State of RevOps Redux Recap
Discover the key insights from our landmark 52-page 2023 State of RevOps report, as told and discussed in roundtable by three RevOps experts and Rattle's CEO.
- Sahil Aggarwal, Rattle's fearless CEO and shockingly adroit webinar emcee.
- Jeremey Donovan, who has extensive experience in sales and marketing revenue strategy and is now serving as Executive Vice President, Revenue Operations and Strategy at the global private equity group Insight Partners;
- Diana Green has an illustrious background in finance and sales operations and leads the RevOps team at the public-traded hyper-growth cybersecurity solution SentinelOne; and
- Rosalyn Santa Elena is the founder of RevOps Collective and has led revenue operations teams at many successful companies including recently neo4j, Clari, and Datastax
Finding 1 — Strategic Value, But Undefined Paths
The State of Rev report found almost 90% of RevOps professionals feel that leadership views RevOs as a strategic driver of value. Yay!
However, more than half of the respondents feel that their career trajectory is not fully defined, indicating a major disconnect. Awww.
The panel agreed: “RevOps” itself (though now very popular) is a relatively new term and that means the career path will be nebulous. But for those looking to get promoted to a director role and to feel more comfortable with where they’re headed, all of the panelists said they should focus on technical proficiency and leadership, then work on identifying trends, breaking down problems, and actually executing solutions. Basically, leaders need to see what's coming and have thoughtful curiosity to understand the business and customers.
Jeremey: I don't consider myself to be a deal desk samurai, nor am I know my way around Salesforce, but I'm not a Salesforce developer, so I don't think you need to get that technical. So I think that's a piece. Then the other pieces are just on the leadership side, are you a strategic problem solver? Do you break things down? I think people should really study what management consultants do… Break things down into issue trees to figure out what are the mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive ways to get at problems.
Finding 2 — RevOps Expectations Don’t Square With Reality
The next big finding? RevOps often have a big mismatch when it comes to their role: RevOps think they will do more strategic work and less ad hoc requests, but end up doing the opposite. To combat this, Jeremey suggested creating a quarterly plan with a list of things that won't be done. Diana agreed and said you’ll need to be cognizant of setting aside time every day for strategic work. Rosalyn emphasized the importance of tying everything back to the company's go-to-market strategy and assessing the impact of new requests against current priorities. Sahil agreed and urged executives to be cognizant of the demands they place on their ops teams.
Sahil: I think one thing that I have on my team has made me realize that if I go to [RevOps] with any request, they'll never say no. They will always say yes. And then if they are working on any higher priority items, then that will just go out of the window. So my advice to other CEOs and CROs out there is, hey, be cognizant of when you ask for something from a ops team, because when you do that, you might just need it for a very small percentage of your job, but that will become hundred percent of the job for the next week or so.
Finding 3 — There Are Too Many Ad Hoc Requests
Related: RevOps pros spend two-thirds to three-fourths of their time on ad hoc request data gaps and adherence. Diana emphasized the importance of being a trusted advisor to sales teams and working collaboratively with them to balance the strategic and tactical. Rosalyn to be proactive with a data strategy and continuously update processes and foundational infrastructure.
Rosalyn: I can't say enough about being proactive. We talk about being reactive, but it's not about finding time to be proactive. It's about a way of thinking. It's your mindset around getting in front of these things and you think about the key to being less of a firefighter and more fire prevention is you've got to get your house in order.
Finding 4 — Tech Stacks & Hiring By Committee
The panel discussed the issue that 96% of RevOps felt they were not fully utilizing their tech stack. Diana emphasized that tools should be chosen based on what the business is trying to achieve from a strategic perspective, rather than just jumping into a tool. Jeremey suggested conducting a tech stack audit once a year to consolidate or control tool spend, and added that having a responsible party in charge of tool implementation to ensure accountability. Jeremey also added that there’s been a decentralization of buying and the need for clear responsibility when making purchasing decisions.
Diana:If there's anyone from Finance on my team on the call, that 96% is not relevant to me. All the budget I have is highly utilized!
[Editor's note: 😆 ]
Jeremey: I will say that probably a hundred percent of our portfolio companies right now are doing a tech stack audit just because we've now entered the age of efficient growth and one of the levers of efficiency is consolidating or controlling your tool spend. I did want to just make a comment also on I agreed not to lead with tools, but I think when you do implement a tool, it there's a blessing and a curse to the fact that that buying is now done by committee, which is accountability gets very decentralized and if the tool, it used to be right, if you made the decision to buy the tool and it failed, your job could be on the line. And now because of this distributed buying and all these different people involved, no one's job is really on the line.
Finding 5 — PLG is On the Rise, Now Brand Is Big
Because of the rise of Product Led Growth (PLG) — which our State of RevOps report found to be the preferred method of looking at a new tool for RevOps professionals, (a major shift) — Rosalyn advised companies to focus on thought leadership, brand awareness, and being available on social media.
She said that giving away products for free allows potential buyers to try them out and build trust. By the time a buyer speaks to a salesperson, they have already done their research and are mainly interested in pricing and finding a trusted partner.
Rosalyn: By the time a consumer or a buyer speaks to a salesperson at your company, they've already done all of their research. They already know they've looked at your competitors, they've researched your company, they've talked to their network, they've talked to their peers, they've already had all of these discussions. So I think that it’s really important for companies to focus on that thought leadership, that brand awareness, being out there with lots of good content, being available on social and really having that strong presence and content around what they do and how they do it.
[Editor’s note: Strongly agree!]
Finding 6 — The Macro Headwinds are Indeed Strong
The impact of macro headwinds on RevOps has become a growing concern for companies as they face budget cuts and headcount reductions, the panel agreed.
However, rather than cutting back, investors and companies are focusing on efficient growth. The Rule of 40, Jeremey explained, measures growth and efficiency and has become a key metric for evaluating companies. Investors are looking for acceptable ranges for sales and marketing as a percentage of revenue, and tightening tool spending has become a common practice. While companies are not pushing to reduce ops significantly, there is a growing interest in building and structuring an efficient ops team with the least number of incremental headcounts. Diana noted that these conversations are healthy and welcome as they help companies balance growth and profitability.
Diana: A year or two ago it was “You need it? Okay, we can get it for you.” You still had to build a business case… it wasn't just a free for all, but it was easier. I think now it is about how do you continue to support that growth, how do you do it in a way that's maybe more efficient or more thoughtful?
Given the great deal of landscape the team covered, there was only time for one question:
How does one transition from a Sales Ops role to a RevOps role?
Both Rosalyn and Diana emphasized that revenue operations is more than just sales operations, as it encompasses the entire end-to-end process from top of funnel to customer success. To transition from a specialized role to a revenue operations mindset, professionals should be professionally curious and understand how their choices impact everything in the spider web of operations.
Jeremey recommended collaborating with other operations professionals in different areas to learn and diversify skills.
As he put it, "That's how I picked up CS acumen. That's how I picked up support acumen. That's how I picked up marketing acumen by being again in service of those other ops people so I could learn and help the company."
Wanna make up your own mind?
We've got more findings and insights that we weren't able to cover in this roundtable.
The wildly popular, super-useful and mind-bendingly comprehensive report can be snagged by going here.