• Revenue Operations

Why Revenue Operations? Why Now?

Rosalyn Santa Elena
Head of Revenue Operations

The term revenue operations is on the rise, from mentions from Boston Consulting Group to the growth of the revenue operations titles on LinkedIn. In fact, VP of Revenue Operations titles have increased more than 300% in the last 18 months.

But the concept of revenue operations isn’t new. 

As a revenue leader who has led go-to-market (GTM) operations for over 20 years, I know that for as long as teams have been acquiring and growing revenue, there has been a need to manage the revenue process that is Revenue Operations. 

So what’s changed? Getting that revenue process right was inefficient, costly, and often painful—until now.

The Rising Call for RevOps

The term revenue operations, and the philosophy behind it, has started rising as businesses increasingly realize the interconnectedness of various departments, and how silos serve no one. 

This much is clear: Operationalizing growth from the boardroom to the front line requires an orchestrated effort coordinated by experienced revenue professionals who can drive transparency and accountability across the entire business.

Yes, revenue operations is a job title, but it’s less about an organizational or reporting structure, and more about having comprehensive, well-defined alignment in the GTM model that cascades up and down the organization, and across the entire customer journey, from top of funnel to customer to renewal and expansion. 

It’s about making the number quarter after quarter, and delivering both visibility and rigor to achieve those predictable results. 

Why? 

Revenue teams are tasked with more demanding strategic initiatives from the CEO and the boardroom, even as they face a host of new developments across an increasingly complex buyer’s journey:

Prospects are more aware of what’s available. With the rise of technology and real-time access to information, prospects often know what they want to buy before the first call, the first download, or the first meeting. Prospects are knowledgeable, intelligent, and armed with information. Understanding this new era of the empowered prospect and continuing to find ways to drive predictable revenue is the hallmark of a well-run company.

Buyers expect a frictionless purchasing experience. Buyers expect companies to be easy to do business with and expect quick turnarounds and real-time answers. Buyers won’t tolerate jumping through internal hurdles or experiencing poor handoffs. The entire revenue team, from the executive sponsor to the rep in the field, needs to be aligned to deliver that seamless experience. This requires airtight and consistent sales processes as the buyer moves from stage to stage. 

Customers expect a seamless, value-driven vendor partnership. Value, value, value. Bring value. Demonstrate value. Prove value. Drive value. Customers don’t want  a vendor-client relationship. They expect a partnership. Joint efforts help them see value and be successful.

It’s not just about new logos anymore. Businesses need to not only acquire net new customers, but also to be able to retain, expand, and upsell into their existing customer base. With more businesses moving to a recurring revenue model, the need to align the end-to-end revenue process to the customer journey is critical. Alignment up and down the entire revenue team ensures a seamless flow across data, systems, processes, and teams from the earliest stages of interest through renewal and expansion.

Data and insights are key to driving transparency and accountability. Never before has the ability to have real-time, accurate, meaningful insights been more critical. The ability to make data-driven decisions, and pivot where necessary up and down the entire organization, is absolutely critical to every business. Data visibility, early, often, and always, has become a must have in today’s revenue model.

The Future Is Revenue Operations 

I believe more businesses will realize the importance of the revenue operations framework and start to pivot towards this critical approach to their go-to-market model. With this important shift, the value of RevOps will continue to be highlighted and elevated as the strategic differentiator that it is, aligning the GTM model across key areas, including: strategy, objectives, metrics, data, processes, systems, and people.

The old structure where the different revenue-generating teams could work in silos is no longer effective. It is antiquated, out-dated, and inefficient. Companies looking to drive end-to-end revenue growth, new customer acquisition, and install base expansion need to break down these silos and ensure alignment up and down the entire GTM organization.

And with that, business teams will increasingly look to the thought leaders and operational practitioners who have been successful at creating this end state to help lead, guide, and define the strategies, the methodologies, and the best practices to help others achieve the same.

Introducing the Revenue Operations Council

In 2020, leading tech companies, including Zoom, Workday, Okta, Qualtrics, Alteryx and McAfee, formed a coalition known as the Revenue Operations Council (ROC) to provide market education on strategy, best practices and professional development to the worldwide Revenue Operations community.

While RevOps is nothing new, this moment marks a milestone in the formalization of the Revenue Operations community. It’s a signal to the world, the industry, and every revenue operations professional, that this movement is real, with real leaders at real companies making real impact.

Today, we’re not only announcing the formation of the ROC, but also releasing our first research paper: “Strategic KPIs to Fuel Growth Initiatives.” 

In the paper, ROC members share how they’re operationalizing growth from the board to the CEO down to the front line through next-level metrics to drive strategic initiatives for the business.I’m thrilled to share the paper here, and if you’re interested in learning more about revenue operations, follow me and Clari on LinkedIn.