Revenue Operations Forecasting

Long-Term Revenue Goals: Establishing a Quarterly Operating Cadence

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Clari Team



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There’s a saying that goes, “How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time.”

Similarly, the only way to meet—and even exceed—your company’s revenue goals is by establishing regular checkpoints along the way. That’s where operational cadences come in.

“Cadences are the glue that connects your revenue team’s daily actions to your company’s overall strategy,” says Josh VanGeest, Vice President of Revenue Operations at Clari. “Achieving your goals requires the continuous reinforcement that cadences deliver.”

Read on to learn what operational cadences do, why they benefit revenue teams and the organization as a whole, and how to establish a strong quarterly cadence of your own.

Operational Cadence Defined

A revenue operating cadence is a regular interval where revenue and sales teams meet to organize, review, and complete work. These cadences can happen daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. Your organization will likely have multiple operational cadences, each with its own set of goals and objectives, that work in concert with each other to drive predictable revenue. 

For example, your weekly one-on-one meetings represent a weekly cadence. Forecast calls at the start of each month represent a monthly cadence. And your quarterly business reviews (QBRs) and board meetings represent a quarterly operational cadence. Together, these important conversations represent your overall revenue operating cadence.

Syncing the Various Calendars in Business

There are multiple teams involved in a successful revenue organization. For example, sales teams are laser-focused on working and closing more deals within the current quarter. Marketing teams drive multiple campaigns to generate more leads for the next quarter. And customer success and support teams are dedicated to the continued optimal customer experience every quarter.

The reality is that you need every revenue team on the same page to succeed, making sure everyone has access to the same data and established source of truth. The best way to make sure everyone is aligned and working toward the same goal is to establish a consistent operating cadence—at whichever intervals make the most sense for your business.

When done well, operating cadences align leaders from across the revenue team. This is where revenue operations platforms like Clari come in handy: They quickly unify teams around data, allowing everyone to identify goals and track team progress easily. 

“Clari is purpose-built to help sales leaders and sellers get on the same page,” Joshua Moreau, Strategy Consultant at Clari, explains. “Making sure the sellers who are on the front lines, who have the most insight about the opportunity, are looking at the same data as their leaders also builds a layer of trust. For example, instead of interrogating a seller asking for more pipeline and more qualified deals, have a conversation and work together to review opportunities and figure out how to move deals forward. What is important here is accountability."

That layer of trust is critical to ensure “everybody is on the same page when it comes to the strengths and weaknesses so that you can better predict what’s going to happen in the future,” he notes.

Advantages of a Quarterly Operating Cadence

When it comes to meeting your quarterly KPIs, a systematic, consistent approach is the holy grail. With a quarterly operating cadence, you can set clear goals and expectations and follow up regularly to make sure you’re on track. That way, you stay on top of your deals and continually move them forward without end-of-quarter surprises. 

Successful quarterly operating cadences also encourage sales teams to look beyond the current quarter and position themselves for greater revenue success in the future.

“In sales, you’re so focused on the current quarter and the deals you’re trying to close that sometimes you let slip some of the other things that may impact future quarters,” says Moreau. “That’s why it’s really critical to draw out your quarterly cadence, because without oversight and somebody driving that, it’s very easy to just kind of ignore either some of the warning signs for the future or the opportunity to double down on what’s working.”

Tools like RevOps platforms are further addressing this issue by offering deeper visibility into deals and providing transparent, accessible, real-time data to help teams align on goals and spend their meeting time strategizing versus rehashing.

“Sometimes sales leaders tend to zero in on the positive,” Moreau explains. “But looking at the data and identifying deals that are at risk—as well as opportunities for additional revenue through cross-selling and upselling—can help reps and their leaders course-correct and close more, and better, deals going forward. So it’s a win-win.”

“The nice thing about Clari is the fact that it gives me more time to focus on the earlier-stage opportunities where we’re weak from a pipeline standpoint, so we get ahead of it,” Moreau says.

In addition, by standardizing your cadence, you can make it repeatable and scalable, so your business can scale in an organized and manageable way. As a result, annual revenue growth will be more linear, making essential business decisions clearer.

When looking to develop a quarterly operating cadence, Moreau suggests that revenue leaders start small by setting weekly goals and expectations. Then, gradually build out those goals on a bi-weekly and monthly basis, and then finally layer in what this all looks like at the quarterly level.

Download the Quarterly Operating Cadence Worksheet

The Revenue Operations Council, a group of world-class RevOps experts, shares real-world strategies for creating effective cadences and communication for growth in their research paper, “Upleveling Your Revenue Operating Cadence and Communication.”

Leverage the ROC’s insights with this ready-to-use RevOps worksheet at your organization to fine-tune your quarterly cadence.

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