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Be the Tambourine Guy!

August 17, 2016 | By Dana Therrien

  • Great sales cultures, like Scott Bradlee’s band, are led while appearing leaderless
  • The SiriusDecisions Sales Operations Accountabilities Sunburst Model is to sales operations what band sections are to a band
  • The Sunburst Model redefines the major sections that need to bring out the best in each other within a sales operations ensemble

My nephew graduated from high school a couple of months ago, and reality is now setting in. He’s not sure what to do for a career, so he’s decided to postpone his education and work for a while. He called a few days ago, distraught. The job he thought was going to be “awesome” has turned into a bit of a grind. It’s mundane! He asked, “Uncle D, what should I do?” Based on what he told me, it sounded like a well-organized, nice place to work with good people. So what I really wanted to tell him was what our parents would have told us – stop whining! – but instead I said, “Jake, just be the tambourine guy.” He said, “Who’s that?” So I explained it to him. I then realized, perhaps a lot of other people don’t know about the tambourine guy. So I thought I’d write this post about him.

The tambourine guy is an amazing tambourine player who is sometimes featured in Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox videos on YouTube. Scott Bradlee is a jazz musician who has built a cult following by creating and conducting jazz, ragtime and doo-wop remakes of modern music hits, which are performed by his band. Well, it’s hard to say it’s his band, because when you watch it perform, it really looks like it belongs to all the performers. Bradlee’s videos now have more than two million YouTube subscribers and 490 million total views as of June 2016, and his concert tour is selling out worldwide.

Back to the tambourine guy. His most famous appearance is in a Postmodern Jukebox rendition of Demi Lovato’s song “I Really Don’t Care.” In the video, there’s an ensemble made up of a lead singer, two backup singers, Scott Bradlee on piano, a bass guitarist, a drummer and, of course, someone playing the mundane tambourine. The only thing is… the way the tambourine guy plays, it’s far, far, far from mundane!

So I explained to my nephew, after showing him the example of the tambourine guy, is that no matter what your part is, and whatever band you play in, be exceptional, be passionate and try to have some fun. Isn’t that what we all want to do? We all want to work somewhere where we can feel free to be expressive, where things are interesting, where people are creative, and where all the players bring out the best in one another by knowing and performing their parts.

At SiriusDecisions, we have noticed that disruptive challenges often make it harder for these conditions to exist within our clients’ sales operations teams. These challenges include the continuing digitization of the buyer’s journey, the proliferation of analytics and big data, an increasing focus on customer success and lifetime value, the democratization of IT, and the "millennial-ization" of the workforce. After researching the issue, we created our Sales Operations Sunburst Model to help redefine the major sections that need to bring out the best in each other within a sales operations ensemble.

This model helps sales ops leaders visualize the seven major accountabilities that make up sales operations and how they interact with each other, including strategy and planning, sales intelligence, process design and management, support and administration, deal pursuit, technology and program management. Each major accountability has inner core (tactical) accountabilities and outer core (strategic) ones where more advanced organizations find themselves operating. The ultimate purpose of the model is to help sales operations achieve its ultimate goal, which is to be a strategic differentiator for sales. To learn more about the model, contact us.

OK, so who is the tambourine guy? Well, I’ll conclude by repeating that there’s nothing mundane about him or his accomplishments. His name is Tim Kubart, he’s Emmy-nominated and he’s also won a Grammy! You can watch him action here, and remember: #bethetambourineguy

Dana Therrien

Dana Therrien is the Service Director of Sales Operations Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Dana is an expert in business planning, analytics and reporting, quota setting and management, territory design, sales process optimization, sales force automation, go-to-market strategy design and execution, sales compensation design, and administration. Follow him on Twitter @danatherrien.

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