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Streamlining Data, Reporting, and Automation: Chapter 3

In revenue operations, staying ahead of the competition requires an efficient and agile operation.

To achieve this, companies must streamline their data, reporting, and automation processes. This means businesses can free up time and resources to focus on more strategic activities.

Let's look at that in a bit more detail 👇

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The benefits of streamlining data, reporting, and automation

Automation can save employees up to 50% of time previously spent on manual tasks. 

By breaking down departmental silos and bringing together data from various sources, companies can gain a holistic and comprehensive view of their operations. This allows them to make more informed decisions and identify areas for improvement.

Streamlining data reporting processes enables businesses to access real-time insights and analytics.

With the right tools and systems in place, companies can generate custom reports and dashboards that provide key performance indicators and metrics relevant to their business goals.

These reports can be easily understood and shared across departments, enabling teams to align their efforts towards common objectives.

To effectively focus on streamlining and automation, you must first understand where your organisation currently stands. 

Evaluate your existing data sources, reporting tools, and automation processes.
Identify bottlenecks. Consider seeking input from cross-functional teams to view your RevOps ecosystem comprehensively.

Then, define clear objectives. Determine specific goals you aim to achieve by streamlining your RevOps processes.

These goals could include reducing manual data entry, improving data accuracy, accelerating reporting timelines, or enhancing workflow efficiency.

Streamlining data management

One of the most important aspects of RevOps is data integration.

With unified data, teams can make decisions based on actionable insights and a complete view of the customer journey.

Leore Spira highlighted how she utilised Salesforce to enhance centralisation and visibility. For example: 

“I think Salesforce allows you to be more agile, and you can use the platform to build an actual 360-degree customer overview.”

“This is something that I’ve been doing in three different startups. When I was building and establishing teams, it was easy to design a solution and design milestones in a seamless process and bring everyone to the table and work on one platform.”

“That way, you ensure you’re creating transparency."

Effective data reporting also allows for better targeting and more accurate forecasting, improving your business performance.

Here’s how to streamline your data:

1. Consolidate your data into a single, accessible repository

This involves collecting data from numerous sources, such as CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, and sales tools, and storing it in an accessible location.

Automating data collection and entry ensures reliability and effective data cleansing and integration.

2. Use data integration and visualization tools

Platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot, or Marketo - centralise and simplify data management and improve data visualization, ensuring all teams have access to a single source of truth and accurate, up-to-date information.

3. Regularly clean and validate your data

Remove duplicates, errors, and inconsistencies. Consider implementing data quality tools to automate this process and maintain data integrity and hygiene.

Augment your existing data with additional information, such as company details, social profiles, or firmographics.

Streamlining reporting

Effective and actionable data reports allow teams to make informed decisions and optimise processes.

Comprehensive reports create transparency and accountability. Everyone within the organisation can clearly see how their work contributes to the bottom line.

Maintaining a single source of truth is paramount when it comes to reporting.

1. Defining your metrics

First, define a set of standardised metrics and KPIs that all teams can use to measure success. Ensure everyone understands the definitions and calculations behind these key metrics.

Then, consider creating standardised reports and customizable dashboards for revenue teams.

2. Selecting the right automation tools

You can utilise reporting and analytics platforms to automate the generation of complex reports and dashboards.

Automation and analytical tools can streamline data reporting, extract, process, and analyse large volumes of data more accurately and swiftly than manual methods.

Automation tools can also track and report the performance of your digital marketing strategy and campaigns.

This reduces manual work, ensuring stakeholders receive updates and analytical reports in real-time without constant intervention.

In RevOps, it’s crucial to stay mindful and communicate the impact of these tools and processes. You have to continually ask yourself what the use case of each tool is and measure the return on investment through adoption.

As Rosalyn Santa Elena, Founder of The RevOps Collective, said: 

“When you roll out something super tactical like rolling out an additional field in Salesforce to capture some piece of data, you need to then communicate how that piece of data impacts reporting.”

“How does this give us valuable insights into what we’re trying to achieve? And then how does it tie back to the overall goals of driving better efficiency?”

“Maybe it’s reducing the forecast cycle, or maybe it’s five layers away from creating a new business opportunity for helping to retain business. You must always make it visible and show how it ties back to the key initiatives of the company.”

3. Creating a reporting cadence

Rosalyn also highlights the importance of scheduling regular report deliveries to relevant stakeholders and defining a reporting cadence that aligns with your organisation’s needs. She said:

“Getting into a cadence of communication is really important. I think a lot of people think it has to be this fancy lucid chart, or they think it has to be something super complex, but you have to start with the basics and then build off of that.”

Having structured reporting schedules allows organisations to maintain a continuous pulse on their performance whilst also enabling the flexibility to adapt to changing business needs.

For instance, a weekly report, followed by a monthly impact report and an annual report allows RevOps teams to regularly review and assess data, experiments, and dashboards and ensures teams remain aligned with business goals. 

Top tip: tailor your reporting cadence to your organisation’s size and the volume of data generated

You could focus on these two cadences, for example:

  • Evergreen activity - This is your ongoing, regular reporting cycle that provides a constant stream of information to stakeholders. For instance, monthly reports can offer a regular overview of KPIs and other relevant metrics.
  • Experiments and key initiatives -  In addition to your regular reports, creating a cadence for experimental data is vital. This allows organisations to test new ideas and initiatives. These experiments might not produce immediate significant results, but by dedicating a separate cadence to them, you can identify when to continue or halt these efforts.

Stick to a consistent schedule to foster accountability and transparency.

How Cognism streamlined its data reporting processes

Cognism’s revenue operations team constantly looks for new systems, innovations, and essential tools. This drive has significantly enhanced their scalability and streamlined their processes.

To ensure efficiency and prioritize time-sensitive tasks, the RevOps team at Cognism logs every manual activity related to reporting and data loads on a quarterly basis. Assigning specific time frames for these tasks allows them to focus on automating processes wherever possible.

Cognism conducts most of its reporting is through Salesforce. They have built numerous dashboards for different arms of the business, including Account Executives, Sales Development Representatives, and Customer Success.

As the company grew, Cognism’s RevOps team gradually implemented additional systems like Tableau, which became the go-to platform for broader, key business reporting.

In the past, the operations team spent a significant amount of time manually creating reports and presentations.

Monthly RevOps decks for senior leadership were produced on PowerPoint, using screenshots from the Salesforce dashboard and reports.

Incorporating tools like Tableau streamlined this process with automatically generated decks. This allowed the operations team to dedicate more time to analyzing meaningful data and driving strategic business outcomes.

Cognism used to rely heavily on various people and multiple Excel sheets for scenario planning. They would experiment with multiple assumptions in an Excel format. However, with implementing a system like Pigment, Cognism can now rapidly and efficiently plan revenue scenarios while providing critical insights to the senior leadership team.

Cognism has transformed its data reporting and revenue operations through its commitment to finding innovative systems and tools. This enhanced efficiency saves valuable time and empowers the team to analyse vital data and drive strategic decisions for the company's growth. As Kristapor Giragosian, COO at Cognism, shared:

“Getting off Excel onto a planning software called Pigment has been a huge change for us, and what we’re looking for is that scalability. We’re looking ten steps ahead at all times.”

“With Pigment, we can determine how to ramp up in particular regions. We can understand what will happen if we add a certain sales headcount or marketing expansion and scenario plan. This allows us to understand what we should do and where we should go.”

“At the end of the day, we’re trying to deploy X amount of go-to-market resources and maximise the return that we’re getting back in terms of best-fit customers and revenue for the organisation.”

Leveraging automation beyond reporting

Automation can also play a pivotal role in optimising RevOps beyond just reporting.

Automating routine tasks frees up resources to focus on more strategic activities. This can lead to increased productivity and revenue.
Automation ensures that processes are carried out consistently and without human error, resulting in higher service and customer satisfaction.

Begin by identifying repetitive tasks and processes which can be automated. Then, use workflow automation tools like Zapier, Integromat, or Salesforce Process Builder to streamline these tasks.

This ensures that your teams can focus on higher-value activities.

Lead generation is a great place to start. Businesses typically source leads through cold calling, referrals, and emails, but automation allows you to generate leads without manually sourcing them.

You can also implement grading models to prioritise leads and ensure your sales team focuses on the most high-value accounts.

You can increase speed-to-lead by automating lead ingestion, cleansing and routing. Automating lead enrichment can also identify missing data fields in your CRM and inform lead qualification and sales tactics.

This ensures that prospects are always in the sales pipeline and follow-ups are consistent and timely, maximising conversion rates.

Leverage marketing automation platforms like Marketo, HubSpot, or Pardot to automate email marketing campaigns, lead nurturing, and personalised customer journeys to different audience segments across multiple marketing channels.

Automation tools can also ask your customers for feedback. Customer feedback can act as an early sign of churn and allow your company to take specific actions based on their comments.

Closing thoughts: Streamlining data, reporting and automation

By streamlining data, reporting, and automation processes, companies can enhance their customer experiences, improve their operational efficiency and achieve their business goals.