This article was originally published in Demand Gen Report.
Revenue operations (RevOps) has positioned B2B organizations to create defined processes that unite both leaders and ground-level teams to streamline revenue strategies and put the customer front and center.
“When I think about revenue operations, it covers a lot of different things,” said Debbie Qaqish, Principal & Chief Strategy Officer of The Pedowitz Group, in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “It covers a reorganization, legacy of silos going away, better line of sight to the customer, easier ways to create revenue and an easier way to take advantage of this new customer centricity that's come into play.”
While RevOps, the strategic convergence of sales, marketing and customer success to drive full-funnel accountability across the revenue engine, is not exactly a new buzzword or strategy, it is quickly gaining traction among B2B companies. In fact, research from RingDNA, a sales engagement software provider, in partnership with RevOps Squared, shows that 33% of B2B companies adopted a RevOps function into their strategies in 2020, an increase from 24% in 2019.
B2B orgs are abandoning their legacy processes to focus on improving their datasets with third-party data and prioritizing organizational leadership and internal alignment for future revenue growth in 2021 and beyond. However, according to multiple experts, many B2B companies still struggle with RevOps, citing issues with strong leadership and a lack of defined processes and data.
“It's a journey to get to the perfect framework,” said Howard Brown, Founder and CEO of RingDNA, in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “There are very few people out there that have the both the experience and the gravitas to run RevOps strategies. We have to make some fundamental changes in how we operate our teams, eliminate the data silos and look at our data organization.”
Siloed and inaccurate data can hinder daily operations. As a result, many RevOps organizations are turning to third-party data solutions to increase the quality of their data.
According to Qaqish, selling to multiple customers with different needs and interests requires precise data that is relevant to every part of the organization, as each team will glean insights that will allow them to go to market effectively. In the case of The Pedowitz Group, the company’s RevOps team uses 6sense to improve its predictive behavior data, allowing them to determine the best way to interact with a specific buyer across the whole organization.
“Using tools like 6sense gives us that modeling and predictive behavior, along with being in the right channel at the right time with the right people,” Qaqish explained. “It really is about focus — not so much about spray and pray. Because the tools are so easy to use, people are going to become much more focused in the conversations that they have, the number of conversations and who they have those conversations with.”
RingDNA uses the conversational marketing tool Qualified to analyze its website engagement data, allowing its marketing, sales and customer experience teams to determine the best method for guiding its buyers through their individual journeys. RingDNA also plans on combining its CRM and proprietary data with other third-party solutions to provide its teams with the necessary intelligence to drive better customer relationships and revenue in 2021.
“It’s about creating a data-driven algorithm, or algorithmic selling model,” said Brown. “We use advanced analytics from the data that’s collected through every process, every communication and every task that's being created, providing my teams with insights that ultimately drive revenue.”
The research from RingDNA spotlights how 70% of respondents cited some degree of alignment when creating or improving their RevOps strategies for greater efficiency. According to Brown, RevOps needs total internal alignment, pooling their resources to create a well-oiled machine.
For example, RingDNA created feedback loops between its sales, marketing and customer experience teams, allowing frontline employees to gain real-time insights that empower sales and customer experience teams’ interactions with buyers.
“In order to actually achieve the status of a ‘revenue organization,’ companies need to align the culture, the processes, the data and the metrics that are tracked,” said Brown. “It's no longer about marketing generating leads and handing those leads over to sales, and then sales has their leads and win rates. It's really about creating mutual metrics.”
Internal alignment can also help organizations manage their buyers’ journey, cutting down on customer drop-off and the constant hunt for new acquisitions. According to Mark Kelly, CEO of B2B management consulting firm NewEdge Growth, if marketing, sales, demand generation, customer experience, etc. are aligned toward the goal of helping the buyer through their journey, there will be an increase in retention and more consistent revenue.
“You have to manage this entire relationship not only from an experience standpoint, but from an operations piece,” Kelly explained. “Are we aligned with their journey, or are we dragging them through our process? Revenue operations can help you measure that and really focus on the outcomes and see if you're being successful with that or not.”
Effective leadership is also essential to internal alignment, with more than 66% of companies having a leader that is primarily responsible for overseeing daily operations, maintaining alignment and ensuring customer success.
Qaqish explained that RevOps leaders need all their employees to operate with the same processes and goals, citing how The Pedowitz Group worked with Cisco leadership to improve their customer visibility and to ensure that every part of the organization was working under the same process, had the tools to support their customers and were all working toward the same goal. This allowed the team to make more informed decisions that positively impacted the company’s relationship with its buyers.
“If you're the CEO, you have to be looking at a new way of creating revenue and growth in your organization,” said Qaqish. “The model of ‘it's up to the sales organization’ is gone. Revenue generation and growth is now a team sport, and leaders are the engine that helps companies create repeatable, predictable and scalable revenue in a way that teams alone had never thought of before.”
Kelly agreed, stating that NewEdge Growth advises its revenue leader clients to focus on bridging the gap between leader and employee, creating processes that improve performance for the company across all levels.
“In the revenue world, leaders need to understand they have to be fluent in both sales and marketing,” said Kelly. “They have to not only understand the customer experience, but they must be passionate about it. That was the biggest eye-opening moment in my career, when I realized there's a huge disconnect for what you think I need to hear and what I really want to hear. The person in charge needs to have spent time as either a salesperson or as a marketing person or both, so that they can be effective in that role.”
As B2B organizations evolve their marketing strategies and become revenue-focused, total alignment, dynamic datasets and strong leadership can ensure a RevOps organization’s success. With these tactics in mind, the future for RevOps looks bright.
“If I had to predict where [RevOps] is going in 2021 and beyond, it's going to be about predictability,” said Kelly. “The executive teams, the investors, the VCs or private equity are looking for predictability of revenue. And it rolls back to the operations, how you're measuring it and that all goes back to the strategy. That's really how this all come together.”