Are You Ready to Take RevOps to the Next Level? — How to Optimize Your Revenue-Focused Operation

Robert GammonDirector, Revenue Operations Practice

February 9, 2022 in Revenue Operations

Revenue Operations (RevOps) is a relatively new function within today’s organizations. While many companies have already embraced a full deployment of the revenue-focused discipline, many others have been slower to engage. Often the reason for a slow RevOps implementation comes down to finding the right match between the organization’s specific needs and the right RevOps strategy. 

There are essentially four RevOps levels at which companies can deploy the discipline. Each level needs a slightly different implementation of these five components:

  • Revenue team — sizes range from one person to the sales, marketing, and customer success teams. 
  • Processes — from siloed within teams to silo-less information sharing.
  • Data — from a few revenue reports to advanced trend analysis and pattern recognition. 
  • Tech stack — from customer relationship management (CRM) tools to advanced intelligence applications. 
  • Analytics and insights — from intuition-based assumptions to data-driven intelligence. 

Each of these five RevOps components can play out in different ways depending on the size of the organization and its RevOps maturity level. This does not mean that small companies cannot gain significant revenue-generating outcomes. It’s just a matter of deploying the right RevOps strategy.

Once you find your operational level, you can optimize RevOps in your organization. Optimization, in this case, means capturing the right, real-time data across go-to-market business functions. Then using it to optimize customers’ experiences — from sales to marketing to customer success and support.

Find Your RevOps Level — and Optimize It

What RevOps level are you on? This guide provides insight on how to enhance your revenue operations at every level — so you can achieve better financial returns.

Level 0 — Undefined

If your organization is at this level you do not have revenue operations in place. This includes no team, processes, silo-less data access, tech stack, or analysis and insights. This means that you are not optimizing revenue — and, in fact, are likely losing revenue through several operational gaps.

Level 1 — Aware Stage — Single-Leader RevOps

This level is typically where smaller organizations fit best. They are nimble and agile, have a go-to-market of headcount between one to three employees, and are aware of revenue-generation strategies but have not fully embraced a revenue discipline. 

The critical challenge companies face at this level is that RevOps activity is not yet recognized as a strategic function. As a result, the leaders are aware of the value of revenue operations insight, but do not yet have a way to get the data they need to make revenue-focused decisions consistently.

Revenue Team: Organizations can expand their RevOps capabilities beyond just a few go-to-market (GTM) functional leaders to include a single full-time person tasked with capturing and sharing process goals and metrics. Titles for this role include RevOps Specialist, RevOps Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst, and Revenue Accountant.

Processes: Typically, in these settings, revenue data is siloed, undocumented, and evolving separately within each GTM team. When leaders realize that the teams can be accountable to each other through a RevOps discipline, magic can happen. 

Data: There may be someone in finance who can pull together a revenue report or two. Otherwise, revenue data typically comes from front-line managers and one or more singular sources. What’s more, it’s often lagging days, if not weeks, behind. At this level, the exercise of merging revenue data to share sales and marketing progress across departments will provide valuable, actionable insights. 

Tech Stack: Smaller companies are typically operating with entry-level CRM tools or freemium applications. Without upgrades to more advanced systems, functional revenue-focused capabilities often remain limited. What’s needed for a solid RevOps foundation is being able to record activity and progress on all accounts and deals in one central application. This provides a company-wide “source of truth.” Keeping it centralized can be a challenge but is attainable with the correct management. 

Analytics and Insights: (Descriptive) Typically, at this level, sales and marketing teams have only a small window of opportunity to assess the status of prospects and customers. Too often, a small company relies on anecdotal and intuition-based assumptions. Most likely, the team wins or loses deals with little to no insight on why. A dedicated RevOps leader can fix this problem by providing actionable insight on prospects, customers, and revenue opportunities. 

Optimizing RevOps at the Single-Leader Level can deliver significant results. By evolving from a “rearview mirror” and “best-guess” decision-making process to real-time, shared revenue data guiding decision making, companies can make smarter decisions. What’s more, taking these steps sets the company up for evolving to the next stage of RevOps where people, processes, and technology are fully aligned. 

Level 2 — Aligned Stage  — Mature RevOps 

This RevOps level is typically where you’ll find small to midsize organizations with well-developed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems in place. Companies have a mature attitude toward revenue generation. They typically have a go-to-market headcount of between three to ten employees who are using common definitions and sharing information in alignment with customer experience.

The key challenge companies face at this level is that the teams have not yet taken the leap to work together for the common goal of revenue growth in a holistic way. Leaders may be getting valuable insights from the data, but they may also be missing some hidden challenges that can negatively impact decision-making. 

Revenue Team: Often, the leader of revenue operations at this level is a systems administrator because it’s the most logical place to begin with a dedicated RevOps resource. However, this resource must interface with departments outside of tech, including finance. Internal relationships and knowledge sharing will be essential for building out the RevOps function.

Process: Companies at this level typically have well-defined customer journeys mapped with all touchpoints identified. While building alignment across teams, the company may discover gaps and disconnects in how the current processes and applications are impacting customers’ experiences. This is critical for uncovering issues such as churn. At this stage, operations begin to be remediated or managed intentionally. 

Data: Often, companies at the Fully Aligned level rely heavily on the summary data available on their dashboards. The organization has agreed on definitions for key metrics, and reporting is standardized. However, to fully optimize, they need to begin to understand what data drives outcomes, and what data proves those outcomes across the teams.

Tech Stack: The primary revenue-focused technology used is CRM for lead generation activities, opportunity management, and customer success and support. The company may also be phasing out or replacing smaller tech solutions that don’t add significant value. At this level, it’s time to replace all tech with a centralized RevOps solution. The solution should include a sales cadence and enablement tool because it will clearly reveal which activities are showing promise and which are not.

Analytics and Insights: (Diagnostic) Typically, the organization gains decision-making insight from its CRM data, which as a single source of information supports planning and risk management. There will probably still be a good deal of intuition-based decision-making, but it’s now easier to pivot when numbers trend in the wrong direction. To optimize insight, the company should conduct analysis on historical wins and losses and determine if their data model is capturing all the necessary points and indicators.

The hard part of implementing RevOps is not over when a company has a single source of truth. To optimize RevOps at this level, it’s critical to move toward GTM team alignment. Alignment is an art, and the more revenue-focused data that’s generated and practices implemented the better the customer experience will be. This approach can result in multiple opportunities to increase revenue at multiple customer touch points.

Level 3 —Optimized Stage —  Next-Level RevOps 

This level is where you’ll find complex organizations that have a dedicated revenue operation. Likely, the RevOps function has developed iteratively from a basic startup operation as more data has informed more advanced internal processes. These companies have built a RevOps function that guides, coaches, and supports leaders with real-time data and testing, and aligned it with their customers’ journeys and expectations.

This RevOps level is where accountability for cross-functional key performance indicators (KPIs) starts. Data begins to dictate decisions and guide teams and individuals to consistently make revenue-focused decisions. 

Revenue Team: At this stage, RevOps is typically led by a director or vice president who is tasked with oversight of the process, strategy, resources, data, and insights. This level often operationalizes the leadership role with matrix resources that are borrowed but not dedicated. To be the most successful at this stage, the systems admin will report directly to the head of RevOps. 

Process: At this level, the customer journey is seamless, with clear handoffs between sales, marketing, and customer success. Forecasting best practices have been adopted, and regular holistic forecasts are provided across the revenue cycle. At an optimized level, the GTM teams have a simple way to request data. Sales, marketing, and customer success are all included in decisions that impact the customer journey. To improve this level, organizations can begin experimenting with process improvement in a scientific way. They can also deploy a clearly defined method to prove that a change or initiative works or fails. 

Data: Companies at this level have access to quantifiable leading and lagging indicators. Also available are trend analysis and pattern recognition, which provide indications of future successes or failures. Also, it’s clear to each team where their impact is felt across the revenue organization. Improvements in data that can be made at this stage include, prospect activity data for instances where they spend time on your website and for how long. Organizations can begin to capture customer behavior data from their products (for example, SaaS), especially with Product Led Growth (PLG) companies. The next data challenge an organization at this level will inevitably experience will be storage and access. This is when a data warehouse begins to take shape.

Tech Stack: This is the level that revenue intelligence applications begin to make sense. The data is readily available, and the organization is confident in its accuracy. The CRM is likely integrated with finance and will continue to be the single source of truth for customer data. Optimizing at this level could include extensions to the current platforms such as new features or additional connected applications. At this point of maturity, the options are fairly open. With stable data and processes integrating new technologies can be smooth, painless, and effective.

Analytics and Insights: (Predictive) The CRM begins to show forecasted and actual metrics on accounts and scoring models. There is no question for the sales team which deals they need to pursue. The marketing team knows their personas and consistently drives well-focused campaigns to them. The customer success team can see churn indicators allowing them to intervene and optimize revenue in an ongoing manner. 

At this level, RevOps has solidified its place within the organization as a critical function that continually brings just-in-time value. Targeted and optimized growth strategies are aligned with the customer journey. And since customers are constantly evolving, so too is the company’s revenue-driven go-to-market strategy. The only way forward for these advanced RevOps programs is to add the future-focused capability achieved in Level 4. 

Level 4 — Strategic Stage — Future-Focused RevOps

This level includes high-performing companies that understand the value of revenue-focused data to make decisions based on measurable outcomes. In fact, they’ve often incorporated a future-focused aspect to their RevOps program. As such, this maturity level is the pinnacle of RevOps, where outcomes are monitored and changes are implemented quickly based on a measurable path toward future success. While it’s not possible to predict the future exactly, advanced data models that deliver revenue forecasts can be highly predictable. As such, they can steer teams towards the most effective deals. 

Revenue Team: This RevOps team is viewed as a strategic partner with a seat at the C-level table. The team is aligned with the rest of the organization and provides strategic value across the GTM operation. It includes a dedicated team of individuals who are accountable for the strategy, delivery, and continuous improvement of processes, resources, data, and insights for revenue optimization.

Process: Companies at this level deliver frictionless customer experiences. “Next best actions” are defined by activity and health scores. As a result, hyper-personalization occurs. Testing happens across all functions, and a systematic approach to validating hypotheses is employed. Future-Focused RevOps organizations have moved well past the boundaries of separate sales, marketing, or customer success organizations to one holistic RevOps team. 

Data: The business views data as an essential function. Automation and machine learning are added to the tech stack to provide a foundation for prescriptive data analytics. As a result, data lakes are deployed to manage the growing proliferation of sales, marketing, and customer success data. 

Tech Stack: At this stage, technology has evolved to support all data-driven processes. Business analytics and intelligence tools have been deployed to run models for revenue-based statistics. Continuous testing and maintenance are standard operating procedures. 

Analytics and Insights: (Prescriptive) End-to-end lead funnel measurement is in place. Attribution models are used. Actions are prescribed to the growth leaders for revenue growth. There is little to nothing that can’t be measured when it comes to revenue.

If you are at the Future-Focused RevOps level you have optimized your customer journeys and handoffs, as well as sales motions and marketing. Your customers are all ideal buyers, your prospects are all highly targeted, the customer journey is optimized, and the products you deliver are in tune with market demand and its evolution.  

While RevOps is so new that it’s a bit like the wild west, many companies have already evolved to the highest levels of revenue insight and performance. Today, any company at any level can take the journey to an optimized level of RevOps performance — where they gain the real-time, revenue-focused insight they need to make smarter decisions that accelerate their GTM revenue growth. 

For more insight on taking your RevOps processes to the next level, contact us to talk to a RevOps expert. Or download our latest report, RevOps Intelligence in Private Equity Firms

To meet a seasoned RevOps team that can help maximize revenue growth across your company or portfolio, contact Cortado Group today

New call-to-action