RevOps Generalists vs. Specialists

 

It’s the eternal question, for which everyone seems to have their own answer: Is it better to hire specialists in a specific tool or discipline, or to have a team of RevOps generalists who can step in where they’re needed–even if their skillsets are sometimes less developed?

When it comes to revenue operations, we believe the answer is simple: It’s better to have generalists. Here’s why:

 

RevOps Generalists Have Specialties, Too

 

This one’s for the skeptics in the back. 

On its face, the word ‘specialist’ just sounds better. After all, it means the person is exceptionally skilled in a particular area, which is usually what employers are looking for when trying to fill a given role. However, when we say we believe in the power of generalists, that isn’t to say we don’t value people with backgrounds in a specific area. If you think about it, that doesn’t actually even make sense, since our entire society is built on the idea that everyone needs to pick a “specialty” as early as college. All talent comes from somewhere and being a generalist doesn’t invalidate an expertise in any given discipline. 

 

 

A Generalist Mentality Fosters Cross-Functional Collaboration

To be a successful RevOps company, your revenue team needs to be unified in order to address gaps holistically and improve the customer experience. Having people on those teams who feel comfortable using a shared language and stepping outside their specific role in the organization makes communication much easier. It also encourages individuals to help where they’re needed, as opposed to defaulting to a “that’s not my job” mentality. Cross-functional collaboration will make your revenue team more effective in tackling the work necessary to increase revenue. 

 

Specialists Can Both Create and Become RevOps Generalists

In addition to searching for people who can already do a little bit of everything, you can create generalists within your own organization.  Have people guide and advise on the work they’re already great at, while giving them more hands-on experience in the areas where they might need development. This way, your specialists will improve in other areas while also helping to teach and strengthen others’ skillsets. This closes skill gaps on your team faster as everyone progresses in various areas at the same time. 

More Perspectives Mean More Creative Solutions

When someone has done the same kind of work for a long time, they become accustomed to solving problems one particular way. Not that specialists lack creativity; they’ve just often been conditioned to do things within the context of their experience. As a RevOps generalist, one can learn to approach problems from several angles, which can help devise creative solutions by combining knowledge gleaned from various experience within different areas of a business.

 

Bonus: Get More RevOps for Your Money

Take a look at a listing for a role in ops. What you’re likely to see is a list of requirements that speak to a generalist skillset, immediately followed by a prerequisite of 5+ years of experience in a specialized role. 

Here’s the thing, though: by bringing generalists into your organization, you’re going to see much more impact across the board than if you were to hire a single specialist. 

When hiring for RevOps (or really any role), the people with the broadest skillsets and ability to learn quickly are going to be the ones who give you the most for your money.