A guide to revenue operations (RevOps)

Posted July 25, 2023

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By Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices at Outreach

Driving revenue requires collaboration and integration across the business. But this is often a challenge for organizations, particularly those with separate sales, marketing, and services teams. Revenue operations is one of the most important roles dedicated to tackling that challenge.

With the right approach, RevOps can help tear down departmental silos, ensure all information, insights, and trends align with the company’s broader goals and strategy, and — ultimately — maximize revenue.

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?
  • What does a RevOps team do?
  • RevOps vs. Sales Ops
  • What does a revenue operations team look like?
  • Benefits of RevOps
  • The key metrics of RevOps
  • How to implement RevOps
  • A full platform to power your RevOps team

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. It serves to eliminate contradictory goals and enable an integrated approach to sales targets and revenue attainment.

What does a RevOps team do?

People often mistake RevOps roles as 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 a RevOps team structure, roles, goals, tools, and daily operations all fall under a single organization — often reporting to a CFO or CRO. In contrast, organization with siloed departments split similar responsibilities across separate leadership roles. That often leads to gaps between teams. But with RevOps in place, revenue-generating teams enjoy more connected operations across  sales, marketing, customer success, and more.

The RevOps team does not take over. Their approach emphasizes unity and collaboration, with multiple revenue-responsible teams coming together to execute a variety of tasks, including:

  • Operations management. The RevOps team takes stock of the organization's existing policies, procedures, and processes. Then, they evaluate its effectiveness. From there, they make continuous improvements that drive a more efficient, successful operation.
  • Tech implementation. RevOps members procure, implement, maintain, streamline, and retire technology as needed. The goal is to ensure the viability and value of the tools that revenue-generating teams use.
  • 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 various sources) to gain deep insights into how the revenue engine is running. They generate and analyze short- and long-term reports to identify and eliminate workflow obstacles, find growth opportunities, and determine how to engage employees, prospects, and customers better.
  • Data aggregation. RevOps needs real-time, aggregated data. Using revenue intelligence data from the team’s pipeline, processes, and systems, RevOps informs every customer-facing team. Empowered, they can 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. So, they work to link tools from their marketing, customer success, and sales teams together. By doing so, they eliminate the data silos that otherwise occur from disparate systems and reduce the time-consuming, error-prone risk of manual data re-entry.

Equally important to these job duties are the soft skills that make 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 empower people to perform at their 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."
David Ruggiero, President of GTM, Outreach

Rev Ops vs. Sales Ops

Though the two terms are sometimes conflated, RevOps and Sales Ops differ. While Sales Ops teams  work to create efficiencies, they focus 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. 

What does a revenue operations team look like?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to structuring a RevOps team. It depends on the organization and its size and maturity. Of course, the goal is to structure a revenue operations team to ensure alignment between teams and operational efficiency.

Revenue operations at a smaller company may have one or two team members. Though, that could look vastly different. For example, one company may have a model where a program manager or generalist takes on different aspects of the work.  In others, individual departments may manage enablement, while supported by a team member focused on data analytics.

Larger organizations have more flexibility when it comes to structure. In earlier years, many took a centralized approach to the RevOps model. Forming a team under one roof, they flattened the leadership, integrated chains of command, and made lateral shifts of existing staff. In that structure, marketing ops, customer success ops, sales ops, sales systems, sale enablement, and more were pulled under one department.  

But the revenue operations discipline has been in place for a while now. So, most mature RevOps structure key roles by function – operations, enablement, insights, and systems – led by a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) who sets the vision for the department.  

Benefits of RevOps 

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

  • Better alignment. Highly aligned companies grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable than their competitors. That makes consolidating operations under one single function an absolute must. RevOps teams don’t rely on disparate systems and processes to manage the revenue cycle, which creates gaps between the organization’s potential and actual performance over time. Rather, successful RevOps teams align their processes, tools, and objectives. In doing so, they establish common goals.  They also gain a unified picture of what’s happening in the revenue funnel and where they can improve. With that, they can quantify their impact. 
  • Greater customer satisfaction - Rising customer expectations have changed how sales organizations approach every step of the buying journey. Yet, it’s clear that sales tools only work for sales teams. They don’t serve much of a purpose for other revenue-generating teams like marketing or customer success. RevOps teams make sure everyone is on the same page. They work to identify the needs of all customer-facing teams. Then, they find solutions that support them across the entire revenue journey. In the long run, this ensures everyone feels 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. That’s especially true 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. Effective RevOps teams understand this. So, they use more efficient forecasting processes powered by a sales execution platform.,  That efficiency allows them to reinvest the saved time and resources, and create a culture of continuous improvement. With a better forecasting methodology, revenue teams can forecast more frequently and accurately and anaylze trends to develop longer-term strategic plans that deliver greater revenue predictability and pave the way for faster, more sustainable growth.

The key metrics of RevOps

Traditional organizations may have unique metrics for marketing, sales, and customer service teams. 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 with any worthwhile initiative, implementing RevOps at your organization isn’t as simple as snapping your fingers. You should take a strategic approach to RevOps so you have a strong foundation moving forward.

The process may vary depending on your organization’s size, industry, and objectives. Even so, 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 about your revenue journey:

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 ensure 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 falls underneath a single leader).

Then make sure the tools your revenue-generating teams use are working for them. If not, you should conduct some research to invest in and provide the proper technologies and processes for a more effective, efficient operation. Once 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 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.

A full platform to power your RevOps team

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

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.


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