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Revenue Operations vs. Traditional Sales Ops: What's the Difference?

Revenue Operations vs. Traditional Sales Ops: What's the Difference?

While Sales Operations is something most people in corporate jobs will have at least heard of, Revenue Operations might be a less familiar term. As companies continually search for strategies that bolster growth and operational efficiency, they will likely turn to their operations departments to see how they can do more with less. 

Two areas have emerged as key drivers of success: Revenue Operations (RevOps) and the more traditional Sales Operations. 

Both play critical roles within the broader sales ecosystem, yet they differ significantly in scope, approach, and impact. 

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for any business striving to excel and gain a competitive edge. 

RevOps, with its comprehensive and integrative approach, extends beyond the confines of traditional sales operations by incorporating marketing, customer success, and at times, product development into a cohesive strategy focused on maximizing revenue growth. 

In this article we’ll cover the characteristics that set RevOps apart from traditional Sales Ops, shedding light on how RevOps’s holistic model not only enhances efficiency but also propels businesses towards achieving their growth objectives in the contemporary market landscape.

The Purpose of Traditional Sales Ops

Traditionally, Sales Operations has served as the backbone for sales teams, concentrating its efforts on refining the sales process, managing customer relationship management (CRM) systems like Salesforce or Hubspot, and overseeing the management of sales data. 

The primary objective of Sales Operations has been to bolster the efficiency of sales teams, providing them with the operational support necessary to smooth out processes and achieve sales objectives. Sales operations often help process opportunities, or sales, after the customer has signed the paperwork. Once a customer has signed a contract, they need the product delivered, whether that happens via an order being processed, licenses being delivered virtually, or something else, the Sales Operations team usually take over this process to ensure the customer is satisfied. 

Another role of Sales Operations historically has been ensuring sales teams have the infrastructure, tools, and data insights needed to operate effectively, focusing on tactical measures designed to enhance performance and directly contribute to the company's revenue goals, such as enhancements to the CRM or purchasing additional tools like data cleansing tools to help the sales team do their job better. 

By optimizing workflows and ensuring that sales personnel are well-equipped and informed, Sales Operations plays a crucial role in the pursuit of streamlined operations and the attainment of sales milestones.

Revenue Operations Emerges 

The emergence of Revenue Operations (RevOps) marks a significant evolution in how companies approach their growth strategies. By extending its scope beyond the traditional confines of sales, RevOps also integrates marketing, customer success, and, at times, product development into a unified framework. 

This end to end strategy seeks to align all customer-facing departments under the common goal of driving revenue growth, ensuring a cohesive effort across the organization. 

Unlike traditional models that may focus solely on optimizing the sales process, RevOps champions a comprehensive customer journey, emphasizing a seamless experience from the first point of contact through to post-sale interactions and beyond. 

A good example might be a car buying experience. Sales operations would focus solely on the sale of the car, but may forgo the post-sale experience, where extended warranties and maintenance plans could be sold, simply because their main focus is selling as many cars as possible. 

RevOps takes this process a step further and would look at the entire process, from the moment a prospect engages with the dealership from a marketing perspective, to the actual sale of the car, through to the after-sales customer service the client receives. 

This approach not only enhances efficiency across departments but also fosters a deeper, more meaningful engagement with customers, ultimately contributing to sustained revenue growth and customer loyalty. 

RevOps represents a paradigm shift, advocating for connected ops that support a singular objective: to create a streamlined, customer-centric path to revenue growth.

Sales Ops vs. RevOps: Distinguishing Factors

Integration vs. Isolation 

RevOps fundamentally changes the operational landscape by promoting integration over isolation. 

While traditional Sales Ops might focus narrowly within the sales domain, as we saw with our car sales example, RevOps advocates for breaking down these barriers, creating a culture where marketing, sales, and customer success teams operate together. 

This collaborative approach aims to align efforts across departments, ensuring everyone works towards common objectives, therefore enhancing overall organizational teamwork and effectiveness. This can be seen through marketing campaigns that directly support what the sales reps need to achieve in terms of their targets. 

Let’s carry on with our car sales example. If marketing and sales are not aligned or working from integrated systems, sales reps could easily miss appointments requested through marketing’s online forms, resulting in fewer sales but also a poor customer experience. 

Equally, if the after-sales experience is poor, a customer is less likely to purchase from the same dealership or manufacturer again, whereas if they have a fantastic customer journey, it’s very likely they will become a customer for life, and quite possibly pass this love of their car to their children. 

RevOps aims to make the customer experience seamless, all with the goal of driving long term revenue growth. 

Scope of Responsibility 

The scope of responsibility also sees a shift from Sales Ops to RevOps. 

Sales Ops traditionally zeroes in on optimizing sales team performance, through the introduction of new tools and incentives, as well as handling things like order processing for sales once a deal has been sold. By contrast, RevOps adopts a more expansive view, considering the entire customer lifecycle. It leverages insights from every touchpoint across customer interactions, such as the rate at which leads turn into opportunities and the conversion rate of opportunities into sales. 

While RevOps does focus on sales team performance and aims to increase sales rep performance it takes this one step further, enhancing the post sales process to ensure once prospects become customers, they are customers for life. This strategic way of working is what drives long term revenue growth within organizations. 

Strategic Influence 

On the tactical versus strategic spectrum, Sales Ops plays a crucial role in providing the necessary support to the sales team, focusing on immediate and operational needs. 

RevOps, however, works across the entire lead to cash organization to inform broader strategic decisions such as how to set up the lead generation process to get the best qualified leads, through to how best to convert prospects into customers through a sales methodology. 

This end to end approach allows your RevOps team to contribute significantly to shaping the company's long-term growth strategies, making it a key player in the organizational vision. 

This is why it’s common to have both a sales operations and revenue operations team within an organization. Although there are some common elements, such as the ownership and enablement of systems and processes for sales teams, there are key differences that mean both teams are relevant and necessary, depending on the size and industry your organization is in. 

The Benefits of RevOps:

Revenue Operations brings significant benefits to organizations, as we’ve already seen through some examples. In addition, revenue operations can help organizations by: 

  • Improving the Customer Experience: Customers have seamless touch points with marketing, sales and customer success departments, almost never knowing when they’re being handed from one department to another. This unconsciously puts the customer at ease and makes them actively want to engage with your organization again and again. 

  • Driving Decision-Making With Data: RevOps harnesses data from across the entire organization, enabling informed strategic decision-making. 

Comprehensive insight allows businesses to anticipate customer needs and adjust the sales funnel accordingly, as well making operating decisions such as hiring needs or spending freezes in periods of poor sales performance due to economic conditions or other uncontrollable factors. 

  • Increasing Operational Efficiency: By addressing and smoothing out points of friction between departments, RevOps significantly enhances operational efficiency.

This not only reduces costs by optimizing processes but also speeds up execution, and reduces the chance of mistakes as processes can be automated through integrated systems.

  • Facilitating Scalable Growth: With a unified operational strategy at its core, RevOps provides a solid foundation for scalable growth. 

It ensures that growth strategies are not just focused on isolated aspects of the business but consider the entirety of customer interactions, making scaling efforts more cohesive and effective across all fronts.


Revenue Operations and Sales Operations go hand in hand, but play different roles within organizations. Revenue Operations represents a transformative shift in organizational strategy, shifting the focus from traditional Sales Operations to encompass a holistic approach that integrates sales, marketing, and customer success. This alignment ensures a seamless, end-to-end customer journey, enhancing efficiency across once siloed departments, fostering customer loyalty, and driving sustainable revenue growth. 

Sales Operations still plays a critical role within organizations and should be considered as part of an overall RevOps strategy. These teams are often crucial in helping reps close and deliver on deals, as well as enabling reps to sell more, faster. 

Both teams are important for long term growth and success and should be considered when setting up your organization’s broader operations team. 

Elevate Your Business with Think RevOps 

Are you curious about how RevOps can revolutionize your sales and overall revenue strategy? 

Think RevOps is an organization of revenue operations experts waiting to help you turn your goals into reality. 

Connect with us today and let's see how we can help you!


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