RevOps is very new, which means those who have been in the workforce a while likely started in a more siloed department.
For better or worse, that likely means we're apt to favor one department over the others or, at the very minimum, view one customer-facing department's job as harder than another. It's natural to want to please your boss and form more attachment to the people you work closest with.
"It's helpful to realize that RevOps has its own identity. RevOps is not just a support team for the CRO, CMO, or the Chief Customer Officer. Our ultimate goals should be linked directly to our organization's strategy. Supporting each team is a key part of the role, but RevOps is fueling and fine-tuning the go-to-market engine," said Toby.
"You can position the team as a receiver of requirements and requests, or you can position the team as at the forefront of thinking. You can proactively suggest improvements that will drive the organization's strategy further. It's an important distinction."
This doesn't mean that team members are experts in every tool or are expected to know the ins and outs of every department. Specialization has its place, but the key difference is that RevOps is united as a single team with a single vision.
"We have internal stakeholders, and there are important internal customers. For example, I have a fantastic marketing operations leader. She is the ambassador of revenue operations' priorities when she's interacting with marketing. And within the revenue operations team, she's the ambassador for the chief marketing officer and speaks to the marketing team's priorities. It's on us as a team to balance the priorities across marketing sales and customer success to determine what gets done in what order."
Sometimes smaller organizations combine departments under a single VP (such as sales and marketing or sales and customer success). While this can work well, in many instances, we see the VP prioritizing the activities for the team they know as the most important. They know how much effort those activities take, and unfortunately, they don't always take the time to understand the level of effort or impact that can be realized by taking on a project for the "other" team.
"A strong revenue operations leader can add significant value to an organization. If an organization is heavily marketing-led, then nothing happens in sales or customer success. Or maybe an organization is very heavily finance-led. Then all of the finance systems are prioritized over the CRM or marketing automation platform or ticketing system. RevOps ensures that the projects that fulfill the largest company need are done first.
To prep for this mindset shift, Toby recommends spending time with people in different roles across departments.
"Walk a mile in someone else's shoes. A day in the life of internal stakeholders, I think, is important to understand. We have to try to orient ourselves around the bigger picture. Figure out what it is they do and how to improve their day-to-day. I think the other key thing to figure out is the collaboration and communication mechanisms within RevOps, such as adopting a project management system and having frequent stand-up meetings."
Anyone who has lived with Enablement reporting up to a specific department instead of RevOps knows the pain of trying to negotiate for time to train the sales team on CRM updates.
“One of the huge benefits of having enablement within revenue operations is buy-in into systems training. It’s absolutely critical for customer-facing people to have deep product knowledge, but it's also important that people are comfortable with and understand how to use the systems that they have to live in every day.”
A big part of enablement is communicating changes that impact the rest of the organization. It’s a great way to promote process improvements, efficiency wins, and strategies that increase revenue or decrease expense.
“When you make a big change, proactively create an enablement event around it. A big part of the RevOps team being seen as at the forefront of improvement is visible communications.
There's no better way to know if a position is good for you than taking it for a test drive. Ask for a side by side and watch someone do the job (just please don't ask to do this during quarter end).
"Spend a couple of days in the life of your ops team and make sure that it's for you."
RevOps has a lot of different roles to fill. Project managers, system administrators, analysts, and enablement professionals are all welcome. But before you make the leap, you should know a few things.
If you're coming from a customer-facing role, you'll enjoy more autonomy over your success. What do I mean by that? Whether someone succeeds at many customer-facing functions is often dependent on the actions or decisions of prospects and customers. In RevOps, whether or not you do your job well is strictly reliant on whether you understand systems, numbers, and processes.
That said, "People with a natural inclination for numbers and data tend to do really well in RevOps. Numbers don't speak to everybody. And if numbers and data don't speak to you—if you can't look at a profit and loss statement and understand what's going on in the business, I would discourage you from doing something in revenue operations.
A belief that process and standardization are good things is also a must.
"If you're working in sales and you don't believe that sales methodology or sales process helps you, or you think developing a territory plan and then an account plan and then an opportunity plan in that order isn't important, RevOps probably isn't a great fit."
If you do a ride-along, believe in what operations does, and still want to join in on the fun, it's a great time to be in RevOps. The roles are in very high demand, technical role salaries have increased by leaps and bounds, and we're happy to train people who are eager to learn.
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In this episode, Toby Carrington, SVP of Revenue Operations at Seismic, shares how people can prepare themselves to move from a siloed operations role to RevOps, why enablement belongs in RevOps, and what people new to Ops should think about before making the leap to RevOps.
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