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9 | Having a People First Philosophy with Brandon Roopnarain at Secfi

May 26, 2022 2:00:00 PM



Today, Brandon Roopnarain, Sales Strategy and Operations Manager at Secfi joins host Islin Munisteri to talk about democratizing data with a single source of truth for all your teams, deriving insights, and raising ideas to management. We also talk about having a data council, with all teams looking at the same data and coming up with differing conclusions. We end by talking about Brandon's people-first philosophy.

Brandon Roopnarain is currently working as a Sales Strategy & Operations Manager at Secfi, which helps employees exercise their options at select startups. Over his 6 year career, he has worked in traditional finance with JP Morgan, sales strategy at DailyPay, and pivoted to work with product teams in eBay's payments organization. Brandon graduated with a degree in Finance from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Connect with our guest, Brandon Roopnarain, on LinkedIn


[00:00:00] Islin Munisteri: Yeah. Cool. Okay. Let's get started. We. Hi, this is Islam monastery, and with FIA marketing and I'm host of the RevOps careers podcast. Today, I'm excited to have Brandon join us.

[00:00:18] Brandon Roopnarain: Great. Thanks for having me Islin.

[00:00:20] Great. Great to be here. Very excited to to be a guest.

[00:00:23] Islin Munisteri: Awesome. So Brandon Roopnarain. Is currently working at as sales and strategy operation manager at sec Phi, which helps employees exercise their options at select startups over a six year career has worked in traditional finance of J P Morgan sales strategy at daily pay and pivoted to work with product teams and eBay's payments organization.

[00:00:48] Brandon graduated with a degree in finance from Thomas Jefferson university in Philadelphia. I'm excited to have you on.

[00:00:56] Brandon Roopnarain: Excited to be here. So

[00:00:59] Islin Munisteri: let's get started. How did you start your career in rev ops journey?

[00:01:03] Brandon Roopnarain: Yeah, it's I would say I came into rev ops by accident. I didn't know what the career path really was.

[00:01:10] I didn't even know what it was that I fell into it, but to give you the journey really throughout my undergrad years, I always thought that I wanted a career on wall street. So I pursued my studies in finance. And I was fortunate enough to start my career at JP Morgan chase where I was focused on capital analytics and risk management for their strategic investments group.

[00:01:29] And after the two years I realized that I wanted a more hands-on operational role and within the FinTech startup ecosystem where my impact can really be amplified. So I joined a FinTech startup called Bailey pay in their early stages at around employee number 60. It was quite an ambiguous role and it wasn't well-defined, but I was reporting to our VP of strategic accounts at the time to really help him define and standardize the sales process for the new sales enterprise team and really focused on strategic accounts.

[00:01:59] Large employers in the us. And this was really my first foray into sales ops. So really defining and mapping out what are the key stages in the sales process? What are all the data and metrics that we need to start tracking? And then eventually over. Got out of the role and you started to hire more traditional sales reps to, to scale it.

[00:02:21] And me taking it to a more formalized sales, operations role, but it was a great opportunity. Got to learn a lot. So that's how I ended up in rev ops and I've loved it ever since.

[00:02:33] Islin Munisteri: That's great. And I guess, did you have some experience like as, as a sales rep?

[00:02:40] Brandon Roopnarain: To be honest with, and at first it took me about six months to get an understanding of our product at daily pay shadowing calls answering questions for our champions and coaches within those companies.

[00:02:51] And over time, I started to take ownership of certain accounts myself and was responsible for two closings there, which I think gave me the credibility to move into the sales ops role. But it was a great opportunity at the time.

[00:03:03] Islin Munisteri: And I guess, what was your biggest learning experience so

[00:03:06] Brandon Roopnarain: far? I would say that my biggest learning experience, having been in these operational roles for the past four years it's really that each company is unique and although the tools may be similar across companies, each company has their own unique nuances and specific use cases.

[00:03:24] So it certainly keeps the rev ops job exciting. And you really never know to what to expect each day. So each company is really comes with its own host of challenges and you just have to be ready to get in there, get into the weeds and solve them.

[00:03:39] Islin Munisteri: Sounds great. And what's the hardest thing you've done with your tech stack?

[00:03:44] Brandon Roopnarain: Oh, that's a tough one. This one, I'd say the hardest thing that I've done was the first time that I migrated. CRMs it daily pace because that we used HubSpot for context. It was filled with a lot of duplicate and messy data. So I had to really, I had to work with our customer success teams, our sales teams, our marketing teams, to really figure out what data is actually accurate, what fields are being used versus what's not being used.

[00:04:11] And then going through a manual process of really cleaning up that data. And then once we had that cleaned, then importing it into Salesforce and then building out some of the more sophisticated customizations and reportings that we were looking for. So that would say that was pretty challenging, but now that I've went through it that's another thing that I'm working on now in my current role as well.

[00:04:31] So we're going through another Salesforce migration and I feel like I'm much better equipped to help make an impact and hopefully get us to market quicker with Salesforce.

[00:04:39] Islin Munisteri: Wow. Yeah, Salesforce is quite a beast with the contacts and how they structured their database. And do you have a single source of truth in your tech stack

[00:04:51] right now, is it Salesforce?

[00:04:54] Brandon Roopnarain: It will be Salesforce. And yeah, this isn't, this is another tough question because right now, , we have multiple different systems ranging from our CRM, which we currently use. It's called affinity which is primarily used by, I would say private equity firms in venture capital.

[00:05:08] It's not really meant for a traditional Salesforce. And then we also have our in-house backend system developed completely in-house by our engineers. However, they don't do the best job of speaking to each other. And they also don't do the best job of speaking with some of the other tools. Other teams use such as Asana.

[00:05:25] So right now, just having a single source of truth, I would say is the biggest strategic goal for sales strategy this year. So I'm leading our implementation of Salesforce that is supposed to be our single source of truth within the. I would say that at my previous companies, that daily pay specifically, we had HubSpot serve as our single source of truth across all of our go-to market teams.

[00:05:47] And then eventually when we moved to Salesforce, it was a similar stance. So Wednesday was much easier at the previous job, much more difficult at this job, but I think that's the fun of it, solving these problems and getting us to where we need to be.

[00:06:00] Islin Munisteri: That's awesome. And I guess why like, at what Stage, would you recommend moving from HubSpot to Salesforce?

[00:06:07] The Salesforce cause has stayed, has actually gone to Salesforce. And then they, as a company moved back to HubSpot and I think in 2019, and they've been using their own sales tools ever since. So I guess, is there like a certain point where you decide to implement Salesforce?

[00:06:25] Brandon Roopnarain: Yeah, I would say that typically HubSpot is as well-known.

[00:06:29] Being a great tool for earlier stage startups. I think it provides all the all the necessities that you need to get you to a certain point and then eventually. Once you've reached a certain scale. The needs of the business changes the way you segment your sales team starts to change. So you need to be able to have a little bit more configurations and customizations that I think Salesforce offers.

[00:06:51] So I would say at that point, once your sales team starts to expand, whether it's new product lines, new geographies, or even just segmenting your existing market between, SMB enterprise and strategic accounts. I think having those additional customizations are going to be very valuable because each will come with their own specific sales cycle and you want to track those metrics as accurately as possible.

[00:07:14] Islin Munisteri: That makes sense. And what's your philosophy on rev ops and how like those different rev ops teams should interact with each other?

[00:07:24] Brandon Roopnarain: Yeah, absolutely. It's a great question. I would say that my philosophy to rev ops is that it's really analogous to a professional sports team. Some may view it as a Baton race, but I think that's antiquated

[00:07:38] Especially nowadays, right, if you think about it, marketing owns a lot of the customer journey before they even hit a sales funnel. So the way I think about it, information and data really needs to pass across the different teams. And they all need to have access to data. So really in order to have this successful revenue engine you need to break down those silos, first of all and get teams talking to each other.

[00:07:58] I think the second piece is also having that single source of truth so that everyone is on the same page and is looking at the data and interpreting it the same exact way. And then lastly, there just needs to be democratized access to data and an open culture of sharing ideas that people can dive into the data, derive insights and ultimately feel comfortable just raising their ideas to leadership.

[00:08:21] And I think those three pillars will produce the best outcomes.

[00:08:25] Islin Munisteri: Wow. So you talked about data democracy. I was going to try and go for the other word, but it's not working. So I guess of the single source of truth and data democracy, how do you see those working

[00:08:38] Brandon Roopnarain: together? I think there they go hand in hand together, right?

[00:08:41] Once you have a single source of. You'll have people of different teams, different ways of viewing the world, just accessing that data, cutting it, deriving insights from it, and really presenting ideas that, maybe I may not necessarily have insight to, or, have the perspective to really look at.

[00:08:58] So I think that's very valuable and having some sort of data council may actually be something of value. It's something that we've done at previous companies where you'll have a representative from each. Come in present their view of the data and then make any recommendations. So I think it's a great way to solve problems and also just making sure that all teams are staying in constant communication.

[00:09:22] Islin Munisteri: Cool. And I guess what, if you died tomorrow, what do you hope people would say about you and how you impacted them?

[00:09:28] Brandon Roopnarain: First off, I'll say that I hope that doesn't happen, but if it did I would say that I hope that people would say that. I was reliable. And then I made them feel like their opinions were important and always heard.

[00:09:40] My people first philosophy to work in personal relationships have really produced fruitful outcomes in my life. And I wouldn't be where I am without those that are in my corner. So I truly believe that human beings can achieve great things when they're working together.

[00:09:56] Islin Munisteri: That's true. Really, without the people you can't have the process or the technology.

[00:10:00] Brandon Roopnarain: Exactly. Exactly. And

[00:10:03] Islin Munisteri: I guess what's your best piece of career advice that you'd tell yourself?

[00:10:09] Brandon Roopnarain: Yeah. I would say that if I could go back to the 22 year old Brandon, I would tell my younger self, these two things, I think.

[00:10:17] Always be open to other perspectives because you never know what you may learn from someone else. And then the second piece is I think always stay up to date with the latest tools, technologies, and skills, and they give you an example of that. When I was an undergrad learning financial modeling was, the big thing for finance majors.

[00:10:36] But I talked to, current students now and they all know Python and sequel, and they know this coming out of school. These are all skills that no one even talked about during my time in undergrad. So just keeping up on the latest technology and what people are learning nowadays is going to keep you relevant and really as effective as possible in the workplace.

[00:10:58] Islin Munisteri: Wow. So it's amazing how schools have changed over. Six years since you've been there.

[00:11:04] Brandon Roopnarain: Yeah. It's remarkable. And moving at lightning speed. So finance

[00:11:09] Islin Munisteri: majors, now know about SQL and Python.

[00:11:13] Brandon Roopnarain: A lot of them do.

[00:11:15] Islin Munisteri: Wow. That's good. That's it used to be like in the days of the data scientists that would have those skills, but now I think, I feel like everyone has to be comfortable with data.

[00:11:27] Brandon Roopnarain: Oh, absolutely. I always, I can learning data in the 21st century is like learning how to read in the 19th and 20th centuries.

[00:11:35] Islin Munisteri: Oh, wow. That's quite an insight there. So we just have to be very comfortable with data or teach yourself to get there. And is there anything we haven't covered?

[00:11:47] Brandon Roopnarain: Eastland, I think we've covered quite a bit.

[00:11:49] We've talked about my philosophy of rev ops, my journey here, some of the key learnings and some of the key challenges that I'm working on. So I really hope that my intakes are able to help others and also just inspire others. So I think we covered quite a bit. Anything on your end that you think we should cover?

[00:12:06] Islin Munisteri: Maybe make it, tell me a little bit more. Secfi, I don't know if you guys are hiring or just tell us a little bit more about, about your company.

[00:12:15] Brandon Roopnarain: Yeah, absolutely. So Secfi, as you mentioned earlier, we help employees at select startups really understand their equity and really help them to own their equity through a wide variety of content that we have on our website and, and calculators that people can just go on

[00:12:33] They can sign up for an account and they can play with our tools and really see if it's something that can help them. But a Secfi, we're a fast growing startup. We are always hiring, definitely check out our careers, page, and even reaching out to me personally, happy to make an intro where needed.

[00:12:51] Awesome.

[00:12:52] Islin Munisteri: Thank you so much, Brandon. That was a good podcast and that's a wrap. Thanks for being

[00:12:58] Brandon Roopnarain: on with us. Thanks for having me.

[00:13:02] Islin Munisteri: Thanks, Brandon.


Islin Munisteri

Written by Islin Munisteri