Who should own your revenue operations function? This feels like one of those questions that’s always floating around in different places and everyone assumes it’s been answered a thousand times. Maybe it has. Still, we’re gonna answer it right here, right now, because, in addition to this being the year of customer-focused operations, it’s also going to be the year of giving and getting answers to looming questions. You heard it here first.
Your RevOps Function Needs Autonomy, Not Hierarchy
Don’t get us wrong, it makes total sense that org structure is one of the first things people think about when it comes to building out their revenue operations function for the first time. Moving go-to-market and ops functions to roll up to specific leaders is a change that can be made quickly—one that people are less likely to question and push back on than, say, an entirely new approach to strategy. It’s important to realize, though, that the power of RevOps isn’t in the hierarchy of it. It’s not about who sits where in the office (remember offices?) or whose name appears where on your org chart. On the contrary, the power of RevOps lies in the ability of your teams to collaborate cross-functionally to improve the buying experience. Your revenue operations team shouldn’t be under the control of your go-to-market teams; they need to have full autonomy in order to drive holistic success without being subject to the pressure of a leader whose priority is a Sales or Marketing agenda.
Re: Who Owns Your RevOps Function, Skills > Title
Okay, now that we’ve made the above point, let’s get to the main purpose of this article. Who should your RevOps team roll up to? For one thing, it depends on the size and current structure of your organization. What does your C-Suite look like and what are the strategic strengths of those individuals?When it comes down to it, the leader your RevOps team rolls up to should really depend on the nature of your revenue growth strategy. While every revenue leader should have an equally consequential seat at the table, there’s always going to be someone who drives that strategy day-to-day and who acts as the thread that connects the different components of the larger revenue team. Whether that person is the CEO or CMO doesn’t much matter, as long as they are highly strategic and focused on a holistic approach to improving the buyer experience.
And Finally, Our Answer
The CRO Having your RevOps team roll up to a CRO is, like, textbook revenue operations. Of course, many companies don’t have a CRO and even if they do, just having the title doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best person to be driving a holistic revenue strategy. Often, CROs end up being more aligned with Sales or Finance than they are with the company’s go-to-market operations. All this is to say that if you’re going to have your RevOps team roll up to the CRO, make sure they have clearly defined KPIs and the ability to keep the revenue team focused on the work that’s going to drive the most revenue for the business, regardless of channel.
The CCO/Head of Customer ExperienceWho owns the customer experience for your organization? Whether it’s the Chief Customer Officer, Head of Customer Success, or someone with an entirely different title, there’s a chance they have the perfect perspective from which to lead your revenue operations function. This is not to say that your Marketing and Sales leaders aren’t customer-focused (are they?), but when it comes down to it, they’re more likely to approach strategy as marketers and sellers, respectively. Particularly if you’re actively combatting Silo Syndrome at your organization, competitiveness and team-based identity are significant threats to the kind of holistic thinking necessary to be successful with RevOps. For a Chief Customer Officer, however, a laser focus on the customer experience is the default. While they’re not immune to the symptoms of Silo Syndrome, there is traditionally less of a need to “prove” their influence on revenue when compared to Sales and Marketing. Because their revenue impact comes largely from account expansion, they are more inclined to seek out blind spots and gaps in the buying experience that could be negatively affecting LTV.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to org structure, we consider it very much secondary to an organization’s ability to prioritize the work that’s going to improve the buying experience and increase LTV. There’s no hard and fast rule about who in the C-suite should own the RevOps function, which we think is a good thing. Companies should take the time to evaluate their revenue strategy and determine what type of structure will have the greatest impact on the experience they deliver to their customers.