The Definition of RevOps: A Full Breakdown

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Revenue operations is a strategic alignment of a company’s go-to-market functions that drives revenue by identifying and prioritizing work that improves the customer experience.  

For those new to RevOps, this definition might feel equally abstract and obvious. Of course companies (SaaS, in particular) are always trying to improve the customer experience. What makes revenue operations so distinctive in practice, and why is it such a challenge to implement?

Here, we’ll fully break down the definition of RevOps and what it looks like for companies embarking on the transition for the first time, as well as those looking to level up as their business grows.

The Strategic Alignment Part

What is the most important metric for your business? Most commonly, it’s revenue that acts as the north star that guides the go-to-market strategy. If it’s something else, that’s fine too, as long as it’s been defined and communicated across the organization.

For RevOps to be successful, the go-to-market teams need to do more than just increase the frequency of their meetings; they have to change the way they think about their roles. Marketing’s function is not just to dispense leads, Sales isn’t just about closing a deal and moving to the next one, and Customer Success isn’t relegated to only the bottom of the funnel. Instead, the lines between these teams should fade to create a seamless experience from first engagement to the moment of churn.

This allows the Revenue Operations team to build and drive a full-funnel strategy that centers on the customer experience as a whole, rather than a sum of its parts.

The Strategy & Planning Part

Revenue Operations eliminates operational silos inside organizations and drives strategy across four core capabilities: strategy, tools, enablement, and insights.

The RevOps team looks at the business holistically to uncover operational gaps and analyze their overall impact on revenue. Using those insights, the team will build a RevOps roadmap that prioritizes the highest impact work.

This roadmap should be a visual representation of how you plan to improve the customer experience over time. When done right, it will evolve along with your business and act as the source of truth for your revenue team, leading to increased alignment across the organization.

Some Hard Truths

Alignment isn’t the ‘Goal’ of RevOps.
It’s a common misconception that once teams are ‘aligned’, the business’ transformation is finished and everyone can move on. In reality, alignment is a by-product of healthy operations. Cross-functional alignment makes it easier to identify problems and drive change, which is where much of the ‘real’ work lies.

The GTM team isn’t RevOps’ customer.
When you have teams working so inter-connectedly, it’s easy to feel like one is beholden to the other. It’s important to remember that while the go-to-market and RevOps teams are stakeholders in each other’s work, the customer is always the customer.

The Org Chart isn’t everything.
Change is scary, especially when it’s big, transformative stuff like reworking the way your company operates. Often, leaders want to tackle the org chart first because it feels like fast progress, but many aren’t sure of the best way to structure things with RevOps in the mix. The good news is that while the org chart is important, it’s just a small piece of the puzzle. You’ll probably want to figure a few foundational things out before you decide on which org chart type is best for your company.

Making the Transition to RevOps

If you’re ready to implement RevOps, getting buy-in is an important early step. Without it, you’ll have a hard time driving real change for the organization. When talking to senior stakeholders and leadership, focus on revenue impact. Make sure you can speak to the gaps that already exist and are showing up as pipeline trends.

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