Revenue Operations has been around since as early as 2004, but the term gained popularity post the introduction of the RevOps Framework by Marko Savic in 2017.
Today, the exciting new RevOps function aligns Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success teams through technology, enablement, and data.
Of course, the birth of a new function raises questions on the best way to nurture and scale a talented team of RevOps professionals. Pigment’s latest webinar answers this question and more.
Read on to learn how Revenue Operations leaders from Highspot, EcoVadis, and RingCentral established a track record of scaling RevOps teams to new heights. You'll hear their top tips, challenges, tech stack, and advice on getting started in revops.
All roads lead to RevOps: meet the experts
Cindy Hancock: Director of Revenue Operations at Highspot
Meet Cindy Hancock, former chemistry buff and current day RevOps authority.
Cindy oversees the end-to-end operations of the customer journey, from Customer Experience to Go-to-market teams. She once lived in the world of analytical chemistry, but long hours of research and endless testing left her yearning for impactful work that was just - faster.
Cindy worked her way through technical support management and marketing analytics roles to a leadership role in RevOps, where her 20-strong team scaled the business from 150 to 1,500 employees at Highspot. Her strengths lie in wrangling large amounts of data to develop highly efficient business processes.
Naven KY: Global Director, Revenue Operations at EcoVadis
Naven KY isn’t entirely sure how he got into RevOps with a background in Mechanical Engineering.
But it all makes sense when he recalls how both streams focus on building efficient, well-oiled machines. And that’s what KY is responsible for at EcoVadis today: bringing the RevOps mindset to functional silos by increasing alignment and visibility to decision makers.
KY played a critical role in scaling Chargebee’s hypergrowth from 1 to 100 million, growing a Sales team from 5 to 400 while leading a 40-member RevOps team.
Phil Lacorte: VP Sales Operations at RingCentral
Phil Lacorte has over 13 years of experience leading Sales Ops and RevOps functions.
How did he get there? He’s walked a mile - and then some - in the shoes of SaaS SDRs and Sales Managers. While at these roles, he realized how big his passion for solving problems was. He quickly started problem solving for others in his network and made a huge impact, even starting his own consultancy. The natural next step was to make a career out of helping teams clear hurdles.
Phil has held Operations leadership positions at Exactly, Informatica, Planful, and Trifacta (now Alteryx). Currently, he innovates streamlined sales processes as the VP of Sales Operations at RingCentral, to the benefit of over 400K customers.
How early should you bring in RevOps?
Let’s start at the early stage of forming your first RevOps team. It’s hard to know the optimal time to bring in your first few Revenue Operations folks, and to prioritize problems to tackle. Luckily, there are a few signs that your organization is ready for RevOps.
“Most companies start, at the 50 employee mark, with Sales Ops and grow into Marketing and Services. You have to ask yourself when you want to optimize the Sales motion.”
In other words, wait until you establish your sales team and bring in RevOps to add fuel to the fire. Phil goes into the specifics:
“Hire Sales Ops as soon as you have three to five sales reps on the team.”
A mistake he sees companies make often is relying on sales reps and leaders to set up systems. For example, the VP of Sales may be tasked with quota and headcount planning, which are prime activities for RevOps to take the wheel.
Setting the foundations for RevOps early in the growth cycle can help scale the business much faster and more efficiently.
Phil’s pro tip? Hire an Operations manager with experience they can apply right away. A specialist at the early stages can quickly implement the processes and alignment as a base for generalists to build on over time.
What are the key priorities of growing RevOps teams?
KY shares five key priorities for RevOps teams looking to scale:
- Operations to establish efficient business processes
- Data and establishing a single source of truth for the whole organization
- Enablement, including training, performance management, and reducing ramp time
- Tools to scale at each stage of the customer journey
- Commissions as a separate function to handle bottlenecks that emerge at each stage of company growth
Focus on these five pillars as soon as you reach product-market fit, raise funding, and build out your initial RevOps team. Ultimately, RevOps is a mindset shift in managing the end-to-end customer journey.
And Cindy clarifies how exactly RevOps differs from other operations functions, such as Business Ops:
“Business Operations is an umbrella that covers RevOps, PMO, and Analytics. RevOps in particular is a mindset shift to communicate the holistic picture of the business with executive stakeholders to help them make decisions.”
By establishing business partners to team up with each business function, RevOps enables leadership to make decisions with increased confidence and efficiency.
Phil concludes by reminding us that the core priority of RevOps is to build collaboration and alignment between Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success. This is achieved by defining standard data and definitions for teams to generate insights that help attain revenue goals.
How do you start scaling a RevOps team?
First, consider the optimal ratio of Sales/Marketing/CS to RevOps teamsize. KY suggests a ratio of 10-to-1 but warns us that this is a best-case scenario.
“Because we started investing in the right people and tech early on, it was much easier to convince stakeholders to allocate budget for operations headcount. Chargebee had 100% YoY growth based largely on the strength of operations. It increased visibility which snowballed into even more support from decision makers.”
Phil takes a milder approach and suggests a 15- or 20-to-1 ratio, with the caveat of high automation for support.
Scaling RevOps teams is highly subjective and dependent on the growth stage of the company. Regardless, it’s important to lay the foundations to meet the nearest visible milestone you need to reach. At the very least, prioritize enabling data integrity and availability, and hire accordingly.
The perfect RevOps tech stack for scaling teams
Technology is a shortcut to efficient and speedy growth, but can be a costly mistake if done wrong. That’s why it’s so important to thoughtfully select the best tools to empower your team.
Cindy’s analytical background inclines her towards building a powerful data tech stack. She follows the “Garbage In, Garbage Out” philosophy which dictates that poor quality choices will lead to poor outputs.
Salesforce or other CRMs are key to building your foundation. You should also set your reps up for success with enablement tools such as Highspot, prospecting tools, and account databases to understand their Total Addressable Market and ideal customer profile
KY divides his ideal RevOps tech stack into three compartments:
- CRM as a single source of truth, including the storage and visualization of information
- Sales engagement tools such as HubSpot, Outreach, or SalesLoft as early as possible
- Customer Success tools such as ChurnZero, GainSight, and Qualtrics
Phil stresses the importance of automation. He recalls how tasks estimated to take as long as nine months were completed in a single month through automation. His top recommendations for process automation include Workado and Tray.io integrations, as well as RingCentral for cross-functional collaboration.
Your ideal tech stack differs based on the size of the business and the CRM you use. It’s best to divide tools into “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” when you start investing in technology. Follow that up by tracking usage and adding integrations to avoid ending up with unnecessary or unused tools.
What’s the best way to influence decision makers?
One of the key duties of ReVops is to influence organization-wide decision making. From Sales and Marketing leaders to executive leadership, it can be extremely difficult to win stakeholder buy-in and inspire change.
But there are a couple tricks that make it easier. Phil reflects on his top tip to influence stakeholders as a RevOps leader:
“Make as many quick wins as possible early in your tenure at an organization. Building credibility upfront is important for change management later on.”
Take the time to get to know stakeholders and understand their core problems. Include stakeholders in evaluation processes, sales reps in user acceptance testing, and record input from top performers.
Following this approach will win you champions - folks outside your core team that advocate the benefits of your proposals.
Cindy underlines how crucial it is to listen before offering recommendations, and suggests going on “listening tours” to hear the thoughts of stakeholders in various teams. KY rounds us off with the timely reminder that
“RevOps is not the decision maker, but the influencer who offers recommendations. Appreciate what your stakeholders have done thus far before offering solutions. This will be noticed and take you further with decision makers.”
What are the key skills to look for in RevOps hires?
As we’ve just seen, influencing authority and building relationships is critical to the RevOps function. And it’s fairly established that technical skills and data analysis is another key to success. Our experts share other skills to watch out for when hiring for your RevOps team:
- Building alignment: when you act as a go-between for multiple owners, you need to be able to bridge communication to find common ground
- Motivation and a deep passion for RevOps: this role isn’t for the faint of heart, and requires people who enjoy small wins and dedicate themselves to the overall journey
- Common sense: you need to be able to look at the big picture to effectively break down silos and solve problems
- Curiosity: people who succeed at this role think outside the box to connect with people and provide them with the best recommendations
What long-term career path can you expect in RevOps?
On a similar note, our experts see three main career trajectories for those that stick it out in RevOps.
First, it is entirely possible to move into a CRO role from RevOps. This is largely due to the skill sets you pick up along the way - the perfect blend of logical and creative thinking.
Second, since the CRO is considered a key stakeholder of RevOps, it might be more likely to transition into COO roles instead.
Third, as the RevOps function matures and proves indispensable, it is highly likely that the function commands its own dedicated seat in the C suite, in the form of a Chief Revenue Operations Officer.
Phil shares words of wisdom for early career RevOps professionals:
“The sky’s the limit for RevOps career paths. To get there, keep succeeding at your role and keep solving problems you are passionate about.”
RevOps presents unique exposure to so many aspects of the business, leaving you with endless opportunities to scale your career alongside growing and scaling your team. It all begins with an undying passion for smarter ways to help people solve problems.