Imagine a world where marketers work with sales and customer success throughout the customer lifecycle.
No more silos or lack of accountability. Instead, everyone works together to close deals, retain accounts, and generate cross-sells and upsells.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Fact is, every business strives for closer alignment between its revenue-generating functions.
And implementing a revenue operations strategy is one of the most effective ways to make that happen.
Indeed, almost nine in 10 executives agree that RevOps plays an important part in meeting their business goals, according to a 2021 Salesforce survey.
But there’s a problem.
While they’re well aware of its positive impact, just two-fifths of those executives feel “very confident” that they understand revenue operations.
How can you build a successful revenue operations strategy if you don’t know what it is?
We’ve already helped organizations answer the question: “What is revenue operations?”
We will now explore the ins and outs of building a RevOps strategy.
What is a revenue operations strategy?
Revenue operations is about aligning three revenue-generating functions:
- Customer Success
The idea is that by tearing down departmental silos, each team will be better placed to drive growth and revenue throughout the customer lifecycle.
Your revenue operations strategy sets out how you plan to make it all happen, taking into account:
- The people who make up your revenue operations team.
- The RevOps responsibilities they’re tasked with carrying out.
- The RevOps tools they use to tackle those responsibilities.
- The objectives you want them to deliver.
- The revenue operations metrics you track to assess performance.
4 steps to create a revenue operations strategy
We know what a revenue operations strategy is and why you’d want to create one. Now let’s explore how to develop your own:
1. Ensure every team has access to RevOps data
Data is front and center of any successful RevOps function.
Without it, you can’t truly understand the customer at each step of their lifecycle, which stops you from making the informed decisions necessary to grow revenue.
You need high-quality data, too. If it’s not clean and to-the-minute, it’ll hold you back.
Unfortunately, putting all that stuff into place is rarely an overnight process. It requires customer data to be consolidated from multiple sources into new, useful configurations that can be easily consumed by analytics and business intelligence tools.
To achieve all that, you’ll inevitably need to invest in two key areas:
- New data platforms that can be accessed (and understood) by everyone within your revenue operations function.
- New processes for consolidating and cleaning data before it reaches those platforms.
It’s ultimately up to your data architecture specialists to plan for these challenges and find solutions.
2. Build a tech stack that works for each function
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if your entire revenue operations function could run on a single tool or platform?
Sadly, that’s not going to be the case.
According to one study, the average organization used eight SaaS apps in 2015, but that number had increased to an astonishing 110 apps by 2021.
We’re not saying you need 110 different tools to build a high-function RevOps unit, but you’ll definitely need a wide-ranging tech stack that provides the data required by each team.
Those tools will help you:
- Gather cross-channel customer lifecycle data by integrating your sales, marketing, and customer support stacks.
- Provide a single source of truth for customer data, helping you optimize your approach to revenue generation.
- Support forecasting and pipeline management by providing detailed analytics and data insights.
- Assess team performance by allowing you to set up and track revenue-related KPIs.
Need help choosing the right applications and platforms? Check out our guide to the 11 key revenue operations tools for building a powerful RevOps tech stack in 2022.
3. Create incentives to break down silos
Silos are fantastic for storing grain and missiles, but they’re pretty terrible for building a customer-centric, revenue-generating business.
According to one study, a siloed business mentality has wide-ranging negative impacts, including:
- Slower progress toward common goals
- Poorer cross-functional relationships and progress
- Compromised quality of service
This means that siloed organizations are less able to demonstrate value and achieve their growth targets.
In other words, silos are bad.
Implementing a revenue operations strategy doesn’t automatically guarantee that silos within your organization will immediately evaporate.
But it does give you a clear opportunity to align incentives across your revenue-generating functions to encourage everyone to pull in the same direction.
For instance, rather than targeting — and rewarding — your marketing team based on the volume of leads they pass on to sales, tie success to the number of opportunities that get over the line or the amount of revenue they produce.
That way, they’re naturally encouraged to provide sales with all the support and assets required to close the deal.
4. Get buy-in from the CRO
According to the same Salesforce research we cited earlier in this article, 32% of organizations have a role that sees one person given ultimate responsibility for revenue growth across every channel.
Since revenue operations are still a comparatively recent phenomenon, that’s a surprisingly high proportion.
And it’s only going to get higher, with 89% planning to introduce such a role within the next two years.
Typically, that person will be the chief revenue officer (CRO).
Often (but not always), the CRO will have previously headed up sales, marketing, or customer success.
They’ll be fanatical about converting leads into lifelong customers in the shortest, most friction-free way possible.
If your revenue operations strategy is going to succeed, you’ll need buy-in from the C-suite, and the CRO is the obvious choice.
4 elements to include in your revenue operations strategy
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to RevOps.
Each organization has its own unique strengths, goals, and challenges. So trying to implement a boilerplate strategy simply isn’t going to work.
However, there are some overarching elements that should appear in every revenue operations strategy, including:
1. A single source of data
Looking at top-level revenue doesn’t tell the full story. In fact, it barely tells you anything.
To truly understand your revenue-generating opportunities across all stages of the customer lifecycle, you need to dig into more granular data elements related to revenue, including:
- Product usage data
- Customer quotes
- Customer contracts
- Invoices and payments
- Other account data
As you can see, some of this data starts at the point when you’re creating new products — way before customers have begun using them — while other data points can be lifted straight from your enterprise resource planning system.
Gathering all those disparate elements together isn’t easy and requires a tool that’s up to the task.
Depending on how your organization works, the best single source of truth could be your CRM, a marketing automation tool, or a system built in-house.
2. A 360-degree view of the customer lifecycle
As we’ve already noted, the success of your RevOps function relies on gleaning insights from every customer touchpoint.
That doesn’t just mean the points where they first became aware of your product or made a buying decision.
It also incorporates all those humdrum interactions like sending invoices and chasing up late payments.
It’s helpful to consider things from the perspective of your finance team.
Typically, finance only sees finance data — the amount of money a customer owes and (possibly) the products or services they pay for.
That’s simply not enough in the world of revenue operations. They should also understand whether:
- Marketing is currently targeting the account in question.
- Sales have identified opportunities for further growth.
- Customer success has introduced them to new product features.
With a 360-degree view of the customer, finance has valuable context for customer interactions, which means they’re better placed to support the revenue-generating functions.
3. Opportunities to automate low-value tasks
In an ideal world, every person on your sales, marketing, and customer success teams would spend every working hour on high-value, revenue-generating activities.
But this isn’t an ideal world. Instead, they likely spend a ton of time on low-value drudge work, like transferring data from one platform to another.
Chances are you can achieve substantial efficiency savings by automating most — if not all — of those tasks.
Indeed, WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) Report revealed that:
- 54% of employees believe they could save 240 hours a year through automation.
- 41% of business leaders currently use workforce automation technology.
- 61% of business leaders believe it would be very easy to use automation in their industry within the next 12 months.
With that in mind, part of your revenue operations strategy should be built around identifying opportunities to automate low-value sales and marketing tasks.
The more you automate, the more time and money you’ll save.
4. A way to iterate based on revenue data
By its very nature, revenue operations is an iterative process.
As you generate more customer data and build a clearer picture of the full customer lifecycle, you’ll invariably find new and improved ways to:
- Generate leads
- Craft sales pitches
- Introduce new product features
Or, to put it another way, RevOps is never “finished”.
It requires a constant commitment to reviewing the data and optimizing existing processes to give you the best chance of growing revenue. It’s practically infinite.
This can be one of the biggest challenges to successfully implementing a revenue operations strategy.
Change management is rarely straightforward, and RevOps is no exception. Any business function or process could be targeted at any time, so your organization must have the resources and systems to develop and implement new approaches smoothly.
If not, you’ll massively limit the impact of your revenue operations unit.
Support your revenue operations strategy with Encharge
By this point, it should be clear that RevOps hinges on high-quality data drawn from a variety of sources and customer lifecycle stages.
Encharge can help.
We’re the only marketing automation platform to offer native integrations for the apps and tools that startups and digital businesses rely on — think Chargebee, HubSpot, Intercom, Stripe, and more.
Not only that, but we close all those leaky gaps between your sales and marketing stack.
And we do it all without requiring your developers to get involved, which means no holdups.
Find out how Encharge can support your RevOps strategy by signing up for your 14-day free trial.