Updated: Jul 25, 2021
If you’re a business or a revenue leader, you got your eyes on the goal – growth. A small word but with growth, comes great responsibility.
You will probably follow the basic formula needed to accelerate scalable and profitable ARR growth: (1) establishing the strategy-informed revenue mix target; (2) designing and pricing your offers, built to deliver value and helping your customers achieve specific business outcomes; (3) and establishing a winning go-to-market (GTM) model that cost-effectively drives the repeatable customer engagement cycle of marketing, sales, customer adoption, expansion and renewal.
Now it doesn’t stop there. For any business creating a sustainable growth they have to also juggle the joy of improving external and internal factors and delivering smooth customer experience. We live in a world where technologies keep advancing and certainly buyers’ behaviours are increasingly more sophisticated, which is changing the landscape of how we should acquire and retain customers. On top of that, internally we struggle with inefficiencies that affect the buyer and customer journey which derails growth plans. A study by IDC Market research found that businesses lost 20 to 30 % of their revenue due to inefficiencies. Some of the inefficiencies we come across are silos, poor system implementations ad integrations, bottlenecks, lack of insights and loss of operational performance.
This has meant that businesses need to transform their revenue operating model if they want to have a competitive advantage. In recent years Revenue Operations (RevOps) has emerged as a high-impact operation to accelerate business’ growth by achieving GTM operational efficiencies through centralisation and alignment of marketing, sales and customer success to work as one.
What is RevOps?
Conventionally, divisions of a business operate independently – each division has its own tools, operations team and specialises in the functions it serves. This structure encourages individual heads of departments to determine their teams' priorities, i.e. the director of sales operations decides their team's goals and objectives. Likewise, the head of marketing operations sets the expectations of their team.
In most cases, this approach works. However, it creates silos within the functions of the organisation as each department operates individually with varying goals, incentives, and priorities. As a result, the coordination between departments deteriorates, leading to a loss in revenue and wasted time resolving issues created by a lack of cohesion. Additionally, it enables an environment in which easily solvable issues escalate into problematic concerns that demand vast resources to solve due to miscommunication.
RevOps is not a function but rather a way to better align the organisation. It addresses challenges created by siloed operations by aligning revenue goals throughout marketing, sales, and success teams within a business. According to SiriusDecisions organisations that maintain focus on alignment achieve up to 19% faster revenue growth and up to 15% higher profitability than other companies. However just thinking of a revenue operations function that only encapsulate marketing, sales and customer success is limited. All functions in the business are affected by silos even if it is one department that operates in such way. It is a domino effect. RevOps therefore owns the operating engine of a business. It ensures that each function is equipped and empowered to perform, and the proper infrastructure is put in place to allow more streamlined operation for added value, engagement, collaboration and feedback.
Only then can a business be truly optimised to ensure continuous engagement in the buyer and customer journey and deliver customer experience. RevOps is there to ensure that it enables, accelerates and manages growth within the operating engine.
RevOps = Enabling Growth
RevOps is the modern operating model for driving efficient, predictable revenue. Some of the specific actions include adopting a lean, agile GTM; moving to a data-driven decision framework; and building a resilient, forward-looking organisation. According to McKinsey centralising GTMs and creating agile operating models have a domino effect which can achieve a 20%+ ROI in sales.
First, RevOps ensure that all GTM departments are centralised moving towards the same goal keeping all teams accountable to revenue. These teams should roll up to a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). This ensures every initiative has a measurable impact on the full funnel from awareness to expansion. According to SiriusDecisions, this alignment can drive up to 36% of your growth.
Marketing is involved throughout the buyer to customer lifecycle from awareness to expansion and retention. It is imperative for marketing programs to not only drive new acquisition but also cross- and up-sells, and churn prevention through customer marketing efforts. Often, this is missed in organisations and all marketing efforts are directed at new acquisition. Sales gets involved in the earliest stages of the buyer journey, influencing awareness and brand. For example, with outbound activities, marketing needs an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy ensuring joint efforts and co-creation. Customer Success can now anticipate customers before their first purchase, enabling them to create customer strategies ahead of time. In a more streamlined (and aligned) operations – sales will be able to capture information about what success looks like for a customer, so that customer success can shape a success plan for the value demonstration phase in the customer life cycle which, eventually, will affect their expansion strategy. Beyond this, RevOps builds the alignment with other stakeholders such as Product and Finance and creates feedback loops – departments need to be in constant engagement whether it is getting together in weekly meetings or having the insights readily available and shared regularly.
Second, RevOps coordinates the co-creation of a revenue strategy with all department leaders. Often this is in the form of Objective Key Results (OKRs). OKRs are collaborative goal setting tools to set challenging, ambitious goals with measurable results. They ensure that organisations have alignment across departments, create focus and can operate in a more agile way. OKRs are a great way to create operational focus and impetus around growth-based initiatives, which in turn minimises inefficiencies and misalignment that exist. This ensures that growth projects are priorities and businesses can create a more sustainable growth cycle.
Third, RevOps build an internal operating engine that has data and analytics at its core. RevOps is data driven – always. Science is brought in the customer life cycle by harnessing data in a way that will deliver gains in return-on-investment (ROI). Bringing insights in each step of the way allows organisations to be more agile in aligning the right resources and adapting their operating model. RevOps guides the way in ensuring organisation-wide ownership and responsibility of data.
Fourth, RevOps create scalable and agile processes. A business can’t grow with inefficient processes. Scalable processes need to withstand a number of factors and stressors. RevOps analyses processes in the buyer to customer life cycle; identifies success gaps and automate as much as possible. Using insights in each step of the buyer and customer journey allows RevOps to iterate processes promptly. By building repeatable processes it also keeps facets of the business as predictable as possible. This enables GTM teams to increase output.
Finally, RevOps builds the right infrastructure. Technology is transforming every aspect of the business. It enables business leaders to make better, quicker and smarter decisions so they can respond rapidly to changing customer needs; improve business performance and manage risk. Organisations that are successfully harnessing the power of technology enable increased focus on innovation, creativity and strategic thinking and create a powerful competitive advantage.
RevOps = Accelerating Growth
Creating a robust foundation for a revenue operation is the most important step RevOps is tasked with. Once the business is set up for success, RevOps can focus on accelerating growth by executing on growth levers and empowering the workforce.
Some of the key metrics and KPIs RevOps has on its radar and is responsible for optimising are Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Net New ARR (NNARR), Sales Velocity, Adoption Rate, Lifetime Value (LTV), Churn and Retention Rate, Expansion and Contractions. These are all metrics and KPIs assigned to measure each step of the buyer and customer journey. RevOps uses these to identify opportunities and execute on those growth levers that will affect these KPIs. These could be (1) understanding opportunities in marketing to increase lead funnel and marketing qualified leads (MQL) conversions and implementing a lead scoring mechanism; (2) assessing the business development productivity for pipeline creation and putting in place enablement programs when appropriate or streamlining their contact engagement processes; (3) identifying opportunities in the sales acquisition process to increase average order value or speeding up the sales cycle by removing bottlenecks; (4) Building handoff processes between sales and on-boarding that allow on-boarding teams to be productive; (5) Putting in place customer 360-view and generate pro-active customer health insights that will help drive the customer success team to take pre-emptive measures in retaining customers at risk or finding opportunities to expand the business. BCG reports that having seen results as high as 200% on marketing ROI and sales productivity boosts of 20%.
RevOps ensure the empowerment of the workforce. It equips them with the right tools and insights, builds responsive go-to-market structures and helps with capability building and enablement. It helps marketing, sales and customer success improve their performance.
RevOps = Managing Growth
With RevOps you got the agile operating model build to propel you for success, execution of growth levers on a day-to-day basis and workforce empowerment to accelerate your growth. Now, on-going management of growth is key to truly ensure the business is able to quickly identify the need for change and execute on it. Further, it allows it to keep up a certain pace.
RevOps leverages insights to manage on-going sustainable growth. Heavy focus on data and analytics to identify opportunities and optimise go-to-market is pertinent.
On-going capability building and coaching based on analytics insights – always feeding back to the department heads and improving enablement programs.
Develop scalable management and quality control systems. Good risk management delivers reduced volatility within the business. There is a strong correlation between the maturity of risk management and both top- and bottom-line growth. RevOps ensure it detect risks; puts a system in place for leakage and recovery; reduces friction where identified; has a root cause analysis process; builds an environment that allows for fast testing; ensures the GTM teams are compliant and manages rules of engagement between the GTM to prevent internal conflict.
The pace of disruption continues to accelerate and has redefined how businesses drive growth in the digital age. The way a business is able to manage external factors driven by technological change as well as internal intricacies of GTM structures will determine their success for growth. Those who adopt RevOps as an operating model to organise their GTM operations and enable, accelerate and manage growth will achieve a competitive advantage over others.