What is Revenue Operations?

by Jason Ogden | Feb 21, 2023

Revenue operations is all about thoughtful alignment. 

Imagine if two parts of your business were out of alignment. Think of all the chaos that could cause. Now imagine there’s a third. What if all three of the parts that were out of alignment represented nearly all of your customer experience? 

I’m talking about marketing, sales and customer success.

How might you work to get these three groups together and rowing in the same direction? That’s what revenue operations (rev ops) does. It does so by providing a single source of performance truth for marketing, sales and customer success decision-making and orchestration. 

In large companies, rev ops can be a role or department, but in smaller ones, it’s more of a philosophy or one of several roles an individual can own. It’s important to take it seriously and see the impact that it can have. 

The rev ops mindset or function is key to efficient growth, client retention and increasing client lifetime value. 

Here are some things the lower middle market can think about, and ask questions around, to move towards a more rev ops-based thinking and create alignment for the benefit of their customers:

  1. Marketing. The best thing companies can do here is identify their target audience and market only to them. But the interesting thing here is that the answer to that target market probably lives within customer success teams. 
  • Which clients are your healthiest and most profitable clients? 
  • What are their demographics? 
  • Which clients aren’t profitable and use up too many proportionate resources?

When you’re starting a business or testing a new market, you have to make some guesses. But as you evolve, you’ll have real client data to help you hone in on who is and who isn’t in your audience. Plus, you’ll know who you want more of on your client roster.

  1. Sales. Sales is the center point between marketing and customer success. They need to reinforce what perspective customers have heard from marketing. They need to understand the needs for current and future opportunities and pass those on to customer success teams. They need to set expectations for customer success as part of their journey. 

The big thing to consider here is, are your salespeople incentivized to do all of these things or are they incentivized to do something else?

  1. Customer success teams. These are the promise keepers. Marketing and sales have set up a set of promises and expectations, and customer success (CS) teams have to deliver. That’s critical for their core function and for client retention. 

Do they have a structured onboarding process that includes sales intelligence regarding pain points and opportunities for each client? 

In addition to retention, they have to grow customer lifetime value. To do so they must listen to the customers’ needs and how products and services can help meet those needs. The question to ask here is whether your CS team is equipped and incentivized to do so. 

As the single longest touch point with your customers, CS teams are a treasure trove of client and market intelligence. Does your CS team have a channel to surface customer intel and insights to generate new service offerings to help solve even more of your clients’ problems?

There’s much, much more to a mature, revenue operations initiative. But asking some of these questions within your existing team and framework could put you on the right track.

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 by Jason Ogden

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