Founder and President: Austin Bankhead of Unicorn Revenue Operations
Austin Bankhead, Founder and President of Unicorn Revenue Operations, jumped onto the Sales Ops Demystified podcast to share his data-driven and result-oriented tech stack to compliment revenue ops. Check out all the other episodes of Sales Operation Demystified here.
Connect with Austin and Unicorn Revenue Ops Advisors here:
Austin’s journey into sales ops?
Most of Austin’s initial professional career is in marketing, where he contributed quite a bit to several companies’ progress, including renowned names like Adobe, McKinsey & Company, etc. However, 2013 was the year when Austin finally stepped into sales operations’ legacy, when he opted to move into core sales operations from being a VP Marketing at Qualtrics. This is where he learned the most from and gathered experience.
Austin gives most of the credit to his team at Qualtrics, who believed and showed their confidence in him towards sales operations. And undoubtedly, his background in finance and strategy served as a winning combination that he continues to serve the world with.
Why did Austin get chosen to work in sales ops?
One of the reasons Austin gives is that he had already been working in marketing for ten years, having a background in strategy and finance. He also claims that being a process and data guy, he was not the best at marketing. This is what the company realized, Austin assumes.
Data-driven and result-oriented tech stack
Austin talks about how it has increasingly become a challenge to get the right investment done as there are great products out there now. Initial investments may not have that capability, which becomes an evolving challenge. The key to this problem, according to Austin, is getting the right CRM. Customer relationship management is essential and comes before anything. After this, spending money to get data that matters while simultaneously cleaning the data that a company already has should be the goal. This way, Austin says that the growth of the company is not hampered because of data.
How to improve the existing and ongoing data?
“There is no silver bullet”, Austin says. He talks about how there are a small number of people who genuinely care about keeping the data clean. Unfortunately, many people in sales are not very enthusiastic about it. The solution is to find people and look for systems that will ensure that the data remains clean and limits salespeople’s ability to input incorrect data.
Challenges during COVID-19
They had several exciting challenges which Austin calls “successful challenges.” One of the challenges was keeping a balance between providing jobs for insights sales teams and helping Qualtrics sell into larger markets or create bigger markets. Another important thing is to figure out how to get enablement right. When you can have one office where you can collaborate and learn, that is easy but having multiple offices across the globe, then keeping a check with the reps and making sure everything is smooth is a challenge.
How can sales ops professionals make a good relationship with the rep?
Austin takes the example of some people on his team at Qualtrics. He talks about Qualtrics’ Cody Guymon, who worked on the territory, which was pretty challenging. They did one thing which earned them benefit, which was to include the sales manager in the procedure. They learned that getting input from the rep helped in getting trust. Austin then talks about sitting down with the sales team and builds trust as well.
#1 sales metric: guiding principles
Austin stresses on having well-established solutions for ongoing operational problems. This helps in increasing the productivity of the rep, and that will contribute to growing your company. Guiding metrics and principles also help along the way. As a rep, one should be able to look for ways that make you more productive consciously.
Austin’s biggest influences?
- John Thimsen – Chief Technology Officer at Qualtrics
- Jared Saunders – Senior Financial Analyst at Qualtrics
- Cody Guymon – COO, Global Sales at Qualtrics
One sales ops person for lunch?
Hilary Headlee – Head of Sales Ops at Zoom