been through that kind of big change as of yet. But I know that those kind of as renewals come in, we'll be doing that. There's not been a fixed price increase across the board yet.
No, got it. You also mentioned that self-service a priority for this year. Is that one out of salesforce CPQ? Or are you building an alternate system for that?
Because cell service, you need to have a product catalog transactions. And what happens when this customer on self serve wants to be a bigger company. That's the entire goal of productivity growth.
So how are you guys thinking about this is, I guess what I'm asking.
So I'd like to think we're thinking of it quite sensibly in the sense that we've got. Most of our like, I guess product itself will, will send the information through into salesforce CPQ or then basically create or to create the opportunity and account essentially or the account and then the opportunity. And it will, it will exist that the attribution isn't always very good at the moment. So trying to, but we've been going through those trials for a few months, the process is working okay. So we do have visibility of who, who is a PLG customer. And here goes, salespeople going up sell into these really high users and and see what other benefits we can provide them.
Understood. But if I'm a self-serve user, when I'm seeing the pricing on the web, is that coming from salesforce CPQ you or is it coming from some other system?
No. So that's coming, I don't believe that that is coming from our own system. Not, not CPQ.
Do you see any issues having your product catalog split between these? Because that's something that we hear often. That's why I was asking you.
Yeah. So I think I can see the long term issues with it, I think because we're still not quite in a maturity level of, of really seeing that growth and volume. It's quite tricky. So that's the one thing I guess, that we've not quite reached the maturity again to be able to see that problem come to fruition. I don't think at this moment in time, it's a problem because everything is essentially a fixed price is pretty new, it's limited in who it's available to. But yeah, as we kind of scale into next, into the next kind of half of the year, we're expecting that to be something that we have to keep a much closer eye on.
Understood. And besides self-serve, is there any biggest priority for you and your team in this year?
Essentially making sure that we've got enough data to be able to tell us where our problems are right and wrong. So, at the moment, the transition from being, I guess a signing a kind of contract with us and then everything else that happens afterwards, we're good at signing initial contracts and very poor being able to identify what you have. And when so again, going back to those, that's kind of the biggest thing is to make sure amendments have been updated and make sure that essentially the second phase of our CPQ project is up to date.
Understood. Do you see any friction between your CPQ and billing systems being separate? Does it add more work? Is it simpler in some ways or is it complex in some others?
I think because of how, so in 8x8, it was interesting because we kind of had, it had obviously was separate in the same model that we, we have now. And we tried to consolidate lots of different billing platforms into, into one. And frankly, I think it takes a lot of coordination to be able to make sure that everything in CPQ is being transferred across that something we didn't do very well. There and I think we're doing a slightly better job impact compared to where I was before. But again, I think the difficulty with billing, I think is that we because of the usage element of both of those two products, so impact product than 8x8. It does create quite a, I guess it's not a traditional building like SaaS building model. In which case, I think you could easily have those two things merge together. I think having that user, generated and those different kind of types of charges makes a lot more, makes it a lot more complex. So keeping them separate to some degree is probably easier, but it does run the risk of not being at attribute the right life into the right place and that kind of thing. So, yeah, I think in general it's, it's not too, it's, it's a tricky one to kind of balance. But I think we've, at the moment seem to not have too many problems within bidding as a result of CPQ problems. Anyway.
Got it. And they talked about usage-based pricing, any challenges that you see or any recommendations you have for businesses that are thinking of going usage. You guys are pretty big company, right? So any specific guidance on like one of the some of the challenges that I've heard is look, it introduces a lot of variability. How do I manage my revenue? Should I have a minimum commit. Do we take it upfront at the period or do we have it monthly? People have all these sorts of questions with usage I don't know if you have any thoughts or comments on how do the best practices, I guess on usage?
Yeah. So I mean, there are lots of potential issues, I guess like seven or eight that, that I kind of like general data accuracy is always much more tricky when you've got something that can vary and you've got different types of charges and depending on what you're selling, it can certainly be more complicated. So if you're in the Telco industry then or in the U S as well as we were before 8x8, you've got so many different things that you can charge for. You've got storage, you've got actual minutes, you've got transcriptions that you've got a number of call, like so many different things. And each one needs to have a license with something kind of linking to it. This belongs to this person and this is the unit of measure. And therefore how you link all those things together is, is it can get quite complicated and having that, that level of detail is, is hard, but you also have issues with potential for compliance and tax regulations if particularly again with the new cast. So there are lots of things you have to consider and seasonality being one, but you, you can quite easily, I think adapt to that as long as you've got a good model of a good product model and you've got your subscriptions kind of in order being able to attribute this particular my phone call to this place and my calls, my recordings are being stored here at this particular valley or this rate is not too difficult. But you've just got to break them down into each and each of the different components and making sure you've got a SKU or a different like product component for each of them, I think is pretty much vital. I don't think you can, you might sell it as a bundle, but you would need to expand all of those things and expose all of those things within your billing platform at the very least. Just so that you can actually have the right attribution. So I think that's like one of the biggest things that I would suggest and I mean, it can certainly help with our business is kind of revenue increase in different ways of, I could probably charge for these types of things. Maybe I've got a PI calls or whatever it is that we want to charge for. You can charge for those kind of limits. I think a minimum commitment in the lower SMB market probably is better just so you've got a bit more consistently. But I think you'd struggle and to get that maybe at the enterprise level for certain types of charges, where they kind of would expect that usage is often just included in the price. And so I think it's just trying to understand what works for your business and what types of, what types of usage is it? Because it's not a usage type thing that they can be very different depending on what industry you're in and, and that kind of stuff.
Got it makes sense. Rudy, and coming back to CPQ. Do you work with, do you have CPQ engineers in your team? Do you work with professional services outside? Like what's the model? That's another question that I get often.
Yeah, I mean, we've, we've got an incredibly tight small team. So whilst we, we do have people that work on our CPQ, they're not necessarily dedicated to it. Our implementation was run with consultants and, and salesforce partners which I think is perhaps not uncommon. But it did lead us to kind of some level of issues during the implementation because we didn't necessarily always have the right people involved in the conversation. And frankly, one of the biggest things that I can see is for success is not necessarily who is doing it because, but I think any good kind of developer can kind of do that. It's not belittling the difficulty of putting in CPQ here, but realistically, the biggest thing is making sure you've got business alignment and understanding of what the charging models and, and the contracting models are. And I think that's where I think most of the business like impact where we perhaps struggled the most is trying to get that engagement from sales. Seems that hadn't been in that, that kind of conversation before and really define what it is that our sales journey was intended to be. So yeah, I think that having someone in health sometimes helps because they've got that Catholic knowledge But I, frankly, I'm not in favor of either one.
It's whatever work understood. Any tips Rudy or any insights that you want to offer based on your experience, I think 8x8 and impact.com. Like these are the things people do or should not do or should think about before taking an action around when they were putting these tools together. Any insights that you wanna share
I think you have to start with the full journey. Like you have to understand exactly what is it that you're charging for? What is it, how is it you want to sell it? Who is it you're going to sell it to? And then how are you going to charge? What does an invoice look like? I know that like you have to break it from beginning to end and I think if you start by, you want to chunk it down and break it into phases, that's fine and, and probably advised. But I think some of the problem is you end up looking at CPQ and it's in kind of isolation and then you'll look at renewals and amendments in isolation and then you look at how you manage your billing and everything like that and its own kind of place and, and you're gonna end up with things that don't flow properly and then the customer experience and you're likely to increase the number of credits or just have poor data. And so from at least from my perspective, again, going back to kind of business alignment is really understanding what it is that your business model in, have that really well defined of exactly what products you're selling and how they should be solved and what your rules should be. Because if you don't have results rules, that doesn't deal with ambiguity, it has to have the fixed understanding of exactly what you should be doing. And Unfortunately going and saying we could do it this way or this way or this way, it doesn't really work very well. If it means you've got 15 flavors of one thing, even make those into 15 different things or you make them into one. Like what is it we do? I think that's, that's where we've suffered.
Got it, really that has brought us to the end of this conversation. So, thank you so much for your time. But before we leave, is there any recommendation of a resource like a book or a podcast or something that you want to share with our listeners?
Yeah, sure. So something that's always left quite a big kind of impression on me was rebel ideas by Matthew Syed. And it talks about how you develop a team with different kind of backgrounds and cultures and that kind of stuff. And it was really, it's got some really good examples around, how to kind of have a better performing team perhaps with less performing individuals. So you don't always pick the very best of the best because often they will look exactly the same one another and all that kind of stuff. And then you end up with people from the same schools, and you end up with big blind spot. And, one of the good things from that picking up people from so many different backgrounds and having a team now that's built with so many different people is, is always great. Getting those different opinions and those different kind of, I guess biases and different strengths and weaknesses is always good.
Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this resource. I haven't heard about this book earlier, so actually, I'm going to read this one, so. Thank you.
Awesome. Thank you.
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.