Revenue Operations

RevOps: What It is. What is isn’t. And How to Do it Right

Providing information about the purpose behind RevOps, how it can improve a business’s performance and how to do it right is the bread and butter of Nicholas Gollop’s life. As a Senior Revenue Operations Leader and Certified Revenue Operations and Salesforce Consultant, he knows about the ins and outs of the profession and also sees the pitfalls that come when an organization’s expectations aren’t in the right place.

If the star of your blockbuster summer film is named “RevOps”, the character would be something of a Frankenstein’s monster, wouldn’t it? An arm from marketing, torso from sales, head and heart come from the product team, foot from accounting, eye of newt… no, not that last part, but you get the idea.

Turns out this unique cross functional combination of different pieces makes RevOps what it is and also helps define what it isn’t. Nicholas Gollop, a Senior RevOps Leader and Certified Salesforce Consultant with 13 years experience has seen the good, the bad and the ugly in this field. I mean, back when he started, we barely even recognized SALES Ops as its own function. Let alone RevOps. He wants the role to grow and be better understood universally to help organizations appreciate and make the best use of it. Whether they are VC backed SaaS companies, or have nothing to do with software sales. 

“Many people think that this concept of RevOps is new. It isn’t,” he says. “It’s just a combination of things that have already existed, but people don’t really know. By not understanding what the role is, people don’t give it the attention it deserves.”

Proving yourself even with all that experience

One of the conundrums RevOps people face is a need to prove the value of the position because of this lack of understanding of what it is. RevOps leaders everywhere have been stumped by Executive calls for the ROI of their entire function. How do you prove the value of a well run Revenue Organization?

The benefit of a cross functional function is that people come to RevOps from many different places and perspectives. As Nicholas explains, most of the individuals in leadership positions in RevOps have a range of experiences under their belts. He comes from sales operations. This is common in his experience, but it certainly isn’t the only way to get there.

“I started in sales and eventually got more and more exposure into different areas,” he says. “So, I have significant exposure to customer success operations systems, how to build health scores, etc. Gaining all of those experiences allows you to potentially grow into RevOps.”

Who has time for patience?

Every company has a ‘show me the money’ (or show me the ROI) attitude these days and those in RevOps have to take their past experiences to task and prove their value. Not only that, but they also have to show that “RevOps” isnt just some passing trend, and that its principles are the ones that have driven sustainable growth in businesses of all kinds. 

“It’s about the credibility you build and to build that credibility you need time obviously,” he says. “But you need to be 100% sure of what you’re doing and 100% sure that if you present something to someone that it is absolutely correct.”

One of the biggest skills Nicholas points to for RevOps pros is patience. It’s a virtue, we only need a little, blah, blah, blah. The truth is, having patience is hard. But when you’re building a RevOps function within a company, it’s necessary too.

“Buy in, or sponsorship is, I think, one of the biggest subjects for RevOps across the board,” he says. “Building that credibility, building that buy-in, takes time and patience. You will eventually get there.”

If you continue to show value in what you’re doing, you will succeed in showing others the value inherent in RevOps. You’ll be illustrating a different perspective and why RevOps is there. For example, Nicholas is currently working as the Director of RevOps and Enablement with Capmo, a construction management software company in the UK.

“I joined literally to build everything from scratch, define what the role is, define what it’s not; which is also equally as important,” he says.

In a scaling company like Capmo, there isn’t a lot of distinction between the ops teams serving different functions like sales and marketing. But as the organization grows, he anticipates more teams being created to serve each department’s specific needs. 

“Right now, we don’t have this breakdown, but my vision is to break it down more and more as we progress,” he says. Once that breakdown happens, RevOps will be the internal arbiter, balancing the needs of each ops team and reporting on things back up to the Exec team. 

The importance of a definition

Often, Nicholas would hear people say they thought RevOps drove revenue. Something a lot of companies would like to see. And here’s the rub – if you go into a company that thinks you’ll be driving revenue, you’re being set up to fail. It may not be on purpose of course, but it is due to a lack of knowledge.

“We’re not in charge of driving revenue,” he says. “We are in charge of driving the processes to enable people to do so. We enable them, for sure; giving them tools, giving them more efficient processes internally, but we cannot drive that growth or that revenue ourselves.” Not convinced? How about you have your RevOps leader hit the phones and do demos next week? 

Defining RevOps within an organization also comes from having a vision at the outset. He says being strategic is as important as appreciating the size of the company and the RevOps team. Those growing and scaling the department are going to be more tactical. Within an existing team of several RevOps pros, you’re looking to be more of a leader.

“And you need to know how these things work to be able to execute the function better,” he says. “The more you understand how things are put together, the better you can put things together.”

He suggests appreciating the people who are good at the work and the people who are good at managing. This extends to a little bit of self-exploration. Not everyone is a great supervisor or leader.

Let go of the control, Karen

The biggest problem he mentions is that one side of the office or the other (or both) want control of the RevOps function.

“But it’s less about control, it’s more about creating that unicity right across the company,” says Nicholas. “That’s the part of the vision that you know is missing.”

His strategy is based on understanding the company when it comes to solutions, tools and implementation. Even the simplest of tools can’t fix a situation when what’s being done is wrong.

“Understand the business… because that also will dictate how you approach technology, how you approach enablement and training, so on and so forth,” he says.

There is no ideal tech stack from one company to another, he says. It must be based on the company and where that company is at the time.

“Scalability of the system is by far, the most important thing,” he says. “If you think you have a problem, there’s most certainly a SaaS solution that can solve it. So, you will have options. It’s just how you go about solving the problem that will dictate which tool you’re going to get.”

It won’t be easy, but with more RevOps leaders like Nicholas building RevOps teams in a holistic way, we will soon move past the “Early Adopters” phase of RevOps. 

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