In The State of RevOps 2019, LeanData and Sales Hacker found that the biggest roadblock for SaaS companies looking to adopt the Revenue Operations methodology is related to culture and buy-in. If that finding is surprising to you, you’re probably not alone. RevOps often tends to be boiled down to its technological benefits and improving the customer experience through better, cleaner data. Don’t get us wrong; those are great things, it’s just that rarely have we been asked about the real first step: getting all your siloed teams, their leaders, and other stakeholders on board with the idea of an operational transformation.
Anyway, no point in waiting to be asked, we guess. Here are our tips for getting that RevOps buy-in at your organization.
Talk the Talk
One thing we know for sure is that language is powerful. Starting to understand and use RevOps terminology early will help the transition feel like less of a stark change.Go ahead and start calling your team a RevOps team, even if they’re still working on getting un-siloed. When discussing KPIs, speak in terms of revenue and momentum metrics—for example, 3VC.
Even if you haven’t fully built your operational roadmap yet, use language as a first step towards bigger functional and cultural change. Look at workstreams from a customer-centric perspective and talk about their impact that way.
Rally Your Teams
Speaking of roadmapping, it is a perfect way to rally your teams around common goals. Because it can be difficult to change the way you think about your job—particularly sales and marketing, who have historically different ways of approaching goals and challenges—the best way to reframe things is to create a plan that everyone can rally around.
Operational roadmaps should be built in a way that helps break down silos, while also prioritizing work based on its impact to the customer. So, instead of feeling a lack of accountability, or as though their specific departmental goals are being put on the back burner, your go-to-market teams will have the chance to see a holistic vision for the company and think of themselves as part of that larger effort.
Create Trust & Empathy
In our experience, the key to creating trust and empathy within an organization is vulnerability. In order to be an effective leader, you need people within your organization to know that it’s okay to fail, as long as you acknowledge and grow from that failure.
No one is perfect, at work or otherwise. So a leader who allows their ego to override their ability to be vulnerable with the people around them isn’t tricking people into thinking they have no flaws; instead, they are causing people to keep their guards up. Turns out that being guarded, always worried that someone will notice that small mistake, is not a great way to approach an operational transformation.
Instead, give people the space to give feedback on the changes that affect them. Get input on new processes from teams with the right context. Make everyone who was previously siloed get to know each other, brainstorm together, and realize they’re all working towards the same thing.
Broaden Everyone’s Skillsets
Something many people don’t understand about the value of generalists is that it doesn’t nullify the value of specialists. For example, it is very unlikely that you will ever have a RevOps team made up of people who each have the exact same level of skill in every discipline. People have interests, which turn into specialties because of the time they end up spending pursuing those interests. Subject matter experts will always, always be a thing, and there is plenty of room for them. Plenty of demand for them.
However! When you are building a RevOps team, hiring people who have some level of skill in the areas of strategy, tools, enablement, and insights is a good idea.
After all, the whole point of RevOps is to break down internal silos, because those silos are causing problems. Being on a team where everyone can contribute to solutions—even if it’s not to a completely equal degree—is very much in line with the RevOps methodology.
So, all this is to say, support your people as they develop new skills. Put a focus on professional development; chances are, people are interested in getting better at things outside their specific role and providing the time and resources they need to do that will positively impact the company, too.