We’re kicking off our brand new RevRoom Spotlight Series with Mollie Bodensteiner!
Mollie is one of the most exciting voices in SaaS, with experience leading revenue operations at Corteva Agriscience, Syncari, Deel, Sound, now advising growing companies. She’s built numerous revenue teams from the ground up, setting up new standards and processes. She’s also a founding member of RevRoom (a curated community for senior executives) and an active member of RevGenius. We’re talking career, RevOps, leadership and lessons learnt.
How did it all start?
I like to joke that I’ve always been in revenue operations, even before it was cool. I started my career at a large health insurance company, in sales operations. At that time, sales ops involved building RFP databases and doing proposals. Then I transitioned to what would now be considered marketing operations, although back then, tools like Marketo and HubSpot were not widely used. I did email marketing using SilverPop, where I had to HTML/CSS code every email. It was a fun world.
I truly did operations work, which encompassed marketing and sales support. After that, I worked for a small construction tech startup (which has since been acquired by Oracle), where I took ownership of their Salesforce, marketing automation, and what we would now call revenue operations. This was about 15 years ago, before the term became popular. I continued to lean into the marketing side for a while. Later, I joined Marketo and worked on client implementations in their professional services team. During that time, I learned so much, working with numerous companies across various industries. I’ve worked with FinTech, nonprofits, athletic teams, and more. Eventually, I shifted more towards true revenue operations.
I enjoy problem solving. There’s always something to fix, and in this role, I have the authority and autonomy to make things better. It can be overwhelming, but it’s also rewarding.
What would you consider your biggest success?
I’m a mom of three little kids, and I’m really proud of being a successful-working parent.
Apart from that, I also own my own company where I work with small companies, helping them build their operations foundation through coaching and guidance. In terms of professional accomplishments, one of my favorite projects was running the beginning-to-end open enrollment for a healthcare company.
We achieved an incremental revenue success of over 23 million dollars. It was an excellent result due to having a solid strategy, a well-executed plan, and a customer-centric approach.
Additionally, I consider building strong and successful teams as a significant accomplishment. I’ve always had to build teams from the ground-up, so that’s definitely something I consider my biggest strength.
You’ve built and led teams, what are your biggest lessons on leadership?
I think being a people leader is one of the hardest jobs out there.
In the world of startups, it’s important to accept that not everyone will stay for the entire journey. The fast-paced nature of growth often involves a shift in talents and skills. Individuals who thrive in the early stages of a startup may not be the best fit for later stages, and that’s okay. Sometimes, it’s best for them to seek new opportunities. But I wouldn’t say it’s easy to let them go.
Navigating communication in remote companies can be a challenge, but I already know that effective leadership requires time and effort. I strive to be a people manager who prioritizes transparency and honesty. When people truly comprehend the reasons behind decisions, they are more receptive and motivated (even if they don’t always agree with them).
I am committed to helping my team members advance in their careers.
I believe that bad leadership is one of the primary factors that drive people to leave.
When I instill confidence in my team members and truly believe in their abilities, they are more likely to exceed expectations and make the right choices.
Community: What’s in it for you?
We’re each other’s cheerleaders, champions, supporters, and even therapists to some extent. We win together outside of a company, which is really impactful. It’s less self-serving and more about investing in each other. It’s not about building personal brands or gaining influence.
The community is wholesome and pure. That’s what makes it special.
What trends are you seeing in the B2B space?
There are two buzzwords right now. The first one is AI, which we all know. The second one is productivity, which ties into AI.
Businesses are looking to do more with less and improve their output and performance. If we can automate certain tasks and free up time, we can invest that time in personalization, content creation, and consumer engagement, leading to higher conversion and engagement rates. The focus should be on using AI to enhance the consumer experience, not just as a cost-saving measure.
The consumer experience should be the priority when implementing AI and automation. It’s important to meet user expectations and provide smart, quick, and responsive experiences. We don’t want to frustrate them with irrelevant or unhelpful automation.
What should we move away from?
It’s less about what works or doesn’t work and more about the level of maturity in the approach.
Lead scoring is a good example. If businesses are still relying solely on demographic and behavioral lead scoring without incorporating intent and other factors, they may be behind the times. It’s about understanding when businesses have outgrown certain practices.
So, it’s more about staying adaptable and continuously improving. Businesses should always strive to push boundaries, iterate, and improve. If something is working, it means there’s room for further optimization.
What should we read?
One book that I found really valuable is “Crucial Conversations.” It’s about having difficult conversations in a respectful manner. It taught me the importance of removing myself from unproductive conversations and taking breaks when emotions run high. It’s a skill that applies not only in professional settings but also in personal relationships.
How do you set your personal goals?
Personally, I’m not as formal as sitting down and setting hard career goals.
One thing I invest a lot of time in is reflection.
Every Friday, I write down what I do in a Google sheet that’s always open on my computer. I try to write things down as they come and summarize them at the end of the week. Did I get things done? Did it work? What was the impact?
Feeling like we’re working towards the right things generally helps.
For my personal career growth, I invest in the community and have a career mentor. It helps me think about the right things and stay focused. I’m open to being challenged and continuing to learn. I don’t have a fixed plan like “I want to be a CEO” because I want to be more well-rounded and seek opportunities to learn and improve.
Working with other good leaders and learning from their experiences is also helpful. It’s not just about solving complex issues but also handling situations like staffing challenges and adjustments. For team growth and development, I believe in focusing on three things. Each team member should have two core objectives per quarter related to their job and growth. The third objective is personal learning and development, something that fulfills them outside of work.
I try to put these pieces in place and have ongoing discussions and monitoring. We all start with good intentions, but it can get out of hand if we don’t continually manage it.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
That it’s okay to fail. Don’t put roots in bad earth. Don’t invest your time in situations where you can’t be your best self. I’ve learned that the hard way. Sometimes we think we can’t leave a job because of the fear of job-hopping, but if you’re in a toxic environment or dealing with bad people, it’s best to get out.
Do what’s best for you, not what’s best for the company or your team.
I still talk to people from my first company, so people remain even if you leave. It’s a hard lesson for many, especially for those from previous generations who stayed at the same company for decades. We need to be okay with making decisions that are best for ourselves. If you’re proud and excited about the decision, it’s the right one.
My advice is to do what you need to do, not what others think is right.
Insights we loved:
Track weekly progress, evaluate goals’ impact, reassess based on business dynamics for personal and operational growth.
Limit goals to three quarterly: two professional, one personal. It encourages focus and achievable targets for team development.
Accept shortcomings, avoid toxic environments, prioritize well-being over misplaced company loyalty, and learn from each setback.
Support team in prioritizing personal well-being, empower choices for individual happiness over societal expectations or norms.
Frequent check-ins with self, ensure team’s objectives align with personal development, and foster continuous improvement dialogue.
Value online communities for sharing expertise, discourage self-serving interactions, and foster genuine engagement for growth.
AI & Productivity
Use AI to enhance customer experiences, focus on meaningful applications rather than solely cost-cutting measures in B2B.
Team Building Challenges
Hiring and leading teams require hard choices, transparency, and fostering a supportive environment for members to thrive.
Grace in Leadership
Practice transparency, maintain patience, and encourage a positive mindset. Become a leader who inspires, not the reason for departures.