14 min read

29 | Don't Be An Order Taker with Benjamin Roach

Jan 30, 2023 3:00:00 PM



1. Ardoq closed a Series D. They introduced an enterprise sales motion, which has a completely different go-to-market and sales process.
2. Don't be an order taker--ask for the why and the end goal of what leadership is asking you to do. 
3. Benjamin had a great project with a CFO to understand revenue and board level communications--because he asked. 
4. Ask for help within the company--half an hour with the CRO each month may be better than getting a membership. 
5. The hardest thing is to scale at the right speed and ensure you have good five-year CTLV and NRR (net revenue retention) besides just sales. 


Benjamin Roach is Global Sales Operations Manager at Ardoq. He is a world traveler and has lived in several different countries including the UK and the US. He is a former police officer and semi-professional athlete playing professional rugby as an academy athlete on the Olympic team. He graduated from American International College with a BS in marketing.
Connect with our guest, Benjamin Roach, on LinkedIn



[00:00:00] Islin Munisteri: Hi, this is Islin Munisteri I'm host of the Rev Ops Careers podcast sponsored by Theia Strategies. Today I'm excited to have Benjamin Roach. And he is the global Sales Operations manager at Ardoq. He is a world traveler and has lived in several different countries, including the UK

[00:00:20] the us. He is a

[00:00:22] police officer and a semi-professional athlete playing professional rugby as an academy athlete on the Olympic team.

[00:00:30] He graduated from American International College with a BS Marketing. So welcome to the show.

[00:00:36] Benjamin Roach: Wow. Thank you so much. What a great introduction.

[00:00:39] Islin Munisteri: Your LinkedIn says it all. It's okay. I took all that

[00:00:42] So I guess when we were talking before, so tell me about a little bit about how you got started in sports and your police officer Jimmy, against coming into Rev Ops. It's it seemed like a crazy journey. So tell me, please tell me more.

[00:00:59] Benjamin Roach: Yeah, [00:01:00] definitely a wild journey and a very unique journey.

[00:01:02] I think like many kids, I had a dream of being a professional athlete and that's where I focused a lot of my time in high school and college and really chased that dream outside of college as well. But I. I had parents who were very adamant that no matter what sporting career I went down, I needed an education and I needed some life experience.

[00:01:20] And so when that sporting career ended, I didn't really know what to do. And so I found sales, right? I wasn't a marketer, I wasn't an engineer. So I found sales and started my sales career in startups small seeded all the way to hypergrowth startups and found. In that spot where I was that first salesperson or coming on as a sales manager and found myself more and more ingrained into the processes and go to market strategy and building and managing tech, which ultimately led me into the rev ops space.

[00:01:51] And tell

[00:01:51] Islin Munisteri: me more about you had a stint there as like a police officer as well, so like why, like you, you left and came back. Yeah. . [00:02:00]

[00:02:00] Benjamin Roach: Yeah, I I always make the joke that I hit a midlife crisis in my mid twenties which isn't really a midlife crisis point, but it's, I, through the startup world, I got really burned out.

[00:02:11] I was constantly chasing that next piece within sales. And in the startup world, especially in the high growth, hyper-growth pieces. You're just going day to day, and I wanted a change. And so I went complete the opposite and wanted to be out in the community and make a difference.

[00:02:25] I left, became a law enforcement officer and absolutely enjoyed it. And just over time realized that I wanted to be back home, back in an office and out on the streets. Found my way back into the rev op sales Ops. And I guess

[00:02:44] Islin Munisteri: so was it really the setting that got you like, like working in an office versus working like random?

[00:02:50] I wouldn't say randomly on the street, but like just your office is changing every day. Like you're patrolling different place

[00:02:57] Benjamin Roach: every day. Yeah I think one, one was [00:03:00] the setting, right? So when you're working long hours at graveyard, you're not seeing your family, you're not seeing your other half, you're sleeping during the day.

[00:03:06] And that, that definitely takes some adjustment. But it's also just, I think law enforcement's a very tough job and it definitely changes you and your personality quite a bit. And I noticed those changes and wanted in to make a change back. Wow.

[00:03:19] Islin Munisteri: That's good. You, I guess you have the self-awareness that you wanted to make that change back.

[00:03:24] Definitely. Yep. That's great. And I guess what's your biggest challenge in your current

[00:03:30] Benjamin Roach: role? Ooh, that's a tough one. So here in Ardoq we're on this hyper growth journey. We just closed our series D earlier in the year. So we're itching to go really fast.

[00:03:40] And especially as part of the rev ops team, a lot of our job is sometimes, Pulling back a little bit and looking at the bigger picture. And that's really hard to do as stakeholders who have, high goal over their head to say, Hey, let's pump the brakes a little bit. Let's look at what our end goal is and how we can get there.

[00:03:57] Without and as sometimes that's not the easiest conversation, [00:04:00] especially when there's a lot high pressure on you. Yeah,

[00:04:04] Islin Munisteri: I agree. I definitely agree. We're in the middle of a CRA implementation fragment. I was like, I would say it's a bit over scope of what we initially, of what they initially scoped like together.

[00:04:19] It's just oh my gosh. Yeah, I can say it's hard. It's hard to look at the big picture. I is it like headcount that you're trying to decide? Or is it like what is it?

[00:04:32] Benjamin Roach: Exactly. And that's one of the, those conversations we're having now, whereas we need to grow by 70% next year.

[00:04:36] And so is it, do we add more headcount to equal more deals in the pipeline, more deals in the opportunity, or do we make small improvements on those conversion rates? So some small improvements on the conversion rates will lead to greater deals being closed and moved throughout the pipeline. Which could also impact the number that we hit.

[00:04:52] So there's that delicate balance of do we hire or do we focus on improvement on the conversion rates or do a little bit of both. And those are [00:05:00] the difficult but fun conversations to. Yeah.

[00:05:05] Islin Munisteri: Okay. So that is interesting. It's would you, it's just like how would you go through the small, would you go through the small improvement that you have with the current team, or would you like throw more sales spikes at it and more customer success?

[00:05:20] I don't know.

[00:05:22] Benjamin Roach: Question. Yeah it's, it's, it's a really good exercise to go through where you can say, if we made a conversion rate from, an increase of our conversion rate by 5% from our, sales accepted leads into our indoor pipeline, what does that do? If we can convert, everything from our S two and our in our pipeline and increase that conversion rate by three to 4%, what does that do in terms of, ar coming.

[00:05:49] Gotcha.

[00:05:50] Islin Munisteri: And so when you look at your contracts in SaaS, it's all about like ARR and NRR and like, have you, I guess this is of a dumb question, but do [00:06:00] you know your cam? ?

[00:06:00] Benjamin Roach: We do, yeah.

[00:06:01] Islin Munisteri: Okay. That's good. That's good, sometimes a lot. Folks, I asked them about their tam.

[00:06:07] It's have you turned for your TAM already? Or is it like ? It's or is it like a really large TAM?

[00:06:13] Benjamin Roach: It's good. Exactly. No we're, we are in a spot where we're in a very large TAM and we have gotten to the, to this point where we're at so far without even doing ABM or account based targeting from a sales perspective.

[00:06:25] And we're just beginning to introduce like the enterprise motion, which if you've ever introduced an enterprise motion, and it's like starting over from scratch, you have to rethink about your go-to-market strategy and rethink about your sales process. Like you probably shouldn't be looking at a two-step process.

[00:06:39] So it's a lot of fun conversations as we grow and scale. Oh

[00:06:43] Islin Munisteri: that's exciting, dude. Those are the things that we live for. And I guess what's your biggest learning experience?

[00:06:52] Benjamin Roach: Yeah that's a good question. I think the, my biggest learning experience is is not being an order taker very early in my rev ops career.

[00:06:58] It's very easy to get [00:07:00] trapped in the, can you build this report? Can you build this Salesforce model? Can you build this custom object? And it's really easy just to get to say yes. Get the quick win. Bless you, . Thank you. Get the quick win and to move on from it. And. That was probably the hardest learning of it's okay to ask why it's okay not to, not to do it as much as, the VP is requesting it.

[00:07:23] It's okay to ask why and to understand the reasoning behind it and will this move the needle? Where does this lie in terms of other objectives? So that was probably my biggest learning piece. Cool.

[00:07:36] Islin Munisteri: And I guess as far as like moving the needle, does it actually. Impact your, like the bottom line or what type of questions would you be asking?

[00:07:47] Benjamin Roach: Yeah, exactly. It's one of those conversations with is adding this checkbox on this field, is that gonna move the needle to where we need to move it? Or is this just a quick fix to capture a data point? What's the end goal that we're trying to [00:08:00] capture? And maybe it is just adding that checkbox, but you need to have that conversation to better understand.

[00:08:06] What that end goal looks like and how we can then create actions off of it.

[00:08:12] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha.

[00:08:16] And I, I guess what's the hardest thing you've done with your

[00:08:19] Benjamin Roach: tech stack? That's a really I'm probably going through that right now. We grew so fast. We kinda have a Frankenstein tech stack is what I like to say. We're a global conversation, us, UK and other parts of the EU and each team have bought their own tech stack.

[00:08:33] So I'm. Yeah, so I'm trying to centralize and, integrate all the different tech into one to make it useful, but it's also can this tech stack scale and grow for us into where we wanna be. And that's a working piece that I'm going through. So I would say that's probably the toughest.

[00:08:49] The second toughest thing that we've done is I think help building a very customized quote to cash process within Salesforce outside of the cbq. That was difficult. [00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Islin Munisteri: Okay, so I guess this is crazy, but why would you wanna build a customized CPQ process at Salesforce? Like, why is there yeah, what?

[00:09:09] Like why would you want to do that?

[00:09:12] Benjamin Roach: Yeah. Like Salesforce CPQ is quite complex in itself, and so it's building kind of a simpler model of that, but capturing a very customized quote to cash process in terms of professional services, as well as as well as reoccurring revenue, as well as like some other pieces.

[00:09:27] It was a unique build. Wow.

[00:09:30] Islin Munisteri: I'm glad you survived that .

[00:09:33] Benjamin Roach: Me too.

[00:09:35] Islin Munisteri: Yeah, there, there's been some hard projects we've been on where it's like, you get to the finish line, it's we made it .

[00:09:44] Benjamin Roach: Very much and then you realize, you're like, wow, I learned a lot on how to do flows.

[00:09:48] Maybe I shouldn't, I didn't know I could learn that much. Exactly.

[00:09:52] Islin Munisteri: Exactly. And what's your single source of truth in your tech stack?

[00:09:57] Benjamin Roach: Yeah, I think. I hope [00:10:00] this is alignment through most of rev ops, but we use our CRM as our single source of truth. It's not, we're definitely not perfect.

[00:10:06] But that's definitely where, we continue to align and push as our single source, of truth.

[00:10:14] And I guess are

[00:10:14] Islin Munisteri: you, have you guys like gotten to the place where you're actually putting product data into your CRM yet and like building workflows and all? Stuff off of that or not?

[00:10:26] Benjamin Roach: Not quite. Not quite. That's really our next stage, right? Because in our sales process, we go through a technical evaluation, like a proof of value, a proof of concept where they're actually in our platform for a couple weeks using their data.

[00:10:39] And so bringing in that product data into the C R M. To help alleviate insights into the sales process. Are they active? Are they using it? How much are they using it? Is only gonna increase our efficiency throughout our sales process, but also for then our CS and other teams that are actually supporting our clients on a daily basis.

[00:10:58] That way then that product [00:11:00] data can live within where they work.

[00:11:06] Islin Munisteri: Yeah we're helping some clients do that. Now it's it's a lot of API calls. I'm just like, oh my God.

[00:11:12] Benjamin Roach: It's a ton of a API calls, especially in the SaaS world, depending on what you're looking at. And depending on what you're trying to pull over it's a lot of API and custom integration work.

[00:11:22] Islin Munisteri: Oh, yeah. And I guess do you have a philosophy on rev ops and how teams should.

[00:11:29] Benjamin Roach: I think that's probably like one of the hot topics on LinkedIn right now, right? ? Yes. For me, the philosophy on Rev ops is ensuring that the three kind of organizations or segments sales, marketing and CS act harmoniously around those key revenue objectives and transparency and accountability across the business.

[00:11:47] That to me is where Rev Ops is key. Because I think with each teams operating in their silos, you get this fragmented growth. And if you really want to grow and hit your number right, you need those teams working in tandem. [00:12:00] Yeah.

[00:12:01] Islin Munisteri: I

[00:12:01] Benjamin Roach: agree. Now that is the dream world. Whether or not that actually happens all the time.

[00:12:06] I guess that is that's why there is rev ops to help bridge those gaps and have those conversations.

[00:12:11] Islin Munisteri: Exactly. Like how, I guess with you, have you personally seen the teams work together as one team, or is it really more siloed?

[00:12:23] Benjamin Roach: Yeah, I think that also comes down to how rev ops teams are structured, right?

[00:12:27] And I think you see a different philosophy there where you have rev ops teams structured in core specialities like marketing ops, sales ops, CS ops, rolling up to a Rev ops person, rev ops director. And sometimes that can help. That doesn't help, right? It adds that silo effect to it. But I think generally speaking, rev ops has.

[00:12:45] Generate that conversation. Whether or not they're working together all the time is a , I think is another thing

[00:12:52] Islin Munisteri: that is true. I guess you just have to start the conversation somewhere, right?

[00:12:59] Benjamin Roach: Exactly. [00:13:00] And that's where I think you know, as much as, we, our goal in Rev ops I think to start that conversation and help guide that conversation.

[00:13:08] Even if we don't have the answers, we at least are asking the question. And really getting down to that core issue. And I wouldn't say forcing everyone to have that conversation, but bringing that conversation to the table. Yep.

[00:13:22] Islin Munisteri: And that's where you start. And what do you think of when I say the term rev ops roadmap?

[00:13:26] Benjamin Roach: I, for rev ops roadmap, I think it serve like Rev ops serves as a coach that analyzes strategizes and derives the whole team's game plan to perform better. And that's what I think about as as our roadmap. Rev ops can develop their own roadmap, but it has to have buy-in from all the key stakeholders.

[00:13:43] Otherwise, it's gonna be ineffective. Yes,

[00:13:46] Islin Munisteri: You definitely need to have buy in.

[00:13:49] Benjamin Roach: Yeah, exactly. And I I think making sure that, you're, the stakeholders in each department are aware of the roadmap, are bought into the roadmap, but also are being updated on the roadmap. It's really easy [00:14:00] to launch the roadmap, have your sprints, get the work done, but if you're not raising it to that next level and, and telling how that impacts and what's been done what's coming it's easy for that roadmap to get lost.

[00:14:13] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. Has that happened to you before where like things have gotten off the rails

[00:14:18] Benjamin Roach: or? Yeah, it definitely has. It's, I think with any business, right? You start off the year with, ah, these are our initiatives. We're gonna run these initiatives at four or five months into the year.

[00:14:28] New initiatives pop up. , and Yep. Now they take over the old initiatives and those old initiatives fall off without bringing up that awareness of, Hey, we're gonna reprioritize this is what's falling off. It's really easy to get caught up in those new initiatives and just run with them.

[00:14:42] Gotcha.

[00:14:44] Islin Munisteri: So it's juggling the prioritization of new and old, new and initiatives. Exactly. And I guess what's your best piece of career advice you would tell your younger?

[00:14:55] Benjamin Roach: Don't be afraid to seek seek help and guidance. I I was always [00:15:00] timid to go up to a director or a VP and ask, Hey, I don't know this.

[00:15:04] Can I learn it? So I very much wish I did that much earlier in my career. I think taking advantage of who's in, of who's in the room and asking them their experience and what you can learn from 'em is huge. Cool.

[00:15:18] Islin Munisteri: And what have you.

[00:15:18] Benjamin Roach: Yeah. Oh, really good question. It's, I am very thankful that I've had really good.

[00:15:24] Leaders who have put me in the positions to ask those questions. So for example, at my, at a previous company, I worked hand in hand with a CFO to really understand revenue from a finance perspective, right? The impact of gap revenue, the impact of just different pieces of if we're gonna go back and do a claw back on commission, how does that not only impact the seller, but how's that impact our revenue and our reporting of it?

[00:15:46] And it helped prep me for going to board conversations and having conversations at a much higher.

[00:15:53] Islin Munisteri: Wow, that's great. So it's really finding those key people to, to work with or those [00:16:00] are those projects that really add to your experience.

[00:16:04] Benjamin Roach: Yeah, exactly. And I think having, we see this a lot with, within our careers where we are always like, I wanna learn more, I want more development.

[00:16:11] And sometimes it's just asking and saying, I wanna learn about X, Y, and Z. Who within the company can spare 30 minutes of their time to teach me this? And sometimes it's just asking for that is much easier than saying, I want a membership to X, Y, and z.

[00:16:29] Islin Munisteri: That's true. Okay. So it's easier, yeah.

[00:16:35] Versus, yeah, versus getting in a

[00:16:37] Benjamin Roach: membership. Exactly. Yeah. Cuz sometimes that extra spend of Hey, I'm gonna go join x, y and Z group and it's gonna cost us $1,800 a year per person. Not everyone's gonna get that opportunity. Whereas internally, if you could go down and sit down with a C R O for 30 minutes a month to learn something that you're eager to learn, that cost the company nothing.

[00:16:58] And if anything, they're making it [00:17:00] better. So it's, it is an easier sell internally.

[00:17:03] Islin Munisteri: That makes more sense. And is there anything we haven't covered?

[00:17:08] Benjamin Roach: Oh I feel like we could talk for hours upon rev ops and different strategies.

[00:17:16] Islin Munisteri: Cool. I think we're, we've we've covered most of it. I guess my last question to you is like at a Series D, like what are. Like, what's your biggest problem at a series D? Is it scaling the enterprise level sales, or is it like what is the biggest problem when you're at a series D?

[00:17:39] Benjamin Roach: Yeah that's a really good question. I think it's different for each company, but I know for, from my experience, the difficulty is scaling at the right speed. Especially when you have a lot of high goals. It's really easy just to run without thinking of the longer term impact.

[00:17:54] Is this scalable? Can we build off of this or is this just a quick win for now to hit that number? But it's [00:18:00] also that transition. Looking at just the AAR number to understanding that net retention number, right? It's great that we're winning, X amount of million per quarter, per year, but are we retaining that?

[00:18:11] What's that five year lifetime look like? Are we, and I think that's what's key in that mindset and shift, and it's really difficult to shift as you approach that Series D. Wow. So

[00:18:22] Islin Munisteri: it's really understanding customer lifetime value and

[00:18:25] And making sure you're not churning, because if you're bringing on new customers, but you're churning all of 'em, then you're really

[00:18:31] Benjamin Roach: in a pickle. Exactly. You're not really making that step forward. You're sitting in that same spot where it's great that you're bringing on a ton of new customers, but you're losing the same amount, so you're really just netting out Wow.

[00:18:45] Islin Munisteri: Cool. I think this is this is a great podcast. Thanks for being on with us, Benjamin.

[00:18:50] Benjamin Roach: Yeah, thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate it. Awesome.

Islin Munisteri

Written by Islin Munisteri