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RevOps and Tools with Michael Couch of Couch and Associates

Patrick Campbell Mar 17 2020

In the final episode of Season one of RevOps and Hops, Mike Couch, of Couch and Associates joins us to evaluate using SaaS tools around RevOps.

You can listen to episodes of RevOps and Hops on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. There's also a full video version below so you can pick and choose your own journey. 



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Key takeaways

    • You need to find the right number of SaaS tools in the context of helping your customers
    • Find the tool that fits the solution you are seeking, not the ego of the person buying it
    • It’s ok to overspend, as long as people are using the tool correctly and it benefits the customer,
    • People do things differently, but getting their buy-in and understanding their perspective will lead to better alignment and communication.


Beer breakdown

In an effort to keep the episode on brand we decided to use our senses which in essence, are our “tools” to evaluate the beer. We’re back at Ranger Creek Brewing in San Antonio so we’re cracking open a cold Love Struck Hefe to learn how you truly examine a beer before you drink it.

Step 1 - Look at the beer. Raise your glass to the light and examine if it’s clear or cloudy. In this case, with a Hefeweizen, we’re drinking a cloudy beer made primarily from wheat. The word Hefeweizen translates to yeast-wheat, the two primary components of the beer. Wheat contains more protein than barley, leading to that cloudy hue. 

Step 2 - Use your nose. Michael takes the lead on this one. He likes to take two “whiffs,” the first a short inhalation somewhat like a palate cleanse. The second a longer intake of breath with his nose hovering just inside the glass. The first time you smell a beer you’re hit right in the face with the most pronounced smells, when you return for a second time you will pick up more of the nuances like florals, wheat, and even citrus. 

Step 3 - Use your tastebuds. As the beer enters your mouth it lands on the many thousand taste buds that cover your tongue. Different taste buds correlate with different flavors, so different aspects of the beer will stimulate different parts of your tongue.

Step 4 - Mouth-view. This is a strange concept but Michael says it sets the good beers aside from the great beers. The question you have to ask is whether it tastes wet or it tastes dry? It’s a weird concept to think about but when we take the Love Struck Hefe into consideration, it has a slightly dry taste due to the carbonation level and the lack of sugar that has been fermented out during the brewing process. 


Mike Couch and Couch Associates

Mike Couch is a managing partner and CEO of Couch and Associates, a marketing and technology consultancy firm that works with organizations to help make sure they have the right tech aligned with their strategy in order to maximize their customer experience. 

So, what is RevOps to Mike? “I really think RevOps is the back end or back office of customer experience,” he says.


Why systems are so important right now

Systems have always been important, but in the world of the cloud we need to understand why systems are more important than ever. Mike believes the customers are the driving force. They’re not doing anything different than in the past, but they have more options.

He uses a social media platform as an example: The customer has been using this platform for a certain amount of time, but they soon realize that it’s become very commercialized and full of advertisements—they’re not going to stay with that platform. People are moving very quickly between platforms and mediums. And due to this constant movement, systems have become much more relevant because you need a system or tool to access those people in those networks. Organizations want to know why the customer is deciding to make that move, and they need a system in place to communicate with said customer. Mike says, “Organizations need to be constantly adapting because the customer can easily move from one thing to another.”

Organizations need to have tools and systems to address the needs of the customers, especially if they’re moving as quickly as they are today. This could not be more pertinent to sales and marketing, and of course customer success. For example, Mike says he doesn’t want to call Verizon anymore if he has a problem, he wants to tweet at them. And now Verizon needs to be active on twitter and put a system in place, so they can interact with the customer in that space. 


Do businesses have too many SaaS tools?

This is a question that always comes up because the B2B SaaS space is crowded and there is a tool for almost everything, so the obvious answer would be yes, but that’s not what Mike thinks.

He believes that most companies have “neither too many or too few.” It’s a middle-ground approach, but what he really hits on is the “trophy effect” when it comes to their technology. Marketers will agree that the best way to attract customers is to educate and help them. It’s the new status quo. You offer to help a customer with their problem in order to earn their trust and gain their business. 

On the other hand, customers rely so much on being educated by these organizations and their marketing content, that they then feel as if they need to acquire every category of tool that the company is offering. An example would be a marketing department thinking they need a social media scheduling tool, a monitoring tool, or a chat bot tool. The list goes on. So, as Mike puts it, “Rather than quantify how many you have (tools), you should quantify how many of them correlate a benefit back to your customer.”

Another way to put this, is that your customer should own your tech stack. We buy these tools so we can help our customers and perform as a company because without our customers, are we even a company? 

So, to circle back to Mike’s statement of companies having “too few or too many” tools, it all really comes down to whether your tech stack is being built to help you communicate with, and aid your customer.

A good RevOps group will come in and say, “What business outcomes do we want and how can we improve the customer? What technologies do I want to use to achieve that?” That RevOps group will represent different teams from the company, get buy-in from the respected leaders, and strategically build that tech stack so they can answer those questions. 


The protective dog bowl problem

We’ve seen it many times—a company brings in a new leader, and that leader has their way of doing things, or tools they used at the previous company. People don’t like change and they like to implement what they know how to use. So, I asked Mike what he thinks about picking the right tool for your needs.

“There are thousands and thousands of options out there. If you’re a high-growth company in a technology space, that list gets smaller. If you’re a fortune 500, then that list gets smaller but no matter what, politics will get involved.” 

Mike goes on to explain that systems get embedded into organizations whether they have been there since the start or as often people put it, “that’s the way things are done.” Unfortunately, 

managing any sort of change can turn into further issues, egos get involved and this then can lead to switching tools for the wrong reasons with poor excuses. That needs to be reassessed. Teams will support certain switches if it’s in their favor. 

Mike chooses a scientific and research intensive approach when it comes to picking tools. Asking questions like, “What would the direct impact to the customer be if we implemented X tool?” You also need buy-in from all teams that are going to be using the tool, or affected by it. We’re seeing that same concept of “getting buy-in” over and over again—that’s what RevOps does. 

Mike continues to say “Do we really care how we solve that problem exactly, as long as we are doing it in the most efficient way possible? If we have a tool that is allowing us to do that, then we’ll use it.”


People do things differently

So, you implement a sales operations and marketing operations person, but how do you get them to communicate better? People go about their lives differently and they will certainly approach work differently. The whole concept behind RevOps is to create a better form of communication between teams, but how do we do it? A valid question for Mike, as he consults with companies on a daily basis. 

Mike points to how you get the buy-in. He says you need to put care and emphasis around how much people matter in a process. Once you understand where people are coming from you’re able to create a transparent dialogue. 


Mike’s favorite tools

Mike looks for technological prowess and benefit, although this can be challenging because the tool could be complex and tough to adopt at first. Being a marketing consultant, Mike personally works with a lot of CRM's, and he always looks for something that has longevity and will last within an organization. He looks for the best in class, and most importantly, he wants to become the master of that tool.

By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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