The C-suite is the pinnacle of business leadership. The big decision makers that set the strategy and direction of the company. They’re the strategic masterminds that spend their days developing plans for growth and analyzing company performance.
But the truth is, you don’t need a “C” in your title to develop a C-suite mindset. In fact, people who are working towards advancing their careers should start developing a C-suite mindset as early as possible.
And if you want to become more effective in your ops role, you should adopt a C-suite mindset too.
What’s a C-suite mindset?
Let’s start with what it’s not. A C-suite mindset is not a fixed term that only applies to people with the word “Chief” in their title.
A C-suite mindset is an understanding of the bigger picture. This includes knowing what’s important to company leadership and the things they look for when making decisions. It means understanding the strategic implications behind your work such as knowing why your company has certain processes in place.
Simply put, it all boils down to one question: What do your company leaders value the most when operating their business?
In the B2B SaaS space, most leaders focus on three main objectives when looking at growth:
- Bookings: increasing leads, market share, and new client logos.
- Revenue: finalizing the payments of closed deals. For some operations, especially those that provide services, a closed deal doesn’t immediately equate to payment.
- Profit: a combination of the two above. Growing the company with sustainable booking and revenue processes.
Why it matters
The fact is that when you know what leadership is thinking, your role in the company becomes much more clear. By tying everything you do back into the three main objectives lets you see how your tasks and projects contribute toward the big picture. This allows you to tailor your work and attitude to helping the company move towards those goals.
But what’s even more important is that having a C-suite mindset isn’t just beneficial to you, it can help lift the performance of the entire team.
Because revenue isn’t the product of one person or one team, but the result of the entire organization working in unison, ops professionals are in unique positions to create solutions that span multiple teams. By always keeping the three main objectives in mind, ops professionals can design projects and processes that help each team work towards supporting each or all of the three main objectives.
Our SaaS practice manager Aidas Dirse draws from advice given to him as a young SDR to explain the importance of using the C-suite mindset to lift others: “It’s not enough that one superstar SDR can increase their bookings by 30%. Growth is much more effective and sustainable when the whole team can gradually improve by 2%”.
Putting the mindset into action
Now that you understand what a C-suite mindset is, it’s time to implement it into your work. The first thing to do is to list every project you have on the go and ask yourself some questions:
- Which teams do I support?
- What problems are they facing?
- How do my projects solve their problems?
- What are the impacts to the company’s revenue process from these projects?
- How can I sustain the positive revenue impacts and prevent problems in the future?
At surface level, some of your projects may not seem like they affect revenue. But if you support any part of a revenue team, relieving even the tiniest bottleneck can have implications throughout the revenue process.
So, when you analyze your projects and the problems they solve, ask yourself this: does this project 1) save the company money?, 2) help the team work faster?, or 3) decreases the chances of human error?
If your projects affect any one of these things, guess what, it affects revenue. Because efficiencies in processes are key drivers of revenue.
Using the C-suite mindset to advance your ops career
Adopting a C-suite mindset is the first step on the road to career advancement. Here’s why.
1. It guides you manage up to leadership.
People’s titles can be intimidating, especially for those just starting out in their careers. Working at high-growth startups often means that even junior employees will work directly with company leadership.
Consider yourself lucky if you find yourself in these situations. These opportunities don’t always come early in one’s career. Any time you’re able to interact with company leadership is a chance for you to show your value to the decision makers of your organization, and having a C-suite mindset will guide you to effectively manage up to the leaders.
The concept is simple. It all ties back to understanding the three things that your leaders care about the most: bookings, revenue, and profit. Keeping these three objectives in mind, you can prepare for meetings by gathering data and providing your insights on processes that affect them, the inefficiencies that hinder them, and solutions that enhance them.
Think about this. If a company is looking to improve the booking process, who better to provide insights and speak on the potential improvements to the process than the SDRs that actually work through the current process everyday?
Here’s a piece of advice from SaaS practice manager Megan Diplock, who was once a nervous SDR that didn’t want to speak out of place in meetings with leadership: “Being passive in a room with leadership is a detriment to your career. Bring your ideas to the table, speak with confidence, and keep your points concise with the value you bring. That’s how the C-suite mindset helps you stand out.”
2. It helps you build a portfolio.
The ops field has a reputation for being a very technical field. But ops professionals that are looking to advance their careers can take a page out of the creative professions by building a portfolio of their accomplishments.
Building a portfolio starts by documenting your work. This doesn’t mean recording every small task that you do. The projects you should take note of are the ones that affect the three main objectives of bookings, revenue, and profit. Some examples of key impacts to document are: process enhancements, automation of workflows, and solutions to bottlenecks.
It’s also important that you record any metrics whenever you can. While not all projects will provide you with clear metrics to report on, projects that can measure improvements in things like conversions, sales numbers, and pipeline should be the highlights of your portfolio.
Because you know that management and leadership are making decisions based on these three things, having a portfolio of your projects that show your impact on each or all of them demonstrates your qualification for advancement.
3. It allows you to prevent future problems.
Due to the hectic nature of the job, the pace of ops projects are often set by the job rather than the team, meaning they are often reactive in nature. However, adopting a C-suite mindset can change that.
In order to be proactive at any job, you need to be able to see the road ahead and anticipate future challenges. This is where the C-suite mindset comes into play. Understanding the challenges that leadership is working to tackle, you can develop projects to create workflows and solutions that address those challenges before they arise.
For example, when your company is working towards securing funding, what are the challenges that come with an influx of financial support?
Near the top of every list is increased demand and lead volume. With more resources available, there are no more excuses for the team to let leads go cold. As an ops professional with a C-suite mindset, you can see this problem coming to prepare your company for this exact challenge.
Once your C-suite mindset clears up the big picture, you can let your technical expertise take over. There are many ways to revamp processes to improve rep performance or create new workflows to fix your broken processes. Maybe you decide to invest in new technology to bring people and processes together. No matter which approach you take, proactively solving challenges that tackle the issues leadership care about is a surefire way to get yourself on the track to promotion.