Best Practices

Revenue Operations (RevOps): What Is It & How to Move to It?

Jonathan Friedman
February 27, 2021
Revenue Operations (RevOps): What Is It & How to Move to It?

Are you looking to better understand what is Revenue Operations (RevOps)? Or are you already familiar with the new operating model, but you aren’t sure how to effectively and efficiently move to this new operating model?

If you answered yes to either question, then you’ve come to the right place.

Individual departments within a company often have their objectives and goals. Even though they may be aligned with the company's overall strategic plan, the departments decide how best to get there.

For a long time, this has seemed to be good enough since departments know the ins and outs of how they operate. However, companies realize that to boost growth, they need to operative more cohesively.

Enter a new business model: Revenue Operations (RevOps).

Rather than having departments function in silos, this operating model brings together sales, marketing, and customer success. It recognizes that revenue spans the entire lifecycle of the customer.

If your company is looking to move to a RevOps model (and you should), you'll need to think about what this change will look like and how to get there. After all, RevOps is a new way of approaching many businesses' growth.

We'll walk you through how to prepare for and be successful with this business transformation.

Below is everything we will cover. Feel free to skip ahead.

What is Revenue Operations (RevOps)?

What is Revenue Operations (RevOps)?

Revenue Operations combines and aligns sales, marketing, and customer success. Your business can optimize each for revenue growth by taking a holistic view of the customer lifecycle.

These three departments were always focused on revenue and growth to some extent. But disconnects could occur between them, leading to not reaching full revenue potential.

In recent years, companies have recognized that RevOps is a strategy in its own right. While heads of sales operations, customer success, and marketing have existed, a new role of "Head of Revenue Operations" has emerged. There are concentrated efforts to bring these three separate departments' strategies under one umbrella.

And the market demands such change. Companies understand that bringing in new business is only half of the challenge. Ensuring an exceptional customer experience is part of the foundation for an ongoing customer relationship.

The old model of operating: the sales funnel

Sales Funnel

When the managers of each department focus only on their growth, they can lose sight of the big picture. There are missed opportunities in the old operating model where sales, marketing, and customer success are separate and distinct departments.

For example, marketing may have found an excellent strategy for quickly acquiring new customers, but those customers are a resource drain on customer success. However, marketing isn't incentivized to stop acquiring such customers.

In another example, an inside sales executive may be great at closing deals to a specific customer base, but those customers churn within the first few months. However, the Head of Sales is neither informed that this customer segment is bad for customer success and the company, nor are they incentivized to change course and re-evaluate their targets.

These examples directly impact revenue: loss of revenue with increased customer churn and loss of potential revenue from existing customers.

The disconnect: sales, marketing, and customer success are not aligned on the same success measures and incentives.

The approach of Revenue Operations addresses these issues. Each of the three departments looks at its impact on the other.

Your sales team will work tightly with both customer success and marketing, and so forth. They have the common goal of driving company revenue through their combined efforts.

Moving to a Revenue Operations (RevOps) structure

Making the shift to a RevOps model is a strategic effort. Your company needs to start by identifying what you hope to achieve with RevOps. From there, you work within each department to make the necessary adjustments to align with your new strategy.

Determining your revenue goals

None of your efforts will be successful if your company does not have a clear direction for increased revenue. This involves looking carefully at each department's successes and shortcomings.

When looking at your potential, consider each department's impact on the other.

Sales

Do you think that you have the most potential from new sales? If so, how can your customer success team best foster a relationship with these new customers? How can your marketing team help the effort to qualify sales leads?

Marketing

How does your marketing department serve both sales and customer success? How is the messaging different for both departments? Where does the marketing team fall short in driving revenue that maximizes lifetime value from both sales and customer success?

Customer Success

What is the onboarding experience for new customers? How can a customer success manager identify and communicate add-on sales potential? How satisfied are existing customers?

Examining your target market

For many businesses, your customers do not have a single profile. They may have come into your sales pipeline for different reasons and pain points.

Segmenting your existing and potential customers should be part of your Revenue Operations strategy. Efforts from all three departments should be tailored to each segment's needs.

Examining your customer lifecycle

You will want to understand your customers' paths from the minute they hit the sales pipeline. Ask yourself the following:

You want to create a rhythm as the customer moves throughout your company. Not only should customers have a seamless experience as they move from sales to customer success, but marketing should reinforce the messaging of how your company solves their problems across the entire customer lifecycle.

Undertaking the necessary change management

Once you have aligned the goals of sales, marketing, and customer experience, you can begin implementing change. Moving to a Revenue Operations model will likely require several changes across your departments.

Unless you have an exceptionally adaptable workforce, you will encounter resistance to change. Part of moving to a RevOps model has a plan for change management.

Some of the challenges you will face include the politics between departments and uncertainty around the new model. Your plan should include addressing pushback and helping everyone understand the unique operations model.

Steps to moving to Revenue Operations (RevOps)

1. Start at the top

Your Revenue Operations strategy cannot succeed without executive-level buy-in. Not only should leadership understand the importance of RevOps, but it should also reinforce the new model across the departments.

2. Involve every department

The collaboration between your departments needs to be tight from planning through execution. Not only should department heads understand the strategy, but they should examine every role's impact.

Beyond management, you will likely find champions of this new model within various levels of each department. These people are change adopters and like to see how change leads to success. By dialing into their energy, you can use these "change champions" to build acceptance among their colleagues.

3. Sell the strategy

When it comes time to unveil the company's RevOps strategy, the message needs to articulate why a new operations model is being adopted. People are more likely to resist change if they don't understand it. Outline the sales, marketing, and customer success goals and how each will drive increased revenue.

4. Create accountability

If no one is responsible for your RevOps strategy's success, your efforts can quickly fall apart. You may create a role for a Vice President of Revenue Operations, or you may have the heads of each department work together on the strategy. Whatever the case, each department must be accountable for its results.

Ownership also includes aligning incentives with this new model. You don't want to have departments compete with each other for results. Instead, incentives should reflect the success of the entire team.

5. Keep communication going

Integrating a RevOps model into your company is not a single announcement. It would be best to have ongoing communication at the company level and within each department.

One way to do this is by celebrating successes. As you begin to see your RevOps strategy's efforts, share that information across the company.

6. Monitor and control progress

As with any significant change initiative, you have to evaluate your progress. From the onset, develop some metrics by which you will determine success. Additionally, you should use software to help you plan and execute your change initiative. Moving to a new operating model requires you to regularly review your progress and make changes as needed.

The unexpected is bound to occur. Problems can range from logistical to the human element. Your ability to handle unforeseen issues will depend on how quickly you can identify a problem and respond.

If you do not see the results you are expecting, your team needs to understand its outcomes and how to shift. Don't rely on instinct: find the data to back up your decision-making efforts.

Watch your business grow with a Revenue Operations (RevOps) operating model

While the primary business reason behind a Revenue Operations model may be to grow your business, your customers will also benefit. By nurturing the relationships across the departments of sales, marketing, and customer success, you can more deeply address the customer experience.

Satisfied customers are not only loyal, but they also become promoters. Their word-of-mouth referrals can be some of your best opportunities for new business. Their enthusiasm can be channeled throughout your messaging.

If you're ready to move to a RevOps operating model, reach out to our sales team and check out the rest of our blog for more change management best practices.