FIVE BIG TAKEAWAYS
1. The idea is to never stop figuring it out and always seek the best way to ensure the health of your business, the success of your employees, and the satisfaction of your customers.
2. Provide ongoing training so that employees understand the decisions and data points of another team, and create an environment to collaborate together and not have silos.
3. Technology doesn't talk to your customers. Have conversations with your customer.
4. Build a culture where part of an employee's role is to communicate proactively. Don't wait to be tapped on the shoulder.
5. If the company does well, have a compensation plan that includes bonuses and commissions for all employees, not just the sales team.
Sasha Yablonovsky is currently Co-CEO at LoanSpark, which connects your B2B customers with the capital they deserve while growing your revenue. She was previously president at CareerBuilder and Vice President at Exela Technologies. She graduated from Northeastern.
Connect with our guest, Sasha Yablonovsky, on LinkedIn:
[00:00:20] Islin Munisteri: Hi, this is Islin Munisteri, host of the rev ops careers podcast. Sponsored by Theia Strategies strategies today. I'm here with Sasha Yablonovsky
[00:00:32] Sasha Yablonovsky: Hi Islin, how are you doing? Pretty good. How are you? I'm great. I'm really excited to be a part of your podcast.
[00:00:40] Islin Munisteri: Yes, I'm excited to have you as well. And I'm excited to have all of our listeners.
[00:00:43] So Sasha is
[00:00:44] Sasha Yablonovsky: currently co CEO
[00:00:46] Islin Munisteri: at Loanspark, which connects your B2B customers with the capital they deserve while growing your revenue shows previously president at career builder and vice president at EXELA technologies. She [00:01:00] graduated from
[00:01:00] Sasha Yablonovsky: Northeastern, really excited to have you on. Thanks.
[00:01:04] I'm here. Good topics we're discussing. So I'm excited to be a part. Yep.
[00:01:09] Islin Munisteri: Great. So how did you start your career and RevOps journey and you really did more of the rev. Perspective from an executive perspective. So how'd that
[00:01:20] Sasha Yablonovsky: go? Yeah. So I've had multiple career journeys. It hasn't been a straight line and honestly, it's just been a sequence of opportunities that I encountered or sought out along the way.
[00:01:32] Most of it was just me not shying away from you, challenges and changes I've always picked a company, a role where I know I can learn new skills from the teams I work with and also an industry I can learn from. And as far as RevUps in particular, although I've been in charge of renewals and determining how to best keep customers since gosh, 2004, I would say that my first forte into rev.
[00:01:58] Specifically was [00:02:00] 2014. So almost 10 years ago, I took over third largest division of an outsourcing company, which was actually at Exela technologies. And I led a team of 1200 people and I was responsible for sales and operations, and that's where really needed to focus on and figure out rev ops and the best way to retain and grow that business.
[00:02:25] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. And what was. Biggest learning experience in that role leading 1200
[00:02:31] Sasha Yablonovsky: people there weren't. All encompassing tools back then available to help with data analysis and to pinpoint the best way to accomplish the learning and understanding tactics in order to guide marketing and sales and operations to work together.
[00:02:49] So getting teams to work together and share information was really the biggest learning experience and dividing and [00:03:00] conquering. That part was probably the biggest challenge at the time. And the biggest learning was that training people and using the technology that you do have on hand and combining them together and also getting feedback from all the parties involved was really the best way to approach that particular situation back.
[00:03:24] Islin Munisteri: Wow. And I know now that you're at Loanspark like I know technology has come a long way in the eight years since then. So I guess, what are you guys using now to grow your rev ops tech stack and build out your marketplace?
[00:03:38] Sasha Yablonovsky: Yeah, so interesting. Loan spark, actually, we just soft launched it earlier this month, so it's a true startup.
[00:03:45] So what we've done. Based on our previous experiences, we've done actually a couple of things. So we are using our CRM, which is our proprietary tool to be our single source of [00:04:00] truth, but. In order, cuz technology can only take us so far in revenue operations. There's really a lot of engagement that's required among different teams in order to work together and understand processes.
[00:04:12] What we do is we have developed a training program where every single. Employee is trained on every single role within the company. So for an example, a salesperson will have training on exactly what IT operations, customer service, product, and marketing and et cetera do. And each marketing person will be trained on exactly what those other teams do.
[00:04:34] What that helps us do is bridge the silos and ensure collaboration from the very. So you are not just taught what your role in the organization is. You're taught what every role does and how every role is responsible for growing revenue and servicing our customers. And we also provide ongoing trading in each response as every responsibility evolves.
[00:04:56] The goal really is that these teams will [00:05:00] understand each other's process. We'll create an environment where they can collaborate together and the best way to keep focus on our customers, our products and marketing, while generating growth opportunities. Of course, we utilize the tools to help with that data.
[00:05:16] We are at a point where we haven't selected a particular rev ops product to guide us. But like I said, our CRM right now does a really great job of assessing, pipeline, forecasting forecasting, our, you sales. And then that guides our marketing strategies and customer support strategies at this.
[00:05:37] Islin Munisteri: exciting. And I guess it is like when you're like, crosstraining everyone in the company about what all the other teams are doing, does. Other leaders might say that's a time sink, right?
[00:05:48] Sasha Yablonovsky: Would, I think it's a time investment. You don't spend many days on it because a salesperson doesn't need to be an it person in our organization.
[00:05:59] So the way we've [00:06:00] structured our training is for salesperson to understand what goes into day operation of a product team and how they make decisions based on what. Data points, right? And same for product and marketing. They are on sales calls to see that it's not easy to close the sale. It's not easy to generate a lead.
[00:06:22] Same with our customer service teams. It's not easy. It's not always easy to bring in a renewal, so it's not a time to sink. I think it's a very much needed time investment. What it also does. It really helps our employees get a better understanding. How other teams work, where they get their decisions and data points from and how every employee in the company contributes to the overall revenue, health of the organization.
[00:06:52] We've had marketing people that have come up with brilliant ideas and improvements for product and sales and customer service just based [00:07:00] on their experience in other organizations. And it really helps us to make sure that the communication channels and collaboration are wide open. That's awesome.
[00:07:10] So I guess
[00:07:10] Islin Munisteri: when you're cross training the different folks is it. So it is like marketing and product and sales, like sitting together in a room, learning about
[00:07:19] Sasha Yablonovsky: what each folks? Yeah, like exactly. Like we will have certain folks from our marketing team come in and they will be engaged in walking, sales and product through a day in the life of marketing, how we decide on campaigns based on what information products and sales or customer representatives provide for us.
[00:07:39] How are those decision? Made. And then we end up having a collaborative committee that makes those decisions together. I don't think it's right to make decisions for a sales team in a silo by marketing or product teams. They don't sell every day. I don't think it's right for sales to make decisions [00:08:00] for product or marketing, because they're not engaged in marketing or developing a product every day.
[00:08:04] This kind of working together really helps tackle all the key points of revenue operations.
[00:08:14] Islin Munisteri: Yeah. That, that definitely is something new. I think in the RevOps world that I haven't heard of is definitely this kind of crosstraining across schemes so that's wonderful. Thanks.
[00:08:25] Sasha Yablonovsky: I'll keep you posted.
[00:08:27] Check in again in a year and I'll give you all the fun data points.
[00:08:31] Islin Munisteri: it did actually work like that's. That's awesome. And I guess what is, and I guess we talked about your single source of truth right now is your proprietary
[00:08:41] Sasha Yablonovsky: CRM. Yeah. That's our CRM right now that we're using. We built in analytics that help us assess pipeline and forecast.
[00:08:49] And that's what we're using right now is our key driving points. Again, unique situation. Loan spark is a true startup. We are right now, tiny but mighty [00:09:00] and. We haven't grown to a point yet. As some of the customers or some of the teams, I should say that you have had on your podcast, there are companies that over, over a thousand employees, some of them have over 500 employees.
[00:09:13] We are very much an SMB right now. And like I said, we're recently launched. To be able to build something from scratch, using my experience. And the founder that I'm working with his experience has been really great because we have an opportunity to truly kind of mold, what we've experienced in revenue operations.
[00:09:32] And one of the key things was. Definitely training and lack thereof with teams and cross functionality. Others was having, too many redundant tools or too many tools that are used as many sources of truth versus one single source of truth. I think that happens a lot in companies as they,
[00:09:51] grow and scale. So we're trying to keep it really lean, but also scalable. And we are really focused on engaging our teams [00:10:00] from the very beginning, because at the end of the day, technology is a huge help to analyze and assess and collect data. But technology doesn't talk to your customers. And first and foremost, where will you get the best insights it's from developing those relationships and talking to your customers, that's customers who help our revenue growth.
[00:10:21] Right? Yes, I think we have to start at that ground zero it's always customers.
[00:10:26] Islin Munisteri: Exactly. So having customer like conversations with customers is key to getting the revenue, it's key to understanding. what actually drives the business
[00:10:40] Sasha Yablonovsky: forward. Yep. A hundred percent. That
[00:10:45] Islin Munisteri: is that's great. And we talked about your philosophy a bit on how teams should interact in rev ops with the cross training bit.
[00:10:55] Sasha Yablonovsky: Do you wanna add to that? What's your personal philosophy? No, I think that covers it. I just think. [00:11:00] It's easy to get your teams to be as siloed as you grow and scale quickly. I think for leaders it's one of the greatest challenges is how do you ensure that everybody on your team has autonomy to work and create, but at the same time, not lose perspective of how everything we do within one organization across every department is a bit of a domino effect, right?
[00:11:24] So we have to work all together. So my personal philosophy very much reflect, reflects this cross training and cross collaboration among teams is the entire company. It's, communication from leadership level to management level to all of the employees and back for employees to effectively communicate and have a platform to communicate with their managers and their managers, leaders as.
[00:11:54] I think it's really critical to just have collaboration and communication going in order to [00:12:00] best serve the organization. You're at. Yeah.
[00:12:04] Islin Munisteri: I really believe that. Yeah. Communication and collaboration is key. Like we have a daily standup, and that, that helps keep everyone in sync but yours goes a level deeper.
[00:12:16] Sasha Yablonovsky: Yeah. I think it's critical. It's also, it's hard to do. I think it needs to be a conscious effort on every employee's part. You can't wait for your leader. To tap you on the shoulder and keep saying, what are your thoughts? What do you think we're doing? What do you think we're doing wrong? I think it's great.
[00:12:33] If you are able to build a culture in your organization where it's a given that the employee is so passionate and bought into your company, that they know that part of their role in your organization is to proactively communicate. Hey. This is what we've been doing for the last several months. I think it's going really well.
[00:12:53] Here's why, here's how I think it's, here's how I've deducted. It's going well, here's why we should double down on that. [00:13:00] Don't wait to be tapped on the shoulder. I think it's also, it will create you as an employee to ensure that the company creates the great, the right environment for. If say nothing about things that are going right or wrong, and eventually you're dissatisfied with the place where you work.
[00:13:14] You have to take a look and see, Hey, how much of that did I attribute to? And same with leaders. You have to create an environment where your employees know that's part of your fabric, the cloth of your, organization, where the communication is ongoing steady stream. That
[00:13:30] Islin Munisteri: is really awesome.
[00:13:33] Yeah. I haven't, we haven't really talked a ton about communication on revops but I feel like that's key for a successful healthy organization. Is that communication.
[00:13:42] Sasha Yablonovsky: Yeah, we actually, at Loan spark, we have like a revenue share model. So as the company does well, Every of our, every one of our employees does well and is bonused and commissioned based on every growth of our revenue.
[00:13:57] That way it promotes this, [00:14:00] we are all bought into the success of the organization kind of methodology or logic I would say. And I think that's helped us also. Communication and, bringing in the right talent, that's truly bought into what loans park is doing. So yeah, I think there's a lot of different ways that organizations can engage their folks to make sure that the communication is going strong.
[00:14:25] It helps you with your revenue, operations and thus revenue growth. There's a lot of different ways to do that. That's just how we chose to do it. That's
[00:14:34] Islin Munisteri: awesome. And I guess tying in different folks or commission and bonus structure do you, like, how do you do that to communication?
[00:14:45] Sasha Yablonovsky: Now I'm saying that's just part of our compensation plan. The company grows does better. Everybody's commissioned in bonus based on that the commissions and bonuses are not flat. So meaning typically a company only rewards sales for growth. [00:15:00] Yeah, based on commission plans and for operations teams or marketing teams, it's like an annual flat bonus structure.
[00:15:07] So if a company doubled over the year, your employment agreement said that you're on a marketing team. You will have a $20,000 bonus the next year, the company tripled you're on a marketing team. You will get a $20,000 bonus. We commission every. Single employee and departments in the company, depending on growth.
[00:15:25] So if we grew 20%, I'm making up these numbers. So don't call me. But as an example, to give a really basic example, if we grew 20%, everybody gets a 20%, commission for increase. If we grew 50%, et cetera, that way everybody's butt in. I think what it does. From a communication collaboration perspective.
[00:15:45] Everybody wants to work harder because everybody gets shared revenue. You're not busting your butt just to make sure that sales commissions are growing. You're busting your butt to make sure that marketing commissions are growing and operations. And [00:16:00] we can only ensure that happens if we all work together.
[00:16:03] Islin Munisteri: That is key. And I guess, yeah, working together on team that. I wanna say there's a whole nother podcast there.
[00:16:12] Sasha Yablonovsky: I agree.
[00:16:14] Islin Munisteri: and I, again, I guess what is your what, sorry what do you think of when I say the term revops roadmap?
[00:16:21] Sasha Yablonovsky: Oh, good one. Okay. So revops roadmap, but that makes me think of all the ways over time that you can figure out and never stop figuring out the best way to serve your company using these tools and strategies and revenue operations.
[00:16:39] It's a lot of if then scenarios, I think, and it's all, it's an ever evolving process. From talking to a lot of leaders, Reading a lot about the topic. I don't think anybody's truly been full, no, one's truly fully figured out. What the right thing for revenue operations is cuz it's an ever evolving process.
[00:16:59] Like you blink and there [00:17:00] is a new and better way in which to improve how you manage your revenue operations and some of the biggest coolest, fanciest companies out there don't have it figured out either. And I, to me, the idea is to never stop figuring out the customer needs are changing the marketing initiative.
[00:17:16] And ideas change as well. The way we sell has changed a lot over the last 10 years, even over the last five years, whether or not, 2020 had anything to do with it. I just think things are changing. The expectations are changing. The idea is to never stop figuring it out and to always seek the best way to ensure the health of your business.
[00:17:37] So to me, Revops Revops sorry, what'd you say ops roadmap. That's right. I was like, I was gonna say pipeline, but I was like, that's not it. The roadmap to me is meaning looking ahead and seeing how you can continue to ensure the health of your business, success of your employees and satisfaction of your customers.
[00:17:57] Like to me, that's the rev ops roadmap. [00:18:00] Cool.
[00:18:02] Islin Munisteri: Was it looking ahead to continue the help of the business satisfaction of your employees? Okay. No. Cool.
[00:18:09] Sasha Yablonovsky: And
[00:18:09] Islin Munisteri: I guess what is the, what my question to you is, do you have any advice for your younger self as you've grown in your
[00:18:16] Sasha Yablonovsky: career? That's a really good question.
[00:18:20] I've made mistakes along the way I've learned from those mistakes. I wouldn't want to avoid those mistakes. I think learning from mistake, my mistakes and the mistakes of others that I've observed it allowed me to learn faster. The only thing I would say to my younger self, I think is to continue to be fearless and going for it.
[00:18:43] Most of the decisions I've made in my career were, Nope. I've never done that before. Can I learn from it? Yes. Will it challenge me? Yes. Is there a possibility I will fail? Yes. What is the worst thing that's gonna happen? If I fail? I learned from that experience, it helps me understand what I'm [00:19:00] good at, what I'm not so good at.
[00:19:01] And I move on. I guess my advice to the younger self is keep doing what you've been doing, because it will enable you to learn faster and, build your confidence.
[00:19:12] Islin Munisteri: Awesome. And is there anything we haven't covered on the podcast? Today that you'd like to cover about loan spark or any, anything else, I guess like how did you come up with the idea for loan spark?
[00:19:25] Sasha Yablonovsky: Yeah, it's an interesting question today. The whole businesses going to get funding is a really mess, messy process. and there is no easy way to find funding for businesses. It requires a lot of time, a lot of research. It's just super it's really crazy and cover SIM.
[00:19:44] So what the idea was not just to standardize it for SMBs and to help them thrive in the communities because let's face it over the last. Two three years, even before 2020, there's been such a [00:20:00] shift in people leaving their jobs and creating their own, starting up their own businesses, becoming freelancers, all those businesses require funding, and I'm really motivated by all those companies succeeding.
[00:20:13] I think it's great for the economy. It's great for our neighborhoods. And it's just great for business. I think that, there's a lot of issues with how these companies get funded. You look at that, and then you look at the fact that there's a lot of B2B companies that look for additional revenue streams, and when their customers, their business customers are in need of funding.
[00:20:32] They have to go somewhere and figure it out. What if that company fails you as a business that provides a B2B service, you now lose a customer and you have to find a new one. What if there's a way for you as a B2B? Business to offer a funding solution to all of your business customers, without sending them away elsewhere.
[00:20:52] It creates an opportunity for you to grow revenue, but it also creates an opportunity for your customers to have a [00:21:00] process that's easy and seamless. So we we created a way with technology to standardize this messy business financing process for all companies that work with SMBs. We created this platform that allows.
[00:21:14] Us to match your customers with the right loan programs to support their business growth and needs. And as a result of that, you are able to we stand up your personalized co-branded outsource business financing solution. We make it really easy. And we say your customers grow, you grow.
[00:21:34] It's a win-win situation, but that's where the idea came from. It was definitely spurred on by 2020, the great resignations or the great resets I call them. But also just businesses needing more help and we wanna help other businesses grow. That's our focus.
[00:21:52] Islin Munisteri: That's awesome. It was great having you on Sasha and I look forward to talking with you soon.
[00:21:57] Sasha Yablonovsky: Thanks. And you too. Thank you for having me. [00:22:00] Thanks, Sasha. Thank you. All of our