RevOps Co-op Weekly #48 - The RevOps Battle: How to Move from a Supporting to Strategic Role as a RevOps Pro

Everstage, a RevOps Co-Op community partner, helps to demystify the move from a supporting role to a strategic role in RevOps.

RevOps Co-op provides resources, content and community for those who ❤️ revenue operations. This weekly newsletter features collected tweets, posts and thoughts on a variety of RevOps topics. We also have a private Slack community with > 2,700 RevOps pro’s from companies like Slack, Lyft, Clari, Miro and more 👉🏻 click here to join.

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The RevOps Battle - How to Move from a Supporting to Strategic Role as a RevOps Pro

Revenue Operations is a relatively new concept, with departments popping up in the last five years. Those of us who have been in the job market a fair amount of time believe that the definition of what RevOps is and does will continue to evolve. We'll see organization charts change over time, and eventually, a standard best practice by organization type and need will emerge.

For now, many RevOps positions are being filled by veterans of Finance or Sales, Marketing, or Customer Success Operations, and each company seems to have a slightly different take on what exactly RevOps is.

What is consistent is that Operations professionals are constantly bombarded by tactical busywork and rarely are given the time to tackle strategic projects.

"All of us have these strategic initiatives that we want to do. It's on our to-do list. It's something that we want to plan on completing in the quarter or by the end of the year. And then what ends up happening is every day, we start up our computers and have a ton of emails and Slack messages to answer. By the time you get done with your quarter—Boom—you didn't get to those initiatives that you wanted to," Siva Rajamani said.

"As a founder of a SaaS company, the last few years of my journey as a Revenue Operations professional set me up in such a good position in terms of understanding how to go about setting up functions across the customer journey. I owe it all back to my revenue operations role and being able to transition to that strategic perspective in Revenue Operations. There will be more CXOs from RevOps functions."

Overcoming the Initial Bias

RevOps is typically spun up when there's a problem in the organization. One of the go-to-market functions isn't hitting their number, margins are too slim, customers are expressing dissatisfaction, or a combination of problems are ripe for solving.

Because we're brought to fix a problem, go-to-market teams are naturally suspicious. They think we're there to identify problem employees and spy on them. We're not saying we don't look at the metrics and report when people are out of bounds. Still, we're mainly there to identify what's repeatable and sustainable in the hopes more mediocre sellers can become excellent sellers.

"Sales has an inherent bias. They think RevOps will scrutinize them, and RevOps will complain about people to the leadership team. They think we'll get them in trouble, so they don't want to share insights or issues with the CRM setup, the product they're selling, or anything else," said Adithya Krishnaswamy.

"To be successful, you must break this barrier. But how?

"Build a relationship with them. For example, if you analyze the territories and see an imbalance, advocate for the people who don't have enough accounts in their market. Make sure the quota makes sense. Too often, finance, sales, and marketing teams meet and choose quotas to evenly split among teams. Asia Pacific is not like Africa, which is not like EMEA. Even in EMEA, you'll have significant fluctuations in territory potential. 

How to Make Time for Strategic Initiatives

Once you build relationships with the teams you support and learn the common roadblocks and issues in your organization, you can move on to scaling. Here are some common examples of improvements RevOps departments can make as they onboard additional resources.‍

Automate What You Can

"There are a lot of classic cases where we spend too much time on something that started as a one-time exercise and then ballooned to a weekly or monthly process. For example, managing sales data, maintaining your CRM records, or ensuring proper quota is assigned to people. If it's not automated, it's a lot of time wasted on it. People get used to something, and maybe a spreadsheet has been in place for years, but when you look at how much time you spend on researching sales rep reported issues and communicating, a lot of that can be fixed with a system," said Adithya.

"Two more classic examples are the quoting and the approval process. It's essential to have a QVC workflow. In one of our previous regions, one of the customers was told they could get a refund on licenses if they didn't use the product. It was a new region, and we didn't have enough standardized templates or documents that salespeople were required to use. So sales spun up their own documents, made edits to the existing language, and gave some customers some unreasonable SLAs.

Develop a Selling Policy Document

As we saw with a lack of standardized quote and order forms, salespeople can get very creative when they're just short of their quota.

Put a sales policy in place that outlines what your organization will and will not allow when it comes to all things sales. As Adithya said,‍

"One thing I've learned is that when it comes to policy documents, salespeople don't require fairness. They require consistency. They want to know that if they follow certain processes, they will get paid for the deal no matter what happens. Ambiguity is a terrible thing for morale."

If you have rules about what kind of accounts a salesperson can sell, limitations on what kind of products they can sell, or are worried about poaching in another territory, make sure all of those things are clearly outlined in your sales policy.

Remember, your sales policies are only helpful if the sales leadership and finance teams will enforce them in every case.

Set Clear Expectations

If a salesperson doesn't get a response from RevOps immediately, it's not uncommon for them to escalate to management. The manager may suspect they're unreasonable, but they're often also annoyed with RevOps. They don't want to be bothered by the issue.

Develop a reasonably detailed SLA response. For example, when they send an email to a queue or you receive an internal email, you can set up an autoresponse that summarizes your SLA policy as a reminder. 

Do Not Accept Ad Hoc Report Requests From Salespeople

"This is one of the most important things I learned," said Adithya.

"Ad hoc reports are often a salesperson's attempt to confirm their bias. They have an insight, ask for data, and then use the data point that confirms their suspicion and ignores the rest. It's better to wait for the issue to bubble up or dig into it more deeply if you suspect a problem and give the whole story to the leadership team.

"Whenever you get a request, go back to your main mandate. Ours was to ensure we improve revenue and focus solving for GTM efficiencies. If a request doesn't fall into these categories, it probably isn't worth doing."

Let the Specialists Do Their Thing‍

Once your company gets to the size where people begin to specialize in specific disciplines, these specialists are far more equipped to handle tasks in their wheelhouse quickly than a generalist.

"I love spending time on reporting or fixing my CRM as much as possible," said Adithya.

"But at some point, you have to realize an analytics person with proper BI and tools training is going to have a completely different level of efficiency compared to an operations person. We are always going to be involved in both tactical and strategic work. So handing off the specialized work, like managing a database, maintaining reports, and updating the visualizations, makes sense.

"We don't have to be experts in Salesforce to excel in RevOps. We can understand the basics. But some people spend their careers on becoming Salesforce administrators. Giving the experts the CRM update requests will free up a lot of your capacity to focus on different areas of the tech stack and stay on the cutting-edge of RevOps best practices." 

…There’s more! Read the full blog post here 👉 The RevOps Battle - How to Move from a Supporting to Strategic Role as a RevOps Pro

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Check out the full recording for more on creating value through strategic meetings and who to hire in your growing organization. Looking for more great content on all things RevOps? Check out our blog and join the community.


🗣 From the Community

#04_revops-questions

8/31/21: Any best practices for prioritizing RevOps projects? Things that are top-of-mind: determining project urgency, triaging requests from GTM teams, discovering operational issues, responsibility assignment within RevOps, requirements gathering/scoping, project management software, sprint timelines, company-wide visibility/updates on project statuses, etc. Read 5 responses.

#08_tools-and-software

8/31/21: Here is a Salesforce related question.Has anyone had to implement custom pop-ups/UIs with a set of fields required in the validation? We use Sales path and every time an oppty is moved to the next stage, validation rule checks if the fields needed to exit the stage have been completed. What frustrates the reps is that if at least one field from the validation is missing, the error message would still show all the fields required according to this validation. Would appreciate any help on this one. Read 9 responses.

💬 Access the RevOps Co-op Slack group here to contribute to the conversation!


🐦 This week in #RevOps Twitter

Yes…yes it did (e.g. does) 🤦

Good reminder → the face of the company is part of the customer experience

💯 💯 🙌 🙌


📅 Upcoming Events

RevOps Hangout! Virtual Networking - Thursday, September 16 @ 2pm PT (5pm ET)

Meet other RevOps pros. Share ideas, ask questions, get feedback. This week we are deep diving into everyone's favorite CRM Salesforce! Co-hosting will be community partners Kevin Olivieri with Scratchpad and Cliff Simon with Carabiner Group.


📚 Your curated #RevOps reading list

The RevOps Starter Pack: 7 Key Areas of Focus for Long Term Impact | Everstage

Unlike other roles, you really can't put a ramp plan for RevOps as the nature of operations role will involve a lot of reactive work as well. But, just doing supporting work won't propel your role forward. You need to double down on key areas and solve them for long term impact on the revenue.

The beauty of the RevOps role is a lot of these areas are intertwined in some ways but also separate in other ways. So, you get a breadth of fresh projects to choose from and add your value.

To have a straightforward approach that you can put into action and implement, each area of focus is divided into 3 parts:

  • Why is this a problem?

  • How can I fix this?

  • How does this approach help?

Process-Driven Methodology to Operations With Asia Corbett, Director of RevOps at RevGenius | RevOps.io

While we most often associate Revenue Operations with SaaS businesses, tech companies, or large B2C companies, our latest Revenue Leader Interview gives insights into how RevOps can be leveraged for communities as well. 

In this Revenue Leader interview, Asia Corbett, Director of Revenue Operations at the online community RevGenius, highlights her experience at various companies, her journey from Finance to RevOps, and her unique process-driven methodology approach to her craft. 

3 Strategies for Ops People on How to Say “No” | Drift

Here’s the thing. New projects are always coming up, a pandemic upends your perfectly crafted schedule, and chances are, you already have more on your plate than you can handle. With all the swirl that comes with working in operations, there is one magical arrow every ops person should have in their quiver that’s the difference between burnout and success. That arrow is saying “no.”

As ops people, we are enablers – our roles are created to provide value to others. It’s our default to say “yes.” However, that isn’t the right path to success. Only answering “yes” doesn’t make you a superhero. More likely, it means you aren’t being strategic, thoughtful, or disciplined enough about the work you are doing.

By identifying what is and what isn’t a priority, you’ll be able to devote your full energy to a project rather than being spread thin and not being able to do anything efficiently.

While this is easier said than done, these three strategies will help you say “no” AND provide value to your team at the same time.


🔥 A few HOT #RevOps Jobs

First RevOps hire @ BILT

Head of Revenue Operations @ Quota Path

RevOps Analyst @ Attest

Senior Data Analyst @ Postscript

Salesforce Developer @ Itential


Funnel IQ is an operating system for your GTM team that provides end-to-end, full funnel analytics and insights that keep marketing, sales and customer success teams aligned and working seamlessly together to drive more revenue growth for your business.