Over the past several years, business leaders have been beating the sales enablement drum, constantly seeking new ways to empower their frontline sales forces. And that’s for a good reason: sales enablement is essential to long-term success. But to be truly effective amid our rapidly changing market and shifting buyer demands, organizations have to support all revenue functions across the entire cycle — not just the last mile.
Enter revenue operations, or RevOps. This herculean business function is tasked with maximizing revenue potential by connecting and streamlining people, processes, technology and data. A successful RevOps implementation aligns sales, marketing and customer service into a singular revenue-generating powerhouse.
As difficult as this might sound, it’s even harder to accomplish. Many people in a department or across an organization may have RevOps as a piece of their knowledge base, but to make it all work, it's best to have an expert focused entirely on building, nurturing and scaling. When the economy gets a little shaky, RevOps pros face bigger responsibilities and more complex challenges than ever.
Here are some of the top demands on marketing and revenue operations pros and how you can overcome these hurdles:
While no one would argue the past few years have been a cakewalk, the last half of 2022 has been a particularly challenging time for businesses of all sizes. Every day, headlines announce massive reorgs, layoffs and budget cuts — especially within the tech, healthcare, manufacturing and real estate sectors.
Those issues, combined with the continued headaches of managing teams through remote-first, hybrid and return-to-office limbo, have widened the rift between all departments. With companies regularly undergoing significant transformations and leadership changes, it’s easy for silos to form and worsen.
In other words, RevOps has never been so essential, but aligning sales, marketing and service teams (collectively known as a revenue team) has never been more difficult.
To overcome this challenge, RevOps pros should get clarity on shared goals and determine precisely how performance will be monitored and measured. If teams can’t align on objectives or the actions they’ll take to get there, it will be nearly impossible for marketing and revenue operations to yield positive results.
Even though the idea of analyzing your revenue processes and platforms is nothing new, it’s still tricky for RevOps teams to define their value and role within the organization. And when senior leaders tighten budgets in the face of economic uncertainty, getting the resources you need can be harder than usual.
However, depending on your organization’s size, there’s a good chance senior decision-makers aren’t as knowledgeable about the day-to-day operations within revenue teams. They don’t always know which operational inefficiencies stunt growth, where data silos exist or which processes are out of alignment and limit revenue potential. It’s up to revenue operations pros to identify those obstacles, devise a strategy to address them, and present that plan to senior leadership to earn their buy-in. Presenting case studies can be a good way to educate them.
Much of a RevOps team’s work is focused on driving predictable revenue. And, if it weren’t for variables like employee turnover, changing budgets, pandemics and economic curveballs, it would be easy to keep teams aligned, technology integrated and revenue flowing. Unfortunately, that’s not our reality.
Economic uncertainty and the looming dark cloud of another recession makes this much harder to achieve. How can RevOps create at least some measure of predictable, repeatable success when we don’t know what’s ahead?
Without a magic wand or a crystal ball, all you can do is work with the information and resources you have and strive for consistency, but recognize that unexpected challenges are inevitable. In short, move ahead with plans informed by the data on hand, but remain vigilant and flexible.
“It’s being realistic about our 2023 plans being data-driven, but not data-reliant,” said Saul Garcia, VP of Revenue Operations at Health Recovery Solutions, during a RevOps Co-op roundtable. “All the data in the world in 2019 would not have predicted what happened in 2020. There’s always going to be surprises.”
Additionally, by making a concerted effort to increase efficiencies within revenue operations now, you’ll be better prepared to weather any unforeseen issues that may arise later.
Another issue with unpredictability is that it’s challenging to set attainable goals. We haven’t had a ‘normal’ year since 2019, and even that year was rife with political and social conflict.
So, where do you set the new benchmark?
Once again, it’s best to rely on what’s concrete now and be prepared to revisit goals when your organization is thrown for another loop. Use historical knowledge to your advantage and recognize how variables may impact performance. (This is another reason it’s vital to ensure you have visibility into data across the customer lifecycle by ensuring each team’s platform integrates with the others.)
For example, experienced runners know it’s more challenging to run on a hot, humid day than on a cool, dry day. When the weather changes, they alter their expectations. They don’t compare their best performance on a crisp day in October to their run on a muggy afternoon in July. It’s not an excuse — it’s just a reality.
When working with leaders to set goals for revenue teams, use the data you have now to set appropriate benchmarks but consider how past challenges, like market downturns and supply chain issues, affected your numbers. Look for opportunities to overcome those disadvantages, but don’t staunchly adhere to goals that become unrealistic when circumstances change.
RevOps is a huge job, yet many organizations still rely on small teams or even just one individual to accomplish it all. Unfortunately, that’s no longer sustainable. Companies need to determine how they’ll scale marketing and revenue operations resources to better support the customer lifecycle or risk losing opportunities to competitors with more robust RevOps.
That’s why it’s a good idea to seek assistance from outside resources — like an agency with proven experience in this focus area. Partnering with an agency offering RevOps services can help you streamline, align processes and people, and garner more insights across your customer journey. This way, you can create repeatable processes to achieve sustainable revenue growth and navigate hurdles with ease.