The third article I ever wrote about revenue operations was about how to build your team. The year was 2018.
I’ve learned a lot in the two years since and so, being that knowledge is meant to be shared, here is the 2020 edition of how to build, structure, and manage a revenue operations team.
Why Revenue Operations?
Back in 2018, the B2B SaaS industry had not yet fully embraced the idea of revenue operations. The idea of making such a sweeping transformation to the go-to-market structure had many operators spooked.
One common argument was that legacy operations seemed to be working well enough. Companies were making money, so what was the point of such a drastic change?
Today, we hear much less of that and much more of, “How do we go about structuring a revenue operations team?”
That is what we call progress.
The reason businesses need revenue operations is simple. Whether or not you’re aware of it, the gaps that exist in your customer journey are costing you revenue. The way you fix those gaps is by unifying your go-to-market operations to prioritize the work that will be most impactful.
Understanding this is the first step towards revenue operations.
So congratulations, you’re on your way.
A Holistic View of Your Organization
In the hero story of revenue operations, silos are the villain. Look at your company as an ecosystem where each part is integral to the survival of the whole. That way, you’ll get an idea of where the system is breaking down.
To get rid of these harmful silos, you’ll need to start changing the language around your go-to-market teams. You’ll also need to put processes in place to encourage more communication between them.
For example, thinking of your go-to-market teams as a single revenue team will help reduce friction as you start to make broader operational changes.
To Hire or Not to Hire?
While it might be tempting to jump right into hiring revenue operators, there are some important considerations to make first.
Depending on the size and maturity of your organization, it’s possible you already have much of the talent you need. A revenue operations team is most successful when it has an even spread of expertise across four core skills: Strategy, Tools, Enablement, and Insights.
If you find that a gap exists in one of these areas, you can either augment your team with outside consultants like Go Nimbly or choose to hire. When hiring in-house, the ideal candidate will have some expertise in two or more of the core skills.
(Maybe this goes without saying, but they should also understand and believe in the mission to unify your go-to-market operations.)
Structuring Your Revenue Operations Team
Once you’ve determined who will make up your revenue operations team, the next step is to build it. In our experience, this is where a lot of uncertainty comes from. There’s this idea that if your team doesn’t roll up to the “right” person or have the perfect structure from the get-go, it is doomed to fail.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter whether your revenue operations team reports to your CRO, CFO, or CEO. The important thing is that whoever it is, they know how to make revenue the north star for the team and oversee operational strategy accordingly.
Some operators have also asked us whether they need to structure their revenue operations team according to the four core skills. To this, we say the fewer silos, the better. What you want is a unified team of generalists, not pods of different specialists.
Maintaining Autonomy & Alignment
In the interest of wrapping this up nicely, I want to touch on how to keep your revenue operations team functioning effectively once you’ve built it.
‘Alignment’ is a word everyone loves to say, but it’s not always easy to achieve. By building an operational roadmap and updating it frequently, you ensure that your revenue team stays on the same page as far as what work to prioritize.
Also keep in mind that your revenue operations team is not there to replace any of your go-to-market teams, nor is it a support function for them. The revenue operations team should have the autonomy to establish a strategy based solely on revenue goals and funnel analysis.
Happy RevOps Team-Building!