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Strategic RevOps Consultant for B2B SaaS Startups | CEO of Union Square Consulting
Your RevOps team is the key to launching and maintaining a high growth trajectory for your business.
In this episode of Closing Time, Eddie Reynolds shares the RevOps model he uses while working with high-growth businesses through his consulting firm. He’ll break down the five aspects of the RevOps model – Systems, Process, Enablement, Insights, and Strategy – and share how each step can be accomplished by your sales, marketing, and customer success teams working in unison, using the same tech stack, and aligning around shared goals.
Getting more revenue out of the revenue engine at a lower cost, thereby increasing the value of your company – that’s what RevOps is all about. Tune in to learn how you can get started.
For early-stage SaaS startups, the founder usually has a vision for building a better product and going to market. Initially, they focus on building a great minimum viable product and doing sales themselves. However, as the company grows, they hire a VP of sales, CRO, or CMO to handle sales and marketing.
The problem is that these leaders are often busy hiring people and investing in marketing, which can lead to a gap in systems and processes, technology, and metrics. This disconnect can grow as the company expands, with sales and marketing becoming disjointed.
RevOps can help bridge this gap. RevOps focuses on aligning the sales, marketing, and customer success teams, as well as the systems and processes that support them. By doing so, RevOps can ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and using the same metrics, which can lead to better performance and growth.
Advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning can be exciting tools for forecasting, but they require clean and reliable data to be effective. This becomes a challenge when salespeople don’t follow a sales methodology or process and input junk data into the system.
If you have dirty data, your CRM becomes an administrative tool rather than a useful tool for your sales, marketing, and customer success teams. Therefore, you need to fix your foundational elements before taking the next step and getting more value from your revenue engine.
By implementing a RevOps framework, you can align your sales, marketing, and customer success teams towards the same goals, using the same metrics, and following the right processes. This helps to ensure that your data is clean, and your revenue tech stack is optimized for success.
Enablement is another key factor in getting the most out of your revenue tech stack. But, enablement should not be your first priority. You need to first establish your strategy, processes, and metrics to know what to enable.
In Eddie’s experience working with hundreds of companies, he’s seen that about half of them fail to get the value they expected from their revenue tech stack due to a lack of enablement. Senior leadership often abdicates responsibility for enablement to someone junior in the organization without the resources or power to make it work. As a result, the people using the systems are not properly trained and revert to their old ways of doing things.
To avoid this, senior leadership must be actively involved in enablement and ensure that the necessary resources and support are in place. This will enable your teams to make the most of your revenue tech stack and achieve your growth objectives
Running reports alone is not enough to optimize your revenue tech stack. You need to go beyond just looking at the numbers and think about the hypothesis you’re trying to test, what you want to learn, and what you’re trying to achieve in your business.
For instance, if you want to improve your outbound program to generate more pipeline and close more deals, you need to examine the data to understand what’s working and what’s not. The same applies to marketing channels. You need to look for insights and patterns in the data to identify what’s driving revenue growth.
However, it’s challenging to dig deep into data when you’re constantly inundated with requests from various channels. You need protected time to examine the data and extract valuable insights. This can be particularly difficult for RevOps teams of one who have to handle multiple tasks.
To maximize the value of your revenue tech stack, it’s important to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals, using the same metrics, and following the right processes.
You need to ask questions like: Who is our ideal customer profile? What are the buyer personas we’re going after? What channels are we going to target them with? What is the actual process for doing outbound calls? How do our marketing programs get in front of those customers? How do we take them from a stage one or a stage zero opportunity to stage two, stage three, and stage four to a close deal? What is the handoff process from sales to customer success? What do we do after we’ve started working with a customer to identify unhealthy customers, and what do we do about it What signals do we look for to grow accounts? What is our process for renewals? Defining that strategy and process is core to RevOps.
Your Revenue Operations team is the key to business growth. Let’s define RevOps and look at a successful. RevOps model for hypergrowth businesses in this episode, of Closing Time. Thanks everyone for tuning in to Closing Time the show for Go to Market Leaders. I’m Dave Osborne, Chief Sales Officer, and I’m joined by Eddie Reynolds, who does Strategic RevOps consulting for B2B businesses. Welcome to the show, Eddie. Thanks, Dave. Glad to be here. So let’s go back a moment in time. Not so long ago when we had SalesOps, we had MarketingOps, we had CSOps,. But things have changed recently. Right now we have what we call RevOps. So how would you define RevOps and how does that fit in with some of those other teams? Well, first, I would say I don’t think anything’s changed. I think we like to slap new labels on things and make it sound sexy. But at the end of the day, you know, we’ve always been interested in making sure that sales, marketing, and CS are working in every business, whether that’s a B2B SaaS startup or, you know, a steel plant manufacturer. But we come up with new methodologies, new naming conventions, and the technology we use to do that changes and falls. And I think that that’s primarily how we’ve gotten to revenue operations today. The way I would define revenue operations is ultimately you’re trying to increase the value of the company. Most of these companies that we work with are VC backed, and their goal is to get an exit. So we want to increase the value of the company through creating a more scalable, repeatable, higher growth revenue engine. So what that means is, we have a better sales engine, a better marketing engine a better customer success engine. And all three of those engines work together in unison to grow company revenue, acquire customers, more customers at less cost, and ultimately increase the value of the company. I mean, it makes a lot of sense. Now, you’ve spent a lot of time working with different startups, right? And came up with a model to help some of these hypergrowth revenue teams. We’d love to take some time to go through the model together. So I see that your first note is on the systems. It’s funny you mention that, and I debated putting that there because that’s the last place. I think companies should start. Unfortunately, it’s where most of them want to start. And so if you’re referring to my website,. I probably put that there knowing that that’s what people are looking for. But trying to take people down a path of understanding that the systems do not work if you don’t have the strategy and process in place to know how to use those systems. Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. Now, you mentioned process, so let’s talk a little bit more about that. So defining effective and efficient processes to execute these systems is, I assume, kind of how you’re thinking about it, but would love to hear your feedback.. Yeah, absolutely. So when you start a company and let’s talk about an early stage SaaS startup, the founder has a vision for how they’re going to build a better mousetrap and go to market. And that oftentimes starts out with building a really great MVP of the product and then founder-led sales. And as companies evolve past that, they oftentimes will hire a VP of sales or a CRO and or a CMO and those folks should have an idea of how they’re going to go to market. What’s challenging is that they oftentimes are busy hiring people, investing money in marketing, getting things going, and that doesn’t necessarily translate into the systems and process, technology, and the metrics. And so we see this big gap where the salespeople are out trying to hammer the phones and marketing is out trying to produce content, and it gets disconnected really fast, especially as the company grows. And so where RevOps comes in is to say, let’s rein that in. And for example, let’s talk about the CRM, right? Let’s make sure that when we have salespeople putting deals into the CRM that they’re following the sales methodology that the sales leader has deemed to be the best fit for the go to market motion and for the customers that we’re trying to acquire. And so one of the methodologies that we use here at Union Square Consulting is something we call the Revenue Efficiency Pyramid. And we think about this as a pyramid. And we think about getting those foundational elements right before going to sort of the advanced shiny bells and whistles. So let me give you a tangible example here. Everybody’s excited about A.I. and machine learning and all these fancy tools for forecasting. But how do you do that if you look at the sales pipeline and all the data is dirty because there is no sales methodology because salespeople have no process and they just throw junk into the system? Well, if you throw junk into the system, then the system won’t give you anything back. The CRM becomes an admin tool that becomes more of a burden than a blessing for the sales team and the marketing and CS team by extension. And you have to fix those foundational elements before you can take the next step and get more value out of your tools and out of your revenue engine. Makes so much sense. I mean, I would imagine most CROs are struggling with CRM hygiene. And the garbage in, garbage out kind of that you’re describing. It’s hard to run a business when we’re operating on poor or insufficient data. It’s very, very rare that we take on a new customer and open up their CRM and their other systems on day one. And just go, Oh my God, they’ve got such great data. It almost never happens. It’s like seeing a unicorn in real life, like no one’s seen that before. But I think it’s the promised land that we all aspire to get to. Right, with time. Moving forward, I know the next step in your model is enablement, and I was again, so happy to see you call this out because I’ve seen so many businesses fall short in this particular area and you define this step as ensuring that the team is well trained on systems and processes. So similar to what we were just tugging on there from a cultural perspective. Yeah. And again, I think like the web page that you’ve obviously referenced,. I have things sort of in a reverse order. So I see enablement as sort of the second to last step because you need to get your strategy and process and metrics down to know what to enable but enablement is key. When I worked at Salesforce,. I covered about 300 customers using Salesforce, and in the seven years since I worked at Salesforce, I’ve worked with hundreds more companies and actually trying to get all of their revenue tech stack working and get all of this value that people are trying to get and inevitably about half of the customers I’ve worked with over the last ten years don’t get that value. And the primary reason is a lack of enablement. Usually the core issue is that senior leadership is not involved. It’s something that they abdicate. Notice. I didn’t say delegate. They abdicate this to somebody junior in the organization without the resources or power to make it work. And then the people using the systems are not enabled. They don’t know how or why to use the systems and they revert back to doing what they were doing before those systems were purchased. Right. Repetition is key. So kind of thinking about this on a linear fashion. So we have the processes, we have the systems, the teams are enabled. Now you’re looking at insights. So I assume this is at the point in the journey that you’re starting to analyze the data to provide the leadership with insights as to what’s working and what’s not. Yeah. So I did a couple of podcasts of my own with Channing Ferrer, who used to run sales operations at HubSpot. Brilliant, brilliant leader. And he talked about the idea that, you know, without insights, it’s not RevOps. If all you’re doing is administering systems, then that’s systems admin in my mind, where the rubber meets the road is insights, because you can’t define your metrics without understanding your strategy and process. And those metrics then, if analyzed appropriately, will give you more feedback into whether your strategy and process is working. And you can’t get the data for those metrics without the systems and the enablement. So it really comes like center to all of revenue operations. And I think like a big gap that a lot of folks in systems admin and even revenue operations have is you can’t just run the report, you need to dig through it, you need to slice and dice the data, you need to think about what is the hypothesis that I’m trying to test with this report? What am I trying to learn here? What is it that we’re trying to produce in the business? We’re trying to get our outbound program to build more pipeline and close more deals, or we’re trying to get this marketing channel to generate more revenue. What am I looking for in this data? And when you start to dig deep into it and by the way, this is really hard to do if you’re one of these RevOps team of one folks that’s just getting inundated with requests all day, every day through Slack and email.. You need protected time to do this. This is where the real value comes in. And again, I’ve spent ten years working with hundreds and hundreds of companies, and I’ve never once met a CEO or a senior executive that doesn’t say. I want insights into my business. Absolutely. Makes sense. So the last step in your model, which I suppose we could argue should be the first step in the model, is to define the strategy where you’re creating kind of the overarching method to manage all of the above and and prioritize how we should be thinking about and executing against it. Absolutely. And so we’ve kind of described this another way through our Revenue Operations Pyramid. And you think about, you know, defining our targets. Who is our ideal customer profile? What are the buyer personas we’re going after? What channels are we going to target them with? What is the actual process to do outbound calls to run our marketing program to get in front of those customers? How do we take them from a stage one or a stage zero opportunity to stage two, stage three, stage four to a close deal? What is the handoff process from sales to customer success? What do we do after we’ve started working with a customer to identify unhealthy customers, and what do we do about it? What signals do we look for to grow accounts? What is our process for renewals? And so really defining that strategy and process is core. It’s the foundational element to everything we do in RevOps. And then from there we think about, well, what metrics do we need to track along that path? What do we need the systems to do and what process do we need to enable our team on in order to execute that process in the system so we can get the data, so we can see if that strategy and process is working. Makes so much sense. Relentless prioritization, critical to all RevOps teams, but especially when you’re one of those lean and mean teams like you described the team of one, right? That has so much to do. Got to be relentlessly prioritizing your time. Well, and the funny thing about this is we have this pyramid and it can feel really overwhelming, but when we break it down and we think about like defining who our targets are, defining our sales methodology, defining our process, some of these things are things you can knock out in one day. And I’ve worked with companies that have been business for five years, ten years, 15 years, and they still haven’t gotten this right. We had a meeting not too long ago where we were sitting in front of five folks and we’re looking at their document outlining their process for lead management and we said, What is the difference between stage two and stage three? And there are five people in the room and they all looked at each other and looked at us and they said, We’re not sure we have to ask someone else. Well, this is their own internal document. And, you know, that’s all fair. Like they’re growing really fast. They’re quite a large company at this point, but these little things are knobs that we can tweak in revenue operations to get more revenue out of the revenue engine and ultimately do it at lower cost, thereby increasing the value of the company. And that’s what it’s all about. Right. And so there’s a lot of these like low hanging pieces of low hanging fruit where we can go in and we can identify obvious inefficiencies and fix them and just generate more revenue with the team we have and the resources that we have. You know, it’s funny. I think the advice I’ve given a lot of executives when they’re starting at a new company is, you know, asking kind of the dumb new guy questions. Right. And one of them is, why do we do it this way? And if the answer you get back is because we’ve always done it this way or we don’t know, like that should be a red flag, right? Those are the things we want to dig into because what got us here today is probably not going to get us to where we need to go, you know, in the next two to three years, right? Yeah. And, you know, this comes in the hard metrics as well. Like, when you think about that question, you’re leading into customer acquisition cost or CAC. CAC Payback Period, if we put a certain amount of money into our revenue engine or a certain channel, how long does it take us to get that money back through acquiring customers? And you start to look at that across different channels. We’re doing a podcast here. We’ve got our email marketing program, we’ve got paid ads we’ve got salespeople making cold outbound calls. We have our CS team that we should either grow or shrink. I would advise you grow it, by the way, especially right now, and which of those programs are helping us to attract and retain and grow customers most efficiently. Where should we double down and where should we pull back? And right now, in this environment, that’s what everyone is thinking about. Every CFO is scrutinizing every area of the business. And the big challenge that I see is a lot of CFOs right now are just making cuts across the board and there might be sort of like, what’s the expression? Something like cutting your nose to spite your face. You know, you might cut a program without having real insight into whether or not that program is producing the desired result. Just because you don’t understand it and you’re looking for places to make cuts, that’s going to have a detrimental effect on the business. Hundred percent agree. And I think there’s a lot of companies out there that are going through this exact motion, so how would you go about, I guess putting all of this on a wall and saying, is this something we want to continue to invest in? Is this something that we want to maybe reimagine or rebuild? Or is this something we just want to completely tear down and scrap? So I think part of that is a executive strategy question. And part of that is RevOps, right? You have to compare short term to long term. And as a CEO and founder, somebody that’s managing my own budget, of course,. I have to think about these things, too. But it’s good to have clarity on what the desired end result is. And so when we’re looking at short term results, we need to be looking at, what are the different programs producing and having real clear visibility, which is hard to do without the data on which of our marketing channels are working and are not? How do we define working, by the way?. Which of our sales channels are working, by the way?. And what is happening in CS? But we also want to balance that with the longer term perspective of, trying to build a better engine. Right? So there’s a famous Harvard Business. Review case study on the global financial crisis and what happened to companies through that crisis and thereafter. And what they found, and this is going to sound really obvious in hindsight, is that there were three different types of companies in terms of how they responded to the crisis.. There were companies that just cut costs really fast. There were other companies that said, you know, we’re just going to spend our way through this. We’re just going to steamroll through this. And then you had companies that were really, really thoughtful about their spending. Not surprisingly, that third category is who did best. But what’s interesting is why.. Here’s what happened. The companies that spent foolishly through the downturn just inevitably mostly went out of business. Right? They ran out of cash. They went under. All right, great. The other companies, the ones that cut costs, they survived. They cut costs as much as they possibly could. And they bear through the recession and they came out the other end of it alive. But that third category, the ones that really focus on spending wisely inside of their business, they built better products, they built better go to market strategies, they built a better customer experience. And they were able to capture a lot of market share during a very tough period of time.. When the economy rebounded, they were able to slingshot past their competition because they had a better mousetrap and a better way for getting that mousetrap in front of their ideal customers and their competitors who would just cut costs across the board, couldn’t compete. Wow. That’s a great example. Well, Eddie, great insights and thanks so much for joining us on this episode of Closing Time. Yeah, it’s been really fun. Awesome. Well, remember to like this video, subscribe to the channel, and tick the bell for notifications so you don’t miss an episode. We’ll see you next time on Closing Time.