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Revenue Operations

What is Alignment and How Can RevOps Help?

What do you think the most popular buzzwords are these days in the B2B SaaS world? ROI. Revenue Generation. ToFu. (Are we in a restaurant now? What are we eating? I’m hungry). LTV. MOPs. Perhaps of the most used floating around the RevOps community is alignment.

And it’s one of the things that RevOps boasts as a big asset to the GTM teams. But what does alignment actually mean?

What Exactly is RevOps?

First, let’s break down what RevOps is and what it is not. RevOps is both a tactical AND strategic partner to the GTM organization. The go-to-market teams, the revenue generating engine of the business, can count on RevOps to unite these business units under the processes, systems, and reporting which enable them to do what they do best. Bring. That. Money. In.

In their article, What is Revops, Builtin quotes Mike Griebenow, Director of Operations at Blendtek Ingredients, “If you’re in operations, I would say your exposure to RevOps was day one. You just didn’t know it was called RevOps.” This statement has never felt more true. I come from a background in operations and have felt aligned with RevOps since day one. I just didn’t know it yet.

RevOps is not just your local Salesforce, Marketo, Outreach, Gainsight, insert-your-GTM-tech-stack-of-choice-here administrator. And while it is true RevOps provides support to the GTM team, RevOps is not a support team in and of itself. Sure we have a ticketing process and we capture all of the bugs, feature requests, report builds, and systems integration needs, but we are not a help desk. We are tactical because we manage the day-to-day ins and outs of the inner workings of the revenue funnel, and we are strategic because we can be proactive in defining processes, frameworks, and allowing the organization to be flexible and adaptable.

So what does this all have to do with alignment anyway? Alignment means everyone is on the same page. It means everyone understands the goals and objectives of initiatives. It means they have a clear understanding of how changes big or small affect your top of funnel all the way through your post-sale motion. Coming together around the same customer-centric goals is the key to growing and scaling your company.

Masters of Revenue writes, “Creating a single organization with some combination of aligned goals, processes, technology, and people allows you to focus on the business in a more holistic fashion. In subscription businesses, both marketing and sales need to be aligned with the customer success organization so they can upsell, cross-sell and manage renewals and prevent churn.”

To expand further, they also write, “In addition, with the rise of software-as-a-service and subscription business models, renewing customers year-after-year is critical for recovering customer acquisition costs and continued growth. Every touch point from the first time they see an ad or blog to what happens after the ink has dried on the contract is equally critical.

As a result, a new way to work is emerging to accommodate every stage of the modern buyer’s journey: Revenue Operations.”

But How Do You Gain Alignment with RevOps?

Thinking this all sounds great? Sure, Asia. It sounds great. We want alignment among our marketing, sales, and customer success teams. What does that look like? And what can it look like when there is no alignment?

Our company is aligned. We talk every day on Slack. We have a meeting every week. There is a document somewhere in Google Drive that we looked at once. Alignment is more than the same conversation in multiple Slack threads. Alignment is ensuring each team has the same definition and understanding of key metrics, GTM processes, hand-off points, and anything that has potential to impact the buyer’s journey.

What does it look like when this fails? Picture this. You are heads down in deep focus on an operations project. You look up and there are several Slack messages (or emails, or text messages if you’re really lucky). The CFO, CEO, and CMO have all messaged you separately and asked why SQL (sales qualified lead) conversion rates are down. Each of them has sent a different report and upon first glance, they all look mostly correct. Each person insists the one they are looking at is correct and there must be a bug in your tech stack. Uh-oh. Not a system bug.

After minutes of going back and forth, you discover all three reports are technically correct, but not everyone is in agreement about what constitutes an SQL. So this prompts you to gather (probably virtually or in a Slack thread) and come to final agreement of what an SQL is. While you’re at it, you remind them there is a dashboard with all the metrics they need and they can get the same report whenever they want. No system bugs, sales to marketing handoff stays intact (because SQL conversion rate was a bit higher after all).

But imagine you have a cross functional business partner in the organization at day 1. This person keeps your teams aware of these things before they become an issue. They know when people are busy and stressed, they can forget things. So your RevOps team member pulls up the documentation for “What is an SQL”, how do we measure it, and where is that report anyway? Cross-functional projects that touch sales, marketing, customer success, product & engineering has the cross-functional glue from RevOps to make sure impact across the entire GTM team is understood and communicated. (Even if that means constant reminders. Trust me, it’s worth it.)

So you want to level up your RevOps. Or, you’re an organization that has decided to make the jump and invest in a RevOps leader/team. You can rest assured your teams are going to be aligned with everyone on the same page for definitions of all the key aspects of your business. What does that translate to? More revenue in the door of course. Now where’s the ToFu? I’m still hungry.

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