Beginners Guide to Revenue Operations

Revenue Operations is not optional – it’s mandatory for all businesses. Every company, no matter how big or successful it is, has to constantly optimize and evolve to keep driving revenue, delighting customers, and growing.

RevOps, or Revenue Operations, is one critical piece of the puzzle to grow your business. With Revenue Operations, companies can scale quickly, and they can do so in a way that saves them money and makes their organization more efficient.

Revenue Operations is more than just a buzzword. It’s a way of running your business and organizing your teams that has been proven to generate results and increase revenue. Here are some stats to prove it:

  • Companies that invest in Revenue Operations report a 10-20% increase in sales productivity
  • Revenue Operations can decrease the time reps spend on each sale by up to 4 hours
  • In one study, companies that implemented Revenue Operations saw their revenue grow 3x faster than those who didn’t

This is because Revenue Operations works by bringing sales, marketing, and customer service together. Instead of treating these areas as separate, siloed operations, Revenue Operations looks at them in a holistic way, bringing everything into greater alignment and pinpointing ways to improve conversion rates throughout the entire customer journey.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at why Revenue Operations is so important and how you can start implementing it within your own company. Let’s start by looking at some of the ways Revenue Operations unifies current operations:


Draw insights from current data

Companies today have access to far more data than ever before in history. This data comes from all kinds of places — advertising platforms, SEO tools, CRMs, email, customer surveys, and many more.

This data contains a wealth of valuable insights that can be used to make sales, marketing, and customer service more effective. It can help streamline and tune up current processes, identify and eliminate friction points, and deliver more rewarding experiences to customers based on what you know they like.


Use data to confirm the right decisions were made

After making changes based on data, you can then use new data to check whether you made the right call. Are you still experiencing the same bottlenecks and friction points, or have they been fixed? Are customers still struggling with the same challenges, or has their experience improved?


Make sure your teams are aligned

The overarching goal with Revenue Operations is to bring the various teams in your company together. This means sales and marketing teams are working toward unified goals, guided by the same principles, and in regular communication with each other.


How Revenue Operations Works to Build Positive Momentum

Revenue Operations has changed the way businesses think about customer experience. It’s based on the fundamental idea that customer experience is all about momentum — when customers experience a succession of positive events and experiences they’re more likely to remain loyal to your brand and refer new customers. In marketing terms, planning strategies to build customer momentum is called “mapping out your flywheel”.

We can look at this as a balance between force and friction. When customers experience frustrating, difficult actions (friction) they become disenchanted with the process, lose momentum, and may drift away from your brand.

Force, on the other hand, is generated when everything in your organization is aligned and working together. This creates a smoother and more rewarding experience for your customers, allows your business to scale more effectively, and drives better revenue growth.


How to map out your flywheel

When designing a flywheel to maximize momentum and help drive your Revenue Operations efforts forward, it’s necessary to look at three key points or stages in the customer journey:

  • How does your company attract people? Where do your customers typically come from? This refers to your advertising strategies, your content creation, email marketing and more.
  • How do you engage people? Once you have the attention of your potential customers, what do you do to build a relationship with them? Think about things like email lists, regular blog content, and informational content like ebooks and videos.
  • How do you delight people? What do you do to give your customers the best experience possible when they interact with your brand? What do you offer that your competitors don’t, that leaves your customers wanting more?


Next, you need to highlight the different areas of force and friction in your current flywheel and think about how you can eliminate friction wherever possible. Some examples of potential friction points could be:

  • Long waiting times to speak with your customer support staff
  • A website that is difficult to navigate and unfriendly to users
  • Delays in delivering your services or products to customers
  • Unexpected charges and fees in the buying process
  • Faulty products, or services that don’t work as expected
  • Delays in responding to form submissions
  • Forcing customers to speak with a representative instead of allowing them to complete self-service tasks
  • Failing to create one source of truth for records/data


Creating a Service-Level Agreement (SLA)

One of the best ways to implement Revenue Operations and ensure your internal teams are aligned and chasing the same goals is by creating what’s called a Service-Level Agreement, or SLA.


Why is an SLA useful?

An SLA is an agreement between the marketing team and the sales team. It’s essentially a set of ground rules to qualify leads. SLAs help outline concrete goals, backed up by data-driven metrics, that your teams can focus on. They help eliminate ambiguity and avoid confusion between different departments of your company.


What information do you need to create an SLA?

To create an SLA, you’ll need a bare minimum of information about your company’s processes. Here’s what you need to start:

  • Average conversion rate from lead to opportunity
  • Average conversion rate from opportunity to a closed sale
  • Average value of a sale


What does a good SLA look like?

What kind of goals should you set with your SLA? It’s best to be as precise and concrete as possible. Instead of saying something like, “Marketing will deliver leads faster to sales, and sales will contact leads more quickly”, try something like:

  • “Every month, marketing will deliver 1,000 qualified leads to sales, and sales will contact each of those leads within 24 hours of receiving it.”
  • “Every month, the sales team will provide qualitative and specific feedback to the marketing team on lead quality. For example, three things that worked well and three things that did not work well.” 

The calculations you’ll need to make

A good SLA relies on strong, accurate data. For this to work, you need access to lots of data within your organization and you’ll need to perform calculations to make sure everything is on track. For the above examples, you would need to calculate the following: 

  • Sales Velocity=(number of opportunities)*(win rate)*(average deal value)/sales cycle length

  • The number of opportunities: How many sales opportunities can reps handle in a given period?
  • Win rate: Percentage of sales opportunities that close
  • Average deal value: Average amount of a closed won deal
  • Sales cycle length: Time it takes sales to turn opportunities into customers
  • Sales velocity: How much revenue the sales team is capable of producing in a given time period.

Map the Sales Process

The next stage in implementing Revenue Operations in your company is to map the sales process. This is essential to fully understand how sales works within your organization, identify any points of friction and find out how to optimize the process to ensure the best possible experience for your customers.

How to map your sales process

You’ll need to define all the steps your company takes from the moment the buyer finds out about your existence, all the way to the point where they make a purchase and then buys again.


Here are the steps to take:

Clearly lay out the buyer’s journey

Define all your buyer personas, and then map out the sales process from their perspective for each one.


Clearly define all the steps sales reps need to take to help good-fit prospects move through the sales process

Identify the stages in the buyer’s journey where the buyer cannot move forward without the help of a sales rep. This is your sales process.

The sales process should function as guardrails rather than hard-and-fast rules for reps to follow. Reps should use their initiative and adapt to each individual customer’s needs, which will not only help them be more authentic but also result in a more tailored and rewarding experience for every customer.

We map the sales process so every sales rep understands what they need to accomplish and has a fairly clear idea of what they need to do to get there.


Define clear exit criteria for each step in the process

Exit criteria refer to the things that need to happen in order for the customer to move to the next stage of the buying journey. In order to make sense, exit criteria need to take into account the amount of engagement that would be reasonable at each stage.

For example, if your sales rep is on a cold call and has a product that requires a lengthy demo with multiple people and numerous steps, it doesn’t make sense to push that customer to a close at this stage. Hence, closing the sale is not a good exit criterion.


Streamline the process and store it in your CRM to be the single source of truth for every sale’s status

At this stage, there are four standards you will need to consider for each step in your sales process:

  • Required: Steps that every sales rep must take in every sale, no matter what.
  • Factual: Steps should be tied to a specific action. This gives a clear-cut yes or no rather than leaving a decision up to interpretation or feeling. For example, qualifying a lead should be based on distinct criteria and not how much a rep likes the prospect.
  • Inspectable: Steps should be verifiable by a record in the CRM. You should remove items from the sales process that don’t involve direct rep action, such as a customer speaking with their internal stakeholders before buying.
  • Buyer-Centric: Steps should be represented from the buyer’s point of view. Think “this is what I need to help the buyer accomplish” rather than “this is what I need to do with the buyer”.

The final, and one of the most important, steps is to continuously evaluate the sales process to make sure everything is working as it should and to make any necessary improvements.

System Management

System management is all about keeping on top of the various moving parts of your sales process, using data insights and your own ongoing evaluation to make sure everything is working as effectively and efficiently as possible. Here are the main stages to pay attention to:

Process definition

This is where you define the various processes surrounding your sales process. Start by looking at your sales process and then following it in various directions. For example, where do leads come from before they enter the process? What happens to customers after the deal is closed? What internal handoffs affect conversion rates? Be sure to include all teams in this analysis.

Data governance

This is an internal framework to manage the availability, usability, integrity, and security of data and establish data policies and standards to control access. A solid sales process rests on high-quality data — lots of it — so it’s essential to have strong systems in place to manage this data appropriately.

You should create a data dictionary that defines all data fields and how they relate to one another. Keep your data structures clear and simple, and avoid any complexities and customizations wherever possible.

Tech stack management

Sales processes rely on a suite of different tools and technologies working together. This includes things like a CRM, sales analytics tools, and marketing automation software. You’ll need to implement these tools in accordance with data governance rules.

You should also take steps to identify tools that overlap, as this allows you to find opportunities to eliminate or downgrade unnecessary tools to save money. Before implementing any new tools, think about how they will work within your process and how they will affect your customers. Remember to focus on keeping the customer experience as linear as possible.



Revenue Operations — A Challenge Worth Undertaking

Revenue Operations features many steps, and at first may seem a little daunting, especially if your company and teams aren’t used to working this way. However, Revenue Operations has been shown many times over to be an extremely effective way to streamline your company, delight your customers, and grow your revenue.

Want some support improving your organization’s Revenue Operations? Start with an audit to see how your current systems stack up, where your quick wins are, and how you can optimize long-term.

Book a meeting with Lead Love today