Apr 29, 2022

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Q&A recap: Using RevOps to connect Customer Success to the bottom line

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Revenue Operations (RevOps) has gained massive traction in the last few years, with many hailing it as a new revolution. This may leave you as a Customer Success professional wondering what part and purpose you serve in this revenue movement.

With RevOps becoming the go-to route to boost operational performance, Customer Success plays a starring role in optimizing the customer lifecycle to increase revenue potential.

To dig into this further, we hosted a webinar to discuss how you can use RevOps to connect Customer Success to your bottom line and streamline customer operations at your company.

The session’s discussion spurred a ton of great audience questions. If like your Customer Success peers, you’ve been wondering how RevOps differs from other functional ops teams (sales ops, marketing ops, etc.), how to position RevOps to drive change in Customer Success, and more, we’ve got answers.

Q&A Recap

Speakers:

Q: Should RevOps drive or adapt to pivots?

A [Rachel]: Both. You should be driving it through your leading indicators. You should be answering the unasked questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the question. That’s core of it; just ask it. There are no dumb questions. Be curious and shape the conversation in a way that’s super favorable. Of course, you’re always going to be adapting. If someone else is rolling out a new pricing structure, it’s a pretty big pivot.  You have to get on board but be prescriptive through it. It’s the red button example. If someone says, “Can you add a red button?” you don’t say yes, I’ll do it. You say, “What do you want the button to do? Do you want to exit the screen faster? What is the goal here?” That will give you a great solution. Be as prescriptive as possible.

Q: What is the difference between RevOps and Customer Success ops, sales ops, and marketing ops? Are these roles redundant?

A [Erol]: It goes back to the math. What is the equation in your mind? When you combine these things, if you say, “We’re combining these groups into a group called RevOps and 1 + 1 + 1 = 3,” then they’re redundant and pointless and you can do it however you want. RevOps is the revenue side of this thing that happened in engineering called DevOps. It’s a movement. It’s a change in the way that we’re thinking. Forget that it’s a department name. The thing that makes this exciting to a lot of people is that it is changing and reframing the way that we think by stopping to think about what matters in terms of MQLs, SQLs, and net retention and starting to think from a customer level. If bringing those three groups of people into a room does not change the metric—if you’re in one department and you’re still tracking MQLs and conversion rates and net retention and nothing has changed—then call it whatever you want. It’s not what this movement is about. There’s no right answer to that. It only matters if you’re ready to make that leap. If you make that leap, then there’s no redundancy.

A [Rachel]: I will speak to that on a tactical level. When you’re thinking about designing your departments, I actually think that it’s more specificity. To me, business operations is the collective functional operation. RevOps is a more specialized version of business operations. Each of those branches are part of the RevOps bundle. Marketing operations speaks the language of marketing. They are working with the marketing tools. They are solving the marketing problems. They’re supporting the marketing team. They are diplomats to that team. Your sales folks are a traditional example because they’re one of the most expensive teams in the company aside from the developers. Sales operations is really clear: your sales cycle, your compensation plans, your territory, your rules of engagement, your enablement, etc. Then you have your Customer Success operations, which is everything post signature. That’s everything from your renewal processes, your tool stack, your systems, your renewal plans. If you have any sort of book of business on that side of the house, revenue operations can own it.

To Erol’s point, the people who hold those positions and the titles associated with them are less important. What’s more important is that you think about how much code switching one person is doing throughout the day. How long is their list getting? That’s a good trigger for knowing when to split out the roles versus centralizing. You can build a team that’s central and has ambassadors. That’s what I strongly prefer. I’m very open about that. If that’s not an option, your embedded folks can have an operational excellence council of sorts. You flip the script on the org structure. If you’re a mean lean machine and you’re the person that’s on the phones and managing all the systems, try to see if you can bucket your day into those things. That way you’re not constantly doing 10% of every task on your list. They’re all rolling toward the same mission of making a company better, smarter, faster, but it’s just really the language that you’re speaking as you’re doing that function.

Q: How can you position RevOps to drive change within Customer Success?

A [Nick]: The important thing to understand is getting someone in that role. That would be a big focus for me. I’m assuming they have marketing ops and sales ops, but what about me? Conceptually, you can position it to them as test. You can get really creative with it. But realistically with you having a headcount, there’s no question that pretty much one churned customer at most enterprise organizations is going to pay for that. It’s the same thing when I was at LinkedIn. I asked what’s the number one thing you want? It was to get this person in seat to focus on how we churn one less customer because that’s going to turn into a lot more than just one less customer. I can guarantee that. So, build a case around that. As I mentioned, think about the touchpoints, and think about the marketing team. Who do they use? Go to them. They’re extremely smart. Just because that individual doesn’t focus on your team today doesn’t mean they can’t help you if you help them understand what you’re looking for. You don’t even necessarily need headcount. You can utilize someone from sales ops or marketing ops to do just that.

Q: What tips do you have for integrating RevOps into a company?

A [Nick]: Zoom as far out as you can and look at the full end to end. What is marketing doing? What is sales doing? What is Customer Success doing? Just at its simplest. If you can bubble that up and say how do we connect those three core priorities, that will be an extremely effective way. You’re going to uncover a lot more than that.

A [Erol]: Figure out why someone decided to create this function. If the person who created this isn’t the CEO or COO, there has to be compelling why behind RevOps. Once you know the why, the how presents itself, and everything clears itself up. For example, should sales ops report into RevOps? It’s a really simple question. RevOps says the sales experience is imperfect and it’s messing up the journey. Sales ops says if we make this change, our quota attainment will go down. Who wins? When push comes to shove in that scenario, who wins? Well, there’s the answer to your org structure. That’s how you integrate it tactically into the right part of the organization.

Q: What’s the top piece of advice a CSM can take away from this?

A [Nick]: It depends on if your org has RevOps but let’s just assume that maybe you have sales ops and marketing ops. Ask the intellectual questions. You are the frontline to your customer, so what you say and what you handle and how you handle it every single day is so important. Talk to your manager or their manager and have them introduce you to that. Come prepared and say these are the two things I’m hearing from customers that, in my opinion, if we could address would have an impact. Focus on that and the impact it would achieve. Build your case and then focus on the impact within your own org. It’s just as important to think of your own org as your stakeholders.

Like RevOps, Customer Success operations is necessary for any results-oriented team to grow. Learn more about what a dedicated operations specialist can do for your team in our blog, “Customer Success Operations 101: Drive productivity with purpose, people, and process.”

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