Sales, marketing, and customer service can feel like very different worlds. Perhaps because they’re often siloed off from other departments within an organization.
But in reality, they all serve the same purpose: to drive revenue.
That is the central insight from which the concept of Revenue Operations (RevOps) emerges, creating a specific function to align teams behind company-wide goals and optimize processes to produce a more reliable bottom line.
Companies that achieve this alignment grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable, which helps explain why 75% of the highest-growth companies in the world are expected to deploy the RevOps model by 2025.
However, many businesses show a disconnect between intention and action. While 86% of B2B executives say that RevOps is important to meet their goals, only a third say their teams are aligned in a critical function.
In this five-part guide, we help solve that disconnect. We explain how RevOps works, its importance, and how to create a successful RevOps function from strategy to implementation.
I. The Basics of Revenue Operations
What is Revenue Operations (RevOps)?
RevOps is a strategic function designed to maximize a business’s revenue potential. It does that by uniting people, processes and technology for a shared goal: generating more revenue.
Key RevOps activities include:
- Coordinating sales and marketing collaboration
- Improving data sharing between teams and removing silos
- Fixing funnel leakage and optimizing conversions
- Mapping and implementing better customer journeys
- Automating manual processes to maximize efficiencies
Why is RevOps Valuable for Marketing?
RevOps is a relatively new concept, which leads many to mix it up with other common functions. But RevOps has a few important features that distinguish it from many similar concepts:
RevOps is a cross-functional discipline
While SalesOps and Marketing Ops focus exclusively on single departments, RevOps is designed to coordinate activity between departments. It is feasible that an organization would use both SalesOps and RevOps, but RevOps alone will usually take care of many of the same tasks a SalesOps or Marketing Ops team would be responsible for - as well as helping to align the service department with other revenue activities.
RevOps covers the full tech stack
Martech and Adtech each refer to specific sets of software and tools, whereas RevOps deals with the entire tech stack. RevOps teams may deal with Martech or Adtech solutions, but their goal would be to ensure these tools are used more effectively and serve the larger purpose of driving revenue.
RevOps also helps to integrate these other tech solutions so that there is visibility into the marketing and sales funnels and campaign results. This creates a single source of truth for revenue data.
RevOps is the most comprehensive strategy
Revenue Marketing and Growth Marketing both serve similar functions to RevOps. However, revenue marketing typically focuses on aligning and optimizing sales and marketing, leaving out service functions. And growth marketing typically focuses on utilizing data to generate more leads, close more deals and increase customer loyalty.
RevOps covers both of these areas but combines them (along with other factors) to create a truly comprehensive view of end-to-end revenue activities. However, some companies may choose to have revenue marketing or growth marketing functions as well as a RevOps team, as this adds extra support and likely helps drive even better results.
II. What are the Benefits of RevOps?
1. Increased visibility
From individual sales rep performance to marketing’s bottom-line impact, RevOps creates an overview of all revenue-related data. This makes it easier to understand how the company’s pipeline is progressing, what is impacting results and how well its revenue processes are working.
2. Improved communication
Sharing information is crucial to enable effective performance, especially when each department relies on the others to ensure its efforts result in revenue. RevOps produces shared definitions and improves lines of communication between sales, marketing and service to ensure data is accessible and everybody has a clear understanding of their roles and expectations.
3. Optimized performance
By removing technical barriers, improving the flow of information and zeroing in on the most effective activities for each department, RevOps improves the overall performance of an organization’s revenue functions. As a result, companies that invest in RevOps drive three times faster growth than those that don’t.
4. Enhanced efficiency
From data silos and disconnected processes to manual tasks, RevOps removes many of the bottlenecks that stifle productivity and performance. By making data accessible, improving the company’s pipeline and automating as many processes as possible, RevOps frees marketing, sales and service to do what they do best: drive revenue for the business.
5. More reliable revenue
Through enhanced performance and visibility, RevOps not only increases revenue, it makes it easier to predict. This helps leaders plan further in advance and allocate resources effectively to maximize their profit.
What are the Challenges of RevOps?
1. Organizational misalignment
Sales, marketing and service all exist within their own worlds — they have their own KPIs, cultures, skill sets and values. This creates silos, where teams that should work together compete for resources and struggle to communicate. Such misalignment happens between departments, teams and individuals.
One of the major challenges with RevOps is orchestrating processes and incentive structures to ensure everyone works towards the same goal. But this often involves overcoming historical grievances and introducing new processes, which take time for teams to adjust to.
2. Technological barriers
Technology is essential to effective RevOps, but most organizations’ tech stack is highly complex. There will be legacy systems that are outdated; new systems that need to be implemented; tools that are either underutilized or over-relied on; and generally a lack of overarching tech strategy.
As a result, technology actually exacerbates departmental misalignment. Data is harder to share, processes are not connected and collaborating effectively requires a lengthy trip to IT. This creates data silos, which make it impossible to gain a reliable overview of the pipeline. Without such a view, it’s difficult to benchmark performance, optimize processes or have confidence that any specific activity is actually having a positive impact on revenue.
RevOps teams must navigate all this complexity and build a system that enables their teams to thrive. This requires ongoing maintenance and optimization, as well as a large investment of time and effort upfront.
3. Organizational complexity
RevOps is responsible for coordinating multiple departments, teams and individuals. But each of these has complex relationships with the rest, which means companies cannot simply treat them as isolated entities. Changing the incentives of one team may impact the activities of another, which makes the role highly complex.
This makes communication a particularly important challenge for RevOps. RevOps teams must not only foster better communication between teams but also ensure they themselves communicate in an effective way to each distinct department.
4. Executive buy-in
While there is solid research supporting the value of RevOps, it is still a time-intensive and complicated undertaking for any organization. Once a company has decided to implement RevOps, they will need executive buy-in to green-light the process, and that is rarely a straightforward matter.
Ambitious organizations should focus on building a robust business case for RevOps, citing both the existing weakness it will fix and the opportunities it will unlock. But that will require a clear, effective RevOps strategy.
III. How RevOps Works
What is a Revenue Operations Strategy?
A RevOps strategy is a plan for optimizing marketing, sales and service performance to drive more revenue. This could take many forms, but the most common (and effective) method is to map out the ideal buyer journey and create a plan as to how people, processes and technology will have to change to make it a reality.
This is important because most companies have actually never explicitly considered their end-to-end processes. Sales, marketing and service each build processes that serve their specific purposes. But the way those processes connect, how the departments serve each other, and how this ultimately impacts revenue is difficult to conceptualize from within a single department.
A good RevOps strategy should include:
- Analysis of the existing buyer journey
- Analysis of the existing tech stack
- A map of your ideal buyer process
- A list of actions that are needed to create that buyer process
- A timeline for the implementation of those actions
What is a RevOps Team?
A RevOps team is a group that is responsible for creating and implementing a company’s RevOps strategy. This could be made up of individuals from marketing, sales, service and IT, or it could comprise individuals who specialize in RevOps.
A RevOps team shares many features with an IT or Analytics team, as both require technical knowledge and data analytics skills. However, a RevOps team also needs to contain several unique skills, including:
- Expert knowledge of marketing, sales and service processes
- Communication skills to navigate challenging situations
- A deep understanding of the principles of RevOps and its ultimate function
What Makes an Effective RevOps Team?
RevOps is still an emerging discipline, and different companies will create different sub-roles within their RevOps team. Equally, the scope of a RevOps function will vary greatly depending on the size of an organization. Many smaller organizations may have a single individual responsible for the entire function - and RevOps may not even be their full-time role, while an enterprise could have multiple team members.
Regardless of these differences, a few principles apply to any RevOps team. They need to have:
- Clearly defined responsibilities in order to function smoothly and prioritize tasks
- Accountability based on defined roles and KPIs
- Consistency to ensure RevOps is an ‘always on’ function
It is also important to include people who believe in what RevOps is trying to achieve. The RevOps team will inevitably encounter resistance, and they need to be able to push through and evangelize for the cause.
What Tasks Does Revenue Operations Involve?
RevOps teams are responsible for a number of concrete tasks, such as:
- Managing reports and performance data
- Automating manual processes
- Creating and running regular catch-ups and performance evaluations
- Researching and implementing new technology
- Managing the RevOps systems
The Role of Technology in RevOps
Data is at the heart of most RevOps activities, which makes technology an essential component of the function. RevOps teams spend much of their time evaluating, managing and implementing software and tools that improve management of the pipeline.
There is an enormous market for such software; the global market for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software alone was worth nearly $64 billion last year. But the size and complexity of the market can actually be an impediment, as it makes choosing a solution more time-consuming than it needs to be.
A RevOps tech stack should follow three principles. It must be:
- As simple and streamlined as possible
- Easy to use for all teams and departments
- Integrated to enable seamless sharing of information
Following these tenets, we believe HubSpot is the most effective RevOps platform on the market. It is more robust and customizable than other software and enables the centralization of the RevOps process while keeping all of a company’s data in one place.
Using HubSpot, RevOps teams can automate processes more easily, enable efficient communication between all relevant parties and act quicker on real-time information. But in many cases, businesses will still prefer to have support from an expert RevOps agency.
IV. How to Implement RevOps
How to Create a RevOps Framework
1. Map the ideal buyer journey
Map out the ideal buyer journey with no reference to the existing process. How could marketing, sales and service collaborate to produce better results? What would the ideal technological processes look like?
The point of this exercise is to establish an ideal to work towards, so it’s important not to consider the logistics too carefully. Instead, focus on understanding the buyers’ needs and what they would be most responsive to.
2. Assess current performance
Collect data from the various discrete systems, categorize it and map out the current pipeline. Cross-reference this with the existing tech stack to understand where leakages occur, how data flows through the system and how and why opportunities are lost.
Based on this, the RevOps team needs to pinpoint which aspects of the current revenue process work well, which need to be improved and which should be removed altogether. This provides a foundation for all subsequent RevOp activities.
3. Compare the two systems
How does the existing process compare to the ideal buyer journey that was laid out? Where are the obvious gaps or inefficiencies? And how could the RevOps team adapt the current system to look more like that ideal version?
While this can be painful, it is the best way to be properly critical of the existing system.
4. Cost/benefit analysis
Assess the practical value of changing each part of the system. Implementing a totally new system might allow a company to get closer to their ideal. But if it is too expensive and time-consuming, it may not actually be worthwhile.
This is the point in the process where practical factors like resources and technical limitations come into play. The goal here is not actually to build the perfect pipeline — it’s to determine which improvements will produce measurable results, so the RevOps team can allocate time and energy to those.
Even if your current setup and budget make an ideal pipeline unrealistic, you can still make incremental changes that will very quickly add-up to a dramatic improvement in your end results - as long as you have a solid plan.
5. Plan how to create that journey
List all of the changes the team has decided are worthwhile, and rank them in order of ease and cost. The most immediately valuable activities are likely to be fixing inefficiencies through automation and creating alignment between departments. The RevOps team can now create a timeline for implementation, ideally at least six months in advance. This will enable them to plan their activities and start driving revenue.
The Key Revenue Operations Metrics
Measurement is an essential part of RevOps, enabling the RevOps team to assess performance, make sense of their pipeline and optimize processes to produce more reliable revenue.
We can break RevOps metrics into two groups: revenue metrics and pipeline metrics. While not exhaustive, the following lists are a solid baseline for any RevOps strategy:
B2B revenue metrics to include:
- Lead to Win Rate: The total number of sales vs. the total number of sales opportunities.
- Deal Length: The total length of time from generating a lead to cementing a deal.
- Net Revenue (Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) or Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR): The amount of revenue produced in a given time period.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): The cost of sales and marketing divided by the number of new customers onboarded.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): The average customer value times the average customer lifespan.
B2B pipeline metrics include:
- Conversion rates: The volume of leads that move through each stage of the funnel
- Lifecycle stages: The status of a lead as they progress through the funnel. Many businesses use lead status for this purpose, but Lifecycle stages are much more effective as they provide greater clarity.
How to Create Alignment Through RevOps
The case for sales and marketing alignment is clear, given that companies that achieve it see 20% annual revenue growth. But creating that alignment is not as simple as introducing new incentives; there is often a long-standing disconnect between departments, and studies find that 87% of words sales and marketing teams use to describe each other are negative.
RevOps teams must create processes that actively enable collaboration by reducing miscommunication. Here are three actions to take:
1. Establish clear definitions
Many businesses struggle with unclear definitions or a lack of specific shared terminology. What constitutes a ‘qualified lead’ can vary, and if both parties have a slightly different idea of it, things can get contentious very quickly.
Establish clear definitions for every metric and term used. These should be agreed upon between department heads, and the definitions should be accessible to every team member at all times.
2. Create SLAs
A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a contract that stipulates the responsibilities of each department to the other. This can include deliverables, communication protocols and shared targets. It removes uncertainty and helps create confidence between teams.
The SLA should clearly state:
- A quota of leads marketing is responsible for producing at specific periods
- The maximum time sales can wait before contacting a Marketing Qualified Lead (MLQ)
Combined with a clear definition of qualified leads (and different types of qualified leads), this will ensure both departments know what is expected of them and trust the other to deliver results.
3. Implement shared dashboards for transparency
It is hard to align what isn’t visible. Shared dashboards make sure that both departments can see the other’s performance, ensure they are meeting their quotas and understand how better to serve their needs. Psychologically, this helps enforce the SLA and creates a clear incentive to perform better.
RevOps Best Practices
With RevOps being a relatively new concept, it’s important to follow best practices in order to maximize its potential benefits. Here we outline six RevOps best practices steps to unlock its true potential.
1. Consistent assessments
Schedule regular check-ins with team leads and departmental heads to assess performance and ensure alignment. This builds confidence, improves communication and helps to anticipate and address upcoming challenges before they become problems.
2. Create micro-targets
The ultimate goal of RevOps is big and often requires drastic change within departments and teams - which can be overwhelming. Avoid this by creating smaller sub-tasks and targets for each team so they are always within reach of their next goal.
3. Automate everything
Repetitive processes must be automated, but only when there is no obvious downside. Things like nurture campaigns for marketing or lead follow-up emails for sales are pure wins and should be automated as soon as possible.
4. Data maintenance
Sales and marketing data has a relatively short half-life; many companies also still have large quantities of historical data, which is compromised by poor tracking. Regularly audit data to ensure it is accurate and usable and build confidence within departments.
5. Adapt customer profiles
Sales, marketing and service need to understand their audience. But B2B buyers are changing all the time. Frequently update personas, ICPs and other strategic tools based on revenue reporting and industry trends.
6. Collect internal insights
Every department has a different view of customers, prospects and how the pipeline functions. Customer Success has knowledge that will help sales; sales’ direct customer interactions could produce important insights for the marketing team. Pool insights from all of them and incorporate those insights to help different departments understand the customer better.
V. The Value of a RevOps Agency
What is a Revenue Operations Agency?
A RevOps agency is an external partner that helps you plan, implement, manage and optimize your RevOps function. They provide expert knowledge of the various aspects of RevOps and have extensive experience helping businesses produce exceptional results.
Why You Need a RevOps Agency
As we’ve already seen, RevOps is a complex, multifaceted function. It involves tech skills, department-specific knowledge and a strong strategic element. Many businesses struggle to build a team that combines these capacities, especially if they are already at capacity in their standard jobs. And while they could hire a team specifically to run RevOps, it is prohibitively expensive to bring in full-time experts.
A RevOps agency offers a perfect middle-ground. They provide all of the skills required and can manage daily operations but don’t require you to hire multiple full-time employees.
How Does a RevOps Agency Operate?
Most RevOps agencies are relatively flexible in the way they work. They can either take over daily operations, provide targeted support when needed, or simply offer expert guidance. The best agencies will consult with you to determine the best and most cost-effective path forward.
What are the Benefits of a Revenue Operations Agency?
A RevOps agency provides support across many stages of the RevOps process, including:
- Strategy creation and refining
- Building new processes
- Software onboarding
- Performance optimization
Ultimately, this means a company is able to implement RevOps more quickly, with greater confidence and better bottom-line results.
How to Choose a RevOps Agency
There are three core factors to consider when choosing a RevOps agency:
1. Are they experts in the field?
It should be immediately clear that they are highly experienced, understand all aspects of RevOps and have a track record of producing results. They should also be experts with the specific platform (or combination of platforms) you are using, as this will dramatically accelerate the process.
2. How well do they understand your business?
RevOps is not the same for every business. A good RevOps agency must have a deep knowledge of your specific industry, competitors, market and internal culture. This will ensure they make the best strategic decisions and will match their process to the client’s business — not the other way around.
3. Do they have the resources to scale?
The goal of RevOps is to grow your business faster. But this also means that the RevOps function will have to expand, which many agencies struggle to accommodate. No company wants to onboard an agency only to have to bring in a new one in 12 months’ time, so it’s important that they have a scalable model and plenty of resources.
The ideal RevOps agency really operates as a partner to your business. They should be aligned with your goals and be able to help guide you at every stage of the process. If they offer the right answer to each of the three questions above, they will likely be a great partner on your RevOps journey.
VI. Start Your RevOps Journey Today
At ProperExpression, we are a leading, pioneer RevOps agency with extensive experience helping B2B organizations create, implement and optimize their RevOps strategies. We bring to bear a comprehensive and customizable approach with measurable results in:
- Lead funnel management and automation
- CRM strategy and optimization
- Lead review
- Lead scoring
- HubSpot implementation
- HubSpot/Salesforce sync
… and so much more.
If you’re not sure where to begin with RevOps, we’re here to empower your company with our tailored implementation. From lead mastery with a panoramic view and seamless system synchronization to insight into obstacles and ROI clarity and reporting, we engineer customized plans to turbocharge your growth.
Ready to discover how ProperExpression can revolutionize your organization with a custom-tailored RevOps strategy?