Exploring Business Operations with Elisa Signoretti
On this episode of the Crommunity Podcast, I sit down with Elisa Signoretti. Elisa has an impressive breadth and depth of experience in a number of operations-related roles—with so much of the marketing discussion in recent years dominated by operations, and with the seemingly sudden arrival of “revenue operations” as a popular term, I wanted to hear what she has to say.
With so much of the marketing discussion in recent years dominated by operations, and with the seemingly sudden arrival of “revenue operations” as a popular term, I wanted to hear what Elisa has to say.
Elisa joined Sandvine’s Sales Operations team in 2007 and went on to become the team’s manager. At the time, Sandvine was a publicly traded company with operations and activity around the globe, and Elisa’s team played an important part in supporting our increased obligations.
After Sandvine, she joined D2L; once again, this role was in an operations capacity, but also included marketing operations.
Next, Elisa joined Clearpath as a Sales Operations Analyst, before being promoted to Chief of Staff to the CEO. While we don’t get into any specifics in the episode, Elisa’s perspective on business operations grew significantly in this role, due to the cross-functional nature of her responsibilities.
Most recently, Elisa worked at Virtek as Director, Technical Services, and was responsible for the delivery and growth of all service revenue.
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My thanks to Elisa for taking the time to share her experiences and insights!
Here’s your handy topic-and-timing guide:
(fun fact: we recorded this episode in the Hefner Studio at the Kitchener Public Library, and not thirty seconds after we began someone entered the adjacent music studio (separated by a pane of glass) and started playing around with the drums…so you’ll hear some very random drumbeats in the background)
- [1:50] In a Crommunity Podcast first, Elisa opens by reading a quotation; in this case, it’s about the importance of simplifying operating models and comes from the HBR book Time, Talent, Energy: “Do less, do it better, do it only once, and do it in the right place.”
- For the next few minutes, Elisa quickly explores her early career, and how her roles evolved from tactical, task-oriented to more broad and strategic
- [7:15] The unique insights which come from sales, marketing, business operations, revenue operations, and services; how sales operations can be a connector; how services in particular can provide vital intelligence which helps refine product-market fit; how to use the feedback loop to improve sales operations and the customer’s experience buying from you
“The services side really has a unique and kind of raw feedback experience from customers.”
- [14:43] The importance narrowing in on customer fit, informed by real-world feedback (again, from the externally facing groups), to optimize your returns; and why focus is critical (you can’t do everything and you shouldn’t try!)
“You’ve got to focus. You’ve got to pick: where do you target, and where do you become experts? And then expand and grow from there.”
- [18:37] A repeatable operational model: Elisa explains that the core deliverable for her, upon starting a new role and regardless of specific title or seniority, is to quickly develop an understanding of strategy, structure (people, accountabilities, and governance), and near-term goals
- [24:40] Why simpler is better for corporate strategy and value proposition; getting where you want to go means you first need to understand where you are now; clear objectives inform strategies and tactics, and enable focus
- [33:45] The importance of concentrating your efforts on fewer things, and to do those fewer things better: “That focus allows quality over quantity.”
- [37:00] Knowledge vs assumptions, validation vs invalidation, facts and trends, and making connections
“What are we assuming, as a business, versus what do know empirically? And what additional questions can we ask, to gain clarity?”
- [46:55] The potential for a fruitful partnership between revenue operations and marketing
- [52:46] With operational work and strategic work, you’re never done…so it’s crucial you focus your efforts: “Have we identified the real reasons for the gaps that we have? And are we prioritizing the right activities to achieve the growth goals?”
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Header/Featured photo credit: Elisa Signoretti and Matt Botsford