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Revenue Operations: Moving to a New Operating Model for Improved Growth

Anna Burgess Yang

Individual departments within a company often have their own objectives and goals. Even though they may be aligned with the company's overall strategic plan, the departments make decisions about how best to get there.

For a long time, this has seemed to be good enough since departments know the ins and outs of how they operate. However, companies are realizing that to really boost growth, they need to operative more cohesively.

Enter a new business model: revenue operations.

Rather than having departments function in silos, this operating model brings together sales, marketing, and customer success. It recognizes that revenue spans the entire lifecycle of the customer.

If your company is looking to move to a RevOps model (and you should), you'll need to think about what this change will look like and how to get there. After all, RevOps is a new way of approaching growth for many businesses.

We'll walk you through how to prepare for and be successful with this business transformation.

What Is RevOps?

Revenue Operations combines and aligns the goals of sales, marketing, and customer success. Your business can optimize each for revenue growth by taking a holistic view of the customer lifecycle.

To some extent, these three departments were always focused on revenue and growth. But disconnects could occur between them that would lead to not reaching full revenue potential. 

In recent years, companies have recognized that RevOps is a strategy in its own right. While sales operations and directors of customer success and marketing have existed, a new role of "director of revenue operations" has emerged. There are concentrated efforts to bring the strategies of these three separate departments under one umbrella.

And the market demands such change. Companies understand that bringing in new business is only half of the challenge. Ensuring an exceptional customer experience is part of the foundation for an ongoing customer relationship.

The Old Model of Operating

When the managers of each department focus only on their own growth, they can lose sight of the big picture. Sales operations may have found an excellent strategy for acquiring new customers quickly, but those customers are a resource drain on customer success. Existing customers may be an excellent target for add-on sales, but customer success does not know how to market to them. 

Both of these examples directly impact revenue: loss of revenue with increased customer churn and loss of potential revenue from existing customers. 

The approach of RevOps addresses these issues. Each of the three departments looks at their impact on the other.

Your sales team will work tightly with both customer success and marketing and so forth. They have the common goal of driving company revenue through their combined efforts. 

Moving to a Revenue Operations Model

Making the shift to a RevOps model is a strategic effort. Your company needs to start by identifying what you hope to achieve with RevOps. From there, you work within each department to make the necessary adjustments to align with your new strategy.

Determining Your Goals

None of your efforts will be successful if your company does not have a clear direction for increased revenue. This involves looking carefully at the successes - and shortcomings - of each department.

When looking at your potential, consider the impact of each department on the other.


Do you think that you have the most potential from new sales? If so, how can your customer success team best foster a relationship with these new customers? How can your marketing team help the effort to qualify sales leads?


How does your marketing department serve both sales and customer success? How is the messaging different for both departments? Where does the marketing team fall short in driving revenue from both sales and customer success?

Customer Success

What is the onboarding experience for new customers? How can account representatives identify and communicate the potential for add-on sales? How satisfied are existing customers?

Examining Your Target Market

For many businesses, your customers do not have a single profile. They may have come into your sales pipeline for different reasons and pain points.

Segmenting your existing and potential customers should be part of your RevOps strategy. Efforts from all three departments should be tailored to the needs of each segment.

Examining Your Customer Lifecycle

You will want to understand the paths of your customers from the minute they hit the sales pipeline. Ask yourself the following:

  • Which customers and leads are most engaged?
  • What channels are driving engagement?
  • What marketing efforts are driving the most leads and why?
  • Does marketing reflect the entire customer experience?
  • What makes customers satisfied with your company?
  • What are the reasons for customer churn?

You want to create a rhythm as the customer moves throughout your company. Not only should customers have a seamless experience as they move from sales to customer success, but marketing should reinforce the messaging of how your company solves their problems across the entire customer lifecycle. 

Undertaking the Necessary Change Management

Once you have aligned the goals of sales, marketing, and customer experience, you can begin the process of implementing change. Moving to a RevOps model will likely require several changes across your departments.

Unless you have an exceptionally adaptable workforce, you will encounter resistance to change. Part of moving to a RevOps model is having a plan in place for change management.

Some of the challenges you will face can include the politics between departments and uncertainty around the new model. Your plan should include how to address pushback and help everyone understand the new operations model. 

1. Starting at the Top

Your RevOps strategy cannot succeed without executive-level buy-in. Not only should leadership understand the importance of RevOps, but it should also reinforce the new model across the departments. 

2. Involve Every Layer

From planning through execution, the collaboration between your departments needs to be tight. Not only should department directors understand the strategy, but they should examine every role's impact. 

Beyond management, you will likely find champions of this new model within various levels of each department. These people are change adopters and like to see how change leads to success. By dialing into their energy, you can use these "change champions" to build acceptance among their colleagues.

3. Make the Case

When it comes time to unveil the RevOps strategy to the company, the message needs to clearly articulate why a new operations model is being adopted. People are more likely to resist change if they don't understand it. Outline the goals for sales, marketing, and customer success and how each will drive increased revenue.

4. Create Ownership

If no one is responsible for the success of your RevOps strategy, your efforts can quickly fall apart. You may create a role for a Director of Revenue Operations, or you may have the heads of each department work together on the strategy. Whatever the case, each department must be accountable for its results.

Ownership also includes aligning incentives with this new model. You don't want to have departments compete with each other for results. Instead, incentives should reflect the success of the entire team. 

5. Keep Communication Going

Integrating a RevOps model into your company is not a single announcement. You should have ongoing communication at the company level and within each department.

One way to do this is by celebrating successes. As you begin to see the efforts of your RevOps strategy, share that information across the company. 

6. Assess

As with any major change initiative, you have to evaluate your progress. From the onset, develop some metrics by which you will evaluate success. You should regularly review your efforts and make additional changes as needed. 

The unexpected is bound to occur. Problems can range from logistical to the human element. Your ability to handle unforeseen issues will depend on how quickly you can identify a problem and respond. 

If you are not seeing the results you are expecting, your team needs to understand the reason for the outcomes and how to shift. Don't rely on instinct: find the data to back up your decision-making efforts. 

Watch Your Business Grow with a RevOps Model

While the primary business reason behind a revenue operations model may be to grow your business, your customers will also benefit. By nurturing the relationships across the departments of sales, marketing, and customer success, you can more deeply address the customer experience. 

Satisfied customers are not only loyal, but they also become promoters. Their word-of-mouth referrals can be some of your best opportunities for new business. Their enthusiasm can be channeled throughout your messaging.

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