Key to RevOps: Break Down Daily Barriers Between Sales and Marketing
By Adam Ady
Director of Sales Operations, True Influence
Revenue operations, or RevOps for short, is another push in B2B sellers’ seemingly endless quest to get sales and marketing on the same page. Ten percent of respondents to a recent survey say they’ve already combined marketing and sales into a single RevOps team, and Forbes predicts that formalizing the RevOps concept in corporate org charts will be a trend in the coming months.
Re-orgs have earned an “oh boy, not again” reputation over the decades, but as I wrote in a recent post, I believe that with the right person in charge, the RevOps concept creates a sense of continuity and innovation that’s missing in siloed, dysfunctional sales and marketing environments. A Chief Revenue Officer can initiate growth from the top down, if your enterprise finds an individual who’s committed to communication and creativity.
But real change won’t stick unless day-to-day barriers to integrated sales and marketing are removed permanently. That kind of transformation requires more than just C-suite vision. It demands that the right tools, processes and data be available to everyone in RevOps, from the CRO to front-line customer service reps.
In this post, I look at how to remove the daily barriers that create sales / marketing misalignment, and how to remove them to successfully execute a revenue operations strategy.
Everybody’s busy, and it’s hard to find time to talk with other teams about what they have going on. I know, everybody cites this as a primary cause of sales / marketing misalignment – and they are right. Always.
Key functions, even the basic steps involved in say, sales assessment, often go into a black box. If you’re not part of the team, it’s as though leads and sales call appointments just spring out of nowhere. I’ve found this phenomenon to be most prevalent at young companies, where leaders tend to be refining processes on the fly, and clear cross-team communications are seen as busywork.
Again, let me be clear that I don’t think every sales rep and marketer needs to be completely cross-trained. But they do need to be aware of the company’s overall revenue process, and how their daily work is essential to it.
Housing sales and marketing under the same tent should, at a minimum, result in soup-to-nuts documentation of the entire revenue pipeline – a fundamental that’s somehow missing in an alarming number of businesses. This full-funnel view should be part of employee onboarding, and reinforced in group-wide communications, like the weekly newsletter or team intranet. Just being organized and aligned as the same team is a huge upside for fostering communication.
Who gets the credit for revenue – or the blame for the absence of revenue – is a huge source of friction between sales and marketing.
Over the years, some pundits have pushed for marketers to be held accountable for the booked revenue resulting from the leads they generate and pass to the sales team. But to me – and I come from a sales background – it’s tough to be held accountable for a goal you don’t ultimately control. Lots of things can go wrong during the sales process: the lead assessment didn’t pan out; it’s just not the right time; someone drops the ball. It happens.
Organizing the entire revenue pipeline under a RevOps umbrella will close communication gaps. It will also motivate teams to optimize the entire pipeline to make sure they hit that number. Execs in both teams will be more responsible for facilitating collaboration as they work on newly shared goals. This will drive further investment in attribution technologies to identify which marketing campaigns result in closed business, and ongoing tweaking of shared metrics and processes.
Because, as I’ve said before, RevOps is a manner of executing an agreed-to methodology to generate revenue.
Sales and marketing should meet regularly to review data, both quantitative and qualitative, about which leads convert to revenue. This may mean a little more data entry for sales to document what actually happened on the sales call, resulting in marketing making more adjustments to qualification and targeting methods. Under RevOps, everyone benefits from these conversations. And it’s also more likely to be part of the job description.
This loop needs to be continuous to keep metrics and acceptance criteria relevant as the market evolves. And this kind of ongoing, full-funnel optimization is best accomplished when both teams are aligned under a shared umbrella to own the entire pipeline.
For more on the RevOps role, see these articles: