Revenue operations vs. sales operations – Why you need revenue operations for your business

Creating an overarching operations structure provides stability and focus for each and every department.

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Revenue operations is something of a buzz world in the sales industry at the moment. Frequently encountered during meetings and presentations, revenue operations is rapidly becoming a feature of sales industries everywhere. As frequently happens with buzz words however the term is pervasive yet frequently little understood by its disseminators.

That’s why we decided to examine the topic of revenue operations and compare it to its closest counterpart and predecessor; sales operations. The differences in the names of these two concepts is enough to make some think that they are completely separate topics. However, both are inextricably linked.

Our guide will look into the key difference between revenue and operating income as well as the benefits of revenue operations as a whole. We’ll also encounter some of the difficulties companies can face when implementing this zeitgeist generating concept. Finally, we won’t relegate ourselves merely to theory, we’ll also examine how you can implement revenue operations for your company.

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    Sales operations – A term encountered in sales everywhere

    Sales operations is commonly encountered in the sales industry as it is the default option for most sales enterprises. Sales operations is the practice of facilitating and supporting one’s sales department to go out and do what they do best; make sales. This means that sales operations ecompasses a number of key technical aspects including business analytics, attainment planning and deal projection.

    The usual sales operation is led by the head of sales who will often have a number of team members reporting to them. These positions include sales representatives, managers, content creators and analysts. As a result, the team is not focused completely on sales and is often distracted by a variety of different issues.

    While this is understandable in smaller enterprises where there is already a degree of cooperation between colleagues this lack of focus is unacceptable for both medium to large companies, and those with ambition to grow. Sales is so much more than just closing deals, it is a multifaceted and complicated business that relies on marketing, social media, internal collaboration and much more to succeed.

    What exactly is revenue operations?

    Revenue operations is the response to the requirement of companies for a multi-faceted approach to sales. Also known by its abbreviated name Rev Ops, revenue operations represent the intersection of sales, marketing, customer service and other key business departments. The purpose of aligning these departments is to ensure cross-team adoption of best practices and to improve efficiency and accountability.

    This doesn’t mean that every team implements these varying issues by themselves. On the contrary, revenue operations requires a degree of separation to function effectively, allowing the revenue operations team leader to act objectively without bias. The sales, marketing, and other teams remain in place while a separate revenue operations team can oversee all of them.

    Revenue operations team members handle more than just organizing work between your varying departments. They handle techstacks, many of the apps companies need to work, and usually have a high quality CRM tool on hand to bring all the elements of their business together. Revenue operations acts as the bricks and mortar your company is based on.

    Why is revenue operations good for your business?

    Under revenue operations, sales operations can continue but on a more focused micro level. The members of the sales team focus on the essentials, as can their marketing counterparts, and the revenue operations team can act as the planner, bringing all the different aspects of the company to bear on success. Miscommunication is diminished, new ideas are shared rapidly, all because you have specialized operations team members.

    This means that you can adapt your sales funnel to meet new challenges as they emerge. Improved data sharing also means that you can identify leads more proficiently and tailor your deals for existing customers to retain their services for longer than was previously possible. The centralized approach to organization also means that sales operations are more long term, rather than the short term outlook characteristic of the small sales team.

    It’s not just the day to day aspect of your business that’s improved by revenue operations. Sales everywhere are under assault by hackers and revenue operations is able to boost your cyber security considerably. Instead of each department or team using its own security procedures, revenue operations specialists control all cyber defenses and are better able to comply with legislation like GDPR.

    Potential issues when implementing revenue operations

    Revenue operations is well worth the effort required to implement it fully but it can be a complicated process. This shouldn’t come as a surprise after all as it relies on the full support of one’s company and also includes a number of complex technical aspects. As is the issue with sales everywhere the trick to success is patience and determination.

    It’s crucial that you invest in high quality training for the entire company, training that is designed to educate your team about the benefits of revenue operations and how they work with it. This also means that you have to invest heavily in the quality of the software you use to guide your revenue operations too. There’s no point in educated hands using poor quality tools after all.

    Don’t assume you can copy and paste a new revenue operations department onto your company’s structure either. In some companies there is little to no difference between sales and marketing but under a revenue operations guided system these departments need to be clearly marked and separate. The same applies to every other department at your business, everyone needs to know their specific task.

    How do you implement revenue operations?

    The first thing you need to consider when implementing revenue operations is what your key metrics are. Your key metrics, for example one’s sales conversion rate, need to be applicable to each department and clearly communicated to everyone on your team. Each department should have its own specific target metrics but those applying to revenue operations alone should be simple to understand.

    Your next step should be to designate a specific revenue operations liaison in each of the teams at your company. Your sales operations should retain its present structure but one of each team should meet with the revenue operations leader at least once a leak. This pattern can be applied to each of your other departments.

    Also make sure that you regularly experiment with new technologies and apps. Revenue operations demands high technological ability, so make sure you continue to look for new apps that might improve your business. Just make sure you do your research on each new app.

    So you’ve implemented revenue operations – What comes next?

    If you successfully implement revenue operations two things will quickly become apparent. Firstly, your other metrics will improve considerably. Secondly, you’ll realise you’re now handling considerably larger amounts of data.

    Therefore your next prudent step will be to invest in tools specifically designed to allow you to handle data to the maximum level possible. These tools should provide an integration to your CRM system, organise and optimise your email, and guide your selling based on analytics. The Revenue Grid triumvirate of Revenue Engage, Inbox and Guide will help you do this.

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