First, the backstory…

“I find it slightly offensive when people talk about revenue operations and they talk about it as alignment, because your operators, in revenue operations, are working for the customer. Your Marketing team is working for the customer. Your Customer Success and Sales teams are also working for the customer.” 

-Jason Reichl, CEO, Go Nimbly  

If you caught May 6th’s episode of the SaaStr Podcast, you will have heard our CEO, Jason Reichl, say some interesting things about alignment. The quote above is one such example.

The echo chamber of early Revenue Operations


Not so long ago, the conversation happening around revenue operations was much less widely spread. It was more of an echo chamber, with a select few voices shouting into the void about sales and marketing alignment and hearing the same messaging shouted back. 
 
During that time, sales and marketing alignment came to be understood as the core purpose of revenue operations. It seemed like a concise way to explain what was (and is) a much more complex idea; a complete organizational transformation that first and foremost improves the experience you are able to deliver to your customers. 
 
Of course, alignment has a role. As Jason mentions in the podcast, though, it is more of a happy side effect of Revenue Operations than it is the goal. As you make the necessary changes to create your unified revenue team, alignment will happen naturally. When your Revenue Operations and GTM teams are working towards the same goal, that is alignment.
 

So, why do we think of alignment as a dirty word?


The first time you hear a song you love, you’re happy to listen to it on repeat for a while. Then, eventually, you evolve past it. It becomes overplayed, overused, and you associate it in your mind with various car commercials.

For us, the word “alignment” is kinda like that. It’s become more of a buzzword, often used by people who don’t fully understand the value of it.

When many operators in B2B talk about wanting alignment now, what they are really saying is that they want revenue operations to be a magic pill that makes their job easier.

In other words, it’s ego-focused instead of being customer-focused.

 

What is true alignment?

 

The reason cross-functional collaboration is important is not that it makes anyone’s job easier—although it’s a bonus.
It’s important because it allows you to better serve your customers.

Being able to work across teams without the friction caused by silos means you will be able to do more, faster. It means you can make sure that relevant data is shared efficiently so that customers won’t be asked the same question again and again. It means that instead of focusing on roadblocks and fighting over resources, your teams can focus on fixing gaps that are impacting your customer experience. 

 
Long story short, we believe in alignment in its purest form, but not as a shortcut or an excuse. Becoming aligned is a step in the journey, not the finish line.