By Adam Ady
Director of Sales Operations, True Influence
(RevOps has been proving its value to B2B teams. This blog and others look at some of the central concepts of RevOps excellence.)
Getting B2B sales and marketing on the same page has been a major headache for decades. And the sales/marketing misalignment crisis persists, to the tune of trillion dollars in lost potential revenue annually, by some estimates.
The latest proposed fix for this headache is Revenue Operations, or RevOps, as it’s often called in the trade press – a management philosophy that gathers marketing, sales and other revenue-driving functions under a shared organizational umbrella.
RevOps doesn’t sound all that revolutionary, and its aspirations certainly are nothing new to B2B sellers. But it does signal a real push to change the corporate org chart to reflect the need for sales and marketing to operate seamlessly. A survey last year found that about two-thirds of companies surveyed had put someone in charge of aligning sales and marketing. Ten percent of respondents had created a formal RevOps team, and pundits including Forbes suggest such formalized structures will be a huge trend moving forward.
Overall, I think RevOps is a promising idea. But as with any real change, breaking down the barriers between sales and marketing is going to take more than just shuffling a few dotted lines on the org chart. It will require clean data, advanced tools, and, most importantly, real cultural change.
In this post, I’ll take a look at what integrated RevOps really means, what the role of a chief revenue officer (CRO) should be, and what attributes make a candidate ideal for the role. In follow-up posts, I’ll discuss the day-to-day challenges that must be overcome before sales and marketing truly operate as a cohesive machine.
The Forbes article I cited earlier described RevOps as “normalizing, sharing and extracting actionable insights from data.”
That’s a workable definition, but I think it’s a bit narrow. I’d describe RevOps as;
A manner of executing an agreed-to methodology to generate revenue.
My definition may sound a little broad, but that’s the idea – RevOps needs to encompass every aspect of how your company makes money, including:
- Basic accountancy, such as whether you recognize revenue when a deal is booked, served or received
- Ideal customer personas and start-to-close purchase journey models
- Sales lead acceptance and refusal criteria, including extensive feedback loops
- Product and market opportunity analysis
- Culture building and strategic change
In short, it’s making sure everyone calls an apple an apple and an orange and orange, and that the entire organization understands and agrees on how we are going to grow and harvest that fruit.
In a data-driven business, the how of this process can often be expressed in a series of equations. But RevOps also needs to ensure that all team members know where to go to get answers, question assumptions and suggest new and better solutions. It’s the practice of having all the information we need to make collective decisions on how to make more revenue.
I stress collective here, because that speaks to company culture. And a real transition to RevOps requires a cultural shift in many businesses.
The emergence of the RevOps concept has increased focus on a relatively new C-suite position, the Chief Revenue Officer. Exactly what a CRO does is still up in the air – you’ll most often hear it described as having a “360 view of the total customer experience.” This column at Hubspot breaks it down as having responsibility for sales, marketing and customer service. Other analysts include third-party partner strategy and generally being a “growth hacker.”
Ultimately, a CRO’s job description will depend on the specific needs of the company that hires them. But at a bare minimum, a CRO should have responsibility for the entire revenue pipeline that’s traditionally been divided between marketing and sales teams. As such, most CROs will come from either a sales or marketing background.
This isn’t all there is to say or know about the RevOps opportunity. Watch for upcoming blogs for a deeper dive.