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Revenue Operations

All You Need To Know About RevOps

Revenue Operations is a game-changer in today’s business landscape, playing a crucial role in optimizing revenue-related activities within an organization. To make your RevOps lives easier, we’ve gathered insights from three leaders — Laura Wheeler, Lisa Kelly, Jacki Leahy — starting at RevCon — you can watch the session here:

RevOps-Panel

This article serves as a follow-up read. Laura Wheeler breaks down the essentials of RevOps, exploring its definition, importance, and key distinctions from business operations. From setting priorities and collaborating with cross-functional teams to understanding the metrics that matter, this post can become your go-to guide for navigating RevOps! Dive in! 

How do you define RevOps?

Revenue Operations is an evolving role that is responsible for people, processes and technology to drive efficient revenue within an organization. Its goal is to unify and define an operational strategy from lead to customer advocacy.  

  • What’s the difference between Revenue Operations and Business Operations?

Revenue Operations (RevOps): Revenue Operations is a relatively new and specialized function that focuses specifically on optimizing and aligning all revenue-related activities within an organization. This team’s primary goal is to drive revenue growth and efficiency. Key responsibilities of a RevOps team include:

  • Sales Operations: Managing and optimizing sales processes, tools, and strategies to increase revenue and sales team productivity.
  • Marketing Operations: Aligning marketing efforts with sales goals and ensuring that marketing campaigns generate qualified leads and contribute to revenue growth.
  • Customer Success/Support Operations: Focusing on post-sale activities, such as customer onboarding, retention, support to maximize customer lifetime value.
  • Data and Analytics: Collecting, analyzing, and reporting on data related to revenue, customer behavior, and sales performance to make data-driven decisions.
  • Technology Stack Management: Evaluating, implementing, and maintaining the technology tools and systems necessary for revenue-related functions.
  • Cross-functional Collaboration: Facilitating communication and alignment between sales, marketing, and customer success teams to ensure they work cohesively to achieve revenue goals.

 

Business Operations (BizOps): Business Operations is a broader function that encompasses a wide range of activities aimed at improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of an organization. While BizOps can also play a role in revenue growth, its responsibilities are more varied and may include:

  • Strategy Development: Formulating and implementing strategic plans and initiatives to achieve overall business objectives.
  • Financial Management: Managing budgets, financial planning, and cost optimization across the organization.
  • Process Improvement: Identifying and streamlining operational processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Legal and Compliance: Ensuring the organization complies with relevant laws and regulations.
  • IT and Technology Management: Managing technology infrastructure, IT support, and other technology-related aspects to support the business.
  • Project Management: Coordinating and executing projects and initiatives across different departments.
  • Market Research: Analyzing market trends, customer behavior, and competitive landscape to inform business decisions.

What are the key challenges for RevOps teams?

In today’s landscape, tech consolidation is one of the biggest challenges.  Tech M&A + innovations are happening quickly, so it’s difficult to stay up to date on the latest functionalities to drive efficient processes.  The second challenge is ‘change management’ — as the business evolves, communication, skills and tech change all the time, which can be difficult for the employees. Making sure that stakeholders are up to date on the latest information internally can help an organization be agile and innovate faster. 

At what stage does an organization need a RevOps team?

Revenue Operations should start to take shape and centralize when internal revenue starts to accelerate.  Once marketing, sales and CX leadership have come to the table and proved product market fit, then a revenue operations team can come in to start building a repeatable revenue motion.  

At what size do you make your first RevOps-specific hire and what should be the role? 

Most commonly, Revenue Operations starts to take shape at the $ 5-10M ARR mark within an organization.  Based on the make up of current roles within the organization, a strategic Revenue Operations hire would unify the responsibilities across the company, including systems admin, marketing operations and/or sales operations.  

RevOps/ Sales Ops/ Marketing Ops – what structure works best for which stage of a company?

The choice between RevOps, Sales Ops, or Marketing Ops depends on various factors, including the company’s size, industry, business model, and specific needs. Here’s a breakdown of each and how they may be suitable for different stages of a company’s development:

  • Sales Operations (Sales Ops):
    • Role: Sales Ops focuses on optimizing the sales process, improving sales team productivity, and ensuring that sales goals are met.
    • Best for: Sales Ops is typically most relevant for companies in the early to mid-stages of growth when they are building a sales team and need to streamline their sales processes. It’s crucial for companies with a strong emphasis on direct sales.
  • Marketing Operations (Marketing Ops):
    • Role: Marketing Ops focuses on streamlining marketing efforts, managing marketing technology, and ensuring marketing campaigns are efficient and effective.
    • Best for: Marketing Ops is often suitable for businesses of all sizes, particularly those heavily reliant on marketing for lead generation and customer acquisition. It can be beneficial at the early stages when building a marketing team or at any stage when the marketing effort is substantial.
  • Revenue Operations (RevOps):
    • Role: RevOps is a holistic approach that combines both Sales Ops and Marketing Ops with a focus on aligning the entire revenue generation process, from marketing and sales to customer success.
    • Best for: RevOps is typically most valuable for companies in the mid to late stages of growth and those that have complex sales cycles and larger customer bases. It helps to ensure that all revenue-generating functions work together seamlessly and that customer experiences are consistent.

Here’s a breakdown of the stages where each structure may be more appropriate:

  • Early-Stage Startups: In the early stages, you may begin with a focus on Sales Ops as you build and scale your sales team. As marketing efforts increase, you can gradually incorporate Marketing Ops.
  • Mid-Stage Companies: Companies in this stage may benefit from both Sales Ops and Marketing Ops, working in parallel to optimize the sales and marketing processes. At this stage, considering the transition to RevOps to improve alignment between these functions can be advantageous.
  • Late-Stage or Enterprise Companies: Large, established companies with complex sales cycles and a wide range of customers are more likely to benefit from RevOps, as it ensures greater alignment between all revenue-generating functions, including sales, marketing, and customer success.

How can a company transition to a RevOps model (if they’ve never had one before)?

First, start by outlining the roles and responsibilities of a desired Revenue Operations teams. More than likely you have individuals in the organization that are fractionally responsible for that role, or in the role but are disparately aligned to different departments within the organization.  Second, you will need a Head of Revenue Operations to take ownership and drive strategy.  Centralize the team and start building out roles for the gap you need to run a proper RevOps org.  Lastly, prioritize hiring based on the roles that are business-critical to fill and hire for them.  

 

To whom should RevOps leaders report to?

Revenue Operations works best when it’s closely connected to the level where Marketing, Sales, and Customer Experience come together. This could be under a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), or Chief of Staff. Being close to the leader of all three revenue functions allows for cohesive strategy development, combining both top-down and bottoms-up approaches.

 

Does the RevOps leader control the budget?

The budget is assigned by the Finance department and overseen by either the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) or the Head of Revenue Operations. Granting each department autonomy over their profit and loss (P&L) fosters ownership and accountability for every investment made within the Revenue Organization.

 

How do you set priorities and a working cadence when the majority of RevOps work requires buy-in and support from other teams?

First, define how you work:

  • Start by defining & evangelizing clear RevOps charter – what is our function in the business.
  • DACI “Charter” may be helfpul – what are things RevOps own, collaborate, need to be informed about.
  • Ensure that these align with the broader organizational goals.  
  • Analyze how people work with your team 
    •  “Working Styles” exercise
    • Intake form
  • Establish a cadence of regular meetings with stakeholders to discuss progress, challenges, and upcoming initiatives. 
  • Document processes and decisions to ensure everyone understands the rationale behind prioritization.

Then, set clear priorities:

  • Have a philosophy on ‘How you decide on the priorities’
  • When do you plan priorities?
  • How do you decide?  Who is involved?
  • What happens if things change?
  • TOPs Down/Bottoms Up
  • Collaborate & Win:  With the 2 above as foundational.
  • ‘Meet them where they are at’  meaning a CONSTANT communication in channels that your stakeholders use (Slack, Email, Video, Team Meetings)
  • Change happens, so be clear with stakeholders

Which part of the revenue funnel needs attention first?

Typically, the middle funnel plays a crucial role in accelerating new revenue, but it’s essential to emphasize that each stage of the funnel requires consistent attention. Being aware of the significant investments and inflows at various stages enables you to channel energy efficiently, ensuring the protection of dollars while maximizing output.

 

How do the RevOps priorities evolve as an organization grows?

Priorities and strategy evolve as businesses mature.  Depending on what type of investments, models, product releases, personnel that is brought into an organization Revenue Operations is the conduit to help identify efficiency gaps.  By allowing Revenue Operations a seat at the table, they can help formulate and bring to life strategies the business has in HOW things will get done. 

 

What is the RevOps tech stack?

In a typical Revenue/GTM tech stack you will see the following:

 

CRM: Salesforce, Hubspot, Dynamics

Marketing Engagement Platform: Hubspot, Marketo, Qualified, Drift

Lead Generation: Sales Nav, ZoomInfo, LeadIQ

Conversation Intelligence Tool: Chorus, Gong, Wingman 

Revenue engagement platform: Outreach, Salesloft, Clari, Scratchpad, 

Data Integrity tools: LeanData, 6Sense, Clearbit

Analytics software: Tableau, Power BI, Looker

Enablement: Seismic, Highspot, Mindtickle, Brainshark, Spekit, Showpad

 

How to bridge the gap between C-Suite and RevOps Teams?

RevOps helps build foundational processes that lead to healthy, sustainable revenue. But C-Suite doesn’t always recognize the importance and RevOps folks are distanced from leadership decisions. How can Revops help bridge that gap?

First and foremost, having a solid Revenue Operations Charter and making sure organizational stakeholders know how Revenue Operations fits into the strategy of the company is key. Many times leaders don’t know what Revenue Operations full capabilities are, they move too quickly or forget to align properly.  By calling awareness into where you can make an impact as a Revenue Operations team helps leadership understand the value of the role.  Secondly, surfacing data & delivering insights is the best way to drive strategy and visibility cross teams. By showing that you can surface key insights into the business, you can position yourself in a way to be a partner and key stakeholder in decisions.   

How do you collaborate with cross-functional teams?

Aligning cross-functionally with teams is not easy.  It takes constant communication, transparency and trusting relationships.  Communication is key to assuring alignment.  By understanding how your key stakeholders like to be communicated with, helps ensure that information is flowing and builds Transparency. Transparency means surfacing insights and information early, at the expected frequency, and making updates accessible for anyone involved.  Lastly, people are human – so by taking time to listen and get to know your stakeholders, you can build trust and honesty when trying to tackle hard problems together.  

 

How should the RevOps teams get involved in annual planning?

Revenue Operations will work with Finance + Revenue leaders to model headcount, compensation plans and budgets for next year’s growth targets.  Making sure that the proper data inputs are in the model to output what the plan is for the next fiscal year is based on the data integrity from the Ops team. 

 

How do organize the metrics (top company ones vs. those tracked by RevOps)?

Metrics have no basement, you can always get more granular and correlative, so make sure that you fully understand what outcomes the company is trying to achieve (lagging indicators) and settle in on the leading indicators that are the correct inputs.  Metrics should be tracked weekly, monthly and quarterly.  Top company metrics are usually tracked quarterly.  Based on the (leading indicators), key stakeholders in Renveue Leadership will look at monthly metrics and usually the Revenue Operations team will monitor the weekly inputs.  By having a waterfall model, the RevOps team can raise a red flag if weekly/daily metrics are missed and track trends to indicate if a pivot is needed. 

 

What are the top metrics / KPIs that RevOps teams should be held accountable for?

Here are some examples of the metrics: 

  • Quota worthy: GRR, NRR, New ARR, New Logo acquisition, 
  • NonQuota (Bonus-worthy): CAC, GRR, NRR, New ARR,  

Sales Velocity Metrics: ASP, WinRate/Close Rate, Deal cycle length, AE efficiency (“did we model a good plan”)

How do you measure the success of RevOps initiatives?

You can measure the success of a project without a metric, though all the initiatives should be connected to a company or revenue OKR/goal and have a metric tracking improvement.  By doing this, you can drive impact and alignment to top line goals and can track before and after improvements.  At least 1-3 metrics (depending on how large the project is) should be called out in the project plan, visible to stakeholders and reported on weekly up to leadership to show value and effort of the team.  

How can RevOps influence and align with the wider organization on data and metrics?

Mapping out formulas on what data points make up each Revenue or Business metric is key.  The metrics your team is responsible for & the data integrity can be called out in your Revenue Operations charter.  This can also help you outline other metrics that you may not own and work cross-functionally with those stakeholders to ensure that you have access or visibility. By doing this, you and your team can identify the data that needs monitoring/cleaning and integrate that into your operational cadence. 

 

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