10 min read

2 | Ryan Milligan On Finding Revenue Communities

Mar 13, 2022 3:54:57 PM


Show Notes

Today, Ryan Milligan joins host Islin Munisteri for a conversation about being a data geek, writing SQL, and how data warehousing and governance play a huge role in RevOps. We also talk about incorporating sales teams into building your sales operations solution--not the perfect solution, but the solution that's adopted by the whole team. Finally, we delve into different Slack revenue communities like RevGenius and RevOps Coop to get help from other revenue professionals.

Ryan Milligan graduated from Dartmouth in Linguistics and Economics and returned for his MBA. He has worked as a data scientist, marketing manager, and revenue operations leader across his 10-year career in e-commerce and SaaS. He currently is the Director of Revenue Operations at QuotaPath, a sales commission tracking software that helps sales operations teams build commission plans and sales teams track quota attainment real-time.

Connect with our guest, Ryan Milligan, on LinkedIn.

[00:00:20] Islin Munisteri: Hi, this is Islin Munisteri with Theia Strategies, and I'm excited to have Ryan Milligan on the call today. Ryan graduated from Dartmouth in linguistics and economics and return for his MBA. He has worked as a data scientist, marketing manager and revenue operations leader across this 10 year career in e-com and SaaS.

[00:00:43] He currently is director of revenue operations at Quota Path, a sales commission tracking software that helps sales, operations team built commercial plans and sales teams, track quota attainment in real time. Welcome to the show.

[00:00:59] Ryan Milligan: Thanks. Great to be here.

[00:01:01] Islin Munisteri: Awesome. So how did you start your career and rev ops journey?

[00:01:06] Ryan Milligan: Yeah, so it's a, it's an interesting question. My, my career has been a bit of a roundabout journey, which I feel like is nice to figure out what you like to do. When I left undergrad, I worked for Wayfair. In the real early days back in in the 2010s when people didn't exactly know what Wayfair was.

[00:01:22] A lot of people thought I worked for Ray Ban at the time with the Wayfair glasses. And so we were in really kind of growth stage mode as a company. I started in a kind of supplier relations role. And then move to our data science team and found that I really loved kind of analytics and all things SQL and analyzing data.

[00:01:41] And then I moved more to marketing to get more into kind of an operational space. And when I left business school, I was really interested in getting early again. And so joined a company called Homebase, which does scheduling and time tracking for small business. In a marketing capacity, leading customer acquisition and found myself really gravitating much more towards those operational style roles.

[00:02:03] But I love his logic and puzzles and here's a problem. And how do you connect all the pipes to deliver an elegant solution for teams? And so at Homebase, I moved to more of an operational kind of revenue ops role, and this is kind of when rev ops is a term was becoming popular. And so I was supporting both our marketing and sales teams in an operational capacity.

[00:02:26] And so I was super excited for the opportunity to join QuotaPath. In a more specific revenue operations role. And what I loved about Quota Path is, we are solving a problem that me as a revenue operations person faced all the time paying your sales team effectively and enabling your sales team to track their attainment of quota.

[00:02:48] And so it's a, it's a meta job. I am. In a rev ops role at a company that helps rev ops people. And that's how I got there. I just really love enabling processes, supporting teams and building elegant and adoptable solutions for problems that our marketing and sales teams are facing.

[00:03:10] Islin Munisteri: And I guess, so far, what was your biggest learning experience in the rev ops world?

[00:03:16] Ryan Milligan: Yeah I think the biggest learning experience for me has really been around how to build solutions that are not only. Elegant in your mind oh, this is a, I want to understand how to outbound a prospects is a great example.

[00:03:34] I can go through steps of a process that I think are really well built out and really well thought out, but understanding that they have to be adoptable by sales teams. So I think early on in my rev ops career, I was really focused on delivering solutions that I just thought were great solutions that I've done a lot of work on and presented to a sales team, but in not involving the sales team in the development of that solution, you end up leading to solutions that are not adoptable.

[00:04:05] And honestly, if a solution is not adopted by your sales team, it's not really elegant. Like the elegance is in the adoption as well. So I ran into a couple snags from a learning experience perspective early on in my rev ops career, where I think. I'm just going to, I need to be able to bake and present a perfectly thought out solution to a team that they're going to go run with when really it's really important for me to involve a sales team very early on in the ideation and problem development and problem solution process for them to understand and feel motivated to use the solution that we're delivering and for us to work on it together.

[00:04:43] Islin Munisteri: It's a great answer. And I think that segues well into what's your philosophy of rev ops and how teams should work together in the revops world?

[00:04:53] Ryan Milligan: I think rev ops, I see it as a function, as a service function. What you're trying to do is help arm your revenue teams with what they need to do. To drive revenue growth for your business.

[00:05:07] And so I, it's not just sales, right? I think a lot of people think that but it's sales, it's customer success. It's customer support. It's marketing. It's your product team. It's your engineering team. You're trying to galvanize a larger group of people across your org. Very cross-functionally. To enable them to drive revenue growth for your business.

[00:05:28] And that's why I really like it. My big philosophy is that we are a service team. We're a team of two here at quota path. And what we're really focused on is being presented problems or challenges. Identifying challenges that we see in the business and working cross-functionally with teams to come up with solutions that fit the needs of the organization.

[00:05:48] And I think where rev ops teams really struggle and stumble is when they live in a really siloed nature. And when they think they know what's right and are prescriptive, that is when rev ops teams fall flat because they're trying to solve these problems and pushing these solutions. And pulling concerns and questions, pulling team members in understanding the challenge really deeply empathizing with teams and then building solutions that kind of fit the problem and fit the people who need to execute on that solution as well.

[00:06:19] Islin Munisteri: Yeah. You've got to involve the team you're helping in building the solution or I'll stay.

[00:06:24] They don't generally from what we've seen and they don't adopt the solution.

[00:06:29] Ryan Milligan: Absolutely.

[00:06:32] Islin Munisteri: What's your what's the favorite like project or campaign that you've done in revops?

[00:06:39] Ryan Milligan: So I am a big data guy. I like writing SQL. I like joining a bunch of data together. And so one of the most fun things recently, or my favorite thing I've done recently is standing up a data warehouse and a true data visualization practice here at quota path.

[00:06:55] We just went through the process of implementing a company called Mozart data, which has been great. They are a combination of five Tran and snowflake. So the ETL layer and the data warehouse layer, and then pulling those together and pushing them into mode as a BI and data visualization tool.

[00:07:14] And it's been amazing how much having true connecting all of the data sources into one place where I can write SQL and come up with. Answer questions has been just actionable throughout the whole org. We're building customer health scores, we're doing a MQL handoff processes. We're scoring leads who are coming to the front door, all of that as possible because we have a true data layer and it's something we've built over the past couple of months.

[00:07:38] And so that has been really fun for me just to, to get in on kind of the ground floor from a data analytics perspective and really build a sustainable practice.

[00:07:52] Islin Munisteri: That's great. And I guess what you say, what does that platform, Mozart data, is that your single source of truth across all your data stack?

[00:08:02] Ryan Milligan: It's interesting. I tend to think snowflake as a data warehouse is our main source of truth for my team.

[00:08:08] We're piping in data from Salesforce, we're piping and data. From Stripe, who we use for billing we're piping and data from SalesLoft and all these different places into one data warehouse. So that's my source of truth. I think organizationally there's a lot of the team has used Salesforce as a CRM.

[00:08:26] So there's a lot of that Salesforce or our CRM acts as our source of truth for a lot of teams. It's a hard question, right? Because you have a lot of different data from lots of different places. Like what our product is using our CRM and other places. But what I would say. I think, yeah, that warehouse layer definitely is my best bet on what asks is our source of truth because it's pulling all those different sources together, pulling in HubSpot with our, we do all of our marketing automation through HubSpot, which is just great.

[00:08:52] And we do all our attribution through HubSpot. So pulling all those different tools together in one place has been very helpful for us to improve data literacy in the org and data access. Like I am a big advocate for. Like data access within the org. If it publicly facing data within our company, here's what's going on with the business.

[00:09:11] Here's how things are operating. And so having a warehouse and then a BI tool enables us to present the data as necessary.

[00:09:21] Islin Munisteri: That's great. And so as you've grown it's interesting to see how you've grown in your rev ops journey, but then like on a more, more personal note, like if you died tomorrow, what do you hope people would say about you and how you impacted.

[00:09:37] Ryan Milligan: Yeah, I think in the rev ops capacity, let's say I'll narrow it to two.

[00:09:41] What I hope they would say about me at work is that I was somebody who was always able to answer questions and someone who acted as a resource within an organization. Like I try to be somebody, I would hope they would say I'm somebody who. Deeply empathizes and understands problems.

[00:10:02] People wouldn't in an organization are facing. I hope they would say I'm somebody who likes to come up with solutions for problems and involves a bunch of different people in that solution process. Like I, I try to be a listener, somebody who empathizes with problems and somebody who helps come up with solutions, both in my work life and in my personal life.

[00:10:21] I would hope that would ring true. And in both.

[00:10:25] Islin Munisteri: Cool. And I guess what is your best piece of career advice you would tell your younger self or to other folks that are just starting out in rev ops?

[00:10:35] Ryan Milligan: Yeah, I think data analytics and the ability to understand data is massively important in a revenue operations.

[00:10:44] So my first plug, I love writing SQL. I would learn, I would tell somebody to learn how to write SQL as much as you have all of your data sources connected and everything's piping in correctly. There's always some time where you have some interesting nuanced question that a CRO or a VP of sales is asking you.

[00:11:01] And so being able to write the SQL and join the tables together and come up with a clever solution and answer that question is always great. So I'm always partial to writing some stuff. And advise people to learn how to do that. And then the other thing is I would say, take real advantage of the networks socially within revenue operations, that connect people together, Islam and I met through a rev ops co-op through one.

[00:11:25] The meats, these, they do I find Rev Ops Coop to be a massively helpful resource. I find rev genius to be a massively helpful resource. Like all of these slack communities, whenever I requested about, Hey, I'm choosing between these two softwares or, Hey, I need help finding an answer to this problem. I get a bunch of people respect reaching back out, telling me, Hey, this is how I approach the problem, or here's the solution.

[00:11:48] So I definitely recommend. Being like pushing to be as data literate as possible through, light plug for SQL. And then also to be like really involved in those communities as you build your career.

[00:12:01] Islin Munisteri: I agree the RevOps call is as, as Ryan said how we met. And I think those communities are definitely a huge value add as you progress for your career.

[00:12:12] And I guess my last question is is there anything else we haven't covered? We can talk a bit about quota pass and how that solution came about.

[00:12:23] Ryan Milligan: Yeah, absolutely. We talked a little bit about some of the, or some of the hardest problems you face from a rev ops perspective.

[00:12:29] I think when I think about the, or the things that I care a lot about. Reese being a resource and being trusted within an organization is super important to me. And a lot of that trust is actually derived from how you pay your team correctly. If you're seen as somebody who's paying your team correctly.

[00:12:46] So what I have been really thankful for with is, what we're doing is we're helping revenue, operations and sales operations team. Build compensation plans and commission tracking for their sales teams that gives them, gives individual sales team members visibility into how they're being compensated, how, what their quota attainment looks like, how their commissions are being calculated and what they're being compensated.

[00:13:13] And so what's really important for me. And why I really enjoy working at quarter path is the solution we're providing is one that I've to a problem that I faced before. Paying commissions incorrectly having to do clawbacks, dealing with payroll discrepancies really burns a lot of trust between the sales team and the revenue operations or sales operations teams.

[00:13:35] And so for us to be able to provide a software that enables you to be much more transparent with your sales team, to understand how they're pacing towards quota attainment and to flag discrepancies that they're seeing months before payroll is run. Just allows you to build a lot of trust within your org allows you to enable your team to push harder.

[00:13:54] And honestly, from a sales perspective, that visibility in being able to see how I'm pacing to quota as a member of the sales team is such a motivational tool as well. Say how, if I close this deal, I'll get to this next band of commission rates and percentages is super compelling as well from a sales perspective.

[00:14:11] We talked about. What I want people to say about me. I'd want people to say that I am a trustworthy and supportive and helpful and quota path enables revenue, operations people to be that way with regards to payments for sales teams internally in their org.

[00:14:30] Islin Munisteri: That's awesome. And I think this is great like this.

[00:14:36] I would say this wraps up our podcast and. If you're interested feel free to subscribe and you can connect with Ryan on LinkedIn.

[00:14:46] Ryan Milligan: Yeah, please do. I thank you so much Islin. It's been an absolute pleasure and looking forward to talking soon.

Islin Munisteri

Written by Islin Munisteri