Hi. We're Rekener.
Thanks for stopping by. We’re helping people and companies succeed in the BizOps era.
We founded this business to solve a problem. A pretty big problem. More like a set of problems that make untangling glue-covered knots while trapped underwater with one arm tied behind your back look like something you’d actually look forward to.
The essential part of the problem is that it’s really, really hard for most companies to translate board- or executive-defined goals like “Reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC) by X%” or “Improve customer lifetime value (LTV)” by Y%” into team-level objectives and individual actions. In his book, Cracking the Sales Management Code: The Secrets to Measuring and Managing Sales Performance, Jason Jordan identifies the challenge in driving toward top-down goals like this when there’s a real disconnect between bottom up management of sales teams. In our own experience as company founders, marketing and sales executives, and business operations (BizOps) professionals, we’ve experienced these issues first hand.
When in doubt, look at the data, right? Not necessarily. Every platform, app, solution and tool at our disposal generates data, but we’re still struggling with the challenge Jason Jordan identifies. Take a moment to count the number of business systems you’re using to manage daily actions, projects, account activities, workflows and more. Over 5 yet? Impressive. More than 10? Yikes!
We’re swimming—some might say drowning—in oceans of data that illustrate how and when we’re marketing, selling, servicing, supporting, billing and renewing to prospects and customers, but it remains a real struggle to align our day-to-day and quarter-to-quarter marketing, sales and customer success activities to reduce the company’s CAC and improve overall LTV. And while most businesses take considerable time to set individual, team and department-level KPIs every year, inertia rules: traditionally-defined department boundaries remain the same, workflows are tweaked but rarely replaced, and silos of information, process and responsibility remain largely unchanged. We reward incremental improvement and resist wholesale change. We’re only human.
Rekener aims to make a major impact here. Not on our own, but by collaborating with and learning from smart people like you—BizOps folks responsible for marketing ops, sales ops, financial analysis and customer data analysis. The more we listen to you and your challenges, the more we think you might enjoy being part of a community of smart, like-minded, Biz-Ops-y people. Building an online gathering place, fostering connection and engagement both online and IRL for this community is our first order of business. In the BizOps Era, we’re going to need to rely on the ideas and shared experiences of our colleagues to find our way forward.
Back to the knotty glue-covered underwater data problem. How did we find ourselves here? Here’s our take.
Over the past 20 years, powerful new software products have been introduced that have driven massive improvements and contributed to significant cost reduction in how we market to prospects (marketing automation), how we convert leads to closed accounts and manage customer relationships (sales CRM), how we support and service customers (help desk & customer success) and even how we manage financial transactions (ecommerce, billing).
The BizOps Pipeline
These tools are outstanding at improving department-level and even individual productivity all along the BizOps Pipeline, as illustrated below. They make it possible to capture, measure and track data to retool campaigns, simplify customer communication, streamline support processes and improve financial workflows. Some of us have changed the way we do business because of what they enable us to do.
We couldn’t agree more. The BizOps Pipeline has improved life as we know it for marketing, sales, customer success and financial professionals at businesses around the world. That’s not just our perspective. The smart people at Usermind coined the term “BizOps era” in early 2016 to characterize a moment of dynamic transformation, where BizOps pros are driving change by supporting business objectives through innovation, agility and automation.
Are We There Yet?
But while so many tools along the BizOps pipeline in this BizOps era address strategic needs within the individual departments for which they were designed, they still don’t lend themselves to answering strategic questions like those posed by David Skok in his memorable SaaS Metrics 2.0 blog post:
- Is my business financially viable?
- What is working well, and what needs to be improved?
- What levers should management focus on to drive the business?
- Should the CEO hit the accelerator, or the brakes?
- What is the impact on cash and profit/loss of hitting the accelerator?
Don’t get us wrong. It’s an absolute game changer to know which campaign is outperforming the rest, or to track how well your MQLs convert to SQLs, or to identify smart ways to reduce calls to customer service. But it’s also easy to get caught up in thinking that managing these and other aspects on a department or team level will help you answer the questions above, or otherwise move the company in the right direction. And while some members of the leadership team do and should care about things like campaign performance and MQL to SQL conversion, the reality is that their own personal KPIs have more to do with the questions posed by Mr. Skok.
In the BizOps era, companies have a choice. Keep doing the same thing and hope for the best, or get the answers you need and win. Through fostering community among those people responsible for aligning business process and financial outcomes, and eventually by offering apps that help companies get more from existing data, we at Rekener are committed to helping people and companies succeed in the BizOps era.
Who or What is a BizOps Hacker?
BizOps has been defined by a number of people over the years. We like to think of it as the intersection between process and performance. The people who make BizOps happen are known by a variety of titles, including:
- Manager, Sales Ops & Enablement
- Marketing Specialist, Data & Analytics
- Marketing Operations Leader
- Sales Ops Analyst
- Sr. Manager. Sales Operations Systems
- Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis
These titles reflect an interesting mix of skills and abilities. And while their job descriptions may be as formal as their job titles, we at Rekener think of all of them as BizOps Hacker. These are the unsung heroes who connect the needs of the business with the processes that deliver results. A BizOps Hacker is someone who geeks out over solving business problems by integrating what they know about how the business operates with their innate analytic capabilities. BizOps Hackers don’t just generate reports, they know the business well enough to realize that existing reports don’t provide the answers needed by the business.
We’ve added the word “hacker’ to their name because it represents the metaphorical stapling, taping, rubber banding and stringing they’ve needed to do to pull reluctant data out of arcane business systems. Or manually generate a new monthly dashboard for the CEO by cobbling together data from multiple tools, converting it to Excel, and making it readable in Tableau. Some BizOps Hackers live in SQL all day, tricking databases designed for other purposes to give up their secrets. They hack because they have to. And sometimes because it’s fun.
Let’s Get Together, People!
We BizOps Hackers need love. We need a community of people to turn to when we have questions, or figure out cool new hacks, or just need a sounding board when we’re stuck. To paraphrase Pat Hong of Linkdex, the three pillars that define a thriving community are feedback, advocacy and support. We agree, Pat, and think that a BizOps Hacker community should exist online and in real life that delivers on those three elements.
It’s a lot easier to untangle an underwater glue-covered knot with the help of a friend. Will you join us? Share your biggest headaches and triumphs for the benefit of the thousands of super smart but long suffering BizOps Hackers out there. With your involvement, there’s no end to what we can do together.
What do you think?
- Attend one of our meetups.
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Steph served as Rekener’s Community Manager and CMO. A Rekener co-founder, she was previously Senior Director of Marketing at CCC, a $300M+ recurring revenue business, and served in marketing leadership roles at Vertical, @stake, Informio, DotContent and Meridian. Her first recurring revenue role was as an inside sales rep selling real-time stock pricing subscriptions.
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