Revenue Operations

What Is Revenue Operations and Intelligence (RO&I)?

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Photograph of a revenue operations professional with a thinking face
Photograph of a revenue operations professional with a thinking face

Revenue Operations and Intelligence (RO&I) is gaining traction in the sales tech space, but don't confuse it with just another sales tool. Instead, RO&I combines people, strategies, and processes that get your marketing, sales, customer success, and operations all working together to generate more revenue and create world-class customer experiences.

RO&I is the centralization of all crucial sales data. By capturing all interactions and activities through various mediums, these tools can analyze what's working and what's not. This improves revenue visibility, customer account management, and team performance reporting.

"Companies taking advantage of fully integrated revenue operations achieved organic growth rates at least 5% greater than their peers."

Research from McKinsey & Company

How does Revenue Operations help achieve this? According to a recent article in SellingPower by Jennifer Stanley, a partner and North America lead in the sales and channel practice at McKinsey & Company, "Organizations that successfully embrace revenue operations do so by presenting a single face to customers with everyone on the same page providing seamless interactions. And even if a customer sees more than one face, every interaction feels consistent, natural, and non-repetitive."

For sales leaders seeking to understand their data, generate pipeline, and create robust GTM strategies, RO&I is quickly becoming the go-to solution. In this post, we'll explain what Revenue Operations and Intelligence is, why your organization should be prioritizing it, and how to implement it in a way that makes sense for your organization.

What is Revenue Operations and Intelligence (RO&I)?

The first step to understanding RO&I and how it impacts your bottom line is understanding what these terms mean.

Revenue Operations and Intelligence refers to strategies, processes, and people involved in sales and revenue. By integrating sales, customer success, and operations, RO&I aims to accelerate sales velocity and create a better customer experience.

The Forrester New Tech: Revenue Operations And Intelligence, Q4 2021 report describes the category in this way:

"Technologies that leverage buyer signals and interactions to produce insights that allow go-to-market functions to continuously improve execution performance and optimize the revenue engine across multiple areas: engagement and productivity, revenue cadence and forecasting, and the overall optimization of the revenue engine itself."

There has been a lot of convergence within the sales tech space over the past couple of years. A good number of established sales tech providers have expanded their capabilities by acquiring providers in adjacent categories, while others have built new features to compete in new markets. Gartner calls all of this activity "Sales Tech Mayhem."

The convergence is particularly active among sales engagement, revenue intelligence, and revenue operations platforms, which is helping fuel the growth of the RO&I category. Check out the table below to better understand how these four categories relate to each other.

Sales Engagement Revenue intelligence Revenue Operations Revenue Operations & Intelligence
Sales engagement platforms enhance your sellers' ability to communicate with their prospects and customers. Salespeople automate and scale touchpoints using sales engagement features like automated email sequences, chatbots, schedulers, and dialers. Revenue intelligence platforms provide insights into pipeline, deal analytics, and forecasts using features like sentiment analysis, data automation, attribution, scoring, and performance analytics. Revenue operations platforms capture the activities between buyers, sellers, customers, and customer success. AI analyzes these activities to reveal key engagement insights, forecasting, and pipeline analysis to everyone from individual sellers to C-Level leadership. RO&I refers to hybrid platforms that sit at the cross-section of revenue operations and revenue intelligence, providing many of the benefits and features of both. RO&I solutions are meant to be used by the entire revenue organization—sellers, front-line managers, operations, and C-level executives—with the goal of revenue growth via acquisition, retention, and expansion.

Now that you understand how these four main categories of sales tech break down, let's dig deeper into the one you're here to learn about: RO&I.

A new category is born: Revenue Operations and Intelligence (RO&I)

Sales leaders know that a broken revenue engine can't be fixed by simply making more calls and sending more emails. RO&I helps you understand and optimize your entire revenue engine, including the ability to pinpoint where you're falling short, why the issue occurs, and how to fix it.

Boosting revenue is a key objective for RO&I solutions, but it can also have an impact on turnover. To effectively retain sales talent, leaders need to think critically about how to unblock their salespeople, become more technologically aware, and build teams with critical functions that span sales, RevOps, customer success, and growth marketing.

When you combine Revenue Operations and Revenue Intelligence together, you are able to overcome a broad range of problems, as illustrated in the table below.

Problems Revenue Operations Solves Problems Revenue Intelligence Solves
Disjointed processes and workflows Inefficient pipeline management
Siloed data Lack of transparency in the sales process
Duplicative tools and inefficient spending Missed forecasts
Handoff issues between marketing and sales as well as sales to customer success Lack of insight into the customer lifecycle
Enablement and continuity problems Inefficient sales coaching and training

Why you need RO&I for your B2B revenue organization

Investing in revenue operations and intelligence is a smart move for large enterprises and medium-sized businesses. Even smaller, high-growth companies can benefit. When fast-growing companies reach a certain size, they begin experiencing a few common bottlenecks including incomplete and uncaptured data, missed sales forecasts, and disconnected sales processes.

Excel sheets or Salesforce alone won't cut it in the rapidly shifting B2B buying landscape, where customers expect more than ever and the purchasing process has become more complex.

Changing B2B buying dynamics calls for deeper insights into your buyers

There has been a dramatic shift in how B2B decisionmakers buy in the last two years. The average number of buying interactions increased from 17 in 2019 to 27 in 2021. In the same period, purchasing decisions involving four or more people increased from 47% to 61%.

To navigate these new challenges, you need a clear view of what's happening between your front-line reps and your buyers. You need to understand their behavior and learn which buying experiences they prefer so you can meet them where they are and create a more frictionless buying experience.

Optimizing your revenue engine is impossible without revenue intelligence tools that close the information and execution gaps that exist in traditional sales tools like CRM.

How do Revenue Operations and Intelligence platforms work?

Sales technology platforms in the RO&I category can automatically pull data from across your revenue organization, generating a birds-eye view of your business.

Step 1: Advanced activity capture automatically logs buyer and customer interactions across email, calls, Zoom meetings, and more.
Step 2: Activity data is tied back to open opportunities in your CRM, logging critical topics within those interactions, such as competitors being considered and the types of objections being raised.
Step 3: The data is displayed in an easy-to-understand format that the entire revenue team can use to their advantage, from reps to front-line managers and sales leadership. With just a few clicks, sales leaders can filter the info by team, pipeline stage, or opportunity, creating a high-level view of your business so you can win more deals.

If you're still not sure about whether you should invest in RO&I solutions, TrustRadius makes a strong case for the value they provide: "Revenue Operations and Intelligence (RO&I) platforms can be thought of as the next evolution of sales forecasting, predictive sales analytics, and marketing analytics software—all rolled into one."

With a Revenue Operations and Intelligence platform, your forecasts will be much more accurate, you'll be able to build quality pipeline consistently, and the entire team can feel confident that they're executing strategies based on what is actually working.

Benefits of Revenue Operations and Intelligence platforms

Revenue Operations and Intelligence (RO&I) solutions provide a ton of value to your entire revenue team. As you consider solutions, look for ones that enable you to attain the following benefits:

  1. Achieve complete transparency between reps and managers

    RO&I solutions should enable reps to update account status, advance opportunity stages, and record next steps without switching back and forth between Salesforce and their normal workflow. Working in a centralized workspace that automatically updates Salesforce will benefit both parties.

  2. Understand the full buyer committee

    With basic sales intelligence, you can build a playbook to understand how many touchpoints, stakeholders, and resources it takes to win a customer. But RO&I goes further so reps better understand the key activities they need to perform, how long deals take, who needs to be included on the buying committee, and more. Once this data is understood, leaders can pinpoint problem areas to increase deal velocity and shorten sales cycles.

  3. Effectively collaborate on accounts

    Revenue Operations and Intelligence platforms can be used by the entire revenue organization and beyond. You don't want to force prospects and customers to repeat the same information every time they speak to someone different, whether they are in sales, customer success, or account management. With advanced capture capabilities, all team members are on the same page, resulting in a superior customer experience for B2B buyers.

  4. Run airtight pipeline reviews

    Getting accurate forecasts requires pipeline review meetings, but they can be a real pain for sellers. RO&I platforms ease the pain of tedious data entry for your pipeline reviews. With automated workflows, reps no longer have to log calls, emails, and notes manually. They can also provide collaboration spaces, where managers can review opportunities, identify strategies, and assign tasks using real-time CRM data. By eliminating the extra effort and possibility of error, sellers are able to commit to their numbers with greater confidence.

The Bottom line on Revenue Operations and Intelligence

Fast-growing companies and large enterprises are increasingly investing in Revenue Operations and Intelligence tools to gain deeper insights into their buyers and processes. RO&I provides visibility throughout the company, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

As a result of automating key workflows, fewer balls are dropped in customer touchpoints and data is more accurate, allowing sellers to see accurate, up-to-date progress on their deals.

Finally, increased transparency and deeper insights help leaders in marketing, sales, customer success, and product development prioritize activities that matter most.

Ready to supercharge your Salesforce activities with marketing-leading Revenue Operations and Intelligence capabilities? Request a demo.