Understanding Revenue Operations

Ana Gotter on October 30, 2023

Table of Contents

If you work in B2B, SaaS, or startups, we can almost guarantee you’ve heard the term “Revenue Operations” or “RevOps” with fervent frequency over recent years. 

Revenue Operations has become an essential position in many businesses, helping to ensure that your marketing and sales teams are on track and that you’re on a clear path toward revenue growth. 

If you’re wondering exactly what RevOps is, why it matters, or how to get started, keep reading! We’ll discuss all this and more. 

What is Revenue Operations (RevOps)?

Revenue Operations, also known as “RevOps, is the practice of integrating and aligning sales, marketing, and customer success teams with the goal of increasing revenue growth. 

RevOps seeks to accelerate revenue (and ideally business growth) with sales enablement strategies, increased collaboration efforts, and an enhanced customer experience. It’s a multi-faceted approach that involves looking at each department’s efforts, getting everyone on the same page and working towards common goals, and ensuring that the teams have what they need to be successful. 

Why Does RevOps Matter for Businesses? 

RevOps matters for businesses because revenue growth matters for businesses, simple as that.

A study from the Boston Consulting Group found that companies investing in RevOps see around 10-20% increases in sales productivity. Another study from Forrester found that companies with RevOps teams grew revenue 3x faster than those without RevOps workers. 

Even if you’re hiring a new team member (or potentially team members) and adding some new tools to an already-straining budget, the data is clear that the right investments can pay off big time with significant growths in revenue and profit. 

How RevOps Can Help Revenue Growth

In many cases, this comes down to the fact that you’ve got a single team that is responsible for looking at three crucial departments— marketing, sales, and customer success— and getting everyone aligned for a common goal. 

Without RevOps, you run the risk of departments thinking they’re working towards the same goals but ending up in their own silos. 

For example:

  • Marketing realizes that certain campaigns drive in a lot of interested users for a low cost. They prioritize campaigns that are getting a lot of leads because they’re hitting all their KPIs in big ways.
  • Sales is frustrated because that particular audience segment, while likely to become a lead, is not likely to convert. Or, maybe they convert at a lower value than other segments or take longer to convert. 
  • Customer success teams, meanwhile, are noticing pain points or motivations that customers have, and realize that sales isn’t properly hyping up certain features that the target audience actually loves, and if they don’t onboard correctly, there’s a high risk of churn.

While it seems like common sense would allow everyone to figure this out eventually, it doesn’t always happen that way. It can take a long time to come to these realizations, and in some cases, there’s debate and internal power struggles if you don’t have a single person in charge who is prioritizing a single end goal. 

That’s why you need RevOps. 

The Benefits of Revenue Operations for Your Team

Dedicated revenue operations efforts offer the following benefits:

  • Increased revenue. We’ve already discussed this, but it’s always at the top of the list.
  • Streamlined and improved customer experience. There’s a seamless experience that’s centered around improving customer success, which means happier customers.
  • Boosted efficiency. Your team is working together, and someone is running point on eliminating anything that could distract the teams from the end goal. 
  • Fewer data silos. RevOps employees don’t just look at marketing data alone, and sales data alone. They look at all the metrics to get a big-picture view of what’s happening, which means more actionable and accurate insights.
  • Better alignment between teams. Instead of having teams working against each other (accidentally or otherwise), you can get on board for marketing and sales alignment. This will increase the success of both teams. 
  • Increased agility potential. If you have a single point person watching for changes in the market and hearing all concerns and goals for each team, it’s easier for them to determine when to shift focus and pivot. 

What’s the Difference Between RevOps vs. Sales and Marketing Operations? 

A RevOps professional is typically going to be working above sales, marketing, and customer success leaders, so it’s important to understand the different roles they play.

Sales operations typically focus on the following:

  • Optimizing sales processes
  • Training and hiring sales team members
  • Managing the sales pipeline 
  • Increasing the number of closed deals and the value of deals
  • Direct prospecting and outreach 

Marketing operations (MarOps) supports the marketing team, and is responsible for prioritizing: 

  • Data management
  • Campaign analysis
  • Audience research and segmentation
  • Campaign creation 
  • Marketing automation 
  • Lead generation 

These two operations are typically led by sales or marketing directors, or others in high-level positions. They’re focused on what their team is doing and how it impacts the business. 

RevOps, on the other hand, is comprehensive and considers sales, marketing, and customer success. They’re typically responsible for:

  • Managing the tech stack
  • Analyzing data from both teams to create data-driven processes
  • Coordinating efforts across all three departments 
  • Allocating the budget between the three departments 
  • Developing strategies and delivering focus to multiple teams 

The RevOps Metrics to Watch

Revenue Operations is a data-focused job role, meaning that they’re going to be closely watching metrics that impact multiple teams.

These are the RevOps metrics that are typically closely tracked: 

    • Sales cycle time: the time it takes to move prospects through the pipeline to conversion
  • Win rate: the number of sales opportunities that are closed
  • Pipeline velocity: the speed at which leads move through the pipeline
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): the average value of customers through the lifetime of their relationship with you
  • Churn rates: the number of customers leaving your business
  • Retention rates: how many customers are staying with your business
  • Number of active subscribers: how many customers have active subscriptions (which is incredibly important for subscription business models)
  • Customer satisfaction rates: tell you how happy customers are; some businesses assess satisfaction after key points in the journey, like during onboarding 
  • Number of new leads generated: how many new prospects and leads have entered the pipeline in a given time period

Having the right tools in your tech stack can make this part of the job easy. 

Baremetrics, for example, offers subscription analytics created specifically for startups and SaaS companies in mind. Access over 26 mission-critical subscription-focused metrics, along with forecasting, trial, and revenue recovery insights to improve every part of the customer experience (and your revenue). 

Common Challenges of Implementing RevOps (& How to Overcome Them)

If you’re wondering whether or not RevOps implementation can have challenges, the answer, unfortunately, is yes. While the end result is worth it, these are some common challenges to watch for:

  • Resistance to change. No one loves change, and sometimes it means that a RevOps leader will come in and tell Team 1 they need to bend to the requests of Team 2, which Team 1 may resent. Changes in processes and technology can have some resistance, but if every team feels valued, it should be okay.
  • Merging siloed data. Silos are often a major issue in sales enablement. Marketing as their data, sales has theirs, and customer success has its own. Getting all the needed data organized can be a headache, through the right tools and high-quality CRMs (and analytics that integrate with those CRMs) can help. 
  • Lack of process alignment. Different teams often operate completely independently of each other, and that means their processes will be very different. Getting everyone synced up can be challenging, but regular meetings with sales, marketing, and customer success leaders to discuss shared goals can help.
  • Insufficient resources. Hiring a new RevOps specialist means an extra salary and likely some changes to the tech stack. That money has to come somewhere, and the changes they want to make come with costs, too. Start by finding the right hire, and then work on incremental changes as you can. When RevOps is able to optimize a single budget across sales, marketing, and customer success, that will help. 

How to Get Started with RevOps 

Ready to add a revenue operations specialist to your team (or at least revenue operations efforts)? These five steps will help you get started. 

1. Hire the Right People 

When hiring a RevOps team member, you really want to choose the right candidate. Past experience in RevOps is great, but someone with experience in both high-level sales and marketing positions can be a great fit with the right qualities.

Make sure you look for specific skills and traits like the following:

  • Data-focused, with a strong mind for analytics
  • Creative problem-solver
  • Outstanding communication, as they’ll need to persuade internal stakeholders and team leads
  • Strong knowledge of marketing, sales, and customer success; the last thing you need is someone who only cares about one department and not the others
  • Technologically savvy, as tech stack management is critical
  • Customer-focused, with a strong ability to understand the buyer’s process and customer needs

2. Choose the Right Tools 

Every RevOps team needs great data, and that means choosing strong tools.

These are the tools that should be in every RevOps tech stack:

When assembling your tech stack, write down a list of what features you need, and what specific information and functionality you’re looking for. 

Sometimes, for example, CRMs may have pipeline management or marketing analytics features at a higher-priced plan. And tools like Baremetrics focus on subscription analytics, but they also have audience insights, forecasting features, and more. 

Some tools can wear multiple hats, so you can use your budget wisely if you manage your tech stack strategically. 

3. Get Department Leads Involved 

Once you’ve got the right tools and the right people, it’s time to get department heads on board. Have meetings with sales, marketing, and customer success teams to talk about new processes, proposed goals, and potential pain points.

Make sure you listen to concerns that team leads have— they’ll have a ton of insight into the processes they’re using and potential obstacles that might need to be overcome during the transition process. They’re also likely to have great ideas about facilitating collaboration or how certain processes can be improved. 

4. Create Cross-Department Goals 

Once you’ve got a solid understanding of how the teams are operating and where you’re at currently with revenue performance, it’s time to start making goals. 

Maybe you want marketing to attract more of a certain type of leads, for example, and for sales to do a better job upselling specific features that customers end up wanting during onboarding, and then for customer success to improve their training on those features during onboarding.

Create specific, measurable goals and a time frame in which you plan to complete them. Examples may include:

  • Marketing should generate 500 new leads that align with buyer persona A within six months while keeping CAC under $15
  • Sales team members should each close 15 deals valued at $300 annually minimum per month
  • Reduce the time-to-close from two months to six weeks
  • Customer success increase customer retention rate from 46% to 62% within six months 

5. Review & Modify Department Processes 

Once you have your goals, look at your existing processes in sales, marketing, and customer success teams. Then you can look at what changes should be made to help reach those goals.

For example:

  • Sales should hand over new customers to a customer account manager for personalized onboarding and setup, instead of waiting for the customer to reach out
  • Marketing should take steps to qualify leads by requesting additional information on lead forms so they’re “more ready” for sales to prioritize 
  • Sales and customer support should be able to request content directly from marketing, like help resources or video walkthroughs

Final Thoughts: RevOps is Only As Good as the Data Used

RevOps is a powerful role, and it can make a huge impact on businesses and their revenue. If you want to scale aggressively and maximize your profit, investing in RevOps is something you should look at.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that since RevOps is data-driven, it’s only ever going to be as effective as the data that they’re using. Because of this, it’s imperative to choose analytics tools that are accurate and reliable.

Baremetrics, for example, is unlike many of our competitors. When calculating MRR and ARR, we look exclusively at active customers whose accounts are in good standing— not those with paused or delinquent subscriptions. This gives you an accurate understanding of the actual revenue coming your way.

Choose your tools carefully, and make sure you’re reading plenty of customer reviews online. 

Ready to start investing in Revenue Operations? Great analytics is the first step. Get started with Baremetrics with a free 14-day trial.

Ana Gotter