Limelight Networks, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., is a leading provider of digital content delivery, video, cloud security, and edge computing services. As Senior Manager of Sales Ops at Limelight Networks, Aaron Lockhart is charged with empowering sales reps to sell better and more efficiently.
Given the challenges brought on by the increasingly competitive and constantly-evolving global CDN and Edge Compute market, the stakes are higher than ever for Lockhart’s team to deliver results.
Lockhart sat down with the Intricately team to share the role that data plays in his team’s efforts for prospecting and prioritization, and the strategies he uses to empower his sales teams to be successful.
Can you describe your role, and what it entails?
As senior manager of sales operations at Limelight, my role has been expanded from standard sales ops, as I also head up global sales enablement.
The main function of my role is designing and maintaining an efficient process for the global sales organization.
That efficiency is predicated on the systems and processes we use. Being data-driven is more of a focus than ever. We need to make sure adoption of our tools and processes is streamlined for anyone to be able to access them anywhere.
We need our reps to easily consume the information we’re giving them, which also includes information from product management and product marketing on new product developments.
My role also involves overseeing sales bootcamps, enablement programs. Someone on my team manages that process, in an administrative role, to oversee programs.
The other area I oversee is what we traditionally think of in sales ops, which is more revenue ops. We are working with marketing to generate demand and turn it into revenue, all captured in Salesforce, using many different tools. Revenue operations is the whole customer lifecycle from beginning to end. The primary function of my role is managing a team of incredibly talented Salesforce admins and data analysts.
What’s the playbook your team is following to be successful in today’s climate?
There’s a human element to SOPS in addition to team empowerment through surfacing the right data at the right time. As we launch bootcamps, training programs, and other ways to empower teams, we’re always trying to collect feedback on what’s working, and what’s resonated. Our programs have to be flexible and adapt to ever-evolving needs.
Tools are another crucial component to SOPS success in today’s climate. For my team, we’re always evaluating tools to make sure our reps have the right tools to be successful. In the prospecting world, that includes Intricately, which helps us find the right accounts, profiling accounts based on CDN traffic, distribution, and spend. That component is one way we’re prioritizing outreach. In the shifting world we live in, data-driven prioritization is more and more critical.
When we are looking at prioritization of resources we want to have strong supporting data, we want to give our sales reps a map of which accounts will help them (and us) be successful, and Intricately is an important component of that map so to speak.
What's a challenge today's SOPS teams are facing, and how are you addressing it on your team?
In this day and age, being able to tell a story with data that everyone can understand is the challenge. We can get data experts all day, but we need the data to tell a story that’s consistent, and able to be consumed by a top-down audience, which means understood by executives all the way down to sales reps. We’re focused on providing a consistent measure and cadence of telling the story with meaningful data.
Intricately has made us successful in finding new accounts that were not previously on our radar. This includes accounts that were just a lead that came to our website one time, and we wanted to find out, who is this account, how much traffic are they pushing, is this an account that we didn’t previously know about?
Intricately is essential for helping us find tier target accounts not previously on our radar, and then arming our reps with the information they need to be successful in hunting them. Intricately has also helped us identify some new targets in the Edge Compute market, which is exciting.
How does your SOPS team use data to stay competitive?
The top line we’re looking at is, are sales reps hunting the right prospects? For example, we use Intricately to enrich many of our accounts. It also helps us prioritize our target accounts.
We are using many sources of data including Intricately to keep an edge in this very competitive market. Another way we stay competitive is by using models to predict what may happen in the future. This is more complex but this is the future of sales ops, especially when we can start using AI to predict things in real-time.
How has our remote-first world changed SOPS?
We typically do an annual sales kickoff at our Scottsdale, Ariz. headquarters, and a few other programs such as sales new hire training.
Now, due to our current global situation, our sales enablement programs are managed via Zoom. Last year we launched more onsite sales bootcamps. Typically, I’d try to physically go to each region, and we’d put together a robust session to train all sales reps, and work with product marketing, product management, sales enablement, sales process, and do a pipeline review. We will be shifting all of this to be held virtually. We’re also launching a new Learning Management System to keep sales reps sharp.
Can you share any predictions for how SOPS will evolve in 2020?
We’re going to continue to see a trend of data, data, data. Sales ops teams have always been able to tell a meaningful story with data. We use different models and predictions to help tell that story.
My prediction is that sales ops will continue to have a larger seat at the revenue table and continue to make a big impact to the business.
We have to always ask ourselves: How can we predict the future and get smarter, and align our precious resources to the best activity to achieve the best results?
What advice do you have for SOPS leaders or teams?
Ten years ago, sales ops was a smaller piece of the puzzle. Sales ops was primarily reporting and salesforce practice. It has grown. Now, sales ops can have many responsibilities, but in our world, it's sales enablement, salesforce practice, business systems and integrations, analytics, and revenue operations. The full picture. We’re continuing to take on more and more responsibility. Customer success is also a part of our charter. The scope of our responsibility will grow even more.
Aaron Lockhart has been working in Sales Operations and Sales Enablement for the last 8 years. Everything from leading and mentoring sales ops technical teams, global salesforce practice, sales analytics, evaluation and implementation of business systems for sales prospecting, sales enablement and training, and project management.
To learn more about the current state of the CDN market, the newest trends and challenges, and current insights download the latest Intricately CDN Market Report.