Today, Victoria Harkes joins host Islin Munisteri for a conversation about having a single revenue team across marketing, sales, and customer success and being aligned in a single goal. The conversation also talks about being present in the moment, and not always planning your next career move. We talk about being content in your current role.
Victoria Harkes graduated from the University of Waterloo in Arts and Business with a major in psychology. Over her five-year career, she has served as a marketing associate at Virtual Causeway, a commercial business development representative at Vidyard, and is currently marketing manager at SchoolBundle, a K-12 communications platform.
Connect with our guest, Victoria Harkes, on LinkedIn.
[00:00:20] Islin Munisteri: Hi, this is Islin and your host of the Rev Ops Careers podcast.
[00:00:23] And I'm so excited to have Victoria with us, today.
[00:00:28] Victoria Harkes: Hi, Islin, glad to be here.
[00:00:30] Awesome. Victoria, Harkess graduated from the University of Waterloo in arts and business with a major in psychology over her five-year career. She has served as a marketing associate at Virtual Causeway commercial business development rep at Vidyard, and is currently marketing manager at School Bundle, a K through 12 communications platform.
Career and RevOps Journey
[00:00:50] Welcome to the show. It's awesome. So let's launch into this. How did you start your career and rev ops journey?
[00:01:01] Victoria Harkes: Yeah. So when I graduated, I first started working actually for the university on a contract position. And I think in a way it was my first taste of rev ops because I automated myself out of that job because it was a contract position.
[00:01:14] So I cleaned up their processes and the workflows so much that job didn't need a person to do it anymore so better and for worse, but it was, it led me into that marketing associate role over Virtual Causeway. Was a blend of sales and marketing. I was doing a lot of cold outreach, but also helping do things like, campaigns, landing pages and things like that.
[00:01:37] From there I wanted to try sales. I thought, let's give this career path a shot. It's not something I've done fully before. And I went to Vid yard as the, as a sales rep, BDR. It was a great learning experience. It was not the career path for me in any way, shape or form. Definitely not the right fit, but it was a fantastic place to learn and move mentor SaaS as a whole and understand tech space.
[00:02:01] And it led me into my current role as marketing manager to School Bundle. And my current role. Really, while it's labeled marketing manager really covers a wide range of responsibilities from marketing operations, sales, operations, customer success, operations, rev ops as a whole enablement for all of those teams.
[00:02:20] And then all of our marketing materials as well and marketing strategy and content creation and anything that doesn't fall under somebody else's role. I probably have that in some way.
[00:02:31] Islin Munisteri: Oh wow. That's so exciting. Dang. So what did you learn from your, the BDR experience at Vidyard? It was just too repetitious or what was going
[00:02:41] Victoria Harkes: Definitely a big part of it for me. I felt like I'm a very sociable person and it's a funny role. I find in sales where it is sound tasting, requires somebody who works well with people and can be social, but is also okay. Working a lot of the time on their own. And not talking with people, especially as a BDR, it's often calling out to the void and hoping that people listen.
[00:03:03] And what you're saying is good enough that they will talk back. So there's a lot of time on my own, which I didn't love. And the repetitive nature definitely was not my favorite thing in the world. I love that about my current role, where I get to really bounce around to a lot of different responsibilities, a lot of different opportunities to learn new things, try out different departments and different styles of work and just always new things happening. So I've never bored.
Biggest Learning Experience
[00:03:29] Islin Munisteri: That's great. And I guess speaking of new things, what was the biggest thing you've. I wouldn't say fail that, but your biggest learning, learning experience?.
[00:03:39] Victoria Harkes: Oh, no, it was definitely that it was absolutely that job.
[00:03:42] I got fired for that role because I did not perform as a salesperson. And no shame on that. Like I. It was like a coming down to, I was either leaving or being, let go, like in that week basically. Because I wanted so hard to be good at sales and I wanted so hard to want to be good at it and enjoy it.
[00:04:01] And I found I neither enjoyed it nor wanted to, so it was a fantastic learning experience. I think that I wouldn't trade it, even though it was a really stressful time. I wouldn't have traded it for anything because I learned so much about being there, both from the company and my coworkers, but also just being in sales.
[00:04:19] I think it's made me a significantly better marketer than I could've possibly been otherwise. And really helped me when it comes to the rev ops functions within my current company, that didn't exist. Before I started here, I had a much clearer picture of how to put that all together and help ensure that the different teams would work together smoothly and not have the same silo issues that I'd seen at other places.
[00:04:45] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. How did you break down the silos or how did you like not have the silos in the first place?
[00:04:51] Victoria Harkes: Yeah, so partially I think it was a handy thing. The way that I started prior to joining this company, they did not have anyone in marketing period. There was no marketing team or department. Everything was done.
[00:05:02] Word of mouth referrals and our salesperson. Since joining the way that I really built marketing was I worked backwards. So rather than focusing on, okay. I'm starting marketing, I'm going to build a lead generation engine and work on demand gen and all the like top of funnel pieces I really looked at, okay, we've got a sales guy and he's got a process and how's he working with that?
[00:05:24] What are they currently doing? What content can I create? What pieces can I add? What software and tech can I give him that will support him and work my way backwards for. So I really looked at things from that angle and I take that a step further now where we're building out our customer success a lot more in depth, we have person that deals with that, but it's a lot more of a cross-functional role right now where they are both the support and implementation and training.
[00:05:50] And they're doing a lot of different things. So I'm building out that process now where customer success is going to have more of its own standalone team and processes that deal just with supporting our customer. But the same sort of thing would hold true. If that team happened to have existed.
[00:06:06] When I started is I would have started with them and then worked backwards the other way. But basically building content and building our processes from customer success and customer retention from the bottom of the funnel or the flywheel as you will upwards towards that top funnel, as people are entering that circle.
[00:06:23] So by doing it that way, I really ensured that everything stays. The same process that we wasn't like, okay, here's this team is that team and everyone's got their own KPIs and our metrics and it doesn't matter. It's, we're all accountable to revenue at the end of the day, let's build and support each other to do that, ensure that we all have the things that we need to make that happen.
Single Revenue Team
[00:06:44] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. So it's really about having a single revenue team versus everyone having different KPIs.
[00:06:52] Victoria Harkes: Exactly.
[00:06:52] And that's the main factor is, you can have individual KPIs for the team, of course, for each person or each role or each team, but you still need ones that are wider ranging that everyone is accountable and held to.
[00:07:05] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. And what's what's an example of those KPIs that everyone is held to.
[00:07:09] Victoria Harkes: Yeah. One of the ones we use is a pure revenue number. We have a pure revenue goal number that as a company, we are. Helped you as our goal for the year, we need to generate this much revenue this year. And then we break that down based on how much should be coming from marketing and how much should be coming directly from just sales and the different channels that we all use, how much should come from upsell from customer success.
[00:07:32] And we break it out that way. But still looking at it as a whole, that we're all working together to reach that number. And it doesn't necessarily matter is slightly where that number is coming from when we're working together to reach it. So sales might be supporting customer success and versa today during all that handoff is smoother.
[00:07:50] We're not gonna suffer from churner people leaving because that's a part of that same revenue goals that, if we lose people, it takes away from that. So it's all part of the same process that everyone's held accountable.
[00:08:02] Islin Munisteri: Wow. That's good. I, you don't hear a lot of teams that are aligned on a single goal like that.
[00:08:10] That's awesome.
[00:08:11] Victoria Harkes: And I think it's the power of revenue operations. And just focusing on that in general and revenue, where it's that I want to see revenue operations grow that step further, where it's just it's revenue. It's go to market it's whatever you want to call it. But the three teams are one.
[00:08:27] Rather than three distinct groups within an organization.
[00:08:35] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. And you don't necessarily want that because they're not aligned. So that was great that you started creating content for sales at the beginning, instead of going off on your own. Like I see a lot of marketing teams do and they just do demand gen or they just start doing events or whatever it may be.
[00:08:55] So I guess after you created content for the sales side. What was your next step?
[00:09:02] Victoria Harkes: Yeah. So say my next step was then to look at okay, historically what outreach has worked well there wasn't much, there's like a two to three times a year email that got sent out and they had done.
[00:09:18] Conferences, but not for a few years. So looking, just okay, like what has ever worked, where do the people that we're trying to reach out to live? And one of the big factors for us when I started, as we really focused on a different persona as our torture. So because we're a communications platform, we were typically targeting both marketers at school and school boards, but also it people.
[00:09:45] And we really transitioned away from that over my time here, because I really went, I T people don't have the pain that we're solving. They see us as a big work project. We are work for them for the most part. Some definitely see the value and that's fantastic, but a lot of them it's oh, This will help our communications team to support them, but for us it's work.
[00:10:02] So it's a hard sell versus marketers who have that direct pain and really understand the value that our platform would give to them. So we transitioned to focusing on marketers as our core group for who we wanted to talk to, who you want to sell to and then creating the content that they need. Yes, we didn't have any of that.
[00:10:22] So we started, getting our blog. We started doing more regular emails. We started doing a lot of different campaigns targeted at marketers and communications professionals at school boards can stat and we've seen a lot more success, a lot more response going that route.
[00:10:38] Islin Munisteri: Wow. That's exciting.
[00:10:40] Yay. It's only coming. So do you actually see customers being generated from your marketing activities, like MQLs becoming SQLs?
[00:10:50] Victoria Harkes: And oh yeah, absolutely. Definitely a combination. Like we get some nice stuff coming inbound on our website based on people interacting with our email campaigns.
[00:11:00] Email is probably our strongest individual channel. But our biggest, like one-off anything is the participate in a couple of conferences. And definitely that face to face, you can have that conversation and really understand the pain that person is having has been really successful for us.
[00:11:19] So that's been a great part of our marketing success.
Deep Dive into Conferences for creating Leads
[00:11:23] Islin Munisteri: Great. Cause I've heard mixed success with conferences,
[00:11:26] Victoria Harkes: it really depends on the industry. And I would say it very much depends on the conference cause we've gone to a couple of different ones and tried out a few different ones as the one we've had the most success with is the one that is for communicators and education.
[00:11:37] So that's the conference. We focus our time and energy on. We also focused on how, what our sponsorship of that conference and attendance would look like. Cause we didn't want to be a trade show booth. Cause I, those they don't feel like they're super valuable most of the time once in a while, but for the most part, they're people ignore them and they just see them as a necessary evil in order to attend the conference that they actually want and see the stuff they actually are interested.
[00:12:01] But what we did is we focused on how can we, associate ourselves with positivity, with success and be involved in a good conversation with our clients there. So we sponsored their awards. The last day of the conference, everyone's, riding the high of the front of the weekend, it happening.
[00:12:18] And then, they have this big award ceremony to celebrate the amazing work that all of the communicators in education have been doing over the course of the year. And then we sponsored that. An award ceremony. So that's the route we took and found. It was a lot more impactful compared to just having a booth at a conference.
[00:12:36] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. Yeah. Cause, cause I've heard like from our own marketing strategists, it's yeah, going to conferences doesn't really work, but I guess it's really like which part of the conference you're using. Are you sponsoring an event? Are you having a speaker? Engagement at the event or just a trade show booth.
single Source of truth in your tech stack
[00:12:54] That's great. And because we're on rev ops careers, I love to talk tech. So what's your single source of truth in your tech stack?
[00:13:03] Victoria Harkes: I would say for us it's Salesforce, we treat that as your CRM and then the other tools that we use HubSpot and Zendesk. Sync back to that one as our single point, but each one is used.
[00:13:15] This was an unfortunate fact, but like each one was the best tool for the team where we have Salesforce for sales, HubSpot, for marketing, and Zendesk for customer success, I would have loved to do all one, but if they just, the thing that team most needed was better found in each of those.
[00:13:29] But the single source where we make sure everything syncs back to is definitely Salesforce, because it's got the most robust reporting factor and that was sales needed. So it just has the most flexibility when it comes to containing the data for.
[00:13:44] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. That's interesting. Cause some folks have another data layer on top of all of their systems like Looker or Microsoft BI or something like that.
if you died tomorrow....
[00:13:54] So that's good. That's good to know. And I guess if you died tomorrow, what do you hope people would say about you and how you impacted them?
[00:14:02] Victoria Harkes: I think I hope people said, like she was always willing to help somebody out no matter what. Because that's really the kind of philosophy I take is that no matter what the project is or the person, whatever.
[00:14:13] Additional help or work is needed. I like to take that on and then support others. But also for myself, I get to do so many different things by doing that and try different things and explore different areas that I wouldn't otherwise get the chance to. Like right now I'm working on helping out with some trademarking stuff.
[00:14:31] That's something I would not have been exposed to otherwise or helping do hiring, which, I might not have gotten the chance to do the same way. I might've just been needing doing, interviewing, but instead I get to be more involved in that process. And being able to do that way by taking on those different kinds of both projects from a professional standpoint, but also in my personal life where, if anybody ever needs anything, they know they can come to me and I'll find a way to help them get it done.
[00:14:53] That's the thing I would like, someone's giving my eulogy that they, Victoria, she always helped. That's what I'd want to hear.
Humanizing the interview process
[00:15:00] Islin Munisteri: That's awesome to hear. And I guess as far as the interviewing process, like what else do you guys do besides like interview and do scorecards, is there more of a process?
[00:15:11] Victoria Harkes: There can be definitely. So for me, like I developed and built out like our landing page for the company. I deal with actually like writing up the job descriptions and, I like to. Through a bias checker if it's, skewed from a gender perspective and things like that. I've got to do that as well as doing some of the screening processes like phone calls, screens, actual interviews calls.
[00:15:36] And then, yeah, I was in like scorecard I don't like to use scorecards per se. I more take notes as people answer questions and then give them an overall do they move on or not? Like I ranked them that way, a thing. But that's just my interview process.
[00:15:49] Gotcha. But yeah, all those different little pieces that go into that screening, just the resumes, which sometimes can take a lot of time when you get a couple hundred, you had to read through all of them. And that's a lot because we don't use an automated system. Keen on that concept. I like being able to use my own eyes to decide if someone might have the skills, even if they don't have the keywords on their resume.
[00:16:12] Islin Munisteri: That's awesome. That is wow. You really humanized the process. That's the idea.
[00:16:20] Cause I know that oh gosh, like what does ATS programs like? They screen out really well. qualified people that you're like, but they're hireable.
[00:16:31] Victoria Harkes: Exactly. And it, it penalizes people for having non-traditional careers.
[00:16:36] And I really dislike that because I think there's a lot of people that, might have gaps on their resume or have worked in different areas that it doesn't have anything to do with whether or not you'd be good at the role we're hiring for. And in fact could be a sign that you might be an even better fit than someone who might have that don't experience.
Best piece of career advice
[00:16:53] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. That's good. And I guess what is your best piece of career advice you would tell your younger self?
[00:17:01] Victoria Harkes: I think that's a hard one, cause honestly I'm quite happy where I've gotten to. So it's not like I would go back and tell myself like, Ooh, try this or do that. Or I think I would just be like, Take every opportunity for what it is get everything out of it that you can, but also realize like you don't necessarily have to always be.
[00:17:19] Trying to get to that next thing, you can enjoy what you're currently doing and what you're getting out of it without having to be solely focused on, okay, what's the next step? What's the next goal? Where's the next place. And never feeling quite satisfied with what you've achieved.
[00:17:34] Islin Munisteri: Gotcha. So being present in the moment of what you're doing.
[00:17:38] That's awesome. Yeah that's that takes quite a bit of practice. I find in my own career and my myself is to be present in the moment and not be looking towards the next meeting or not be thinking about that email. Wow. You're meeting with someone.
[00:17:55] Victoria Harkes: Yeah, absolutely. That and Hey, you do actually have the skills you need to do your job.
[00:18:00] The imposter syndrome is real. It is very hard. Especially in my role, given the IMF. Solo marketer in a company that didn't have marketing before. So I don't have that same senior. I can turn some and be like, am I doing my job right? Is this good? Good. I do good external validation. I has to come.
[00:18:24] Everything has to come from me. I know my CEO loves the work that I do, You have to be like, but put a marker. Love what I do would a fellow marketer think that I'm doing a good job or fellow rev ops professionals think that like my processes are good. So you know, having to separate out that concept of, whether or not someone else would think it's good, if it works for us, then it's good.
[00:18:45] And also that yeah, probably someone else would think it's good because it works and because it works, it's probably solid.
support from leadership is key for implementing process
[00:18:51] Islin Munisteri: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. You just have to make it start working in the beginning. And then you can iterate on it. It's just getting that, that initial process out. And I guess the last thing, is there anything that we haven't covered or is there something that you want to say about School Bundle?
[00:19:07] Victoria Harkes: I think one of the things that it came to me while we were talking a little bit earlier, is that meaning factor.
[00:19:14] In the success with our implementation and ensuring that like our whole team runs as one team rather than separate pieces has been support from leadership. Not every person in my role would be given that same freedom from their senior leadership where, I said Hey. We to focus on writing the sales, the support they need before we start trying to host all these webinars and put out blogs and things like that, we can just start here and work backwards.
[00:19:43] Not everyone gets that same support and would be able to do that. So I think it's really important to have that buy-in from the top down to allow for those kinds of changes and processes to actually have. And succeed. So why don't you just shut it on that side for my CEO, because he's awesome.
[00:20:02] And definitely we wouldn't have half a smoother process without his support to ensure we actually do that. And just trust in the process that like, it doesn't happen overnight, but it does work as long as you give it time to get through all the different pieces. So that, that was definitely what they wanted to mention there.
[00:20:19] And the other pieces that, you know I think rev ops as a whole, I'm very excited about it as a field that it's really starting to be in a lot of traction and a lot more people are getting engaged with it, recognizing the value and importance. And I'm very hopeful. And certainly with my company and anywhere I tend to ever work as well, that, I want it to continue to evolve.
[00:20:39] And I really do see that evolution is going into beyond operations that going into revenue as a whole, and team to team and leadership down to the individual contributor, making it that one team where real different responsibilities, which we all do now, anyways, if the marketing team or sales team you've got your BDR, so you're a content marketer, social media marketer, you have different roles, things as is.
[00:21:04] But really making them one team that are accountable to each other and at the end of the day, accountable to revenue and the growth of the company, rather than, MQLs or closed deals that churn, or, as it goes through like different teams, having things that aren't related to each other, or can be detrimental to each other, not happening as much because they're all accountable to one another.
[00:21:24] Islin Munisteri: Wow. That's great. I love your, I love your philosophy of having a single revenue team for marketing, sales, and customer success. Yeah, it's amazing. I think that's a wrap today. We've covered a lot and I hope that more folks will think of their revenue teams as a single team and have that support from upper leadership.
[00:21:45] Victoria Harkes: Me too.
[00:21:45] Islin Munisteri: Thank you, Victoria.
[00:21:47] Victoria Harkes: Thank you, Islin, I was fantastic speaking with you today.