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What is revenue operations?

Revenue operations (or RevOps) is a function in B2B organisations that is gaining traction across the industry. It takes responsibility for the software, systems, processes and data for all the revenue-generating teams inside a company.

RevOps works by centralising four previously separate departments: sales operations, marketing operations, customer success operations and systems.

Scroll 👇 for Cognism’s RevOps FAQ - or use the menu to jump to a section.

Revenue operations 101: infographic | Why is revenue operations vital to business success? | Revenue operations vs sales operations: what’s the difference? | What benefits does revenue operations deliver to a business? | What does a revenue operations team look like? | What skills are required to succeed in revenue operations? | What are the core revenue operations responsibilities? | What are the key revenue operations metrics? | What are the essential revenue operations tools? | Build your revenue strategy with Cognism

Revenue Operations

Revenue operations 101: infographic

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Revenue operations infographic

Why is revenue operations vital to business success?

The need for RevOps comes from the fact that in many B2B organisations, sales, marketing and customer success are more aligned than ever. The three teams work together to optimise the customer journey, rather than having their own delineated areas of responsibility. 

They also may use the same business data and software, so why keep them separate? The way B2B companies generate revenue has changed. There is more focus than ever on collaboration between marketing, sales and customer success. 

For most B2B/SaaS firms, the revenue generation workflow looks like this:

Sales depends on marketing to generate the right leads at the right time. The sales team is concerned with building long-term relationships with a high lifetime value, which impacts the customer success team.

With this alignment comes the sharing of tools and even people, like SDRs, who bridge the gap between marketing and sales at the top of the funnel. 

Having one function running the operations for all revenue-generating teams makes sense as it means communication will be easier, the implementation of new tools will be smoother and outcomes will be better.

It’s no surprise that publicly traded companies with a RevOps function saw a 71% better stock performance than companies that do not.

Revenue operations vs sales operations: what’s the difference?

The primary difference between RevOps and sales operations is that while sales operations support the B2B sales process, RevOps are responsible for operations across all revenue-generating teams.

RevOps will do everything that sales operations does, but they will do it for marketing, customer success and systems too, while keeping all these teams aligned.

If sales operations is about reducing friction for the sales team so they can spend more time selling, RevOps is about making the entire revenue-generating side of the business more effective at what they do.

What benefits does revenue operations deliver to a business?

A well-run, high-performance RevOps team helps every revenue-generating area of the organisation run more smoothly.

Sales

A RevOps team will know what is going on at all stages of the sales funnel, which means if anything goes wrong, they have the knowledge and skills to fix it quickly. This means that salespeople can spend more time doing what they do best – engaging with prospects and closing new business.

Marketing

Marketing teams tend to work with more tech and more data than other revenue-generating departments. The primary focus for RevOps in B2B marketing is to streamline the marketing tech stack, empowering marketers to access to more data from the other teams (and vice versa).

This leads to better decision-making and improved productivity.

Customer success

When previously siloed departments are aligned and working together, they are more attentive to their customers' needs. Customers notice better standards of communication and service. This makes life much easier for customer success teams, who will notice the difference in their upselling and renewal rates.

What does a revenue operations team look like?

The size and structure of your revenue operations team will depend on the size and needs of your business. However, companies that are making a success of RevOps are structured like this.

There’s a Head of RevOps, reporting to the CRO.

Reporting to the Head of RevOps, there will be a manager for each area of operations:

  • Sales Operations Manager - overseeing ops for the sales team.
  • Marketing Operations Manager - overseeing ops for the marketing team.
  • Customer Success Operations Manager - overseeing ops for the CS team.
  • Systems Operations Manager - overseeing data and technology implementation.

Under these managers, there may be analysts for each area. Their role is to identify and solve issues relating to business performance. To do so, they must review and analyse vast amounts of data, in collaboration with their respective departments.

What skills are required to succeed in revenue operations?

To be a hit in the world of revenue operations, you need a wide range of skills:

  • Strategic thinking - the ability to formulate plans and proposals based on delivering the company’s goals.
  • A head for figures - in RevOps, everything is based on data and metrics.
  • Problem-solving - a key part of the job is to diagnose and remove obstacles that stop your teams from generating revenue.
  • Communication - the ability to persuade internal stakeholders that your strategies will make a material difference to their long-term success.
  • Technically-minded - you’ll be dealing with complex software and systems; some RevOps roles include coding as a core responsibility.
  • Teamwork and collaboration - RevOps cannot be a silo; it demands close association with internal departments. The best RevOps teams work alongside managers and employees to implement changes.
  • Customer-focused - even if you don’t talk to customers, you must always have the customer’s needs in your mind. After all, without paying customers, there is no revenue!

What are the core revenue operations responsibilities?

In general, a RevOps team will focus on delivering the following tasks:

  • Operations management - assessing company policies and business processes, with a view to updating procedures and improving performance.
  • Enablement - removing obstacles that stop sales, marketing and customer success teams from interacting with customers and generating revenue.
  • Insights and analytics - producing short and long-term reports drawn from a wide range of data sources, with a view to enhancing workflows and cross-departmental engagement.
  • Tech implementation - procuring, implementing and maintaining the software across all revenue-generating departments.
  • Learning and development - providing continuous training to employees in how to use new systems or follow new processes.
  • Compliance and regulation - ensuring that every new workflow or system meets company, national and international standards and legislation.

What are the key revenue operations metrics?

Revenue operations is a numbers game. Here are some of the metrics you need to know:

  • Sales cycle time - the time it takes from the first touch with a prospect to closing the deal.
  • Pipeline velocity - the speed that leads move through each stage of your revenue pipeline.
  • Win rate - the proportion of sales opportunities that are converted into customers.
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC) - the total cost of winning a new customer (this metric can include marketing costs, salaries, equipment and more).
  • Annual recurring revenue (ARR) - the revenue coming into your business from subscriptions or contracts, calculated over the course of a year.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV) - the amount of revenue you can expect from a customer during the entirety of your relationship with them.
  • Upsells and renewals - the amount of revenue you make from selling new products to existing customers, or getting them to commit to a new contract or subscription.
  • Customer churn - the proportion of customers you lose across a specific time period.
  • Forecast accuracy - a calculation of how predictable your revenue is, usually expressed as a percentage.

What are the essential revenue operations tools?

The number one tool in RevOps is your company CRM. You need to make sure that your CRM provides all the capabilities you need to make your revenue operations strategy a success, including:

  • Contact and activity tracking - so you know where each prospect and customer is in their buyer's journey.
  • Revenue forecasting - the ability to harness current and historical data to estimate what will happen in the future.
  • Revenue analytics - gathering information by observing workflows, then reporting on their strengths and weaknesses.
  • AI-powered analytics and insights - using AI tools to manage and manipulate large datasets.
  • Individual account dashboards - every lead and customer must have their own section within your CRM, with full visibility for all revenue-generating departments.
  • Data aggregation from third-parties - your CRM can transfer data from other sales platforms, ensuring your reps can have all the essential information they need at their fingertips.
  • Integration with third-parties - RevOps best practice is to link your CRM to your marketing automation and sales enablement platforms.

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