Market insights

An Ideal Salesforce Leadership Structure at Pure Storage

March 5, 2024
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Leadership Structure
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We’ve all seen how quickly the partnership between Rev Ops & centralized GTM Systems teams can go sideways in certain situations.

Typically, it stems from the belief amongst Rev Ops Leadership that Technology teams ‘don’t understand what we do’, lack context, or ‘simply don’t prioritize what we need when we need it’.

The reality is that in order to build a cohesive, scalable, and long-term Business Systems roadmap, you can’t always prioritize for the here and now.

But managing those stakeholder relationships and expectations is critical.

An internal Salesforce team needs to cover A LOT of ground at scale.

Ideally, you segment the team so everyone has a clear lane.
Then, add the right Leader over top of each group.

At a high-level, the principal areas GTM Systems needs to cover:

  • Holistic Business Systems Planning
  • Marriage of Business Strategy & Technology Roadmap
  • Technical Architecture & Design
  • Stakeholder Relationship Management
  • Support & Governance

Leadership Structure at Pure Storage

Some Background:

  • 5,100+ Total Headcount
  • 1,250 + Sales Reps

Salesforce Team of 55 people

  • 9 Leaders
  • 5 Architects
  • 10 Business Analysts
  • 3 Product Owners
  • 8 Administrators
  • 18 Developers

It’s the background of these Leaders that jumped out to us.

  1. Jeff McKittrick (AVP, Go-To-Market Systems and Strategy)
    Background: Sales Enablement & GTM Systems

  2. William Jhun (Director, Business Systems Infrastructure)
    Background: ERP & Systems Design

  3. Reed Scherer (Director, GTM Strategy and Systems)
    Background: Sales Enablement
  4. Srikanth Chittineni (Senior Director, GTM Systems)
    Background: Product Management & Architecture
  5. Aditya Sonam (Senior Manager, GTM Systems)
    Background: Engineering & Integrations

  6. Anna Overton (Senior Manager, GTM Systems)
    Background: Sales Operations
  7. Mike Fisher (Sr. Director, Sales Operations, GTM Strategy & Systems)
    : Product Management & Sales Systems
  8. Jessica Carter (Applications Maintenance & Support Manager)
    : Support & Administration
  9. Prathvin Gunasekaran (Business Relationship Manager)
    : Business Analysis

It’s difficult to succeed at scale with a Leadership team that is purely technical and those are often the teams where you start to see frustrating bubble up amongst their peers in the business. If the Technical Leadership team only brings a background in technology, you easily overlook areas.

❌ Poor translation of business needs to technical planning.

❌ Subpar support delivered to stakeholders.

If you adopt a model with cross-disciplinary skills and backgrounds amongst Technology Leaders, it promotes efficiency.

✅ 4 of Pure’s Systems Leaders come from functional backgrounds.
Years spent in Sales Operations or Enablement.

✅ 5 of them are highly technical.
Experience in Product, Technical Architecture, and Integration strategy.

A cross-disciplinary Leadership structure creates harmony, providing clarity around the Business Systems vision, delivering proactive, strategic support to stakeholders, enabling best practices across systems design and development.

And perfectly synthesizes the goals of the business with systems roadmap.

Team Growth

In the past 12 months, this team has added a total of 12 people. While a few of those hires were to replace expected turnover, many were growth hires and key additions to continue maturing the team.

As a company’s Salesforce utilization grows in complexity and they continue adding Products to the mix, you should see an evolution in how the team is structured and resources.

In many companies, that is not the case.

They continue with a homogenous Salesforce team, which may grow in size but doesn’t mature in the areas needed.

Hiring to Evolve

There are several addition to the Salesforce team at Pure Storage that signal real maturity.

For starters, they hired 3 Salesforce Architects in a 9 month span.

  1. Jakub Platek brings deep expertise within Dev Ops and was hired from an Architect role at AUTORabit.
  2. Aditya Sonam joined as a Sr. Manager of GTM Systems to bolster Technical Leadership within the Salesforce team, bringing a deep background concentrated in Product Engineering, Integrations, and Middleware. Again, an area that you can get away with just having some Engineers and potentially an Architect until you reach the point that data & integrations require their own self-sufficient product team.
  3. Madhusudhanan Varadarajan comes directly from Salesforce as an Enterprise Technical Architect with a focus on Quote to Cash transformation, deepening an area of clear focus on this team.

CPQ at Pure Storage

There are a total of 7 Individual Contributors specialized in Salesforce CPQ on the team.

  • (1) CPQ Administrator
  • (1) CPQ Product Owner
  • (3) CPQ Business Analysts
  • (1) Q2C Technical Architect
  • (1) Lead CPQ Engineer

The complexity surrounding their CPQ and Billing infrastructure is high.

It’s similar to the heavy investment in Salesforce CPQ resources we identified at Splunk, a 70+ person Salesforce team with, 16% of which is focused on CPQ. The level of investment needed there was based on a complete transformation of Billing strategy in a complete swing toward Subscription.

Pure is a business with both hardware and software components; consumption and subscription billing; and 7+ software product SKUs.

While much of this Salesforce CPQ team joined right around the time they migrated to CPQ ~3 years ago, they weren’t disbanded post-implementation.

It’s common to assume that CPQ is set-it-and-forget-it, since that’s more so the case with Finance Systems than it is with front-office GTM Tech.

If you’re planning for any changes on the pricing, bundling, or billing front it’s pretty much essential that you maintain an internal CPQ competency.