The First Revenue Ops Pillar: Defining Management & Strategy

— March 23, 2017

We recently introduced the concept of Revenue Ops, a cross-functional model that combines marketing ops and sales ops responsibilities, to facilitate better alignment and impact revenue growth.

Since then we’ve seen this concept resonate well with our audience, experts in the field, and analysts from leading firms. In fact, Scott Vaughan, CMO of Integrate, published an article (coincidentally) that makes the case for combining marketing & sales ops teams to achieve better alignment and drive revenue:

If you want to get sales and marketing to operate as a unified, high-performing machine, skip this “alignment” fallacy and start with ops as the ultimate integrator. This will result in greater focus on what truly matters: customer revenue and lifetime value.

In the article, Scott highlights that in order to make this new ops paradigm work, “roles and responsibilities still need to be set thoughtfully.” The goal being to enable teams to fully deliver throughout the customer lifecycle and ensure a long-standing strategic plan to support this vision.

The focus on combined responsibilities resonates very well with us at Radius and is the reason why we built a Revenue Ops framework – to start the conversation around what Revenue Ops could look like in practice.

First Revenue Ops Pillar - Framework

In fact, we partnered with leading firms to communicate the value of each pillar and share best practices for ops teams. Let’s start with the first pillar – Management & Strategy.

4 questions on Management & Strategy with Allocadia

In the Revenue Ops framework, Management & Strategy highlights the focus on a strong foundational strategy and managing resources. Broadly, this includes formulating the overall GTM strategy and executing on the company vision.

But what does this mean for ops teams and what are some best practices to keep top of mind? To get more insights on this topic, we interviewed Sam Melnick, VP of Marketing at Allocadia.

1) Why is Management & Strategy a core pillar for Revenue Ops teams?

Every action starts with an investment and before every investment, there must be a plan. That’s why competency and attention in Management and Strategy is critical for every marketing and sales organization. Without the strategy and management behind revenue growth, organizations would be left with just random acts of marketing and sales actions and hope they hit their numbers.

2) What does Management & Strategy mean through the lens of B2B ops?

Revenue Ops professionals run marketing and sales. While much of the go-to-market organization is focused on “doing” or executing campaigns and tactics, Revenue Ops runs the show behind the scenes, guiding the actual execution. It requires planning, decisions and analysis around resource and investment management, and ultimately the critical evaluation of what is working and what is not.

To be successful, two areas to focus on within Management and Strategy are:

  • Leading Resource and Performance Planning
  • Building and Managing Cross-Functional Alignment

3) How should ops teams approach resource and performance planning?

When taking on the planning portion of Revenue Ops, best-in-class organizations do the following:

  • Align plans with corporate objectives: Creating plans in a vacuum is almost a guaranteed recipe for failure. Without the context of what the business is trying to achieve a plan may never have a chance to succeed. High-growth organizations are 2X more likely to align marketing KPIs directly to contribution to the business than those with negative to flat growth.
  • Structure plans according to industry standards: The reality is, Revenue Ops plans need to coordinate efforts for a multitude of areas. Audiences, channels, departmental functions, product lines, and regions are all in involved. While every plan and measurement framework is going to be slightly different, you won’t be able to succeed at the above without a formal framework.
  • Create Top-Down and Bottom-Up plans: Both top-down, strategic plans, and bottom-up, tactical plans, are incredibly valuable and necessary. But if you focus too heavily on the top-down plan, you risk getting separated from reality. Jump too quickly to the tactical activity-based plan and you could end up being stuck in a silo.

    The recommended approach is that Revenue Ops partner with executives to set strategic objectives and then bring these to the field and coordinate a global bottom-up planning process. In a perfect world, these two actions will smoothly meet in the middle – the reality is there will always be some negotiation and reconciliation.

4) How can ops ensure teams are aligned cross-functionally?

The most effective Revenue Operations professionals build strong relationships. The first and most obvious relationship that must be built is with the C-suite. After all, they set the corporate objectives, they manage the budgets, and ops must be in lockstep with their objectives.

One important ally that is often forgotten is Finance. While Marketing and Sales alignment has been talked about for decades, alignment with Finance has often been cast aside. Research from Allocadia’s Marketing Performance Management Benchmark Study shines some light on this problem. Marketing organizations at high-performing companies are 3X more likely to align with Finance overall, and 2 out of 3 high-performers align on budgets and returns, as compared to 1 out of 3 low-performing organizations. Prioritizing alignment is a must for any Revenue Ops function, as Marketing, Sales, and Finance are really the trio of revenue creation for the organization.

Wrapping it up

Ops teams need to shape and execute strategy that delivers on the company vision and ultimately drives towards the common revenue goal. This can range from helping formulate the overall marketing and sales strategy to ensuring the right processes are in place to actually execute on them.


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Author: Vignesh Subramanyan

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