Well, we did it. We made it to 2021 and we’re extremely ready to bring all our Revenue Operations energy with us. One thing we want to stress —particularly for B2B SaaS companies—is that this is the perfect time to adjust the lens through which you look at your operations. Bottom line: Revenue Operations is about impacting revenue, and you’ll do more of that by focusing on the experience your customers are actually having throughout their journey with you. 

How is this different than Revenue Operations in 2020? 


It’s not, really. The methodology of Revenue Operations stays the same; what changes is the way we as operators look at the “why?” behind the work we do. 

If you’re familiar with our RevOps content, we spent a lot of the second half of last year talking about the importance of having a complete, holistic understanding of the buyer journey. For many B2B SaaS companies, this could be interpreted as having a journey map and defined pipeline stages. 


While those are important things to have, they’re not going to give you the full picture you need to commit to truly customer-focused operations. Why? Because often, B2B companies and revenue operations teams are too caught up in what the buyer journey looks like internally rather than what their customers are actually thinking, feeling, and doing. 


Focus on finding gaps as the basis for your revenue operations strategy. 


We’re calling it now: 2021 is the year of gap-first revenue operations. That is, if we have anything to say about it. 

When working with clients in the B2B SaaS space, one of the first things we do is get together with their revenue team and establish a baseline as to everyone’s understanding of the buyer journey, where they think gaps currently exist, and how their operational work is being prioritized. During this process, which we call RevOps Fundamentals, we’re able to shine a light on blind spots and come up with a preliminary list of known knowns and known unknowns. 


Known Knowns: This term might constantly get flagged as a typo, but it’s not. In design thinking, this is what you call things that you know are causing problems and that you have enough information about to start working towards a solution. 


Known Unknowns: These are the gaps that you’ll often come across where, while you know a gap exists, you still don’t know the ‘why?’ behind it. This means you’ll need to dig more deeply into the problem space (usually through durability testing) in order to get to the point where you’re ready to start talking about solutions. 


Adjust the lens your revenue operations teams looks through.


The way the B2B SaaS industry looks at Revenue Operations today is very different from how they looked at it back in, say, 2018. (While that may feel like ten years ago, it was actually only 3)

It’s important to point out that it wasn’t the Revenue Operations methodology itself that’s changed, but rather the lens through which companies look at it. 


The same is true about your company’s operational strategy. It’s possible that in adopting a gap-first strategy, your revenue team will still be doing the same work; however, they’ll have a better understanding of the problems they’re solving and why it’s so important to solve them. 


When we talk about prioritizing customer-based gaps, it’s not to say that intuition and experience should be ignored. It’s much less about the way the gap is realized and more about understanding how it’s affecting your customers and how it should be prioritized based on its impact to the buying experience. 


The best way to validate your work & quantify its impact


It’s no secret that people are motivated by results. As such, it’s not uncommon to get pushback when we wax poetic about this kind of strategy that doesn’t always lend itself to knee-jerk reactions to every problem that arises. 


After all, it’s nice to feel like you’re acting on things quickly. It makes challenging situations feel more controllable; however, that doesn’t mean it’s always the right thing to do for your business. That’s the power of gap-first thinking: it provides a way to validate those intuition and experience-based gaps, quantify the impact they’re having, and determine their priority that way. 


Everything we do as operators is much more impactful when it’s well-supported by data and a solid understanding of the “why?” behind it.