How The Knot Worldwide transformed goal setting and OKR tracking
Under pressure to hit aggressive growth targets, the revenue operations team built an app in Airtable that increased visibility and accountability for the entire organization
director level functions tracking OKR metrics
of workstreams attached to company goals
Michelle Loizeaux, Director of Revenue Operations, is entering her 10th year of working for The Knot Worldwide. The Knot is a global life-stage technology company that revolutionized the digital wedding planning industry. The Knot’s technology enables small businesses and wedding professionals to connect with local couples in a heavily saturated space. “We're involved in the success of small businesses; the ones that really resonate with me are the artistic creatives who love the wedding industry but maybe they’re creative first and business second. We provide that connection to couples that will allow them to achieve their dreams,” Michelle said.
As Director of Revenue Operations she’s in charge of meeting growth goals for annual revenue. “We have pretty aggressive growth targets as a B2B business so we’re getting creative on how we get more efficiency from our sales team and how we change our product to bring more value to our customers,” Michelle said.
Hitting these growth targets relies on ruthless prioritization, goal setting and focus from leaders within the organization, something Michelle takes seriously as a manager. When her team started tracking goal setting with an OKR framework a few years ago she built a complex model in a spreadsheet. It took her more than a week to create and several hours a week after that to maintain. “At the time our goal setting was pretty rudimentary. I think that having a vision, and then being able to track that vision in discrete chunks is really important to being able to execute anything,” she said. At the same time the B2B marketing team, a key stakeholder of revenue operations, was looking to improve campaign planning and management. “So I went out to look for a combined solution to meet both of those needs. That’s what led us to Airtable,” Michelle said.
Michelle says she took to Airtable right away because it was so easy for her to use. She tried several tools but says, “they were an eyesore and required a Ph.D. in their software to be able to do anything meaningful with it. We didn’t have that problem with Airtable,” Michelle said.
At first she used Airtable for basic task management. Her team would set a goal and track progress towards it. But things quickly grew from there. Michelle now manages a connected apps ecosystem in Airtable based on shared data that drives all teams forward. Using Airtable’s linked records, each program, workstream and task is connected to a company-wide goal. Each team can create individual views of this data so they can only see what tasks apply to them. Those tasks roll up into a bird’s-eye view of all workstreams powering The Knot forward. In Airtable the team monitors individual bandwidth, which reduces burnout. They can also report on the health of projects and hold themselves accountable to deadlines.
This system has fully transformed the way The Knot's revenue operations team goes about OKR planning. They used to measure success based on the completion of work rather than the business outcomes.
“Airtable helps us get to the ‘why’ of what we’re doing. We’re thinking a lot more about if our work made a difference versus if we completed something.”
Hundreds of people across six separate teams – revenue operations, business operations, training and enablement, billing collections and support, new business and sales – are all connected in one place. Her Airtable app maps out a hierarchy of goals for every level of employee on these teams from VPs to directors, managers and individual contributors. “Airtable has given me more insights and data on actual progress,” Michelle said.
“With Airtable we are more connected to our sales leaders. Now sales leadership and our executive team have better visibility into how we’re doing against our goals. This increased visibility leads to increased accountability for the entire organization.”
The Knot’s commitment to fostering internal talent played a big role in why Michelle has stayed with this company for her entire professional career. It’s something she feels compelled to pay forward. Michelle created an app in Airtable she calls “growth and gains.” Every week she and her direct reports are prompted to share feedback about each other. They submit opportunities to “grow” and a place where they’re seeing “gains,” something positive the other person has done. Michelle uses Airtable’s sync feature to connect this data to her manager’s promotions base providing actionable feedback and patterns of behavior for the entire team each quarter.
This spirit of self improvement is why Michelle says Airtable is the perfect fit for her team. It’s grown with them, from simple task management to individualized apps tailored to her team. Michelle says, “Airtable lends itself to being interesting to use, therefore I want to educate myself more about it. It has unlocked some really important personal wins for us.”