One of the key value drivers enticing teams to adopt revenue operations (RevOps) is alignment across siloed teams like sales, marketing, product, and customer success.
But that alignment doesn’t happen the instant an executive says, “so, we’re doing RevOps now.” Even if it did, and everyone who currently works on a demand-generating or customer-facing team suddenly jumped on the bandwagon, you likely still have empty seats to fill.
While you don’t need a giant team, you do need to assign owners to cover specific bases, which are unique to the RevOps model. If you’re unsure who’s on first and if anyone is on third, we’re here to help you set your line-up. You will likely need to populate it with two kinds of people: 1) those already on your team who may or may not be bought into the RevOps model and 2) people you will likely need to hire.
And because successful change management begins with engaging the people you already work with, we’ll start with guiding you through those conversations to start building your RevOps leadership team and then your full revenue operations team structure.
Here’s how to get buy-in from your current colleagues
Let’s start with some empathy. Your colleagues have their reasons for being skeptical of RevOps. Maybe they are afraid change will mean layoffs, don’t want a new manager, think RevOps just means more work, or don’t like the idea of giving up control.
There are doubters in every company, and we’ve collected some of the top reasons people in core functions are often skeptical. Then, we’ve added discussion points you can use to help bring them into the conversation as RevOps champions.
These people will form the backbone of your RevOps team, so it’s important that you start here in building a unified vision for the future.
For when your executive sponsor says, “This sounds expensive.”
Sometimes executive sponsors sign off on a sales execution platform, but they’re not ready to go to bat for more budget to hire the necessary staff to support it. Or, they’ve already done that once, and they’re not ready to go back for more budget to hire a full RevOps team.
If you’re advocating for RevOps, and you have hit a budget-related objection with an executive sponsor, then here are suggested responses to bring a more shared understanding.
- It’s much more expensive not to have a RevOps team. Today, critical teams are working in silos and making decisions with incomplete information, customers are experiencing friction during handoffs, and revenue-generating teams are vying for different (and possibly competing) goals.
- Under RevOps, your sales, marketing, product, and customer success teams will all have aligned priorities, KPIs, and goals. This will save money, align incentives, and improve the customer experience.
For when your sales ops pal says, “Yipee, more work for me.”
Many of our colleagues in sales operations are already tired of people asking them to report on data they don’t have.
Because of the way your current systems are configured and integrated, they likely have access to only part of the available data sets they would need to report on the critical KPIs leadership is asking for. This is maddening.
The thought of adding an expectation of more reporting probably sounds like asking for more impossible things. To calm their fears, here are some possible talking points:
- Transitioning to RevOps would make your life easier by finally connecting systems all along the customer journey, synchronizing data that’s currently in silos, and offering the full-picture visibility you need to answer leadership’s questions.
- Better alignment around processes and priorities means you would spend a lot less time pushing back on unrealistic expectations and going back to fix mistakes other people have made in entering data, pulling reports, or tampering with your settings.
- Don’t trust us? Here’s a first-hand account of a sales-ops-turned-revops-professional’s experience.
For when the marketing lead says, “But I control the message!”
For decades, marketing created all messaging and content. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon that sales has its own messaging and content needs and that sales team members have the opportunity to contribute to–or independently create–them.
Even the teams who have done a lot of work to bring about working harmony between sales and marketing, there are often still tugs-of-war. Marketing leaders are often concerned, in bringing in other teams to help create content, that their hard work won’t be valued.
That’s why it’s critical to make it clear that marketing, and the assets they create, is a necessary part of your RevOps org. Here are a few ways to communicate that:
- In a healthy RevOps org, marketing and sales will work together to create messaging. A two-way feedback loop allows sales reps to ask marketing for specific assets. Marketing offers feedback on how sales is using their branding and assets.
- More feedback and collaboration means marketing will actually have more influence over the total go-to-market messaging. With silos, sales will continue to create its own messages, which may or may not utilize marketing’s content and assets.
- Not bringing these teams together is costly for both teams and the total organization:
Hint: A helpful place to start in bringing these teams together is often to create a sales messaging program.
What to do when your sales managers say, “bah humbug.”
It’s not uncharitable to admit that many sales managers are stuck in their ways, and it’s not without good reason. Most managers have worked their way there through a successful record in the field. Over the years, they’ve developed their own playbooks, and they feel at least reasonably confident that if they and their reps follow those tactics, they will be successful.
So, when a leader comes in and says, “we’re doing things differently now,” they’re often met with a more professional version of “bah humbug!”
If you want your sales managers to hear “RevOps” and respond positively, then you can emphasize these points with even the most… hesitant managers:
- RevOps captures data and analyzes what the sales team is already doing. A big part of the strategy is not starting from scratch but rather seeing what’s working well already, formalizing it into a best practice, and scaling it.
- Sales managers also receive more support from marketing and sales operations to enhance what they are already doing. Both teams can offer support that makes it easier for sales teams to follow the same sales plays with greater efficiency and resourcing.
- Streamlined processes and smart uses of automation ultimately mean reps can spend more time selling and less time on redundant tasks. This means better sales numbers and more productive reps.
For the account executive that says, “I hit quota. Go pound sand.”
Every sales leader can immediately picture those account executives who simultaneously dazzle them and drive them crazy. Always hitting quota and winning every sales award, they’re rockstars.
On the other hand, because they’re so effective at what they do, they’re not open to feedback or change. Because they hit quota, they are untouchable.
Change management with these team members may be the toughest, as they arguably have the most to lose if there is any lag time between the transition and their performance reaching or exceeding pre-RevOps levels. (It will, if they give it a chance).
Here’s how we suggest opening the conversation:
- RevOps is all about following data to reach the money. If your strategies are leading to the most closed deals, then you can keep doing them. If not, then we’ll identify what works better so you can earn a bigger bonus.
- RevOps invites seasoned sales people to offer feedback to every other collaborating function: sales ops, marketing, customer success, and even product. If they need a marketing asset to use with their accounts, or they’re hearing that they want a specific feature, they have a direct line to make those requests.
- Sales executives who participate in a RevOps org, and use a sales execution platform, see increased productivity because of redacted redundant tasks, better messages, and more insights into exactly what strategies are paying off.
Because customer success doesn’t always care what happens pre-sale.
Good customer success teams are already involved enough in the sales cycle to know what promises are being made, pre-sale, so they can fulfill them post-sale. However, under RevOps, that alignment goes even deeper.
This admittedly asks busy customer success managers to juggle not only their busy customer portfolios but also to participate in the broader go-to-market strategy. There are obvious benefits, but some customer success teams are resistant to jumping into presale conversations.
Sometimes this is due to (understandable) resentment. Customer success managers get sick of ramping up new customers who have crazy expectations for what the product or service will be able to do for them. When those customers inevitably churn, they are the ones who take the hit.
The last thing in the world they want to do is spend more time talking with the sales people who set them up for failure just so they can hit their own quotas.
To help smooth some of these interpersonal wrinkles and address the source of the problem, we recommend engaging customer success in the conversation in this way.
- Because RevOps emphasizes a cohesive brand and product story, the entire go-to-market strategy shares common messaging and consequently sets unified expectations.
- If customer success joins the go-to-market conversation early and often, they can offer insights on why customers are churning, impacting the way marketing and sales talk to customers. The ideal customer profile may need to shift, or early product descriptions may need to change.
- RevOps encourages a seamless handoff between sales and customer success, involving closers and customer success managers in a smooth transition. This aligns everyone’s expectations and starts off with much happier customers.
When enablement wants to help but just keeps making decks.
By nature, sales enablement professionals are typically very helpful people. If they understand the benefits of a shift to RevOps, this is likely to be your easiest change management case.
If you’re going to face challenges, they will likely be responses to changes in supervision or hierarchy. RevOps team structures often move teams around, and it can be challenging to find the right permanent home for sales enablement.
That’s why we encourage you to start the conversation early with your sales enablement team, covering points like these:
- When sales and customer success come together, both teams will need enablement support. This expanded need means more value and opportunity.
- No matter where enablement lands, they will have a critical part to play in aligning verbiage, making sure everyone has access to key messaging and assets, training on how to use new tools in the tech stack, and teaching the entire revenue organization to adopt new RevOps strategies.
- Enablement will be an arm of change management as your organization makes its transition. This is an important function, and it should be properly recognized and rewarded.
A “wishlist” of people you probably need to hire (or reallocate) for your RevOps team:
In the long run, RevOps saves a large amount of resources and increases revenue growth. So, even if your organization has to hire and add some headcount, those are investments that will pay dividends in a short time.
However, if you’re not able to secure the resources to hire for each of these roles, or if you’re a small org where everyone wears a ton of hats, then we recommend treating each of these roles as a “function.”
A function is a critical set of related responsibilities, which should be clearly assigned. A single team member may own several functions, which together make a role. The most important thing is that each of these roles or functions is assigned with specific responsibilities and expectations.
Once we’ve explained what each role or function does, we’ll offer a suggested revops team structure, including reporting relationships, so you understand how this team will fit together.
Chief Revenue Officer or Vice-President of Revenue
Depending on the specifics of your role and company structure, this may be the spot where we step on your toes. But if you can avoid the temptation to shoot the messenger, this may provide the ammo you need to to be the CRO.
For RevOps to work well, the entire revenue organization needs to come under the direction of one person. They typically supervise a head of RevOps (maybe a Director or VP), a head of sales, a head of marketing, and a head of customer success.
Bringing together these roles, on one core leadership team, ensures that an aligned go-to-marketing strategy is set, the teams are positioned to collaborate, and key KPIs are flowing to the same place for decision-making and accountability.
This may be a new hire, or it may be time to promote a great leader from one of these teams who is ready for the next challenge.
Head of RevOps or RevOps Manager
At smaller organizations, this may look different. However, for many enterprises, a head of RevOps, whether a director or a VP, is a critical hire.
This person oversees the unified operations teams that combine all data management, systems, and reporting for marketing, sales, and systems or technology. Without bringing these sub-teams together under common leadership and accountability, it’s tough to align the processes and technology necessary to have a RevOps capability.
For some organizations, this is a fresh hire. For others, there is an unsung hero on the sales operations team who deserves some time in the sun.
Sales Messaging Manager
With so many stakeholders involved in creating go-to-market messages, you need a central person to manage communication among leadership & strategists, writers, end users, enablement, and analysts.
A sales messaging manager will be responsible for ensuring anything that is supposed to happen as part of your content creation process (whether for marketing, sales, or customer success) happens on time.
Sales Copywriter or Sales Messaging Writer
Whether or not you have a dedicated writer or a committee, someone needs to be responsible for writing sales messages, accompanying marketing assets, and customer success resources on a schedule.
In some cases, specialists on sales, marketing, and customer success create content for their teams. In other cases, a marketing or sales enablement team will take on this task for everyone.
No matter who ultimately writes the copy, the most important thing to consider when writing is that sales reps and customer success professionals have to be consulted. If your team creates sales content without consulting end users and allowing their voices to have significant influence, you’re setting yourself up for failure as you will experience low adoption.
Your sales enablement professionals will be busy covering a lot of bases, but we want to call out a few responsibilities which may not be in their current job descriptions. When sales teams add an SEP to their tech stacks, they need to add specific support to make sure reps are prepared to use it.
First, someone with enablement expertise has to own specific enablement tasks for your revenue team’s messaging.
Your sales reps and customer success managers need to know what sequences and cadences have been created for them, and when and how they should be used. Without a strong messaging enablement motion, you run the risk of reps using the same handful of tired old sequences or cadences, when much better options exist.
Second, your team needs a dedicated owner for technical enablement, specializing in SEP use and adoption. We are going to detail another role or function for technical administration, but this set of responsibilities should ideally be owned by someone else.
Your technical administrator will be a subject matter expert (SME) with deep technical knowledge, which often makes it very hard to be a good teacher. A technical enablement specialist can more easily translate complex concepts into approachable training for end users. So, if you’re going to combine this role or function with others, we suggest it’s someone on your enablement team and not a technical SME.
But no matter where you assign it, make sure someone is educating reps on basic settings, all common sales plays and workflows, and how to perform every major function within the tool. They will then continue to keep everyone abreast of changes, product updates, and better ways to do their jobs.
Once salesplays are live in your SEP and other platforms, it’s important to monitor both activity and performance. A sales analyst should be aware of critical benchmarks and KPIs.
If messaging is not being analyzed, your team will get overwhelmed with underperforming or redundant sequences or cadences. In this case, end users may feel that they can’t trust the platform or may not understand the best use case for each piece.
They should frequently report back to all leaders responsible for go-to-market content. They should track things like: A/B test results on sales messages, marketing asset adoption and customer responses, adoption rates and success metrics for approved sequences or cadences, adoption and feedback from customer success on their content, and overall progress toward mission-critical KPIs.
Technical Administrator, SEP Specialist
Most companies beyond a certain size don’t hesitate to hire a specialist to manage their Salesforce or other CRM. There may even be entire teams dedicated to overseeing Salesforce.
Yet, when we suggest that companies should hire a similar specialist for their SEPs, we’re often met with less enthusiasm. But the truth is, your SEP (not to mention the rest of your sales tech stack) is a very complex tool with the power to significantly improve quality of life, efficiency, measurement, and activity management for your sales team.
Assign someone to become an expert on the tool, design and build the infrastructure you need, fix it when it breaks, and dream up possibilities for how it can be better. Team members should be able to come to this person and say, “can our SEP do this?” And they should be able to find a way to make it happen.
Many teams miss the fact that your SEP is a tool; it’s not a strategy. You set your strategy, and then you build your SEP to support it. A strong technical admin can help you do that, turning your SEP into scaffolding that supports your thriving RevOps team and strategy.
Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions.
This may look like a lot of new roles or functions, but don’t be overwhelmed. Because these can be aspects of someone’s role, you don’t have to triple your team tomorrow. Take it one step at a time, working hard to clearly assign responsibilities and create accountability for key deliverables.
If you’re not sure where to start, the most important function to fill immediately is either your CRO or your head of revops. Someone needs to be ultimately responsible for bringing your teams together and setting a unified vision.
Beyond that, we suggest assigning your messaging roles or functions, which may mean starting with designating a sales messaging manager who will oversee building out a content creation committee.
For guidance on the characteristics and skills each contributor needs, you can refer to these job descriptions.
Your revenue operations team structure
To help you contextualize these new roles or functions, we’ve created a suggested RevOps team structure, including recommended reporting relationships.
We haven’t called out individual roles on your sales and marketing teams, as you probably already have established teams here. However, we wanted to show where these teams will fit within the broader RevOps framework.
You will also notice that the content creation committee combines elements of marketing and sales, meaning your organization can exercise discretion in where to ultimately assign it. But regardless of where you place your sales messaging experts and process, make sure this capability draws from experts across teams, channels the “voice” of your sales reps, and reflects your brand.
If you need guidance on how to contextualize this structure within your organization, we’re always happy to make specific recommendations and advise on the right change management strategy to get there.
For instance, you know how great it would be to jog every morning with an eager dog-friend. But when you have said dog-friend, you quickly learn you have to jog on the rainy days, too. As it turns out, dogs don’t really care about weather forecasts. They just like walks.
Creating your RevOps team
As you go forward, your first step is to have conversations with your existing colleagues to gain their buy-in on adjusting your revenue organization’s structure. This may require some change management efforts, but the time invested here will pay dividends.
Second, you will want to look at the gaps where you don’t have adequate coverage or assigned ownership. You can use these job descriptions to create postings and begin looking for–or rearranging–the right talent.
If you need help with any step in this process, we’re here to be an unbiased resource, advising your team through the transformation to RevOps.