Now more than ever people are looking for ways to do more with less. Investing in revenue operations often comes up as a solution, but many people have difficulties explaining the impact and selling it well enough to the c-suite to make it happen. Here are a couple of key value propositions to hone in on to drive revenue operations value and tips to make your pitch land.
Revenue Operations Value Propositions to Consider
1. Maximize the leverage of your current team
Unfortunately there is no way to increase the number of hours in a day. The only thing you can do is choose how you spend them and focus on the things that create the most value. For sales teams, marketers, CSMs, and other people in the field every day, the best use of their time is almost always in front of customers or potential customers. A few hours spent building reports, implementing tools, or designing processes is time that could have been spent in market or refining the pitch / brand.
When you bring on revenue operations, you take off all of the low leverage tasks and enable your team to perform activities that directly impact revenue.
2. Access to data to make decisions
Should we hire another rep? Should we spend more money on these paid ads? Should we focus CSMs on fewer accounts? Can we downsize and still hit our goals?
All of these questions require the combination of data and business context to answer. Making the wrong call on a gut reaction/feeling can make a dramatic impact on your business. The work to ensure you have the data takes thought, dedication, and constant management. As your business grows and changes you will also need to measure new things and answer questions you never had to before. The job of data hygiene and integrity is never done, and only becomes more important as you grow.
When you have revenue operations in place you have clean data, organized to your business context, and ready at your fingertips when these questions arise.
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3. Enhance recruitment, retention, and talent management
When you’re looking for your next leader or individual contributor they will be pleased to hear you have a team focused on the operational excellence of the company and that they will have access to the tools and data to perform their jobs. Few people sign up for sales, CSM, or marketing roles to turn into systems administrators and reporting analysts. If they come into the organization and realize this is half the job, they’ll likely be looking elsewhere. For management, it’s tough to know how a team is performing without access to the right data. What are the early signals for success? Do we have to wait until deals close or customers churn to know how someone is doing? By that time it is way too late and you’ve already burned too much time and cash.
When you have revenue operations your team has the data and tools they need to do the jobs they want to and management can tell who’s performing and lagging right from the beginning.
Check out my take on building the business case here:
Traps to Avoid When Building Your Case
1. You won’t be able to exactly quantify – don’t try to
If you walk into the c-suite saying “An investment in revenue operations will provide a 22.37% increase in revenue over the next 3 quarters…..” you’re not only lying, you’ll be seen as a junior analyst trying to quantify the unquantifiable. In business, and especially in fast growing businesses, you have to be comfortable making judgements and decisions when you don’t have access to an exact data point.
Instead, focus on outcomes, risk mitigation, and simply ensure that the investment in the function will yield enough benefits to be worth the effort. An example could look like this.
“If we make an investment in revenue operations we will be able to remove 30% of non-revenue producing activities from the team as a whole, hold on hiring xyz roles with newly found capacity, have access to the data we need to allocate future investments as efficiently as possible, all while increasing retention and attracting top talent. We can also avoid operational risks in our contract management, forecasting, and client scoping processes.”
2. Avoid the “I hired you to do this work” trap
This one is mainly for my early stage companies or first time revenue leaders. Many CEOs, especially ones that have not directly managed sales teams, assume that the reporting and operations side of the job can be managed by one person. There tends to be a lack of appreciation for the difficulty and intricacies of the business function.
As a CEO myself, one of the first functions I brought on were accounting and legal. Could I do these functions myself? Maybe. Would I do them well enough given the amount of blood sweat and tears I would have to invest? Not even close. I would do a haphazard job and it would take precious time away from doing what only I can do best, building the business and evangelizing our brand.
If your CEO demands that you do all of the operational work yourself, you may want to take a hard look at what you actually signed up for and make sure they realize the tradeoffs you’re making.
3. Can’t we invest in this later?
Absolutely you can. At a cost. The longer you wait to invest, the more difficult it will be to get the data you need, at the same time, the stakes will only continue to rise as time goes on. You’ll all of a sudden find yourself in discussions about a fundraise, M&A activity, or a market opportunity to expand rapidly, and you’ll be on your back foot trying to catch up.
Instead, make the right level of investment at the right time. At the beginning you can probably get by with fractional options, then as you grow bring on a sound director level who you can trust to manage priorities and be the voice of the business, then when you’re ready for true scale build out a full blown function.
I build on these ideas and thoughts for how you can avoid these pitfalls and traps:
For a deeper dive into the what, the why and the how of Revenue Operations being a differentiator and critical business function for revenue teams , check out the full conversation of the clips above with Jenna Rogers, Head of Partnerships at Sales Assembly:
In summary, building a business case for revenue operations can be challenging if you’re not focused on the right selling points. Quantify what you can, but focus on outcomes, it’ll be difficult to put one number to all of the benefits. Make sure you’re honest with your leaders about the amount of time spent on operational tasks, the data you need to make decisions, and what level of investment is right for you.
If you want more tips, feel free to reach out to me directly on LinkedIn!
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