The major priorities of a RevOps leader
As businesses adopt a more cohesive revenue operations (RevOps) model, leaders are tasked with tackling several very important priorities to increase profitability.
For most B2B businesses, at least some part of the customer journey today is digital or online. Whether researching products, interacting with sales, or comparing vendors, customers aren’t only in physical stores. Due in large part to the ease of digital communication, customer behavior is shifting, and consumers expect the online experience to be richer and more satisfying. To meet these demands, many B2B companies have transformed their businesses and operations to be digital first, making deep investments to improve their end-to-end digital experience in hopes of gaining a competitive advantage. One of the biggest things a business wants to do after making the financial investment is find ways to make sizable performance gains in terms of deal volume, deal size, customer retention, or other key metrics.
Rather than allowing their revenue-driving departments to continue operating in silos, businesses are now realizing the impact of combining them for an all-encompassing function to streamline and optimize. Instead of revenue-generating groups with their own goals and KPIs, revenue operations (RevOps) combines important operational aspects of these groups like into one team reporting into one leader: a revenue leader.
Leadership’s role in RevOps structures
Revenue leaders can preside over several different RevOps structures with various degrees of responsibility. Some organizations choose one to rely on, while others find a hybrid structure borrowing the desired traits of different models to build one to suit their particular business case.
For example, if a business seeks to better retain and expand within its existing customer base as part of its growth strategy, uniting sales operations and customer support operations under a revenue operations leader might be a smart decision.
Likewise, for a company seeking to reduce customer acquisition costs, uniting marketing operations and sales operations can provide a better understanding of lead conversion and ROI from different sources, and ultimately lead to greater performance.
For a business seeking more reliable revenue so they can improve financial forecasting and make more informed strategic decisions, bringing sales, marketing, and customer support under a formal leadership structure with a tight alignment with finance is likely required.
For some, RevOps includes all revenue-generating functions reporting into a CRO. Others might build an operations team directly dealing with revenue, like sales operations and customer success operations, which reports into a revenue leader working in lockstep with other senior leaders such as the Chief Sales Officer (CSO). In some cases, the CRO functions as the top of a chain of reporting including even the chief marketing officer (CMO) and chief operations manager (COO).
No matter the structure, leadership plays a critical role in RevOps’ success and must maintain close and consistent collaboration within the group and with other stakeholders to ensure the function is meeting the company’s overall business goals.
Priorities for RevOps leaders
CROs and other RevOps leaders have a set of goals to meet. Rather than have sales, marketing, and customer success operating independently, the goal for revenue leadership is to ensure that all parties are working together to achieve shared plans, goals, KPIs, and targets. Creating this revenue-focused alignment makes it easier to maximize revenue and identify gaps and opportunities within the customer lifecycle.
Create better alignment — including with finance
RevOps tends to view the customer journey as a non-linear process. This means a prospect might jump from awareness to showing purchase intent very quickly, only to then loop back and seek further information from a sales or support rep. Plus, even after winning a customer, RevOps seeks to continue to engage with the customer via customer success to pursue upsell, cross-sell, and retention opportunities.
The RevOps leader should find a way to get every function’s data visible to one another — not only to improve operational efficiency and create a seamless customer experience, but also to enable their counterparts in finance to monitor, analyze, forecast, and plan for the financial health of the business.
Conduct more comprehensive planning and forecasting
Beyond unifying performance data, another priority for RevOps leadership is to plan and forecast proactively, cross-functionally and collaboratively. Using a multi-departmental approach, the CFO can set attainable top-down targets, while the revenue leadership can conduct bottom-up planning into how sales, marketing, and customer success can meet company goals, not just departmental goals. This leadership team should apply analytical rigor and stress testing during the planning process so that executive leadership can agree on performance targets and feel confident in their ability to deliver on those targets.
Lead cross-functional operations
Once goals are in place, the CRO or RevOps leader needs to create ways to motivate their teams and marshal other resources, including technology, training, and short-term marketing activities, to meet them. Perhaps there are additional incentives for account executives and sales development representatives, or maybe there is a perk for marketing if their performance exceeds the goal.
Build a revenue-focused nerve center
The core responsibility in each priority outlined is finding a way to get every department out of their operational silos and onto the same page. The sales forecast can serve as a cornerstone to each of these priorities. A dynamic and connected sales forecast can help the business more accurately estimate revenue in the short term, and help with planning activities to help maximize revenue in future periods. The sales forecast often begins with historical sales data, but can be augmented with AI-driven insights to help sales managers in committing to their numbers.
But the sales forecast can also support other planning and analysis, such as how many qualified leads the marketing team must generate or how many customers the customer success team can expect to churn. Once created, deviations from the forecast can help leadership to identify departmental performance levers.
Using solutions like Anaplan allows RevOps leaders to create a data-focused center of truth where all departments can reference data outside of their own team to allow them to adjust their own plans and forecasts accordingly. It also allows for a unified look at success, getting each department to measure against the same KPIs, goals, and expectations.
Encourage more resilience
If RevOps leaders can align multiple departments’ operations into one platform, which Anaplan calls Connected Planning, their next goal is one both RevOps and finance can deeply appreciate: more resilience. When there are fluctuations in the market, when human resources faces an unexpected spike in attrition, or finance notices budgets aren’t aligning with actuals, RevOps can adjust their operations. By adjusting their forecasting using all of the data available, RevOps can create new plans with greater agility, resulting in more resiliency. Deviations from norms will not derail RevOps performance and instead, they can use any of their “what-if” scenario planning to seamlessly help finance keep the business on track.
The recent trend toward RevOps is the result of the realization that sales, marketing, customer success, and finance can no longer operate in a vacuum. Those leading RevOps have a complex set of responsibilities and goals to achieve to ensure the function is operating as necessary. At the center of it all, these leaders must find a way to connect revenue-facing teams to one another and to the greater business, most notably finance, to keep revenue performance strong even in the face of market downturns. Using Connected Planning, RevOps leaders can be more resilient, cross-functionally successful, and aligned with operational performance to rise to any occasion.