Hiring for Revenue Operations? Ask These Interview Questions
Screening potential RevOps team members by using the right questions is a skill of its own. How does one hire for RevOps? What questions do you ask? On top of your other daily RevOps tasks, this can be a headache to think through.
Fortunately, Blake Kendrick (the RevOps Manager at Thankful AI), put together this great list of questions + explanations to help you find the right RevOps pro for your team.
The time has come - you’re ready to grow your RevOps team. Budget has been set aside for that next fantastic hire and all you need to do is pick the right person.
Yes… that’s all. Find a way to pick the right person.
Oh, the pressure!
In the flurry of excitement a few of the resumes bring , don’t forget that narrowing down the resume pile leads to interviews and interviews require questions that allow you to pick the right candidate. Without the right interview questions, you’ll be making a crucial decision without having the right information.
We all know what it’s like. By the time you get budget approval for a new RevOps hire, that hire is so long overdue that you want to hide under the desk until they are up to speed. Just don’t let the urgency of needing someone right this very second lead you to asking basic questions and regretting the choice later.
Ask the right questions. The preamble
Fortunately, RevOps pro, Blake Kendrick, who is the RevOps manager at Thankful AI, has been in the industry long enough to know how to identify the right person. It’s all about asking thoughtful, revenue & project management focused questions.
Below is the list of questions he uses to help assess the skills of the candidates he interviews. Although someone's resume may look fabulous, it’s the interview responses that give the real indication of ability. Especially in these roles where business acumen, technical expertise, project management, and data governance collide.
Blake says regardless of the level you’re hiring for within the organization, potential RevOps team members ideally have spent time in multi-functional operations positions or as contributors to the sales, marketing and/or success functions. Before you book those interviews, take a moment to consider what tasks the role you’re hiring for requires and what can be taught on the job versus necessary “day 1” skills.
Tactical CRM admins may not need as many questions about strategy or data governance. These individuals will more likely be selected based on experience & knowledge on the tool that they will be working in every day...
More senior team members are going to need to prove their ability to make a difference immediately, so the questions you ask in the interview need to be specific to the role that you’re hiring for, and the impact that you want this new hire to have.. The higher up your organization’s food chain you go, the more targeted the questions will be.
Don’t rush through the process just because the need is urgent. You want the right person, not a chair warmer who only understands CRM.
Use Blake’s questions as a guide and modify them to fit the person you need.
What would the absolute perfect person bring to the table? Ask questions around those necessary skills and the candidate that comes closest to your idea of perfection is likely going to work out great.
The nitty-gritty – those questions
1. What’s your familiarity with different CRM technologies?
“Adapt this to match your organization’s tech stack,” says Blake. “Not only does this question allow you to vet for requirements of the position, it also checks for basic technical skills.”
If you aren’t as familiar with the day-to-day tools as you’d like this individual to be, bring in someone who is familiar to help with the interview process.
2. What would you say essential KPIs are for prospecting? What about for pipeline?
“Answers here indicate comprehension of key milestones within the sales process,” he notes. “Responses may include, in order of importance:”
- Qualified opps produced
- Meetings held
- Meetings scheduled
- Responses earned
- Leads worked/touched
- New leads created/identified
- (overall) Maintaining cumulative success benchmarks for leads worked leading to qualified opps produced
- (overall) Documenting reasons for disqualification
- Revenue generated ($)
- Pipeline managed ($)
- Customers closed
- Proposals sent
- Decision makers bought-in
- (overall) Maintaining cumulative success benchmarks for opps managed leading to customers closed
- (overall) Documenting reasons for opp losses
3. What reports might you propose for a VP of Sales? VP of Marketing?
Blake says, “Answers to these questions will indicate knowledge of needs by department and the KPIs that should be focused on. Correct answers will include:”
- Something about forecasting and accurate revenue prediction for sales, as well as identifying challenges/successes in relative success rates throughout either prospecting or pipeline. Reports that give insights into productive vs. unproductive tactics (activity reports, production by market segment, etc.).
- Something about attribution and campaign ROI for marketing; helping leadership understand where investments should be made.
4. Explain your investigative process
“With this question, you’re getting down to fundamental functional RevOps skills,” says Blake. “The right candidate can start with basically no information and build an insightful narrative of exploration. A response should align somewhat to the scientific investigative method:”
- Clarify a question
- Form initial thoughts around what the answer could be
- Test those assumptions with data or demonstrations
- Communicate findings
- Determine possible next actions
5. How would you approach solving a business intelligence problem?
“Similar to investigation/business intelligence questions, a good answer here should at least begin with clarifying the intentions/ideal outcome for the internal client (as opposed to being reactive and jumping straight to workarounds/solves),” he says.
“The right candidate will also know that solving efficiency issues will come up when performance benchmarks aren't being reached (e.g., reps are not hitting activity targets), or when the team is experiencing UX challenges (e.g., we have to look in three different places for reports).”
6. What is your most successful method of learning?
Here, you are checking for independent knowledge development capacity.
“The RevOps role needs to act as an advisor to cross-functional leadership rather than an order-taker, so they need to keep technical and conceptual comprehension up-to-date,” Blake says. “This should be encouraged by the organization, but shouldn't require dedicated investment to ensure it's happening.”
7. If you get a question as basic as “My report isn’t working,” how do you handle response communications?
The candidate should use this time to expand on the response they made about how they would investigate problems and address business intelligence challenges. This also helps you understand how they communicate and document findings along the way.
“Allow the candidate to formulate their response independently and provide little clarification,” Blake suggests. “If you’re asked, state that you’d like them to interpret it however they’d like.”
Sure, in a day-to-day job situation, they can ask for clarification, but you want to get a feeling for their thought and exploration process.
At about this point, you’ll want to toss in another lighter question to build rapport. This should be something that allows the candidate to express something personal, but not private. Here, we’re heading for the finish line. It’s like telling them the interview is going to be done soon without actually saying so.
8. What strategies do you use to stay prioritized and manage workload?
“RevOps team members typically have a single direct supervisor, but the role should truly be department-agnostic. Therefore, there’s always a need to juggle multiple projects at once,” he says. “Guide the question by asking about familiarity with project management tools, if needed, to gain understanding of project management capabilities,” Blake suggests.
Follow-up questions should include asking about favorite tools or any tools they found that didn’t work for them.
9. What kinds of tasks can you handle in the moment?
This helps gauge how the candidate will manage multiple stakeholders, their task prioritization and how they deal with a request to “create a strategy around X” versus “tell me how Y works in the system”. RevOps team members often get hands-on with troubleshooting solutions (though this depends on your organization size and structure) so this question should be modified to adapt organizational needs.
10. What kinds of tasks would require more planning and time?
“Obviously, a follow-up question to the last one, this allows you to see how the candidate views significant, long-term revenue enablement projects and structures them for progress,” Blake says.
11. How do you go through your design process? For example, brainstorming a proposed report?
This also builds upon the previous question about investigation. After the source problem or opportunity is identified, how does the candidate prepare for and then deliver outcomes?
12. How would you rate your level of empathy and recognition of other people’s communication styles?
Talk about a deal breaker question. Your candidate could have answered everything right up to this point, but if they hit Charlie Sheen levels of narcissistic behavior with this one, all bets are off.
“RevOps is akin to an educational or advisory function, whether that includes end user training on processes or tools, or communicating ideas and concepts to leadership for proposal and consideration,” Blake says. “Navigating different individual personalities and perspectives is a major key to success in the role.”
This question also helps explore the candidate’s fit on a cultural level when meshed with some of the lighter responses sprinkled through the interview.
Wrapping it up
Hiring the next RevOps pro is wrought with both excitement and anxiety. You want to find the right person and you want them RIGHT NOW! Give yourself (and the candidates) the ability to succeed. Take your time, be specific to the role and accept that people aren’t always predictable. You will learn to conduct interviews with your ears, your eyes and your gut engaged to find the best candidate.
Bonus Point – about 3-4 detailed questions into the interview – lob in something a little lighter to keep conversation flowing. Interviews are hard for both sides of the desk, there’s a lot at stake, so do everyone a favor and lighten the mood by asking something fun like: What’s your favorite Star Wars character? Favorite music to listen to outside of work?
The goal is to build the relationship and gain trust. And when the laughter (or at least smiling) subsides, move back into the tough questions.
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