Written By: Russ Artzt
In the old days, a good salesman was someone who could “make the cash register ring.” Today, things have gotten a tad more complicated. Though the fundamentals of sales and marketing never change, the business world definitely has. Digital business is the desired state, or at least an aspiration for most companies. To be a digital business, a company at once accelerates its sales and marketing processes while changing its customer expectations about engaging with the brand.
Senior managers are increasingly responding to the push toward digital business by viewing the separate areas of sales, marketing and customer success as a single, integrated area of work—a revenue-oriented set of operations. The new paradigm of Revenue Operations (RevOps) is thus emerging as a way to organize these once semi-independent groups into a cohesive, productive whole.
What is RevOps?
RevOps, like any new concept in business, has more than one working definition. In essence, it’s about aligning sales, customer success and marketing operations across the full customer life cycle. The goal is to drive growth by improving the operational efficiency of all three groups. Managing RevOps means keeping the respective teams accountable to revenue. It also involves liberating everyone to focus on the customer by taking a holistic approach that breaks down silos between customer-facing departments.
An alternative, but useful view of RevOps is that it is simply one more “Ops” area that’s becoming an integral part of today’s business world. On the business side, there are Sales Ops and Marketing Ops. On the tech side, DevOps and ITOps are enabling new heights of innovation and customer engagement with mobile apps and omnichannel marketing. The two worlds of Ops are coming together, in what some analysts refer to as “BigOps”.
Thus, as DevOps and ITOps take care of frequent software deployment and app version control, SalesOps and MarketingOps (Collectively, RevOps), handle customer experiences, campaigns, and so forth. Automation, systerms, data, governance and analytics serve as the connective tissues between the two spheres of activity.
Benefits of RevOps include improved collaboration between teams and more predictable business performance. It saves each department from excessive operational and technical overhead as it speeds up each group’s workflows. Unsurprisingly, RevOps is also good for revenue. According to SiriusDecisions, the alignment envisioned by RevOps can drive revenue growth up by 36%. SiriusDecisions also found that the stock prices of publicly-traded companies that used RevOps outperformed those of firms that didn’t by 71%.
How Data Enables RevOps
Making RevOps work is partly a matter of organization, but it also requires a great deal of systemic alignment and integration. The teams have to come together and agree on how their respective software applications and databases will integrate to achieve RevOps objectives. Sales enablement and operations systems will need to connect with CRM and Marketing Automation solutions, as well as customer support and marketing applications. Data is the foundation of such integration. If RevOps is to be a success, customer data has to work seamlessly across all systems.
Take metrics. Bringing the departments together forces all stakeholders to agree on metrics. Previously, sales, marketing and customer success each had its own way of measuring performance–MQLs, SALs, Renewals, Total Contract Value (TCV)–the list goes on. If you’re going to grade how RevOps is going, you have to agree on metrics, what success for a given metric looks like, and perhaps most importantly, the data backing those metrics needs to be reliable. There has to be integrity. This can be difficult when various systems consume and modify data as they support their respective areas of the business.
The “ops” side of RevOps needs uniform, high quality data. The realization of RevOps represents the bringing together of multiple, interlocking business processes. As leads evolve into prospects, and then into customers and eventually brand champions (one hopes), they move from department to department. Marketing attracts the leads. Sales converts the leads. Customer success supports the resulting account engagement and so forth. As these processes unfold, related cycles, such as customer education and advocacy occur in parallel.
Getting these “ops” aspects of RevOps functioning properly takes having consistent, accurate and normalized data. Consider what goes into delighting the customer, a concept that illuminates many discussions of RevOps’ key success factors. Imagine that a customer works for a branch office of a major account. He moves to a different branch. What happens if the systems supporting RevOps aren’t uniformly aware of this fact? The customer might get asked if he’s at his old address every time he calls the company. This is annoying and makes it look as if the company doesn’t know about him—or care.
This is a simple example, but picture how a little data quality error like that will affect business outcomes as it gets repeated thousands of times. Misspelled names, missing phone numbers, obsolete emails and duplicate records all impair effective RevOps. A lack of data enrichment similarly blocks the execution of RevOps processes as customer data moves from group to group. For instance, if adding a SIC code will help with customer engagement, then it would be great if the data could have that field filled. Data routing is a related issue. With multiple teams and people coming together, it’s essential to have the right data fields filled to accurately route the right records to the right people on your teams.
RevOps is catching on. The paradigm shows promise as a way to cut down on operational overhead for the departments that make revenue happen. The results include stronger revenue growth, better collaboration between teams, and, of course, a significantly improved customer experience.
Data quality and the proper orchestration of that data is an underlying driver of RevOps success. It’s not the only thing going on, but it’s essential. To develop a baseline of the data fueling your existing–or planned–RevOps strategy, start with a free analysis of your Salesforce data. Once you determine the strengths and limitations of your own database, our team of data experts can help you identify a custom data orchestration approach fit to fuel RevOps success.