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The Musicality of RevOps, with Marcela Piñeros [Episode 1161]

Stripe is one of the fastest growing payment platforms worldwide. Marcela Piñeros, the Global Head of Sales Enablement, joins Howard and Alastair to discuss the musicality of making RevOps work. She also details how they use a 9-box method to maximize reps’ performance and stay ahead in the competitive world of financial services.

Podcast Transcript:



And they say, make a joyful sound. I believe I make a joyful sound. Maybe not a pleasant sound, but there’s lots of joy behind it. All of our listeners will say that you make joyful sounds every time you open up your mouth so you’re making plenty of joyful sounds to go. So true. 



Welcome back, everybody. Today, I’m very excited to have one of our special guests with us, Marcela Pineros. She joins us as the global head of sales enablement from Stripe, along with Howard Brown, co-host of our podcast, who is founder and CEO of Revenue.io, and also the thought leader and creator of Revenue Science. Myself, of course, you know, Chief Strategy Officer over here, former Gartner alumni and lover of all things data. So welcome, Marcela. Wonderful to have you with us. Howard, how are we all doing today? 


Great. Doing very well. I’m so glad that you all invited me. Thank you. It’s a great time when we think about what’s going on in the market in the world of RevOps. It’s an emerging space for many people. And Marcelo, we were chatting kind of last week, getting ready for this and thinking through a few things. I just want to start today with the external forces that you’re seeing as somebody that is, you’re in this from an enablement perspective, right? And that world of enablement that is so critical to RevOps, but is fundamentally shifting. 



We are way past simply basic training and coaching anymore. You know, and I won’t steal the thunder here, but maybe let’s just start there if that’s okay. What’s your perspective of the world of enablement today as it pertains to RevOps? Well, I think that change is definitely the theme, right? And most of the folks that are listening can probably relate to this. So apart from if we take like a super macro look, macroeconomic situation, for organizations that still consider enablement a type of training, a type of just information transfer, it’s a very risky place to be, candidly, right? 



Because we see a lot of budgets getting tightened. And for those of us that have been in a situation where we are looking to solidify our value as more than just information transfer, really understanding that as part of the enablement charter, our job is to focus on reducing the risk for the organization. It’s on increasing predictability. It’s on increasing efficiency. And that goes above and beyond just conveying information to people, right? That’s definitely a part of it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. 



So I think that right now folks are much more acutely aware of how important it is to make sure that their charters are much broader and more strategic. But then from within organizations, if we see most enterprise level organizations that have a sales enablement function have already started to see how sales enablement is more than just sales enablement. It’s like when you play tennis, they tell you to hit through the ball. Sales enablement, you have to hit through the sale. You have to get to the post sale. You have to get to the revenue, right? You have to go beyond just, did we close? 



Did we get a signature? So I think all of these things are kind of driving a full on transformation in the way that we see ourselves and the way the organizations see us and just looking at it from a macro perspective. Yeah, I love that perspective. And, you know, we have for a while now said here and advise our listeners, right, really leaning into understanding the buying and the selling process. And if I paraphrase it, you know, I love your analogy of hitting all the way through the ball, hitting all the way through that process is so key. 



And I would just invite enablement leaders to really think about cross functional integration now, right, lighting up all of those different revenue streams, because the closer you can get to the customer, and what’s happening on that side, that’s ultimately what companies are focused on, especially to your point on a macro condition where we’re headed into a bit of a downturn, people are going to look at the things that are driving success with the customer. 

So RevOps enablement is all about hitting the ball all the way through. I think that’s a great way to look at it. I have a question as well because we were talking earlier and I know you’re a musician and that’s a passion of yours. What we’re talking about is really orchestrating, right? How do you orchestrate all of these pieces throughout the organization to move towards this new version, new form of a navelman? I’d love to hear some of that from you. 



Definitely. I think it’s interesting. A long time ago, I was at a conference on leadership. And one of the sessions that they had was they brought a Philharmonic orchestra to sit amongst the attendees. And we didn’t know that we just walked into the room. And next thing I know, I’m sitting in the middle of the string section. Wow. Right. And they had a conductor come up and start playing. And it was like completely transformative. My heart just kind of grew out of my body listening to this. And what really struck me is that middle way through the song, all of a sudden the conductor left the stage and the orchestra just kept playing. 



Like they didn’t skip a beat. And when the conductor came back, he asked, he said, well, did you notice if anybody got confused, they didn’t know all of a sudden what they needed to do, right? Did any of the players suddenly stop, say, Oh wow, the leader’s not in the room anymore. What am I going to do? Right. With the world that we have today, we have professionals, people that have dedicated their lives to do the job that they do, to play the instrument that they play. And the role of a true conductor is to make sure that everybody’s reading off the same sheet music and that they’ve all practiced it. 



And they all know the motion so that they can walk away. No problem. And people are still going to keep operating where they’re supposed to operate. So if I look at that in the world of, in the terms of revenue enablement, revenue enablement did a lot about are we all reading off the same sheet? Do we all have a similar value framework? Do we all have the same sales market at all? Do we all align on what the processes and standard operating procedures are so that we can take two steps back, but everybody knows what they’re supposed to do. 



And that drives consistency and that drives predictability and that drives efficiency and all those things that we are now needing to do as part of our harder. Wow, that sounds like a brilliant experience and I have to admit I’m envious hearing about it What an incredible opportunity and what a brilliant way to really show what true leadership is really about It sounds like you’ve integrated that into how you need and and really help your organization. Certainly, certainly. 

As we’re talking about music, though, I do have a confession. My wife, so she comes from a similar background to you, their family, incredibly musical. When I first met my wife, I remember the first American Thanksgiving I went to, and it was like the Von Trapp family from Sound and Music sitting around eating turkey. 



And you’re talking with somebody that I love music. I have tried to teach myself the piano. Right hand works, left one does not. And I can clap along reasonably well with people until they do the double clap. And that’s it. Back on cue. So, I would fail miserably at the conductor in the real world of that. So, it’s unfortunately not my thing. Every musician needs someone that can appreciate music sitting next to them, so you still have a job. There’s job security in what you do, Alastair. Yes, and I and they say make a joyful sound. I believe I make a joyful sound maybe not a pleasant sound But there’s lots of joy behind it. 



All of our listeners will say that you make joyful sounds every time you open up your mouth. So you’re making plenty of joyful sounds. So true. Now, I want to double click here as well on something which I believe I saw this at Gartner and I think it’s a really important point, right? This idea that the touch points, the volume of touch points, it’s got a lot more complex, right? If I even think back to even just 10 years ago, right? 

You could get away with four to five touch points, a couple of different channels. There’s easy ways to do it. Today, we’re looking upwards of as high as seven to 12 different channels. We’re talking about multi -touch pieces, both in B2B and B2C. So, how do we take that sales enablement thinking and really help people use the data correctly and orchestrate via function and channel what needs to happen? 



I’m really lighting them up that way. So, I think that’s where a lot of people struggle. They hear us, they go, yeah, I got to hit all these places. But it turns into this volume game where, okay, well, I’ll just send more on this, more on this, more on these distinct channels of digital and phone and email, but they’re not actually thinking through the behavior of what’s happening to the customer as we’re doing that as well. So, I’m still with you and then Howard, I’d love to get your perspective on the behavior piece there as well. I think what you’re highlighting is just an alignment on the customer journey. And are we all aligned on what it needs to look like? And what the golden path is for our customers in the way that they engage with us. 

And a lot of that is empowered and enabled, no pun intended, by so many different functions within the organization. So there is a lot of work that has to be done just coordinating internally, right? And I think of that in the context of kind of four dimensions. There’s people, there’s process, there’s tools, and then there’s data, right? And so if I look at the people, even internal to my organization, so much of our job is change management, right? 



So I’ll ask my team to do a heat map of who they have relationships with across the organization so that we can get a clear alignment on stakeholders. They each own relationships with key stakeholders and they are responsible for aligning and letting folks know what they’re that we’re working on. This off of the premise that true change happens in one -on -one conversations more than in one -to -many, right? For folks that are single person enablement teams in companies, they need to align on like sales advisory councils and have kind of those multiple alignment pieces. 

So that’s like the people piece, but then we also have the process and the tooling. And this is where, you and I were talking about this last week, Alastair, if I think about the great recession, this is a compelling factor right now that is impacting anyone that’s responsible for enabling teams, right? How can we quickly onboard new talent? How can we retain knowledge before people leave and take that knowledge with them, right? So that’s primarily a process and tools conversation. What is the process to capture this? 

What tooling do we have available? So that involves coordination and alignment with the business team, whoever owns the Salesforce, whoever owns any sort of content management, knowledge management, do we have the processes in place? 



All of that funnels into data. Are we measuring what matters? And do we know what the user experience is? Do we know what our internal teams experience is? And when we don’t have visibility into the data, then you’re just putting together a strategy on wishful thinking, right? On hope, and you really can’t build a strategy on hope. 

You know, and Howard, we, of course, speak about this a lot, right? In terms of, you know, our backgrounds and what we do and how you’re building that. So, you know, what I think I hear from Marcela is really this idea that we’re moving from what was traditionally just consumption production data to think about how we’re driving engagement data, right? 



And then really helping people be very effective on the usage because of its impact to behavior, ramp time, all those things, but you know, from a revenue science perspective, you’ve studied the behaviors, you’ve studied how to make that mechanically work from a data perspective. What would you tell an enablement leader today? Yeah. I think Marcela certainly encapsulated it perfectly. The challenge is at the end of this whole thing is human beings, right? So you have processes, you have data, you have the people, and you need to make sure that you’re empowering people in those moments that matter. 


And the moments that matter typically are when they’re actually engaged in conversations with buyers, with their customers. Because we can throw all the data at them that we’d like. We’re not gonna turn salespeople or CS people into data scientists. What their job is, is to be great listeners, great problem solvers, inquisitive helpers. Those are the qualities that we’re trying to hire for. And those are the qualities that we see top organizations are able to not only find those type of people, but really nurture those people and retain those people. 

And in order to do that, we have to provide them the tooling and the processes that will make them phenomenal in those moments that matter. Because it’s a lot of pre -call stuff, it’s a lot of pre -meeting stuff, it’s game tape that you’re analyzing after the fact, but what are we doing to really support them when they’re engaged in one -on -one conversations when it truly matters? 



And organizations that are focused on those conversations, those one-on-one, as Marcello was talking about, when things happen when people meet one-on-one, and how do we empower people to perform better? You see information out there about more, more, more. Well, the more is hopefully to lead to a conversation, a communication, a connection. That’s where we need to focus our time, energy, and money to make sure that that moment is best handled. 

I love it. And I want to pose a final thought here before we wrap up today. And folks, we’re going to do a two-part here as well. So we’ll set the stage for next week. But we used a couple great analogies here today, right? 



And so I love this idea of the orchestra, the conductor, because that’s what enablement is to me. That’s where it’s headed. The conductor of how we engage and how we create those critical moments with our audiences. But as we just said, there’s a lot of noise. And we won’t get too much into Stripe specifically, but in companies like Stripe, there’s going to be all kinds of things hitting us over the head that actually make that hard. 

There’s going to be data coming from web and mobile analytics. There’s going to be product analytics coming at us. There’s going to be digital experience analytics hitting us left, right and center. There’s going to be a digital onboarding and adoption and experimentation. 



And then there’s going to be all of the traditional training coaching. And then there’s going to be the sales tech stack, the CRM stack. Like the list is endless these days. And I propose to you both that it is technical debt, which has always been, and when we build products, something that we have had to deal with, but in go to market, we have not. 



We have gone through a decade of just buying, frankly, for the sake of buying. So Marcela, what I’d love to explore is what your quick thought on that. And in part two, we’ll dive into how do we actually bring that together in a more simplified way? And what do we need to get rid of to actually make enablement more successful? 

I love, I love what you asked the questions, what do we need to get rid of? And we have in our tech stack resources that apply to enablement eight years ago, seven, six, even five years ago, enablement was a different function than it is today, right? 



So if your tech stack is not giving you visibility at scale into what behavior the reps have in the field with the users, it is less useful to you today than it ever was, right? If you have a tech stack that’s primarily focused on distribution and pushing information out as quickly as possible, as long as it’s tracking what information is actually useful, great. 

If it’s not tracking that, it’s not really the solution that you would potentially need as you’re evolving into a future state. That’s my quick reaction. 



I love it. Howard, any final reactions for you or you want to take us home for next week? I’m super excited about next week’s episode and I want to get underneath. How do you actually get rid of tools? Because tools typically come with people who Love those tools. They’re their tools. How do you separate them from the tools? 



So I can’t wait for our next episode Great. Well, listen, thank you both for today. For those listening in, like, subscribe, as always, add your comments, and we will see you on part two, where we’re going to answer the critical questions of what to get rid of and how. Well, thank you for having me. This was so much fun. Thanks so much.