Ultimate guide to revenue operations for business

Apr 05, 2024

RevOps: What is it & why it is important?

Businesses are reimagining the way revenue is perceived and generated in our current economy. Revenue is no more a result of providing desired goods and services to buyers, but rather a conduit of continuous growth and success.

Revenue operations, also known as RevOps is changing the landscape of how a company approaches growth, by breaking the siloed structure within departments and promoting alignment and collaboration above all. By combining and converting the sales funnel and growth operations into a revenue flywheel, keeping the customer lifecycle at the locus of it all is the new definition of doing a successful business.

Read this ultimate A-to-Z guide on revenue cycle operations that will walk you through the three pillars of the RevOps team, and how you can go about creating a revenue operations strategy that’s sustainable, optimized, and effortlessly streamlined.

What are revenue operations?

RevOps refers to a business process or rather a company mindset that focuses on driving revenue by aligning the three triumvirates of the revenue cycle - sales, marketing, and customer success operations throughout a client’s lifecycle. It breaks down the walls between the siloed departments and makes way for a unified RevOps team. By breaking down the walls, we mean allowing the free flow of information, resources, and collaborative spirit between departments and ensuring transparency in all aspects of revenue cycle operations.

Revenue operations is beyond the old idea of conversion as your result. By converting a sales funnel into a revenue flywheel, you maintain a genuine relationship with your client base, thereby increasing the customer lifetime value and propelling your revenue model into perpetual motion.

Significance of revenue operations

The ever-changing customer behavior in the 21st century has ensued a transformation within the commercial model, to the point where traditional business structures are proving to be obsolete when it comes to managing people, processes, and technologies that fuel revenue growth. There is an unprecedented need for revenue cycle operations to facilitate growth across all channels. Here’s why:

Growing focus on customer experience

The competition now is less about getting clients, and more about prioritizing customer experience. A digitally adept client base possesses knowledge and access and therefore values personalized content, faster processing, and quick resolution. Undoubtedly, this puts significant pressure on companies to create a streamlined cross-functional process across management systems and ensure a linear customer experience. An overarching revenue operations platform that coalesces marketing, sales, and customer success is a surefire way to ensure an extremely positive customer experience.

Need for critical commercial assets

As a business invested in growth and developing firm value, dedicating time and resources to assets such as customer experience, content, building a tech stack, and finessing digital infrastructure is the need of the hour. The reason why most organizations take a setback is that these assets are improperly funded and managed. Continuous negligence towards building commercial assets can lead to failure in supporting your revenue teams.

Increasing emphasis on real-time visibility and engagement

The rate at which information needs to be circulated between different departments in a company has reached its unprecedented height. Digital and dynamic revenue teams and executives require real-time visibility into customer engagement, sales operations insight, and accounts wellbeing to determine selling effectiveness.

Cross-functional teamwork for fundamental growth

While there are more than fifteen channels that contribute towards revenue, growth, company profits, and value ranging from technology, customer success, to sales and marketing, however, one executive can't oversee all these channels. Revenue operations platforms, tools, and strategies break down departmental silos and rallies marketing, sales, and customer success teams to work as a unified revenue team.

When should I start developing RevOps model for my organization?

While RevOps is a growing need in any organization, it is also one that needs your utmost focus to balance and foster synergies between different revenue teams. So how can one know when is the prime time to begin developing a RevOps model? Consider building a revenue operations platform if you’re facing the following operational challenges:

Too much software, too little integration

There is no limit to the number of software available to tackle various revenue channels. There are thousands of software available individually for marketing, sales, and customer operations, leaving you spoilt for choice and wracked with indecision.

Furthermore, variety in your software suite can be particularly troublesome when the apps were chosen do not complement each other. With the volume of crucial customer data that flows within the departments, you need solid, reliable, and seamless integrations between varied revenue operation software.

Major skill gaps

For every software, you have to familiarize yourself with its unique User Interface (UI). Being a master of one particular software suite is not enough anymore. Companies report major skills gaps among their workforce owing to a skyrocketing increase in software development. Therefore, RevOps teams are professionally required to be proficient in using a variety of software suites for growth operations.

Lacking revenue tech stack and coding skills

Not every revenue team leader is an engineer, despite possessing high technical skills. This results in an unstable revenue tech stack build using in-house IT resources. Eventually, your entire revenue tech stack relies on makeshift in-house coded integrations that require a lot of manual intervention, perform weakly and bother your teams greatly.

Lack of budget, adoption, and organizational support

A tale as old as time. Technological advancements are crucial to growing a business yet they face the most institutional resistance. When traditional methods are deeply entrenched into a company’s revenue cycle operations, getting the required budget for an upgrade or a new tool from the higher management can be challenging. At the same time, you can also face resistance from cross-functional teams who can greatly benefit from new technology but aren’t keen on taking ownership and adopting it into their processes or resistant to change as a whole.

Increasing ROI disparity

When team executives try to incorporate a variety of SaaS-based revenue operations tools to facilitate integration and seamless collaboration, they leave behind a cemetery of new technology that remains largely unused. This makes budget reviews a painful conversation.

Key functions of revenue operations framework

A simplified structure renders the most stability. The revenue operations framework is built keeping in mind the processes that occur across sales, marketing, customer success, and other revenue-centric functions. The framework is designed to align revenue growth operations between departments, which can vary depending on a company’s goals, operational model, and other key factors.

With a RevOps framework, we aim towards simplifying and streamlining revenue operations tools and data, by integrating the core duties under RevOps. By making one entity responsible to gather key elements across all departments and creating a unified processes and tools approach, you can ensure that the RevOps teams are aligned with a single-minded vision of boosting revenue growth.

Some key functions of a revenue operations framework include:

- Creating a holistic process that nurtures customer lifecycle management and boosts customer equity.

- Unified cross-functional RevOps teams workflow through free-flowing data and integrated systems.

- Transparency and real-time visibility into different department functions to determine revenue operations metrics and their effectiveness.

The revenue operations framework is a great starting point to assess the weak areas of your revenue cycle operations, but these vital ingredients are what sustain the framework to produce consistent revenue from customer-generated value.

Strategy: An overview of your entire framework, revenue operations strategy forms the basic path towards aligning your objectives with your RevOps teams.

Data: All the crucial information received from different departments is necessary to enhance your revenue cycle operations.

Workflows: This refers to all manual and automated processes essential to creating an aligned and unified revenue process.

Process: This includes monitoring your end-to-end revenue process design and customer lifecycle management.

Technology: Refers to your revenue tech stack - layout of integrated tools, apps, and software required to enable revenue operations.

Analysis: This is a predetermined set of activities solely to monitor revenue operations metrics and KPIs such as pipeline and customer health, funner conversion analysis, etc.

Benefits of implementing revenue operations for SaaS businesses

For SaaS businesses especially, the creation of departmental silos owing to traditional structures has caused trouble in terms of revenue and scaling. SaaS companies worldwide have started leveraging technology to stop this workflow isolation and reduce poor customer engagement, now known as revenue operations. RevOps have proven to be beneficial for SaaS businesses. Here’s how:

1. Enhanced customer satisfaction

Customers exhibit increased satisfaction when businesses and their internal RevOps teams are attuned to what they need as opposed to how companies have been behaving traditionally. When the goals and the message between different departments are aligned, a successful RevOps model communicates more strongly to all customers.

2. Higher sales and revenue values

With the siloes removed, departments are now working in tandem with marketing (lead generation) and customer success (support and fostering relationship) leading to an increase in customer retention, because of the RevOps framework. By converting the age-old sales “funnel” into the modern “flywheel” system, RevOps framework has been successful in generating repeat sales and referrals just by focusing on customer satisfaction.

3. Holistic overview revenue operations metrics

It’s not that most businesses do not want to keep an eye on metrics like customer satisfaction, the problem is that they cant - thanks to the traditional departmental siloes, making data flow between functions a time-consuming and elaborate task. A RevOps is monumental in making data centralized and accessible across functions, which helps companies synthesize business metrics easily. Ultimately, departments now cannot only access metrics such as customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value but can also delve into financial metrics such as gross profit, recurring revenue, etc.

4. Streamline internal processes

A well-functioning revenue cycle operations increase transparency and accountability, reducing inter-departmental friction, but can also resolve any process-related blindspots and redundancies such as duplicate work. RevOps framework encourages cost-effective data exchanges so that the message conveyed during lead generation (marketing) is aligned with the conversion strategy (SalesOps).

How to build revenue operations workflow?

In a dynamic corporate landscape, only a RevOps framework that is scalable, sustainable, and simplified can help businesses thrive even during adverse times. Here’s how you can build an aligned workflow for successful revenue operations implementation:

Step 1. Investigating existing company resources

By investigating the cause of dissonance between departments and the overarching goal of customer satisfaction, you begin to find the glaring gaps in your revenue operations strategy. Audit and align your existing content with your customer lifetime value goals.

Examine the tech stack currently being used across RevOps teams i.e. marketing, sales, and customer success departments to ensure the technology used is tracking and learning customer trends vital to your business. Eliminate any obstacles your customer may find that can hamper successful conversion, by scrutinizing your existing sales funnels such as websites, etc to ensure your teams are following only the best conversion practice.

Step 2. Align your customer lifecycle definitions

Consider all the possible business metrics and analytical tools you need to have a clear cross-section of your revenue pipeline anatomy and overall business health. Define and eliminate any redundant software and tools in your tech stack that don’t align and integrate into a smooth functioning revenue operations software suite.

Once you have a simplified tech stack and pipeline following your customer lifetime value, you can provide the new, improved, and streamlined processes to your RevOps teams for channels such as inbound sales, outbound sales, content marketing, customer success, etc.

Step 3. Restructure to seek momentum

To capture more of your revenue potential and establish perpetual momentum, build cohesive workflows that lead your customer from lead generation to lifetime retention by ensuring data accuracy that flows within the framework.

You can also build and automate follow-up emails and task queues for both inbound and outbound sales. Map out your customer acquisition and success plan onto a RevOps dashboard that is transparent and shows you the full view to addressing any preexisting operational bottlenecks.

Step 4. Launch and continually optimize

Kickstart your revenue operations growth strategy and aim to consistently optimize the alignment by discussing concrete goal plans with your functional heads of sales, marketing, and customer success. The functional heads should not only be aware of the company’s revenue-generating goals but are also crystal clear in their participation and ownership towards the mission-critical.

You can do this by formulating an annual plan to execute this plan. Aim to continually align and optimize your growth strategy. Use the revenue operations platform to pinpoint any emerging bottleneck in your lifecycle management and create a processes playbook to fire and activate at the targeted blockage.

Metrics to measure revenue operations

Revenue operations are all about building customer rapport and churning out consistent revenue from customer-generated value. This translates to closing sales, mapping out marketing growth, and calculating net dollar retention on a monthly or annual basis. To measure this, here are some of the revenue operations metrics and KPIs accountable to assess growth.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

It refers to the costs and resources that a company incurs in pursuit of acquiring a new customer. You can calculate it by adding up all costs associated with obtaining new customers and then dividing it by the number of clients obtained.

Customer Lifetime Value

It is the present valuation of the projected cash flow following the customer’s lifetime relationship with the company. Customer lifetime value is commonly used alongside Customer acquisition cost to measure the real value generated by a customer.

Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)

A subscription economy metric, ARR is the amount of money that comes in every year for the duration of a subscription. It’s the total value of recurring revenue for a single year.

Customer Churn

Also known as customer attrition or customer turnover, customer churn is the percentage of loss of customers who have stopped using your product or service during a certain time frame. Customer churn rate is important as even a small increase of 5% can result in a 25% loss in profit.

Pipeline Velocity

It refers to the speed at which a company’s qualified leads advance through the sales pipeline. While the calculation for this metric is extremely subjective, it is an important metric to recognize and remove any obstacle jarring revenue operations.

Forecast Accuracy

It refers to the ability of sales leaders to accurately predict sales numbers. It is an important metric that helps in making key decisions regarding short-term spending and managing accounts.

Sales Cycle Time

It is simply the number of days it takes for a deal to close in your company, divided by the total number of closed deals in a specific period.

Renewals and Upsells

A critical scalability metric that has a direct impact on a company’s finances, renewals, and upsells are analyzed to see how many contract or subscription renewals are experiencing failure while also measuring the rate at which the value and cost of a product or service are being scaled up.

How sales and marketing operations function within RevOps?

Marketing operations’ chief focus under RevOps is on establishing workflows and analyzing data for efficient lead capture, processing, and advancing it through the sales pipeline. Other operations include generating leads aligned with sales goals, carrying out marketing campaigns, and tracking collateral performance through the MarTech stack. Some key marketing processes in RevOps are:

Lead lifecycle management

Marketing operations handle recording, executing, and following up with lead engagements. Sub-processes include:

Lead scoring: Prioritizing the warmest leads for persistent sales follow-ups.

Lead routing: Distributing relevant leads to the sales team.

Lead qualification: Conduct conversion likelihood forecast on leads in collaboration with the sales team.

Advertising and promotion

Marketing operations also include promoting marketing collaterals through ad campaigns via organic and paid channels. It also refers to converting visitors and viewers into possible leads by employing various lead form strategies.

Marketing metrics

By consistently measuring campaign performance, the marketing team identifies success rates and areas of improvement in marketing operations. It can expose faulty workflows or misalignments with sales and customer success teams.

Sales operations, on the other hand, are entrusted with building processes for successful conversions, increasing win rates, and reducing sales cycles. Using the Sales tech stack, sales ops also handles sales processing and payments, managing data, and creating smart budgets.

Some key sales processes in RevOps are:

New customer transition: This refers to organizing handoffs of new accounts from sales cycle to customer success cycle.

Forecasting: Forecasting is the ability to predict revenue based on the sales team’s capacity to increase pipeline velocity and generate revenue.

Deal desk: This refers to building approvals for unique sales deals that occur with multiple teams, such as finance, sales, customer success, etc.

Revenue operations vs sales operations: What’s the difference?

While most business professionals tend to think revenue operations and sales operations are synonymous and used interchangeably, this is, however, not the case.

A. Siloed SalesOps

Sales ops primarily focus on sales and processes that result in the ultimate conversion of a promising lead. SalesOps enforce a system for selling and conversion. SalesOps is isolated in the way its activities and processes are created to facilitate only the sales team. SalesOps team has several responsibilities ranging from lead management, increasing pipeline velocity, reducing sales cycle time, managing the sales tech stack, etc.

B. Inclusive RevOps

RevOps focus on multiple functions interspersed with overlapping workflows and channels, such as marketing, sales, and customer success. RevOps is inclusive in our operational capacity since it encourages cross-functional collaboration between members from sales, marketing, and customer success.

While siloed operations can lead to a pigeonholed view of how systems work, RevOps promotes an open floor plan for teams to solve issues, workflows, and knowledge transfer issues in a unified manner. Since RevOps is an umbrella term for overseeing cross-functional teams and revenue operations, the RevOps team reports to the Chief Revenue Officer or revenue operations manager of equal standing.

How can streamlined pricing increase revenue?

In the corporate ecosystem where competition is fierce, a complex pricing structure acts like fuel to the fire that’s burning through your revenue. Complex pricing psychologically convinces your potential customers that availing of your services could lead to hidden costs and expensive upgrades, even though it might not be the case! To counter this concern, having streamlined pricing can greatly help your case and boost revenue.

Clear pricing invokes trust

When a deal comes with no terms and conditions, it makes it easier for customers to trust your business. Simplified pricing puts everything on the table so the customer knows how much they will be paying for a product or service from the get-go.

No usage confusion

By streamlining your pricing, you are alleviating the customer’s fear of spending more by using more. With a simple pricing structure, your customers know what they are getting into and how much usage they can get out of it.

Your price is your power

When you streamline your pricing to put your customer’s minds at ease, you are giving them the standard against which they can compare your competitors’ pricing littered with hidden fees and terms and conditions. Not only that, your simplified pricing structure conveys your customer-centric revenue approach which is a huge advantage!

Easier growth prediction

With a fixed pricing structure put in place, it gives the SalesOps team a crystal clear view of their monthly target goals. By extension, your RevOps team can boost revenue by marketing the price structure they know their potential customers will gravitate towards, increased pipeline velocity and conversion, and an elongated customer lifetime value.

One of the best examples is the pricing structure here at Volopay - with a zero-tolerance policy towards hidden fees and extra charges. Our pricing has helped businesses avail of our fantastic features and automation benefits and hit their revenue targets every single time.

How does revenue operation cycle work?

There are 4 revenue-driving functions, sales, marketing, customer success, and the leader. Let’s see what it takes to generate revenue that consistently flows through these channels.

1. Marketing

The first step in your revenue operations strategy is your marketing RevOps team. This team focuses on generating potential leads through revenue-driving efforts such as advertisements and promotion. To conduct effective marketing, companies must aim for authenticity to create genuine, last-lasting relationships with their customers. The inauthentic portrayal of what your company can do for them will only work for a little while. For a customer lifecycle that lasts beyond the conversion, you must stay authentic in your marketing efforts.

2. Sales and Customer Success

The sales team’s ultimate goal is converting leads into clients. Post conversion, the clients are assigned to the customer success team that handles the entire customer lifecycle management process. Sales and customer success can be considered as two sides of the same coin since they work in tandem within revenue operations platforms. Keeping the customer happy and engaged by solving their issues and addressing their doubts quickly is a foolproof way to gain maximum retention and revenue.

3. Revenue operations manager

The linchpin of your company’s entire revenue operations efforts falls on the revenue operations manager, also known as Chief Revenue Officer (CFO). A RevOps manager is responsible for overseeing the entire revenue cycle from end-to-end and consistently tweaking it for maximum efficiency, either through streamlining the tech stack, breaking down siloes, or researching avenues for increased customer lifetime value.

Since the CRO exercises over three key revenue-driving functions, they must be adept in all three departments to successfully implement cross-functional collaboration.

How automation as a tool helps RevOps team to create a scalable revenue?

Do you know that small delays in your revenue cycle such as manual data input and long elaborate funnels put you at 7 times higher risk of losing potential prospects? Especially in RevOps, having manual delays in your overall marketing, sales, and customer success strategies inevitably sets you up for failure. The solution? Choosing a RevOps software suite as your scalable revenue tech stack that automates key revenue-driving activities, eliminates human error and manual delays.

Snov.io and LinkedIn marketing is an ideal tool for marketers to generate leads, followed by Hubspot to book appointments. You can also schedule newsletters through software like MailChimp, and keep a close eye on your content’s SEO performance through SEMrush or Google Analytics.

For sales team and customer success, Apollo and Outreach are two great software to reach out to prospective leads. You can use Zoom or Google Meet to conduct virtual demo calls and use Salesforce as a holistic CRM platform and Freshdesk or Zendesk for faster customer resolution.

To maintain all revenue tech stack, you require an expense management solution that can help you create a revenue operations framework that’s a perfect fit for your business.

How expense management tool creates reliable revenue infrastructure?

This might sound like a contradictory statement since expense and revenue are considered opposite ends of a business. However, in reality, both are two sides of the same coin, and streamlining expenses using an efficient expense management tool can help build the foundation of a reliable revenue infrastructure. Here are some expense management tools you should look out for to build a sound RevOps:

Payment automation

Most business owners think building an efficient RevOps is solely for generating more revenue. Managing and automating your expenses is a crucial step to ensure there is efficient cash flow within the organization. Without efficient cash flow, your revenue will suffer from financial bottlenecks since your spending is not adequately streamlined.

Using a spend management software like Volopay comes with payment automation for every vendor, so you can have a systematic approach to managing expenses and maximize your profitability by doing so.

Invoice processing

A systematic revenue infrastructure aims to digitize as many processes as possible. Expense management tools offer digital invoice processing and take the headache out of receiving paper-based or email invoices, and manually filing it every single time into your books of accounts. Choose an expense management system that offers real-time purchase orders and vendor invoice tracking.

Volopay helps you manage outstanding vendor invoices, process and execute payments in seconds, all from a single dashboard. You can also sync and update all your paid invoices to your accounting software against the right vendors. Match your invoice information with what has been supplied, and schedule payments to vendors automatically.

Subscription management

SaaS tools are one of the biggest revenue-depleting expenses, especially when every RevOps team is siloed, using their tech stack which virtually duplicates. With a streamlined dashboard to manage your RevOps subscriptions as a whole, your expense management software can help you uncover redundant and duplicate apps, creating more uniformity and visibility into your teams’ tech stack.

Unlimited Volopay virtual cards are a great way to manage your subscription expenses. You can create burner cards for one-time payments and recurring cards to manage all your online subscriptions from a single dashboard.

Manage your subscriptions and automate payments from a single place