In the 21st century, and even as recent as the dawn of SaaS, revenue has come to mean more than just a result – it’s an end-to-end process. It’s no longer thought of as a single transaction, but as the entirety of the customer lifecycle – from prospects, to closing the deal, to renewing customers. It’s one of the most important processes in any B2B company, but is extremely convoluted and needs to be cleaned up.

Your MarTech Stack Doesn’t Work by Itself

Customer relationship management systems (CRMs) like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, and marketing hub apps like HubSpot and Marketo, act as essential systems of record, but are not equipped to handle the complex revenue process of the 21st century on their own.  

Alone, these apps fail to properly manage the revenue process in three ways:

  1. Today’s customer process goes beyond a simple endpoint to endpoint action. The process is complex and intertwined, thus making visibility of engagement so valuable. 
  2. New revenue models designed for consumption and subscription demand unique measurement and management approaches, including metrics that account for upsell, revenue, churn, and net dollar retention as well as specific methods to regulate and govern. 
  3. With these new models come new growth initiatives and strategies that require their own analytical frameworks and metrics.

Based on these shortcomings, it’s evident that there is a gap in the revenue process that requires a more dynamic, intuitive and non-linear approach.

Tackling the Issue of Disparate Data With Revenue Ops

Revenue Ops (RevOps) is a new way to revenue. Its goal is to streamline operational processes across the revenue journey, including Sales, Marketing and Customer Success. By connecting these typically siloed functions, RevOps allows the company to put the focus back on the customer experience and build more predictable business growth.

Source: Clari

Workato addressed this topic in detail, alongside SalesLoft’s Kristin Keefer, at LeanData’s Ops-Stars in November, the premier conference for marketing and sales ops professionals.

In our experience, we’ve seen companies approach the issue by trying to band-aid it with oversimplified approaches that result in siloed data and operations.   

Many companies supplement the process with a mish-mash of disconnected spreadsheets, reports and manual work built on top of their CRM, but this can be cumbersome and inefficient.  Furthermore, sales teams often don’t actively update their opportunities in CRMs because they’re too busy selling, which means stakeholders don’t have actionable insights to look at which negatively affects reporting and forecasting for future quarters.  

There’s great dissatisfaction amongst marketers, as well. According to the Marketing Technology Industry Council Report, “less than 20% of marketers believe their tech stack adds significant value.” This reveals an enormous divide between what marketers expect from their tech stack and the tangible ROI they receive. 

Marketers would like to see the following results from their tech according to the report:

  • Improved customer experience from start to finish
  • Accessing the right data at the right time
  • Rapid experimentation driven by clear ROI
  • Marketing, Sales, CS alignment
  • Increased conversion rate and pipeline velocity

But are often met with a broken system that generates:

  • Noise with irrelevant content 
  • Siloed data across many applications 
  • Reliance on IT 
  • Little cross-functional context into what’s going on 
  • Lead volume up, quality down

This broken system, therefore, leaves much to be desired.

Putting the Pieces Together

52% of marketers say that integrating disparate systems is their top challenge – demonstrating that while marketing has many grievances in the process, this is at the top of the list.

Consequently, companies often address the issue by opting for these solutions:

  • Relying on IT and Engineering
  • Throwing bodies at problems to solve them manually
  • Creating more processes to make OOB integrations work
  • Purchasing more point solutions to fill gaps

The problem with these solutions, however, is that they are quick fixes. These approaches are not sustainable for growth and will result in further complicating and siloing the revenue processes.  

So how do companies find a scalable resolution? The answer: integrating people, processes + technology together = Automated Revenue Ops.

David Williams, Chairman and CEO at Merkle, said this was essential in the company’s 2019 Marketing Imperatives guidebook for CMOs:

“The integration of your strategy, your technology, and your organizational approach will drive you closer to a true enterprise-level customer strategy that will differentiate your business and ultimately drive competitive advantage.”

SalesLoft: Integrating Success

Kristin Keefer, Marketing Ops Manager at SalesLoft, recently led her company through their Revenue Ops journey. During the Ops-Stars’ talk, she noted that there’s a current explosion of marketing technology and asserts that “the burden of technology falls to your Revenue Operations team.” Despite the influx, she still needed to find a way to navigate the growing pipeline and revenue issues she faced with their current MarTech stack.

In the talk, she addressed SalesLoft’s “integration and disparate customer data” issue and revealed that the company had to initially focus on a business goal to achieve visibility of operations. For SalesLoft, that goal was operational alignment. 

They achieved this by using Workato to integrate disparate systems and teams. By adopting automation, the RevOps team could “drive better alignment throughout [SalesLoft], achieve actionable insights on each change of our funnel, and build reputable processes across funnels.” Furthermore, SalesLoft has now achieved alignment across lead routing and sales and marketing, and surfaced siloed user data to provide full-cycle capabilities. 

Achieving World-Class Revenue Ops With Enterprise Automation

As Keefer noted in her takeaways, automation tools make Revenue Ops more efficient and predictable by providing visibility into all engagement and activity data, illuminating revenue risk and helping to better allocate resources. This greater visibility and ensured data quality through lack of manual work provides accurate reporting and predictions of revenue (Rev Rec) for any segment of the business, including net new logo and pipeline creation, upsell, cross-sell, renewals and churn – one of the problems CRMs couldn’t fix alone.

Consistent execution and connected experiences across channels ensures that both internal and external customers are happy, including saving them from tedious work as only exceptions are manual – the rest are automated. In short, formerly ad-hoc revenue processes are now captured in a single, managed platform. For companies looking to deliver predictable growth and retention (bred by consistent contact), integrated Revenue Operations systems will align the entire revenue team by driving efficiency and encouraging action in the revenue process.

Want to learn how other Systems leaders are managing Revenue Ops at their organizations? Request to Join Our Community >

Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.