Revenue operations (RevOps) — what it is and how it can help your business
For years businesses tried to fix their sales funnels by bringing together marketing, sales, and customer service and met with little success. But consumer behavior and business models have gone through big changes in recent years — primarily with the switch to subscription-based business models. The alignment of your company’s people, data, and processes is more important than ever for driving revenue and growth.
Even though getting marketing, sales, and customer service out of their siloes was previously unthinkable, new advances in software have finally given companies the means to do so. The alignment of these business teams is called Revenue Operations (RevOps), and its popularity has been rising sharply.
To help you understand RevOps and why it’s become so popular, this article will cover:
- What revenue operations (RevOps) is
- Benefits of RevOps
- The RevOps team — roles, responsibilities, and the skills required
- Revenue operations metrics
- The rise of revenue ops
- Revenue ops vs. sales ops
- Revenue operations tools
What is revenue operations (RevOps)?
Revenue operations (RevOps) is the integration and alignment of marketing, sales, and customer service to improve the customer experience and maximize revenue. The goal of RevOps is to make revenue and growth more predictable.
RevOps does this by eliminating internal inconsistencies and inefficiencies across formerly siloed departments, processes, and tech stacks to ensure every revenue-generating department is working together on common objectives.
The implementation of RevOps aligns:
- People. Sales, marketing, and customer service must all work as a single unified team under a manager ultimately responsible for revenue growth.
- Platforms. The RevOps team should work from a single source of truth. This means one software system for customer data across all departments.
- Processes. RevOps helps to unify a strategy for branding and messaging, sales tactics, and customer service throughout the entire customer journey.
Benefits of RevOps
Integrating marketing, sales, and customer service has a range of proven benefits. According to LSA Global, aligned companies see 58% faster revenue growth and 72% more profitability than siloed companies. Boston Consulting Group reports that RevOps can lead to a 100 to 200% increase in digital marketing ROI.
This increase in revenue is a product of the following improvements RevOps offers.
- Stronger company vision. When a company’s customer-facing departments are transparent enough to function as a single revenue team, they can create a more informed strategy for the future.
- Better customer experience. Aligning marketing, sales, and customer service — all the departments that communicate with customers — with a coordinated strategy and messaging results in happier customers. Marketing materials, sales presentations, and customer service responses can all be adapted and unified to relate to the changing needs of customers along their entire journey with your brand.
- More reliable metrics. Rather than each department recording and tracking a separate data set, departments share data and performance measurements so they can all work from a single source of truth. The result is greater transparency and accountability.
- Increased team efficiency. RevOps creates alignment and transparency that produces stronger accountability, a more streamlined workflow, less wasted effort, and greater responsiveness.
- More predictable growth. If you can track customers' entire end-to-end lifecycle and make quick adjustments as needed, you’re much likelier to achieve goals and grow revenue.
The RevOps team — roles, responsibilities, and the skills required
You can form a RevOps team relatively simply. The key is to get started as soon as possible with RevOps and adjust as you grow.
An essential RevOps team includes:
- A RevOps manager
- Representative managers from marketing, sales, and customer service
- A systems manager, who serves as a neutral-party software and data administrator
If necessary, you can start with just one new hire — the RevOps manager — and then organize your growing team according to functions as you scale.
The RevOps manager, also known as the Director of RevOps, may report to the CRO or directly to the CEO. In smaller organizations, the CRO and RevOps manager may be the same individual. The RevOps manager is responsible for company revenue across all business channels.
The RevOps manager leads an interdepartmental team of managers from marketing, sales, and customer service and facilitates communication among team members. Their specific responsibilities can be grouped into those related to insights, process, systems, and enablement.
The RevOps manager is responsible for gathering data intelligence to inform decisions. This includes:
- Auditing existing tech, data, and content
- Identifying and overseeing the implementation of integrated software solutions
- Defining and tracking KPIs
- Initiating and reviewing revenue forecasts
- Regularly monitoring progress and chairing meetings to ensure alignment
Another key area for the RevOps manager is developing common strategies and processes for the customer lifecycle. This includes:
- Setting goals and target accounts and identifying best opportunities for expansion
- Streamlining processes and workflows and eliminating redundancies, unprofitable activities, and bottlenecks in marketing, sales, and customer service interactions
- Ensuring consistency among departments to help throughout the customer journey
Scaling and automating processes through a single tech stack falls under the purview of the RevOps manager. Some of these responsibilities include:
- Ensuring the use of integrated software as a single source of truth
- Identifying ways to automate processes
- Building systems to improve data quality and depth of insights
- Tracking and evaluating the complete customer experience from end to end
The RevOps manager is also responsible for growing revenue operations within the company. Training people in processes and systems includes:
- Overseeing the development of training materials
- Training, coaching, and mentoring operations managers and staff
The best RevOps managers serve as guides for your business. They must be able to drive revenue and growth, solve problems, and communicate with their teams. Here are some desirable skills.
- Effective communication
- Strategic problem solving
- Ability to manage a team
- Familiarity with common software platforms like a CRM, sales enablement software, and marketing automation software
- Data-driven decision making
- Ability to facilitate meetings and run professional training and development sessions
The following operations managers report to the RevOps manager.
- Marketing operations manager
- Sales operations manager
- Customer service operations manager
You want equal representation from the three customer-facing departments responsible for generating revenue — sales, marketing, and customer service. These are not usually new hires but rather existing heads of each department who assume these roles. Their main responsibilities are to share their departments’ data and processes with the rest of the RevOps team, develop solutions together, and help find and fix any problem with their own teams’ performance.
Systems operations manager
A good RevOps team should include a systems operations manager. Billing and finance are crucial in the customer lifecycle, particularly within a subscription business model. A unified tech stack for all revenue-generating data and processes is likewise critical. A systems operations manager can be a neutral administrator of your shared software and ensure smooth and proper billing, at least from a technical angle.
Additional RevOps team members
As you scale your RevOps team and can hire more employees, you may want to consider structuring managerial positions following RevOps functions. Additional team members can include:
- Revenue insights manager to supervise data analysts from sales, marketing, and customer service
- Revenue process manager to supervise analysis of cross-team operations as well as technical support to all sales operations through a “deal desk”
- Revenue systems manager to oversee the central CRM, websites, applications, marketing automation, and subscription billing
- Revenue enablement manager to take responsibility for onboarding, training, development, coaching, and product and content knowledge
Revenue operations metrics
RevOps can only streamline processes if you know how efficient those processes are. You can use several key metrics to evaluate how much revenue your operations generate across departments throughout the customer journey. RevOps teams can identify and remove bottlenecks by analyzing these metrics to maximize value and profits.
- Sales cycle time shows the time it takes in days, weeks, or months from the first contact with a prospect to closing a deal. Slow sales cycle times indicate the need for sales to connect with customers earlier in their journey.
- Pipeline velocity shows the speed at which prospects move through your sales pipeline. It measures sales success against time. This number is helpful when building revenue forecasts because it helps the RevOps team pinpoint any slowdowns and restrategize to speed up the sales process.
- Renewals and upsells mean less turnover and more revenue. A high number of subscription renewals or product upsells indicates your customers are satisfied enough to stick around. These are key metrics, as it costs less to keep customers than to find new ones.
- Customer lifetime value (CLV) shows how much a customer is worth to your business from when they first start using your product or service to when they stop. CLV isn’t based on the first purchase a customer makes but shows how effective upsells and renewals are. A low CLV limits how much you should spend to acquire new customers.
- Customer churn is the percentage of customers who stop using your product. Higher churn rates suggest your customer retention strategies aren’t working.
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC) shows how much you need to invest in marketing and sales to get a new customer. What constitutes a good CAC for your brand depends on CLV and customer churn. A high CAC should alert your RevOps team that your branding is inconsistent, your ad placements are off, or you’re targeting the wrong clients.
- Annual recurring revenue (ARR) shows how much revenue you earn from subscription products. This metric is essential to RevOps teams because it’s about predictable revenue. You can use this data to measure progress and predict future growth.
- Forecast accuracy is key for RevOps because of its focus on reliably predicting growth. This measurement allows you to see how predictable your revenue is.
- Win rate is the percentage of closed sales deals. This metric is essential for assessing sales performance. It can help you see which sales methods are working or aren’t. And it also reveals if you’re targeting the correct prospects.
The rise of revenue ops
The rise of revenue operations is a reaction to several big changes in the business landscape. Companies can no longer afford to operate in departmental silos, for several reasons.
- Customers expect a consistent, transparent, and personalized experience every time they interact with your brand. This requires real-time data and perfect internal alignment between teams.
- Buyers are more comfortable doing their own online research before buying, so traditional roles of sales and marketing have shifted dramatically.
- The growth of subscription-based models in B2B and B2C markets requires more focus on the customer lifecycle with upsells and renewals.
Recent enterprise automation platforms have enabled the rise of revenue operations. Integrated software solutions now allow marketing, sales, and customer service teams to coordinate and align their efforts, work from one source of truth enterprise-wide, and work towards the same goals.
Revenue ops vs. sales ops
RevOps and sales operations are easily confused, but there are some significant differences. SalesOps supports your sales team and includes lead management, territory planning, and revenue and pipeline forecasting.
RevOps is concerned with managing the end-to-end customer experience across multiple departments. SalesOps is actually a subset of RevOps. The SalesOps manager reports to the RevOps manager.
Revenue operations tools
Your CRM is the main tool for RevOps. Here are some of the capabilities RevOps needs in a CRM.
- Touchpoint tracking. Seeing where every customer is in their journey is critical to RevOps. Your CRM should be able to track all activity from the first anonymous touch to a closed deal.
- Attribution modeling. After you’ve figured out the customer journey, your CRM should attribute leads, revenue, and ROI to touchpoints. Attribution modeling gives you the necessary data to decide which marketing efforts are worth investing more in.
- Integration. RevOps needs a central source of truth. Your CRM should integrate with your marketing automation solutions and sales tools.
- Analytics and reporting. A good CRM uses AI and machine learning to analyze your large datasets and give you the insights you need to streamline processes.
- Analyzing and forecasting revenue. After collecting and analyzing revenue data, you need to know where the strengths and weaknesses lie so you’ll be able to predict future revenue.
- Omnichannel personalization. By stitching data together from multiple channels and touchpoints, you better understand your customers. That means you can give them the kind of personalized experience they expect.
Getting started with RevOps
Revenue operations aligns income-producing departments in a company, so they’re sharing data and tools and working toward the common goal of offering the customer the best experience possible. It increases efficiency and drives revenue and growth.
Look for the symptoms of disjointed teams and strategies in your business. If you notice your processes for interacting with customers are inefficient or you’re not retaining customers as you should, it’s time to restructure.
The first step when setting up a RevOps team is to gather your revenue data in one place and bring your processes onto one platform.
Adobe Marketo Measure gives you the attribution and analytical tools needed to make data-driven decisions. See how Marketo Measure can help your RevOps team succeed by signing up for a free, personalized demo.