If we were to pick the hot talent trend of the year from the projects posted at Talmix, commercial operations would be high up the list. Revenue and Sales Operations are relatively new functions and yet critical to growth and success. We asked Olivier from our network about how he provides that pathway to success through his commercial skillsets.
Q. When you’re at a networking event, how do you describe your independent career status, and where you focus your work?
As a consultant in Sales & Operations management I have learned to fit in as quickly as possible in order to be viewed as colleague, but at the same time I keep my external view in order to compare with best practices. This approach is critical in high change environments such as M&A for tech companies.
Q. What are the specific benefits that you, as an independent, offer to the operating teams/portfolio company leadership? How do you explain the value your expertise brings?
Most consultants are either very much hands-on (with a narrow expertise) or rather strategy oriented, with fewer implementation skills. My customers appreciate my ability to combine both: the ability to analyze context quickly, a strategic view to propose solutions all the way through their implementations. This unusual combination is a great time saver for my customers.
Q. Why do you think there is increasing demand for independent expertise with PE operating teams?
The very nature of PE is to make the most of the acquired companies. This means quickly identifying opportunities and implementing the required changes. If the existing teams are often very skilled, they are not usually in a position to achieve this as it could lead them to:
- recognize they could have performed better before the acquisition
- propose a new model where their skills would no longer be required
- simply acknowledge they don’t have the skills for the new business model
As a consequence, independent expertise has become the most effective solution for such transitions.
Q. Describe a recent or successful assignment in terms of scope, duration and any particular highlights in the outcomes.
6 months to align sales operations with a software vendor for the automotive market with recent acquisitions enabling it to double its turnover. Historical management team was mostly focused on historical products. It took some efforts to make management realise the full extent of the acquisitions on the business and that sales operations needed to be re-aligned, which resulted in a way to get all entities to speak the same business language and target a common goal. This was facilitated by the appointment of a new CRO who was more open to my findings.
As usual, the real challenges were the technical (aligning CRM systems and sales process) but mostly human. Being perceive by most employees as a full team member and not as an external consultant was a critical success factor.
Q. What advice would you give to anyone about to embark on an independent career as to how they can provide the best results for a client, while fulfilling their own career path?
You must equally love challenging your clients and be challenged by them.
Is commercial operations, and particularly the combination of systems and human expertise challenging your road to success? You can engage with talent like Olivier by posting a project now, or by talking to us about how to build up a pool of similar talent in the field.