Who is responsible for generating revenue for the company? Is it the sales teams who close deals, or the product team, responsible for the product that customers buy?
Of course there’s not just one answer, because each team that has a place in the sales funnel, by default, has a revenue impact.
Something special happens when teams drop their siloed mentality about their roles in the revenue process, and instead base their decision-making on their revenue impact. Teams’ core goals, their decision-making process, and how executives communicate and work together all shift toward better support and alignment.
For example, imagine a marketing team focused solely on audience reach or leads generated as their KPIs, or key performance indicators. Now, imagine a marketing team that bases success by how many millions of dollars in potential deals they add to the sales pipeline.
At Clari, we talk about trading a mentality of silos and gate-keeping for one of transparency and rigor aligned to a holistic revenue operations structure. Such shifts drive more predictable revenue and consistent, long-term growth.
I spoke with David Dulany, founder and CEO of Tenbound for “The Sales Development Podcast,” about why this shift is so powerful. We discussed how to make this shift successfully, and what it looks like to make revenue impact a decision-making factor for each go-to-market team—and how a revenue operations structure can make this a reality.
Stream the full podcast or read some of the highlights below.
Marketing and the revenue operations funnel
Traditionally, a marketing team may measure its success around the number of leads it creates or number of warm leads. A customer success team’s main success factor might be the customer satisfaction score.
But they don’t need to stop there.
A revenue-focused marketing team also looks down-funnel to see how many of the leads they bring in are turning into qualified pipeline and ultimately, how much of that pipeline translates into revenue.
For example, we tracked the revenue impact of our virtual conference, Generation Revenue 2021. GenR2021 brought revenue leaders together to create awareness about revenue operations, help revenue teams understand their role in the revenue operations engine, and connect the next generation of revenue leaders. Of course, the event was also a revenue generating effort for us.
Our marketing and events team tracked who registered and attended the event, but these measurements, while useful, won’t show the full revenue impact of an event. Our teams also tracked which sessions those registrants attend and what content they downloaded afterwards.
Here’s why this matters. Say a marketing team has a registration goal of 1,000 people. They surpass that goal, and call it a win. This is where many marketing teams may stop paying as close attention.
But if a marketing team tracks the percentage of people that registered, attended, and requested a demo, they know what percentage of attendees turned into early stage opportunities. Now we’re looking at pipeline measurements.
The power in the difference between these two approaches ladders up to the C-suite. When the chief marketing officer talks to the chief finance officer, they might have said, “we had 1,200 people attend the event.” But going a step deeper with the tracking, the CMO can say instead, “we generated $6 million of qualified pipeline from the event.”
That turns into a completely different conversation.
Revenue impaction, from sales to customer experience
Revenue-focused teams base their actions on the ultimate revenue impact. They’ll have an understanding of what this is—even if it’s just a hypothesis—and a plan in place to measure it.
Experimentation is important in growth-minded companies. But being revenue-focused, which also means being data-based, helps teams try new things without repeating the same mistakes. Each team now has the same goal off of which they report and iterate off of.
The revenue impact of any given action is not always an easy thing to define or measure. For instance, brand awareness campaigns may not have a measurable impact on revenue, and yet they’re still important.
Executives need to have strategies for long-term data collection and analysis, which often requires better coordination across teams, with an eye on both short-term and long-term needs. We know what we have to do this quarter, but we also know we have to do this year or over the next five years in order to ensure there’s enough pipeline for long-term growth.
How revenue operations can streamline the pipeline
Because each team is conditioned to only being responsible for their piece of the funnel, having an outside team or a leader whose job it is to look at the sales funnel as a whole becomes necessary.
This is the role of RevOps.
On a strategy or visionary level, revenue operations leaders can aid this alignment by showing how one point leads to another, so that each team can see how their day-to-day work connects to generating more business.
On a tactical level, operations leads help set in place the software, processes, and data measurement that turn vision into a reality.
For instance, understanding the revenue impact of each team starts by setting up a system to track it, whether you're using your CRM and spreadsheets, or a more robust platform like Clari.
In a revenue operations structure, leaders ensure each team uses the same tools in the same way so that data will flow seamlessly through the funnel. And they make sure each team has access to the data that shows their impact on the pipeline.
A RevOps leader will help coordinate best-practices and goal setting across teams to encourage better teamwork and coordination. You’ll find that when each team in the sales funnel is focused on the same goal: their revenue-impact, it naturally encourages alignment.
And through this process, each team truly becomes a revenue team.