RevOps: Setting the Foundation You Need for 2023


Developing a revenue operations (RevOps) strategy — and the team to implement it — is no easy task.

As the VP of Revenue Operations at Sales BQ®, I saw my role develop from primarily sales enablement to sales operations as we worked to understand and get a hold of the wide variety of roles RevOps is in charge of.

What I found is that the key to a successful revenue strategy is to focus on just that — driving revenue.

What I found is that the key to a successful revenue strategy is to focus on just that — driving revenue.

So how do you get started? I’ll walk you through it.

Table of contents

What is a revenue department?

You’re likely familiar with operations, finance, sales, marketing, and human resources, but it can be a little harder to define what the revenue department is.

So, let’s break down what it is and why it’s so necessary.

In traditional organizations, departments exist in silos. The revenue department seeks to bring all functional areas onto the same page for a complete view of an organization’s revenue stream.

How does the revenue department achieve this?

It dismantles the silos between departments and unifies business strategy, process, messaging, data, and reporting to build a revenue house of marketing, sales, and customer success departments.

Related: How to Hire Your First RevOps Specialist

Limitations of siloed departments

Typically, every department has its own, independent operations team.

For instance, marketing operations manages all marketing systems and reports exclusively to the Head of Marketing. And sales operations is in charge of sales systems and is subject to the Head of sales.

The heads of these siloed departments decide their priorities and goals without consulting with the other functional units.

And while this model works in most cases, it can cause a lot of friction, confusion, and wasted energy.

Revenue operations (RevOps) explained

Chances are if you ask ten different people what RevOps is, you’ll get ten different answers.

Some people immediately associate it with other job titles and responsibilities related to sales — such as sales enablement, sales administrator, sales coordinator, sales analyst, and sales support.

Others think of revenue operations through a marketing lense that encompass a variety of marketing operations and technology stack responsibilities.

The truth is that it’s both and more.

RevOps is a business framework that harmonizes operations in all the different revenue-generating departments. It unifies marketing, sales, and customer success units by giving them the same targets, data, and tools to maximize revenue.

RevOps exists in isolation from the units it serves. So, unlike traditional operations, it reports directly to the organization’s senior leadership, like the Chief Operating Officer or the Chief Revenue Officer.

This allows RevOps to bring a unified mission and direction to traditionally siloed departments.

The benefits of RevOps

An effective RevOps team is process-oriented and has the tech expertise needed to create systems that allow sales and marketing functions to run smoothly. It gathers useful user data to help your organization identify the right prospects and convert them.

RevOps provides an analytical approach right from lead generation that is hard to get from siloed departments. They can endorse or warn marketing teams about their plans of action, coordinate with sales to ensure they have everything they news, and support customer success to keep retention high.

RevOps teams design implementation and adoption plans for customers to build trust and improve implementation.

RevOps is involved throughout the purchasing process to make everyone’s experience (both the customer’s and your internal teams) as smooth as possible.

How to start RevOps at your company

Creating a successful RevOps department can be broken down into six steps.

Identify who owns RevOps

The right RevOps model, including who owns RevOps, depends on your organization.

If you generate most of your business from inbound leads, the marketing department should own revenue operations.

On the other hand, companies that focus more on Account-Based Marketing (ABM) should consider letting the sales department run RevOps.

Other things to consider are what teams need support and structure, the size of teams that are being supported, what processes are heavily impacting the customer journey, and who should own the refinement of the overall strategy to optimize systems and processes.

Assess your customer journey

One of the best ways to understand how well the revenue side of your organization is functioning is to look at it from the customer’s perspective.

Break down the steps that your customers take throughout your org in their journey to find a solution.

A great way to do this is by asking your current customers. You can send out small surveys to current customers to ask questions like:

  • How did you hear about our company?
  • How easy is it to navigate our website?
  • How did you initially communicate with us, and what was your preferred communication method?

Next, track every place your customers are interacting with you. This will likely include your social channels as well as your website, but it may also include webinars, events, or even the comment section of a guest post.

The goal here is to identify where your customers are starting their journey, and how their interactions with you shift throughout your relationship.

Lastly, look at the path a customer takes internally through your various teams once they have officially become a prospect or customer.

When are they transferred from marketing to sales, for instance?

What does that transition look like?

Is it done over email? Video call?

Look for areas of disconnect between departments and for any areas where the customer journey seems to get stalled out.

This will tell you where your focus needs to be, where alignment needs to be improved, and where extra resources are needed.

Unify your data

One of the main functions of RevOps is to ensure departments are working together to maximize total revenue potential.

Unifying your data is essential to achieving this.

Unifying revenue data has another benefit, though. It will give you a complete view of your business health, ultimately revealing strengths and weaknesses within the revenue pipeline. This allows you to quickly identify where your focus needs to be, and it will also help you forecast faster and more accurately.

One of the easiest ways to unify your team’s data is by getting your entire revenue department onto a single customer management software. That way no data gets lost when transferring a customer from one team to another, and any findings from one team are easily accessible by any other.

When looking for the right CRM for your team, prioritize CRMs with lots of native integrations. This will make it much easier to equip each team with the tools they need and still keep all your data unified and automated.

The real challenge here comes in the data migration. If all your teams have been working in different programs, you’ll likely have a lot of redundant information, in a variety of formats. What’s worse, you’ll probably have a fair share of errors in the data as well.

Archive everything before you begin, and then take your time here. You want to clean up the data as much as possible, removing outdated information,redundancies and fixing errors.

There are automation tools that can help you here, but you should double check everything, if possible to ensure you’re working with accurate information going forward.

Eliminate software redundancies

If different departments are using different softwares, this can create internal division and prevent effective communication. So, just like we unified the data, we now want to unify tools as much as possible.

If you’ve already got your team onto a single CRM, then you’re already well on your way.

You are likely to face some push-back from the different teams here, as you’re likely to cut some of their favorite tools. So, let them help here. Make it clear that your goal is to make everyone’s lives easier, not harder.

Have each team categorize the tools they use as vital, helpful, or unnecessary.

Get rid of any tools that are unnecessary, and try to replace any tools that don’t integrate with your CRM with an equivalent that does.

Finding and eliminating redundancies in software solutions and tools can save you large amounts of money and help align departments towards the same goal.

Establish growth goals

The point of RevOps is to unify the efforts of several different teams. You can’t do this if you don’t have a goal.

Analyze the analytics you unified earlier to identify growth opportunities. For instance, maybe you notice that retention is fairly low, so you decide to set a goal of improving it by X amount.

Now, that you’ve set the goal, you need to ensure each department understands their role in achieving those goals. Discuss the goal with the heads of marketing, sales, and customer success to develop specific, tactical strategies to achieve those goals.

For instance, in order to improve retention, maybe marketing will work on improving and tightening the ICP and qualification criteria, maybe sales will work on improving their messaging and offers, and customer success may work to improve ongoing support.

When every department understands their role, large-scale growth becomes more achievable.

Audit, improve, repeat

RevOps is about constantly improving your organization’s revenue engine. And that means your job is never truly done.

Regularly run audits of your revenue operations infrastructure to identify places where you can improve and identify new growth goals.

RevOps is not an easy task, but by creating the right foundation and fostering communication between the different revenue-generating teams, you can set your organization up to be able to tackle any challenge.

Published March 2022. Updated January 2023.

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