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For many years, businesses have seen better sales & business performance as a result of dedicated departmental operations managers: Sales operations, marketing operations, customer operations, systems operations, they all work to improve the operational efficiency of their teams.
However, this kind of vertical organization can make it difficult to figure out how sales, marketing and customer success can work together optimally.
Siloing operational knowledge like this often leads to inefficiencies and reduced performance.
That’s where the role of revenue operations (also referred to as RevOps) comes in: Their goal is to increase efficiencies and ensure that each strand is working together harmoniously.
In this Process Street post, we’ll be covering:
- How does RevOps differ from Sales Operations?
- What is the purpose of RevOps?
- Are you making the most of the tools at your disposal?
- What are the primary responsibilities of the revenue Ooperations department?
- The commercial software that’s supporting its own expansion as well as its clients
- How can RevOps increase sales growth?
- What has caused this shift, and why is RevOps now on the rise?
- Could your business benefit from revenue operations?
- What is preventing businesses from taking advantage of RevOps?
- How do I get started with RevOps?
- Service Software
- Sales Software
- Marketing Software
- Reporting/Dashboarding Software
How does RevOps differ from Sales Operations?
“Revenue operations isn’t a new title or even a new market category. Rather, it’s a mindset and methodology for thinking holistically about all the different parts of your business that go into driving topline revenue, removing silos both operationally and strategically and ensuring your overall funnel and customer lifecycle move together and forward in a cohesive way.” – Paul Talbot, Forbes
There are clear similarities between the two roles (and that of marketing operations and customer success operations), but this is a more holistic overview.
While operations managers may take responsibility for their individual roles and report to their department heads, they will only ever be focused on one aspect of the business.
RevOps is designed to innovate the entire business. It’s about creating a role that can oversee different departments with the specific aim of increasing revenue.
It might be about establishing new systems or investing in infrastructure that allows each department to flourish. Or it could be about improving collaboration between departments, communicating business goals, or planning and implementing change management.
What is the purpose of RevOps?
Revenue operations provide a more transparent, more consistent path to business growth. It can analyze the strengths and weaknesses in different departments and create newer, better ways of working.
By thinking holistically across the entirety of your business, the RevOps team can start to bring about sustainable improvements.
For example, you may be able to identify new business opportunities such as newer products or services, or you could spot new areas of investment such as additional locations or branches.
Through benchmarked progress and clear goals that are communicated throughout the business, those who employ RevOps teams are better equipped to tell if a strategy is successful or not.
And thanks to a wealth of data coming across from the entire business, they can make predictions for new trends or potential growth areas.
Everything the RevOps team does is based on increasing revenue. It’s about spotting weaknesses and turning them into strengths. It’s about adapting to market changes, listening to and learning from societal, political and economic pressures, and learning how to increase business resilience.
With so much at stake, it’s not a surprise that revenue operations job roles (and related job titles) have become among the fastest growing job titles listed on LinkedIn.
Are you making the most of the tools at your disposal?
One of the key areas that frequently arise within conversations about RevOps is that many firms are not making active use of the tools and data analytics that they are already paying for.
For example, if you are using platforms such as HubSpot, Salesforce or Shopify (or similar), you may not realise that they all come fully equipped with a wide range of tools which are designed to help you to improve your efficiency.
In some circumstances, firms may be aware of the capabilities within their software, or they may lack the training required to make the most of them.
One company that didn’t realise that it already had access to a suite of tools that it was not making the most of is GoSite, a mobile commerce SaaS management platform.
The firm was a thriving business, but it was only using a small part of its sales hub.
It was using a wide range of software providers, without realising that there was significant overlap between them. Therefore, its RevOps strategy was built around streamlining its operations into its existing HubSpot account.
By incorporating an independent revenue operations team to look holistically at what it was doing, and conducting a thorough audit of its database, it was able to discover 20,000 new leads that had never been targeted.
This approach not only allowed the company to make considerable savings by reducing the number of third party software vendors but it was also able to directly contact these new leads, which resulted in the company’s highest grossing month.
Without the independent review from a revenue operations team, the company would have continued to pay multiple software providers for duplicated services.
What are the primary responsibilities of the revenue operations department?
“RevOps professionals are looking at organization-wide revenue growth and ways that departments can work together to achieve it.” – Scott Haney, ChiliPiper
Now that we know that RevOps is a department designed to increase efficiencies and generate more revenue, what are its primary responsibilities?
Although each business will have its own distinct ways of working dependent upon its size and sector, RevOps is typically broken down into four key areas:
The RevOps team will work closely alongside the sales, marketing, and customer success departments. Each team will report to the Revenue Operations Director and explain how their work generates additional revenue.
From this holistic overview, the RevOps department can look at new systems and infrastructures to improve efficiencies. They will consider how to enhance innovation and facilitate collaborative working. They may look at how systems such as Process Street can improve procedures, aid communication, and streamline clearer workflows.
The team will also work with each department to identify what they need from others to help improve their work capacities.
Once potential changes have been identified, strategies have been written and budgets approved, the team will then switch to a change management focus.
At this point, they will facilitate the seamless transition into newer and improved ways of working.
The enablement element of the team is based on helping teams work to the best of their ability. This could be through looking at training and development opportunities, better onboarding processes for new staff members or incorporating new continuous development schemes.
The focus here is to look at how three key areas (performance, learning, sales) should seamlessly flow together to facilitate constant progress.
[THE IMPACT OF ENABLEMENT IMAGE]
We now have access to more data than we could ever have imagined in today’s digital world. But that data is only beneficial if you have a member of your team who can analyze and comprehend it. In addition, they need to understand how to use that data for strategic benefit.
These days, businesses are increasingly hiring data analysts, business analysts, data scientists, and data developers to work within revenue operations departments.
The role of these staff members is to understand how to use these insights to facilitate business growth.
These people will take responsibility for ensuring the quality of the data, ensuring that any data adheres to legislation, that it’s held securely, and that it’s only accessed by those who need access to it.
As they analyze the data, the insight function will look at both operational improvements and strategic advantages. For example, they’ll identify how to improve entire departments by analyzing strengths and weaknesses, and they’ll be able to make strategic insights that will predict how the business can continue to improve revenue.
In today’s data-driven marketplace, it is clear that those businesses who make informed decisions will be better placed to succeed than those who base their business decisions on assumptions or tradition.
Systems and tools
You may be surprised to realize that software developers and systems administrators could be aligned with the new revenue operations teams. But at the very heart of RevOps is having the proper infrastructures in place.
Too often, businesses rely on individual departments to source and secure their technology. But this can be hugely expensive and lead to enormous inefficiencies. After all, if sales and marketing are both working from customer databases, it makes sense to have a system that aligns with each department’s priorities.
Unfortunately, some businesses may have duplicate systems running independently from one another. In contrast, others may invest in infrastructure that works well for one business area but causes problems for another.
Revenue operations aims to look carefully at the infrastructure in place and create solutions that facilitate collaborative working.
For example, they may need to use software developers to design a bespoke system, or they could need to install new project management tools or communication aids to increase efficiency.
Once they’ve identified what is needed, the RevOps team can assist in the change management process (again, assisting in a smooth transition) and manage the wider system integration and administration.
Digitopia has broken down the RevOps technology into five distinct categories:
By using software that encompasses these key areas, you can start to feel confident that you are looking holistically at the entirety of your organisation.
The commercial software that’s supporting its own expansion as well as its clients
There are a myriad of tools available on the marketplace which have been developed with RevOps in mind.
In fact, one such firm – Chorus.AI – has used its own conversational intelligence technology to improve its own revenue.
In 2020 alone, the firm increased its headcount by 40% and was listed on many best software awards lists.
The firm understood that the immediate switch to remote working as a result of the pandemic caused huge inefficiencies for thousands of companies around the world. By understanding the social and economic impacts of the pandemic, Chorus was able to make sure that its customers could continue to achieve their business outcomes even in the most challenging of scenarios.
Chorus’s success saw it implement its software into existing tools such as Slack and Zapier, as well as sign-up high profile clients including DocuSign and Coursera.
How can RevOps increase sales growth?
Revenue operations are imperative if you are an ambitious company looking to increase your sales growth. It considers your people, your processes, your technology and your data. It combines everything into one singular area in ways that have previously been kept very separate.
In May 2021, research firm Forrester completed an update to its first-ever report into B2B revenue operations. It found that there has been a ‘significant shift’ over the last two years in how businesses were working, with many moving towards a centralized revenue operations function.
“Centralized revenue operations has gone from 15% to 40%, while centers of expertise or excellence have similarly seen considerable growth from 18% to 37%.” – Anthony McPartlin, Principal Analyst, Forrester
Forrester suggests that businesses need to understand that revenue operations aren’t just organizational change. Instead, it should be a fundamental cultural change embedded across every single element of the company.
If handled correctly, effective revenue operations should improve trust and accountability amongst employees and stakeholders. It should help teams work together and facilitate innovation. It should resolve internal issues but should also solve external matters.
Good revenue operations teams will remember how important it is to listen carefully to customer wants and needs. They understand that business growth requires customer satisfaction, and they do what it takes to help customers overcome any pressure points.
Because revenue operations are heavily aligned with metrics and data-driven decisions, it’s much easier for employers to ensure that each department receives the same care and attention.
As a result, they can offer a balanced approach, ensuring that each team (and individual employees) feels like they are playing an important role. From a resourcing perspective, this can be crucial to embedding a cultural shift and ensuring that all workers are happy and working productively regardless of seniority or department.
Beyond this, revenue operations will use the available data to manage short-term needs with long-term requirements seamlessly. They can aid sustainable business growth and sales increases by increasing resilience and ensuring that the right people, systems, and processes are in place for now and in the future.
With all of this in mind, it’s clear to see how these improvements will facilitate sales growth.
What has caused this shift, and why is RevOps now on the rise?
According to Clari, revenue operations job titles have increased by as much as 300% on LinkedIn. This is an enormous increase, and it backs up the research from Forrester that suggests businesses are moving towards centralized operations rather than departmental silos.
But why now? What has happened to make businesses see the light?
Well, it could be down to the rise in data analytics and the changes in technology. It’s now easier than ever before to collectively assess and analyze businesses in their entirety.
Technology is now mainstream. Affordable infrastructures are readily available for companies of all sizes. You no longer need to be a global conglomerate to be able to improve your business development strategies.
There’s also more pressure than ever before. Even before the pandemic, businesses were fighting for survival. Those who could adapt and change to evolving market trends were better placed than those operating through legacy systems and neglecting to update others on work plans or projects.
Customers have changed the way that they view businesses. Newer generations are tech-savvy. They will carefully research brands to find out their values and corporate mission, even before purchasing a product. Therefore, companies have had to adapt the ways that they work to meet these changing customer behaviors.
They’ve had to learn how to develop new products and use marketing techniques to improve customer perceptions and set expectations from the very outset. As a result, the traditional sales funnel has changed. It’s no longer the singular silo of sales teams. Instead, it heavily relies upon the expertise of marketing departments and customer success teams to acquire and retain long-term, repeat customers.
Could your business benefit from revenue operations?
Undertaking a cultural change and embedding new ways of working into a thriving business is a risky decision. But it may be required if you believe that you are struggling to keep up with daily tasks or feel that inefficiencies are starting to creep in.
Suppose you believe that revenue operations could be beneficial for your business. In that case, the first question you should ask yourself is:
“Do we know what is working in each area of the business?”
“Can we show how each department complements and supports each other’s functionality?”
If you cannot answer these questions easily, it may be the right time to consider investing in a RevOps team.
You might wish to begin by looking at the tools that you have in place. Are there any duplications occurring? For example, is there an overspend where you pay for dual software for multiple departments when one bespoke system could be cheaper and more efficient?
Instead, could you acquire, implement and manage the training and development of a new infrastructure that works in line with multiple departments as a cohesive tool?
Do you think that your internal processes are broken? Is there enough communication between different teams? Is everyone aware of what the company is working towards, and is everyone aligning themselves to the corporate vision?
Often in big companies, departments such as sales and marketing are left to their own devices. Work can become convoluted and inefficient if there is a lack of communication vertically from the C-Suite executives and horizontally from other departments. Not only can this create a disjointed business, but it can prevent business growth.
Therefore, it stands to reason that a revenue operations team can overhaul your businesses’ existing chain of command.
What is preventing businesses from taking advantage of RevOps?
According to research from ChargeBee, the ambiguity of RevOps is a key cause for concern.
With many employees unsure who should be taking responsibility for the role, it can often be pushed aside, with little to no strategic thought for how it could and should be implemented within the business.
What’s more, as businesses continue to use outdated technology or software solutions, teams can become increasingly misaligned, with inefficiencies creeping in.
With the wrong infrastructure in place, it can be difficult (almost impossible) to scale up your business at a rapid pace to meet changing consumer demand.
How do I get started with RevOps?
This may depend on the size and scale of your business. You may look at your internal resourcing and implement new ways of shared communication between different teams.
Using tools, such as Process Street, can be an effective way of communicating and collaborating with others.
You may wish to look at the shared features within MS Teams, or Slack, or even start by facilitating regular meetings to enhance face-to-face communications.
You could look at the different facets of revenue operations and split responsibilities between existing staff members. For example, your IT department could look at systems and tools, your HR team could focus on enablement, and your senior teams could look at improving operations management.
For an interim, this could be a quick and easy way to facilitate change before investing in dedicated RevOps personnel.
The larger your business, the more likely you will need to invest in additional resourcing to cover the revenue operations function. Large companies are more likely to work in silos and will benefit more from immediate changes.
By bringing in an experienced revenue operations manager, you can have an independent voice who isn’t unduly influenced by previous processes and operations.
But regardless of whether you are choosing to use the skills within your existing team or recruit externally for a dedicated RevOps manager, you should remember these wise words from RevOps consultancy firm, GoNimbly:
“Your revenue operations team shouldn’t be under the control of your go-to-market teams; they need to have full autonomy in order to drive holistic success without being subject to the pressure of a leader whose priority is a Sales or Marketing agenda.”
RevOps: Final thoughts
As we can see, revenue operations could become an increasingly important strategic function within businesses of all sizes across many sectors. But unfortunately, many companies are not taking advantage of the latest technology or learning from other departments. And this could not only be stunting professional growth, but it could also impact business growth.
By taking the time to invest in an independent revenue operations division, you can generate a more holistic overview of your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll start to see where you are overspending and identify the areas that require additional investment. With this data available, you can begin to make practical improvements that are not only designed to improve productivity and drive efficiency but will have a distinct impact on overall revenue.
It’s important to realize that even those thriving and generating growth can still benefit from continual evaluations and assessments to see if you are working as well as you should be. It may be tempting to put it off – after all, where’s the incentive if your sales forecasts are looking good? But those firms who become market leaders do so because they never stop innovating.
They never sit back and relax about what they are already doing. Instead, they continually explore, examine, and invest in new opportunities to make sure that they are finding improvements. Of course, this can only happen when you have a team in place who has the sole responsibility, allowing other departments (such as sales, marketing, or customer success) to focus on what they are good at.
Do you have a Revenue Operations Director at your organization? If not, is it something you’d consider adopting?Let us know in the comments below!
Oliver Peterson is a content writer for Process Street with an interest in systems and processes, attempting to use them as tools for taking apart problems and gaining insight into building robust, lasting solutions.