Will Rus Has an Appetite for Sales Operations
Stephanie Fox: Toast is growing rapidly as a provider of point-of-sales and related services to restaurants. How is Toast deploying account-based techniques to support that growth?
Will Rus: Toast sells to a range of restaurant businesses, all the way from large enterprise restaurant businesses that run familiar brand-name chains down to small chains and even mom-and-pop pizza shops. In the enterprise space, we’re dealing with people in office buildings managing dozens of locations, not the people at the physical restaurant location, so that makes the enterprise sale look a lot different than a SMB sale. The business development reps focused on the enterprise space have been using an account-based selling approach for some time now even though we weren’t calling it “account-based sales.” My sense is that many SaaS organizations are using account-based sales approaches without necessarily giving it that name. In 2017, we’ve begun a series of account-based effort in our Marketing group with a focus on enterprise accounts with 50 or more locations. The marketing team is creating content and programs to help the enterprise reps contact and engage with the CEO, CFO and floor manager, each of whom has a different set of needs and expectations from our products. Account-based marketing is going to be much more of a mindful approach to targeting multiple points of contact with content and being able to demonstrate the product’s value to that contact.
SF: Your point about how many organizations are using account-based approaches without realizing it is both interesting and timely. There are a lot of blog posts out there around “What is account-based about? Is it about a product? A customer? The department that’s initiating it?” What’s your perspective on this, Will?
WR: I think that the individual relationship with an individual contact is just one piece of the bigger account-based story. If it’s a larger account and you’re trying to expand the number of relationships beyond that one person, how you interact with that person is probably going to be different from another person in the organization and you might try to pitch the product or you might try to address different business issues than you would with someone else.
SF: What impact does adding an account-based marketing strategy have on Toast’s headcount? Have you added any staff?
WR: We added this to the responsibilities of an existing marketing team member, but are also planning to hire another person. For other companies, that person might be on a different team altogether. We’re exploring account-based marketing at this stage, so no changes just yet to the BizOps staff. At some point we may need to designate an owner because presumably this could have a pretty significant impact on our systems. Managing that change properly is important.
SF: What kind of challenges should BizOps professionals embarking on account-based strategies expect to face as it relates to reporting?
WR: One challenge I think many companies might face is defining meanings for a certain set of things. For example, if you asked everyone in the company what an account in Salesforce represents, are they going to say the same thing? Another challenge is getting to a point where processes are so simple and so self-explanatory for everyone that you don’t really need documentation or even sales training. It’s not always possible to operate that way, but it’s kind of a cool goal that we like to keep in mind when rolling out something new as it challenges us to always think about how things could be better. In BizOps, you frequently play the role of an interpreter — what if you could front-load that effort and not need to play that role anymore?
SF: That’s ambitious! What’s your best piece of advice for a BizOps professional charged with creating his or her company’s strategy for becoming an account-based organization?
WR: Define what you can and do that early, so that no matter what changes, everyone always knows that this number or tag or filter means this, and you don’t have to check with anybody. Then find that balance of good communication to keep everyone on the same page without drowning them with noise. And assume that if there is a preferable side of the spectrum to be on, over-communicating is probably better.
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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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