revopsI’ve been in the tech startup space for around 10 years and recently I’ve been thinking about how I want to grow professionally. Right now, I have enough experience to get sales roles and I also have a wide skill set to allow me to pivot my career if I need to. There’s one lesson which is a foundation of my sales career: companies run activities that create value, customers buy what they believe is valuable.

As more businesses conduct customer centric activities, I’m seeing the emergence of Revenue Operations (RevOps) as a business strategy that can accelerate the journey from . RevOps focuses on aligning sales, marketing and customer success to drive revenue growth. It’s an emerging concept that has spawned out of the complexity of the sales process and the need for pre and post sales teams to work closer together. For SaaS companies this can help reduce churn, improve the customer experience and provide additional pathways into revenue. The reason why I’m writing this is almost an open letter to myself of what I think RevOps is right now where I might end up in this space.

Why I Want to Transition into RevOps

Tech companies have had year on year growth for the last 25 years and we’re moving into unfamiliar territory as we’re seeing layoffs as we are slowly but surely moving into a recession. The requirement to do more with less presents a great opportunity to expand on my existing skill set and break down silos as sales cycles are becoming more complex. What excites me about RevOps is that it can optimise the revenue process by aligning different functions to create differentiated customer experiences. Regardless of the maturity of the product or service, this creates value which drives growth. RevOps can help SaaS organisations move away from the traditional linear model of sales and move into a flywheel. Business benefits of this include assurance in forecasting because you can guarantee repeat or expanded business, pipeline development due to referrals, and customer feedback which can improve product and your market fit. Our customers are no longer a means to an end but an ongoing source of value.

The goal of RevOps is to dismantle barriers between business functions in order to foster revenue growth. In my experience, collaborating with various teams has resulted in the creation of customer and prospect experiences that are streamlined and can be easily adopted. In many instances, the technology I offer may not possess the same level of technical proficiency as other enterprise solutions, but because customers struggle with complicated pricing schedules, disparate systems, processes and people - they tend to use technology I offer because of the ease of experience. I feel I can contribute to the success of an organisation by implementing and managing tools, systems, and processes necessary.

Skills I Needed to Learn

There are three specific areas for me to improve on: understanding the end customer, understanding my customer profile, understanding my business. When it comes to understanding the end customer, it’s about understanding their value chain to get a sense of what strategic outcomes they want to achieve. This makes it easier to align your product and service to wider use cases across the business to help articulate the ROI and justify the investment into a product or service. Extending on this is translating customer talk (their strategy, initiatives and projects) into metrics to help understand my business (time to first value, customer success, customer satisfaction of NPS). SaaS has allowed customers to use their money as an annual leverage point to get value out of SaaS vendors. Through the actions of customers, you can see they’re moving away from having the best technical competency and demanding more in terms of best business outcome. For example, a company isn’t looking to replace their CRM, they’re looking to be able to personalise results over the phone to provide better products and services to their customers.

Understanding my customer profile in the context of RevOps is about understanding the parts of the business a buying persona touches and creating experiences that remove the barriers for them. This is combining pre and post sales activities. For example, marketing in the form of thought leadership, or access to the product team. Typical mistakes in this space revolve around improving existing sales processes rather than looking at the holistic picture of the customer (e.g. MEDDIC, sales presentations, cold calling etc). Understanding the customer is more around quantifying their reputational and strategic risk by articulating a pathway to assurance and delivering mutually beneficial outcomes. Another skill to improve on is process mapping to identify and improve internal and external processes. The visual representation of process can highlight inefficiencies as most of our functions (eg. sales and marketing) given they often operated in silos. Typically in a Monday all hands call, they’re competing in games to justify their positions as opposed to creating real value. Things like prioritising the lead source as opposed to aligning functions to create a flywheel of outcomes and measuring the success of the activity. The advantages I see with process mapping include direct feedback channels from customer to product, investment strategy, roadmap decision making. A final skill that I’ll be looking to overcome is one of diversity and inclusivity. I don’t ‘look’ like a director or someone at a seat close to the executive table. It’s very rare to have Polynesians in these spaces so it will be my duty to help build these spaces for a wide range of people to contribute and express themselves. This means a close focus on celebrating the diversity of these people, promoting and mentoring inclusive leadership and encouraging people to understand a company’s north star and how they contribute.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, RevOps is an emerging business strategy that aligns sales, marketing, and customer success to drive revenue growth and create differentiated customer experiences. Despite the challenges of moving into unfamiliar economic territory, RevOps presents an opportunity to break down silos and optimise the revenue process which is an area I’d like to grow. To succeed in this space, it’s important to understand the end customer, customer profile, and business while improving process mapping and promoting diversity and inclusivity. As companies focus more on customer-centric activities, RevOps is a strategy that can help SaaS organisations move towards a flywheel model and drive long-term growth