The topic of revenue operations has been extensively covered recently, not least by vendors extolling the virtues of their particular offering. But as with much of the software industry, vendors often see the market through the lens of their current product capabilities rather than what is necessarily needed. With the rise of the mixed-revenue model that includes subscription and usage pricing as well as one-time sales, combined with the growth in self-service commerce, the result is more teams within an organization being directly involved with supporting revenue generation. In response, many organizations have appointed a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) who is responsible and accountable for all sources of revenue for an organization. And with the rise of the role of the CRO, combined with an increasing adoption of mixed-revenue models, we see this as an increasingly necessary shift. We believe that leadership will need to drive this change in approach, recognizing that this will require a shift in responsibilities and, as importantly, accountability.
As the CRO is responsible for more than just new business sales, their operations team needs to support more than just sales. This has given rise to the notion of revenue operations as the natural successor to sales operations.
Revenue operations, whether as an actual or virtual team, is responsible for ensuring alignment and enablement across all who support revenue including marketing, sales and customer success, while making certain that finance and legal are part of the overall process. Many of these teams have their own support systems as well as team and individual metrics and targets. One of the challenges of the revenue operations approach is ensuring that different teams are aligned with overall organization objectives by means of targets and incentives. This requires analysis and understanding of what a continuous process looks like, to bring a prospect from interest, through sale, to onboarding and adoption, and on to renewal and upsell and cross-sell opportunities. To effect this change, there is a need to develop new metrics and analytics that link individual teams such as marketing, sales, account expansion and customer success to overall corporate revenue objectives. These revenue-centric metrics and analytics can be delivered via dedicated applications such as CRM or revenue intelligence with embedded analytics or using common business intelligence (BI) tools, or even manually maintained within spreadsheets. But the keys to success are whether the resultant monitoring and reporting on the metrics contribute to a better understanding of the customer life cycle. In addition, using projections and forecasts will enable monitoring of progress toward planned-for objectives and to provide actional feedback to alert leadership and management with enough forewarning to adjust and course correct. In addition, revenue operations teams can use analytics and performance measurement to identify steps in the process that are impeding the overall objectives so that processes can be continuously fine-tuned to ensure objective achievement, especially in the face of new market entrants, increased competition or market changes such as those changes that have resulted or been accelerated by the pandemic.
We believe the role of revenue operations will be pivotal as organizations move to a mixed-revenue model such that through 2025, more than three-fifths of organizations will limit the effectiveness of revenue management with an incomplete view of a customer’s journey from lead, engagement, purchasing, onboarding, renewal and expansion.
Given the importance of the customer experience as both a driver of renewal and opportunity for expansion, revenue operations has a key responsibility in ensuring that processes and people are aligned through defined objectives and incentives. As handovers between teams and individuals are a potential area of friction in the process, revenue operations teams need to pay close attention to these potential break points to ensure a continuous, positive customer experience. And, as discussed, this does not stop at the initial sale but continues across the life cycle of the customer.
To better understand these challenges and to what extent organizations are adopting a revenue operations approach, we have launched our Revenue Operations Dynamic Insights. The research will explore the extent to which organizations are adapting to the expanded need to support all types of revenue. Using concise, web-based surveys, the Ventana Research Dynamic Insights platform gathers real-world data while immediately providing research participants with a personalized assessment of their organization’s efforts as well as research- and experience-based advice on potential next steps to improve performance. Each participant who completes the survey will receive real-time insights to support decisions ranging from prioritizing application and technology investments to what best practices are most relevant to the organization’s efforts.
For organizations looking to either adopt or expand their support for revenue operations, we advise assessing the data-related processes and tasks that currently support your efforts. Our Dynamic Insights research is designed to help you examine to what extent you are adjusting people, processes and technology to promote this approach and your organization’s current stage of evolution. Click here to take the survey and here to learn more about our other research efforts.