Revenue is a big word in business, and recently, it’s changed forever. More and more company roles are being produced to manage and strategize the direction of revenue. Titles like Director of Revenue Operations, VP Revenue Operations, and Chief Revenue Officer are all commonplace in businesses.
But what is revenue operations? Why is it essential for your business to focus on it?
In today’s article, we will go over all of your questions and more. Let’s jump straight into it.
What is revenue operations?
Revenue operations (or RevOps) in a business is a process that aims to drive predictable revenue.
The overall goal of revenue operations is to improve the efficiency of the revenue-generating process to promote predictability and growth. This can be done through a number of processes, including but not limited to the rewriting of internal operations, client acquisition improvements, client delight empowerment, and even establishing a company culture centered around driving revenue.
The three pillars of RevOps
All of this is possible through RevOps based on what we call the three pillars. These three pillars can be considered building blocks, providing the foundation needed to support the operations and drive that predictable revenue and growth that we talked about before. The three pillars of revenue operations are:
People are important in revenue operations because success relies on the collaboration and cooperation of teams within a business. These teams should be aligned with a single view of the business and revenue targets. On top of that, the customers that you sell to are the sole contributors to predictable revenue.
Data is one of the most important parts of any improvement within a business. For RevOps, connecting data for business and activities across organization silos and tech stacks is equally important.
The third and final pillar is how you increase operational rigidity. A big portion of revenue operations is building, promoting, and improving a culture that supports collaboration. When RevOps is in full swing, you will notice more improvements like faster sales cycles and higher retention.
The benefits of revenue operations
RevOps promotes collaboration between teams within the company and, as we stated just above, predictable business growth. These two points alone are enough to grasp why you need revenue operations, but it also comes with an awe-inspiring set of statistics to back it up.
According to Boston Consulting Group, big B2B tech companies that relied on revenue operations to drive growth experienced significant results. Among these results are a staggering 10-20% increase in productivity in sales.
Using this tighter alignment, go-to-market teams also experienced the following:
- Up to 30% of GTM expenses were reduced.
- Lead acceptance increased by 10%.
- Customer satisfaction increased by 15-20% internally.
- ROI increased in digital marketing by 100-200%.
According to Forrester, even public companies that implemented revenue operations experienced a 71% increase in stock performance. That same research showed the following improvements for those public companies:
- 15% increase in profits
- 19% increase in growth rate
- 10-20% productivity increase in sales
- 30% GTM expense reduction
- Customer satisfaction increased by 15-20% internally
How to create a RevOps team
Each business will have its own method for revenue operations. There are many techniques and strategies, but they all boil down to four key roles and their given responsibilities: management, insights, enablement, and tools.
All four of these roles need to be covered for your revenue operations to succeed. The way you go about assigning RevOp roles is entirely up to you. You can choose to give one person multiple responsibilities by putting them in more than one role, or you can spread a single role across a team. Let’s talk about each role in a little more detail.
The management role in RevOps does what any manager would do in any other department. They provide the resources and support that the rest of the team needs to do their jobs and decide on business objectives and strategy. A RevOps manager would also be responsible for providing sales and marketing with whatever they need to be efficient.
In addition to these responsibilities, a RevOps manager might find themselves doing the following: process innovation, team collaboration improvements, sales compensation and management, change management, and project management.
The role of anyone assigned to insights is to gather data, then use it to create actionable and strategic intelligence. This is essentially the same role as a data analyst, database developer, or business analyst.
This person or team of people might need to manage data, assume responsibility for data quality, control information access, provide insight for various operations, and develop insights for strategy.
Initially, revenue operations team enablement was born from sales enablement. This role is all about removing any sort of operational friction by expediting revenue generation. Anyone involved in an enablement role will assist sales, marketing, and customer service.
The exact responsibilities of this role will 100% depend on the needs of each team. However, the overall goal is to streamline their processes and make it easier for them to work and generate revenue.
Across the board, RevOps team enablement might require the assistance of HR, some coaching from team leaders, and some sales compensation.
We will talk more about the tools involved with revenue operations a bit later, but for now, you should know that there is a role tied to managing, operating, and discovering new tools to streamline the process.
Ideally, this role will involve understanding the solutions that each team member needs to be successful and having the power to obtain them if needed. This person or people should also be very familiar with tools like CRMs, marketing automation tools, sales tools, expense management software, business operations, and system administration skills.
What’s the difference between revenue operations and sales?
You may have noticed that we’ve referenced sales a few times already. It can be easy to confuse sales with revenue operations and vice versa. After all, they’re both after the same thing: more sales, more revenue, and more profit. But, there is a difference between sales and revenue operations.
Let’s be clear here, though, that sales and revenue operations focus on the same thing. The difference is where they aim that focus. For example, sales, of course, is focused 100% on sales and increasing revenue there. On the other hand, revenue operations focus on multiple functions in sales, marketing, finance, and even customer service.
You can make the same comparison between revenue operations and any siloed operation. They’re all focused on themselves and their own operations, while revenue operations set focus more broadly.
Does my company need revenue operations?
Given all of the statistics above, the short answer to this question is yes; your company does need revenue operations.
I get it, though. Sometimes, companies are skeptical and slow to spend time, money, and effort investing in the next big thing.
Unfortunately, teams and departments could become gradually more siloed, which is not a good thing. All teams should be aligned and on the same page for most things, but revenue is among the most important. Blame it on more companies going remote, lack of communication, or whatever else you can think of, but the absence of revenue operations comes with its own set of problems. If your teams are struggling with some of the points below, it is time to implement some RevOps.
Teams struggling with alignment
If you cannot identify what team is driving revenue and what they’re doing to drive it, then you cannot replicate it and make the revenue predictable. In short, it will be impossible to understand what’s working and what’s dragging you down.
The team has too many tools
Sometimes it can be hard to resist a shiny new marketing tool that will help make a process easier. That being said, is it absolutely necessary? If it is necessary, are you sure that the people that could benefit from the said tool are actually using it? These are all common issues within marketing and sales teams.
In addition to that issue, too many tools can use too much time to learn and operate. You absolutely need to nail down the tools that work, the tools that don’t, who needs access to certain tools, and who doesn’t need access. This process (and the role attached to it within RevOps) in itself can end up saving money and driving revenue.
Sales and marketing teams lack focus
If your sales and marketing team aren’t aligned, they will lack focus. It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: sales and marketing teams should be empowered to do the work they enjoy and are good at.
RevOps encourages the sales team to sell and the marketing team to, you guessed it, market. If you have these people playing the guessing game, wandering around unaligned, not knowing when a lead is sales qualified vs. marketing qualified, then you will have a massive hiccup in your entire operation.
In addition to these internal pain points above, there are three big signs that you could benefit from revenue operations.
1. You’re a SaaS
SaaS companies benefit the most from breaking down those nasty silos that we talked about earlier. They thrive on finding ways to reduce churn, which is why SaaS and RevOps go hand-in-hand.
2. The sales team is growing
If you have a large sales team that continues to grow, you definitely need to implement revenue operations. The bigger the team, the bigger the need for maximizing efficiency, which is exactly what RevOps is designed to do.
3. Your software stack is about to topple
We’ve mentioned this several times, but a core responsibility of RevOps is to manage tools within the sales and marketing teams. If you have a giant stack of tools that you constantly bounce between, then it’s not very efficient. You need to condense that stack!
Best tools for revenue operations
As you’ve probably picked up on at this point, revenue operations are all about efficiency. You have to evolve your processes in order to maximize their potential constantly. With that comes a long list of tools that you can use.
Now, of course, we’re not going to sit here and list every tool you can use for revenue operations. That list is essentially infinitely long. However, we can give you some categories and some examples for each.
For example, we mentioned some of the types of tools that you might want to invest in: CRMs, marketing tools, sales tools, business operations tools, and system administration tools.
Starting from the beginning of that list, you have CRMs. These are among the most common tools for any business, but they are extremely important for revenue operations. Think about the three pillars of revenue operations once more. People make up one-third of the core operations in RevOps, so it makes sense that you utilize a platform that helps manage them. The best advice is to invest in a good CRM that your team is comfortable with and scales with your business.
Marketing automation tools
Marketing automation has been at the forefront of business advancement for years now. Every quarter, we see new and improved processes thanks to automation. In RevOps, if you want to be efficient, you have to automate what you can.
This is not to say that you should blow the budget on tools that automate every little detail. But if it saves time, it will eventually save money, making the process more efficient.
Let’s take, for example, email marketing automation. Can you imagine how long it would take to customize and send out hundreds or even thousands of emails? It takes me some time to draft a single email sometimes, especially if it’s a Monday.
Email marketing automation tools like Encharge help keep track of the customer journey so that you don’t have any guesswork. Thanks to simple automation, emails get to the right people at the right time. This is a prime example of marketing automation tools that help streamline revenue and make it far more predictable.
Sales automation tools
Just like the marketing team needs tools to help automate their workflow, the sales team will need some, too. Again, this will all depend on your needs as a company and their needs as a team. You can implement a number of tools to make their work more efficient, contributing to some solid RevOps implementation.
Again, you can utilize an email marketing tool like Encharge to communicate and convert leads into SQLs, but you can also implement a tool like Salesforce to help track your leads from the top to the bottom of the sales funnel.
In sales, some of the most powerful and useful tools are the ones that make the lead generation and prospect processes faster. When you boil it down, the quicker you can pinpoint leads and prospects, the faster you can send them on their way, ideally all the way to conversion.
Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of this does sound like marketing. But, sales and marketing need to work hand-in-hand to get the job done. If you’re not quite sure where marketing ends and sales begin, be sure to check out our article on the key differences between sales and marketing.
Remember, efficiency is the name of the game in revenue operations. You have to keep a tight schedule if you want to run a tight ship. That means that meetings, events, and any sort of time-consuming task/project should be transparently shared with the team.
For that reason, a scheduling tool is very important for effective revenue operations. Customer meetings, internal meetings, sales calls, and anything else that might take you away from your normal routine need to be communicated with the rest of the team.
Many people use Google Calendar to help keep track of meetings. It’s easy to keep track of what people are doing within an organization, and it’s all easily accessible by anyone that has your email.
On the other hand, many people prefer to have a dedicated scheduling tool like Calendly. What makes tools like this so unique is that they can be integrated with other tools within an organization. This really helps clean up the RevOps tech stack.
All-in-all, what’s most important is that you have a tool that everyone has access to, understanding what others are doing. Nothing is worse than trying to nail down a meeting with someone and not knowing what times work best. It causes confusion and is the exact opposite of efficiency.
Revenue intelligence tools collect usage and sales data from leads, prospects, and current customers, then analyze it using AI and ML. They help identify metrics and market trends that can maximize your revenue and optimize your sales process.
The future of revenue operations
Revenue operations and their roles have seen a massive rise in recent years. As more and more businesses enter the market, it’s more important now than it’s ever been to really have your ducks in a row.
According to research conducted by Forrester, job titles, including the word revenue, have seen a dramatic increase on LinkedIn since 2018. When you compare this increase to the sales-oriented job title counterparts, the rise in revenue operations is even more dramatic.
We could see entire transformations of the sales and marketing departments in the future. As more and more revenue operations are implemented in various industries, strategies and ideas will be born, giving way to new and exciting advancements in RevOps. We’re still learning a lot right now, and the operation as a whole changes constantly. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
How to start implementing revenue operations
Now we’ve reached the point where you might be asking yourself how to implement revenue operations. As crazy as it sounds, there is a way to start implementing revenue operations even without a massive team of experts. We’ll break it down into four steps.
Step 1. Audit your customer journey
Every good project starts with an audit, right? To understand where you need to improve, you have to audit the customer journey between departments. Doing so will allow you to pinpoint the discount and improve. Here’s how you can do that.
- Audit your content across the board. Align it with the lifecycle stages of your buyer, and devise a plan to fill in the gaps.
- Conduct an audit on the tools you use within the sales, marketing, and customer service departments. What’s no longer needed can be cut or consolidated. If you find gaps or needs within this audit, you can implement new tools.
- Focus on CRO by auditing your website and main web pages. Find where you can optimize the conversion process and conduct tests to see if you are implementing the best practices.
Step 2. Define your lifecycle stages and align them with the team
We’ve talked a lot about alignment in this article, so it’s given that it’s needed to implement revenue operations. After you audit and understand the disconnect, it’s time to define and align. You can do so by following these three simple steps.
- Ensure a full-funnel view of your pipeline and your company’s health by evaluating your RevOp analytics.
- Eliminate redundancy with your tech stack and other processes within teams
- Streamline RevOps processes for the team with content marketing, inbound and outbound sales, and customer satisfaction.
Step 3. Build/restructure
With RevOps, it’s all about moving forward. In order to make that process easier, you have to generate momentum. Press the boundaries of what you’re used to, and build and/or restructure the following:
- Create a plan for go-to-market customer acquisition and customer delight
- Ensure that accurate data is being processed within your system by building workflows to move prospects efficiently.
- Build emails for inbound sales follow-ups
- Build outbound emails for outreach
- Constantly check for bottlenecks and chokepoints. Once identified, structure a path forward that moves around them or shoots straight through them.
Step 4. Activate and maintain
Consistency is the key to growth in revenue operations. You have to activate your revenue operations strategy and maintain it in order to see true growth and evolution. Here’s how you can do that:
- Conduct regular meetings for revenue operations. In these meetings, you will nail down your growth goals and align the heads of sales, marketing, and customer service, ensuring that they understand their role and how they contribute.
- Maintain an active 6-12 month activation plan to ensure the continuous growth and optimization of your RevOps plan.
Conclusions and takeaway
Revenue operations may not have been around for too long, but it certainly is making strides in business. The process represents all the data, repetition, communication, decisions, and people that it took to get a company where it is today. It capitalizes on what a company has already built and focuses on ways to make every aspect that contributes to predictable revenue easier to identify and repeat.
Companies with growing sales, marketing, and customer service teams need to utilize RevOps. Getting a lead to the end of the funnel is no longer as simple as passing a lead from marketing to sales and customer success. These teams (as well as everyone else in the business) need to operate on a common view of the business. They need to come together and optimize absolutely everything they can to harness the power of any sort of revenue-generating process.
So what does that mean for you reading this? It means that everything above should be considered to start identifying internal pain points and obstacles. You need dedicated roles to bring alignment to the varied team’s workflow. You need revenue operations.
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