• Revenue Operations

How to Make the Transition to Revenue Operations

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Michael Lowe
Director, Content Marketing, Clari

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Revenue operations, or RevOps, is quickly gaining traction as the most efficient, effective and valuable ways to accelerate growth and revenue. By connecting sales, marketing and customer success teams under one umbrella, RevOps drives full-funnel accountability across an organization’s revenue engine. SiriusDecisions found that aligned teams saw 19 percent faster growth and 15 percent higher profits.

It’s therefore no surprise that the appearance of job titles related to revenue operations is skyrocketing on LinkedIn. In fact, the title “Director of Revenue Operations” titles saw a 73 percent increase between October 2018 and December 2018, according to SiriusDecisions data. During that same period, “Director of Sales Operations,” only rose by 5 percent. Clearly, revenue operations is on the rise.

And yet, while organizations are beginning to recognize the opportunities offered by a connected revenue operations model, many struggle with how to make the transition successfully. While the benefits are clear and make perfect sense for anyone on the revenue team, change is tough, and there can be a lot of uncertainty and skepticism, especially when it comes to getting sales and marketing teams to work in closer alignment.

Leaders in each department who, until now, have been accustomed to working in silos aren’t necessarily used to working in a fully visible and transparent manner. Or, reporting to a new boss, they might be concerned with their future. For example, consider that Chief Revenue Officers typically come from sales backgrounds; if these executives take on marketing teams as part of the revenue operations structure, marketing leaders might worry about their career prospects. But here's the thing, there's no one way to do revenue operations. Some may opt for a complete organizational shift, others may focus on aligning processes and data. The choice is yours, and dependent on your company's situation and goals.

Ultimately, revenue operations will benefit the entire organization, no matter which team, but not everyone gets that—right away, at least.

So how do you get your teams on board with the RevOps model and manage the transition successfully? Here are a few tips for thriving through the change.

Masters of Revenue

Common RevOps Structures

The first step to ensure your teams are fully committed to RevOps is to help them understand what the model you choose entails. There are a few different ways to build a revenue operations framework and, ultimately, the right way to take charge of your revenue operations efforts will depend on your company’s needs, goals and structure. Whichever way you decide to do it, the important thing is just to do it, because the outcomes are transformative.

  1. Processes are aligned. In this least committal version of RevOps, teams remain separate, but agreements such as service level agreements (SLAs) are in place to help them better work together. This is mostly where organizations are now, and while it’s a good start, it might not be enough. At the end of the day, data and people are still disconnected. At this point, there might be a dotted line between the marketing department and the Chief Revenue Officer, but marketing still reports directly to the CEO. Hammering out common goals, workflows and a KPIs is critical, and that may mean having a standing weekly meeting between teams or agreeing on common communication channels and etiquette.
  2. Data is aligned. One step further into a full RevOps model, this structure means that the data used, produced and tracked by the marketing, sales and customer success teams is visible and shared in one single source of truth that each department can rally around. When every signal, from CRM to email to meetings to marketing automation and more, are all tracked in one place, the entire revenue operations team can work in sync. That level of accuracy and visibility reduces the finger pointing and fallout that comes with siloed and opaque information.
  3. People are aligned. All processes, data and people are aligned under one organization led by the Chief Revenue Officer. That means marketing, sales and customer success all report to the same person to ensure shared goals, vision and purpose. While this is the most evolved form of RevOps, it is not necessary, nor the right fit for every organization. A lot can be achieved by aligning data and processes properly.

For a step-by-step guide to creating an efficient and effective revenue operations framework, read The Revenue Operations Framework for Predictable Revenue.

Once your organization’s commitment to RevOps is clear and your teams understand what the big picture looks like, the next step to getting everyone on board is to demonstrate its benefits—and, specifically, how those benefits outweigh the challenge that comes with change.

The Unique Benefits of RevOps

When people, processes and data are completely siloed, organizations suffer from wasted time, duplicated efforts, miscommunication, finger pointing and handoffs, inconsistent reporting, inaccurate forecasts and a “lone wolf” mentality among team members. Not exactly a winning scenario. Here's what teams can expect from revenue operations:

Better Culture

When you bring teams together to work collaboratively and share information under a RevOps structure, you’re shifting the paradigm to transparency and data-driven teamwork. There is a shared “truth” and story of the business that everyone can see and work towards, preventing the destructive “blame game” and allowing everyone to share in and take credit for results.

Greater Efficiency

A revenue operations model simplifies collaboration with a single source of truth and total visibility for the entire revenue team. This allows the right conversations to happen between the right people, with the right data to support them, empowering team members to make better decisions, take better actions and achieve better outcomes.

More Accuracy

Forecasting also becomes more accurate and predictable, as all data are visible across the opportunity lifecycle. Further, having a unified RevOps “team” makes it easier to liaise and collaborate with other internal stakeholders, including the finance, product and executive teams. This builds a stronger strategic mission not just for each project, but also for the organization as a whole.

Ultimately, all of these enhancements result in higher win rates and faster sales cycles, which in turn translate to more revenue and growth. And that is a winning scenario.

Identifying and remembering the value of a RevOps structure will not only help you explain the benefits to others but also remind you why you’re doing this in the first place.

Masters of Revenue

Getting Buy-In Is an Ongoing Effort

It’s critical to communicate the benefits of RevOps to your teams upfront, before any changes take place, and then again regularly and consistently as new processes, technology or organizational structures are implemented.

Make it personal and fun. Help each group get on board by identifying common pain points and illustrating how RevOps will alleviate them. By personalizing the transition in this way, you are more likely not only to get them on board, but also to get them excited and optimistic about the change. Gamification is another way to make the transition more personal and fun—not to mention rewarding the transition with tangible prizes.

Identify evangelists. Another proven method to ensure continued buy-in across team members and leaders is to enlist internal ambassadors: influential team members who understand the benefits and can get others on board. That might mean finding one from each of the converging teams—sales, marketing and customer success—and encouraging them to help lead the change among their peers.

Emphasize the positive. For those team members resistant to documentation or technology, emphasize how the RevOps model and associated tools reduces paperwork and streamlines the process, allowing them to focus more on finding, closing and managing deals and providing more transparency so their work can be appropriately recognized.

Ultimately, if you educate your teams on the RevOps model—what it is, how it works and who is involved—and effectively communicate its numerous benefits, you’ll navigate your team through the transition successfully and your organization will be off and running with greater growth and revenue in no time.

Clari helps revenue operations teams automatically harvest sales activity data and customer engagement so the entire go-to-market team can see it in one place and take the right actions. Sign up for a demo to learn more.