Sales Best Practices

A guide to revenue operations (RevOps)

Serena Miller's Avatar

Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices

Driving revenue requires collaboration and integration across the business, but this is often a significant challenge for organizations; particularly those with separate sales, marketing, and services teams.

To tear down departmental silos, ensure all information, insights, and trends are aligned with the company’s broader goals and strategy, and — ultimately — maximize revenue, organizations need a dedicated RevOps team.

Here, we’ll take a deep dive into RevOps, including key functions, benefits, metrics, and how to get started with a successful team implementation.

What is RevOps?

Revenue Operations (RevOps) is a single team that handles all the processes related to driving revenue. They use specific tools and procedures (e.g. software, change management systems, up-to-date, high-quality documentation, etc.) to improve efficiencies in all departments that impact revenue growth.

Within a sales organization, RevOps teams provide a cohesive revenue operations framework for the entire company, which eliminates contradictory goals and enables a fully integrated approach to sales targets and revenue attainment.

What does a RevOps team do?

People often mistake RevOps roles as largely tactical. In reality, the people in these positions can see both the bigger-picture strategy and the nitty gritty details. It’s a challenging job, but they’re able to navigate the complexities of acting as strategic partners to the C-suite.

In contrast to an organization with siloed departments, RevOps team structure roles, goals, tools, and daily operations, all fall under a single org — often reporting to a CFO or CRO — rather than splitting similar responsibilities across separate leadership roles. This bridges the gap between teams for more connected operations across all revenue-generating teams, like sales, marketing, customer success, and more.

The RevOps team approach emphasizes unity and collaboration, with multiple revenue-responsible teams coming together — not one taking over — to execute a variety of tasks, including:

  • Operations management - The RevOps team takes stock of the organization's existing policies, procedures, and processes and evaluates them to determine whether or not they’re effective. They seek to make continuous improvements that drive a more efficient, successful operation.
  • Tech implementation - In order to ensure the viability and value of the tools that revenue-generating teams use, RevOps members procure, implement, maintain, streamline, and retire technology, as needed.
  • Training and development - A company’s processes and tools are only valuable if its employees use them, so RevOps teams ensure proper adoption and utilization through continuous training, development, and support across every department.
  • Analytics and insights - RevOps teams use integrated, centralized data (pulled from a variety of sources) to gain deep insights into how the revenue engine is running. They generate and analyze both short- and long-term reports to identify and eliminate workflow obstacles, find opportunities for growth, and determine how to better engage employees, prospects, and customers.
  • Data aggregation - Revenue intelligence data from the team’s pipeline, processes, and systems is used to better inform and empower every customer-facing team. They need up-to-date data (aggregated from every relevant platform) at their fingertips to ensure excellent customer experiences and better revenue outcomes.
  • Forecasting - RevOps teams use a combination of automated technology (with real-time activity data), a culture of continuous improvement, and efficient processes to deliver accurate forecasts that predict future performance.
  • Integration with third parties - Successful RevOps teams know that true efficiency comes from integration across their departments’ tech stacks. They work to link tools from their marketing, customer success, and sales teams together to eliminate the data silos that otherwise occur from disparate systems—and to reduce the time-consuming, error-prone risk of manual data re-entry.

Equally important to these job duties are the soft skills that make for an effective RevOps team. Revenue operations team members (and RevOps leaders, especially), enjoy collaboration and have a knack for digging into data to uncover key insights. They can take challenges in stride and remain calm under significant pressure. They also operate and interact with empathy and understand that improving their tools and processes can better empower people to perform at their very best.

Many organizations take a siloed approach ... They use a mashup of disparate systems and processes to manage the revenue cycle, which causes sellers, managers and leaders to manually piece together a picture of everything happening in their pipelines. Mary Shea, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist

RevOps vs. Sales Ops

Though the two terms are sometimes conflated, RevOps and Sales Ops do differ. While Sales Ops teams do focus on creating efficiencies, they singularly fixate on the sales department alone. They work to improve sales performance, analyze sales data, and formulate strategic plans that free sales representatives to concentrate on selling.

RevOps teams, on the other hand, take a broader approach to generating more gross revenue. They act as a central point for customer acquisition, satisfaction, and churn by collecting data and using it to inform decision-making across the organization. In short, RevOps is the larger, fully integrated efficiency- and revenue-generating umbrella under which other departments — including Sales Ops — live. 

Benefits of RevOps 

It’s no wonder why sales organizations have started ditching more traditional, siloed org charts in favor of the RevOps approach. By implementing an effective RevOps department, companies gain a variety of key benefits, including:

  • Better alignment - Highly aligned companies grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable than their competitors, so consolidating operations under one single function is an absolute must. Successful RevOps teams align their processes, tools, and objectives to effectively work toward a common goal and accurately quantify their impact. Instead of relying on disparate systems and processes to manage the revenue cycle — which causes a serious gap between the organization’s potential and actual performance over time — RevOps teams gain a full, unified picture of what’s happening in the revenue funnel and where they can continuously improve.
  • Greater customer satisfaction - Rising customer expectations have changed the way sales organizations must approach every step of the buying journey. It’s become abundantly clear that sales tools only work for sales teams and don’t serve much of a purpose for other revenue-generating teams like marketing, customer success, etc. RevOps teams work to identify the needs of all customer-facing teams, then find solutions that support them holistically across the entire revenue journey. In the long run, this ensures everyone is empowered to boost customer satisfaction and, in turn, net revenue retention.
  • Long-term strategic planning - Sales leaders need accurate forecasts and the ability to adjust them as market conditions continue to evolve, especially in challenging economic environments. If not, they can’t stay ahead of or mitigate risks in their revenue plans. But inaccurate forecasting often plagues businesses, as untrustworthy data and inadequate technology limit their ability to predict future results. This leads to costly mistakes in the form of precious time spent on slipped or lost deals. But effective RevOps teams leverage more efficient forecasting processes, implement sophisticated technologies, and reinvest the saved time and resources, and create a culture of continuous improvement. With a better forecasting methodology in place, revenue teams can develop longer-term strategic plans that deliver greater revenue predictability and pave the way for faster, more sustainable growth.

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The key metrics of RevOps

In traditional organizational charts, marketing, sales, and customer service teams may each have unique metrics. Forming a RevOps team allows companies to create a single set of revenue operations metrics that means the same thing to everyone. These metrics commonly include:

  • New customer acquisition and cost to acquire (CAC)
  • Number of bookings or units sold
  • Annual / Monthly recurring revenue (ARR/MRR)
  • Cash collections
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Carry capacity
  • Ramp time
  • Customer churn
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Net-new revenue
  • Gross profit

How to implement RevOps

As is the case with any worthwhile initiative, implementing RevOps at your organization isn’t as simple as snapping your fingers. You should take a strategic approach to leveraging RevOps to ensure you have a strong foundation moving forward.

While the process may vary slightly depending on your organization’s size, industry, and objectives, there are some basic steps every company should follow as they begin their RevOps journey:

Step 1: Audit

At the onset, you’ll need to identify any weak points and areas of disconnect between your organization’s departments. Start by asking some of these key questions around your revenue journey:

  • Are our sales, customer success, and marketing teams aligned in messaging, strategy, technology use, processes, and objectives?
  • Does our customer-facing content mirror each stage of the buying journey?
  • Where are we in terms of forecasting maturity?
  • How do our website and other digital channels align with the customer journey?

Step 2: Align

Next, evaluate your analytics and revenue pipeline to make sure you have complete visibility into your company’s health. Restructure positions and hierarchies, as needed, to better suit the RevOps approach (e.g. everyone in operations, tools, and analyst roles fall underneath a single leader).

Then make sure the tools your revenue-generating teams use are working for them. If not, you may need to conduct some research to invest in and provide the proper technologies and processes for a more effective, efficient operation. Once they’re bolstered by the right tools and processes for support, members of your RevOps team can begin working as a cohesive unit.

Step 3: Follow up and optimize

Implementing a RevOps team isn’t a one-and-done task, but rather a process that should be continuously improved upon. Be sure to schedule periodic meetings to uncover what’s working, what’s not, and where you can improve strategies, processes, technology usage, and more. Then take action on those findings to optimize your RevOps team and maximize their value.

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A full platform to power your RevOps team

At the heart of any effective RevOps team is a unified approach to the revenue journey. But even if your organization has the best intentions of implementing a cohesive RevOps approach, they won’t get far without the right system in place.

Outreach’s Sales Execution Platform is a comprehensive, centralized solution that brings clarity to the chaos of various technologies and data sources. It’s purposefully built to support cross-functional revenue-generating teams and can empower your organization to achieve greater revenue efficiency.

Learn more about how RevOps leaders are building revenue organizations of the future, or request a demo today.