The field of revenue operations has become critical for today’s insight-driven sales and marketing teams, responsible for everything from technology strategy and data quality to project management and KPIs. But that doesn’t mean the keys to a successful RevOps team are widely known or uniformly used.
To ensure that RevOps is actually breaking down barriers — and not adding more bureaucratic bloat — leaders should focus on the four key functions of a RevOps team, the common challenges they will face, and the tools, data, and metrics that will deliver success.
What is Revenue Operations?
Revenue operations (RevOps) is the strategic and tactical alignment of the people, processes, tools, and resources businesses use to generate revenue. Effective RevOps can break down the divisions between sales, marketing, and customer success to create a frictionless experience through each stage of the customer journey.
“Revenue operations is not any one tool, necessarily. It’s the systemic view of it all together, to identify, process, and then activate.”
Scott Sutton, VP of RevOps, ZoomInfo
What is the Role of RevOps Managers?
Successful RevOps managers deliver tight coordination of the right people with the right technologies and the right data — all working together in a seamless revenue stream. These are the cross-functional responsibilities your RevOps manager needs to fulfill:
- Align sales, marketing, and customer success teams into a single collaborative RevOps team. This improves and coordinates business outcomes, like generating new leads, increasing customer acquisition, and improving retention.
- Manage the tech stack. Adapt technologies that encourage collaboration and build alignment across the marketing and sales processes.
- Harness data for success. High-quality data needs to be accessible, meaningful, and relevant to gain timely and actionable insights, streamline processes, and inform key business decisions.
Who is on a RevOps team?
Every company structures their RevOps teams differently. The needs of your RevOps team will vary based on your industry, your customers, and your organizational maturity. However, there are generally four key functions in a RevOps team structure. How you combine them is up to you.
Operations focuses on project planning and improving cross-functional processes. Initiatives include reporting, performance tracking, and project coordination. Roles include sales and marketing operations and project management.
The goal of enablement is increasing collaboration between various teams. Initiatives include content development, coaching, and training. Roles include sales enablement, learning and development, and human resources.
The systems and tools you use to power growth. Initiatives here include procurement, integrations, and administration. Roles include software developer and system administrator.
Data helps everyone make the right decisions. Initiatives include data quality management and data modeling to surface business insights. Roles include data analyst and data scientist.
A RevOps team should contain a mix of generalists and specialists. A generalist will have experience in a variety of roles or industries and a set of transferable skills, including analysis and problem-solving. A specialist will have considerable experience in a particular area, such as data science, marketing or sales operations, and tech management.
Sutton’s main considerations when hiring for his RevOps team are:
- Maximum impact: Hire people with skills that will multiply their impact across the entire team.
- Diversity and inclusion: Identify the gaps and how can you counterbalance this with more inclusive hiring practices.
- Culture and spirit: Find people who want to achieve and solve problems.
If you want to build a high-performing RevOps team:
- Hire people who can work at the speed of your company
- Document everything and over-communicate
- Automate scalable work streams
- Train your team
To learn more about how you can work smarter, not harder, download the ultimate marketing operations efficiency checklist
How Does RevOps Differ From Sales and Marketing Operations?
We all know that traditional sales and marketing operations focus on their own specific activities. But this siloed approach creates starts and stops at several key stages of the customer journey. The results can include unclear hand-offs of leads between marketing and sales, a lack of trust between teams, and missed opportunities to deliver remarkable customer service.
Revenue operations teams consider the entire customer journey and work to make it a smooth experience at every stage. Individual sales and marketing efforts are still important, but the overall goal is to work together as a cohesive team, putting the customer at the center of the process, and increasing lifetime value.
No single area is accountable for revenue. Instead, revenue growth is an organizational effort, achieved through tight collaboration to achieve common goals.
What are the Common Challenges Facing RevOps Teams?
Cross-functional RevOps teams working together makes sense in theory. But in practice, such teams encounter several challenges.
Too many point solutions
The alignment of teams brings together all their tools into a single tech stack. This can result in a multitude of point solutions that may not integrate well — if at all — leading to data quality problems, extensive administration, friction, and an overall lack of visibility.
Critical data is siloed
In an O’Reilly survey, more data analysts reported “too many data sources and inconsistent data” and “disorganized data stores and lack of metadata” as major hurdles in their work. An end-to-end approach to data management can help solve these problems, especially as the volume of data in everyday business decisions continues to grow.
Most teams don’t manage their systems to be aligned and collaborative along the entire customer journey. The Salesforce ‘Rise of RevOps’ report found that only 38% of organizational leaders considered their marketing, sales, finance, support, and customer success teams to have completely aligned technology management functions.
How to Build an Optimal RevOps Model
Use the best RevOps tools
In addition to CRM platforms and marketing automation software, RevOps teams require a variety of tools to accelerate revenue generation. The best RevOps tools to add to your tech stack include:
- Data quality tools to cleanse, normalize and unify data into a complete and consistent data set
- Enrichment tools to add value and meaning to existing data sets
- Routing tools to quickly get leads from marketing to sales
- Analytics tools to make data-backed, revenue-generating decisions
While these are all essential, the aim is not to simply add more tools. A successful RevOps team relies on a lean, consolidated tech stack. High quality and meaningful data, automated workflows, strong integrations with existing platforms, and built-in reporting are absolutely essential elements.
Here are four key steps to creating an efficient, successful RevOps tech stack:
- Establish strong governance and a clear approval process
- Define and expand your buying committee
- Streamline and consolidate your tech stack
- Check for strong integrations and scalable automation
Learn more about how you can work smarter, not harder. Download the ultimate marketing operations efficiency checklist
Integrate marketing with RevOps
Research by Boston Consulting Group shows that tighter alignment between sales and marketing teams can double or even triple the return on investment for digital marketing. To get there, you need to ensure strong and smooth integration of your existing marketing automation platform with your RevOps tools and the ability to easily integrate with your sales tools and CRM.
Integrate sales with RevOps
A sophisticated Data as a Service (DaaS) platform, such as ZoomInfo’s OperationsOS, keeps information across every system aligned and standardized all the way through the customer lifecycle. By integrating your CRM with a RevOps tool that manages your data, you create a single source of truth for customers and prospects, eliminate data silos for your teams, promote cross-functional alignment, and empower your sales with high-quality data for actionable insights.
Automate your RevOps
Given the sheer volume of data we capture and work with day to day, it’s ineffective and inefficient to manually cleanse and update out-of-date, incomplete, or missing data.
ZoomInfo’s OperationsOS suite automatically cleans, enriches, normalizes, de-duplicates, and unifies data sources. Automating these elements frees your team from costly manual processes while simultaneously making quality data accessible and usable at any stage of the customer journey.
Before you embark on automation, AI or machine learning, make sure you have a strong foundation of quality data in place.
The aim is to capture data once and effortlessly use it at each touchpoint. The introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning can help deliver the scalable power needed to organize your information without the need for manual intervention.
While it’s beneficial to automate tedious data orchestration tasks, it’s important to note that not every RevOps task should be automated. Some tasks need personal input and perspective — whether for strategic insights or a pulse check against other priorities in real time.
Adopt RevOps key performance indicators (KPIs)
For RevOps leaders, the customer journey no longer starts with marketing and ends at the sale — instead, it continues as a relationship that can grow. How can you measure success when marketing, sales and customer success are no longer considered in isolation? By adopting metrics that are focused on revenue.
|Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
|The money coming in each year from a subscription or contract
|The rate at which customers stop doing business with you
|Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
|The total cost to acquire a new customer, from the first touch point to conversion
|Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
|How much a customer is worth over their entire relationship with your business
|The rate that customers extend their relationship with your business, indicating your delivery of long-term value to your customers
|The value of unrecognized revenue, or totals that customers agree to pay but can’t be invoiced due to the long-term nature of a subscription
|Total Contract Value (TCV)
|The total revenue estimated for a contract
To review and measure your success with consistent metrics:
- Establish a reporting structure
- Build out a KPI framework
- Create a reporting schedule
- Automate your reports
Whether it is to align your teams, rationalize the tools you use, or break down organizational silos, ZoomInfo provides multiple ways to integrate and leverage data into your revenue operations, when and where it’s needed.