“How did the star win the game?”...Went a lesson on the “anatomy of a basic joke” one summer evening when my 3-year-old was asking “How you make a joke Daddy?” And between explaining the art and science of subject matter and delivery I caught the blank stare of a toddler and pivoted to the basics. “How did the star then win the game you ask? It had five points…” Badump 🥁
The real reason stars win the game goes far beyond having five points…it’s because they’re stars. Stars rise, twinkle, sparkle, and shine. They can’t go unnoticed and there’s a reason it’s a compliment to be referred to as a “RockStar.” Today we’re going to talk about the RockStars of RevOps, and just a hint, these stars are built, not born. Stop me if you’ve heard this one…A guy walks into a bar…and hears about RevOps from a priest, a minister, and a rabbi…😆
In every high-performing organization, the spotlight shines on (and the rewards go to) the people who bring in the revenue. Those stars include the go-to-market team, sales reps and account managers, inside-sales teams, business-development reps, marketing, sales engineers, professional services, customer success, and more. That prominent attention is entirely justified, of course: Their contributions are indispensable.
Unfortunately, that can sometimes mean many talented people in the wings don’t command the same levels of attention. But, as we all know, the Revenue Operations team plays a crucial (if sometimes less understood) role in the success of any sales organization. Behind the scenes, they deliver the tools, data, processes, and other resources to ensure maximum performance from optimally motivated revenue producers. In short, they handle just about anything that contributes to your sales team’s ability to generate revenue to establish and accelerate growth.
But it isn’t an easy task to assemble a blue-chip Rev Ops team. You need the right people with the right talents in the right places at the right time – and that can be harder than it first looks. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the key roles and responsibilities in Rev Ops, the value of high-performance Rev Ops activities, and the software stack that provides the automation foundation.
Key Rev Ops Responsibilities
When they’re firing on all cylinders, the Rev Ops team can help your revenue producers meet their quotas (and in less time), and enjoy sales processes that efficiently maximize revenue. That requires collaboration from different stakeholders – each bringing unique talents to play critical complementary roles.
Ultimately, Rev Ops should handle five key activities/goals: setting targets, tracking performance, calculating incentive payments, providing visibility, and sales enablement (that provides continuous improvement). Here’s how you can achieve them.
Target Setting and Strategy
Effective Rev Ops starts by asking a crucial question: What are the overarching corporate goals that must be reflected in the annual sales plan? In other words, what is the underlying strategy? Do you want to pursue new-logo sales? Are you trying to build customer loyalty, increase repeat sales, or increase deal sizes? Do you want to emphasize after-market services and consulting? Are there new product introductions that need greater promotion?
Many of these questions can only be answered at the highest levels of the organization, which means it’s essential that Rev Ops have a direct line to executives who can set the strategic direction.
Once those overarching goals have been defined – even without detailed specifics – it falls to the Rev Ops leaders to operationalize the goals into specifics. They need to create a variety of sales forecasts – by employee title, individual rep, territory, product line, business unit, or other dimensions.
Next, you’ll need to set the quotas and assign the territories. These are often geographic, but they could easily be assigned by industry/SIC, company size, or other metric.
Tracking Performance and Providing Visibility
To lay the groundwork for any plan-year, a sound Rev Ops strategy relies on high-quality inputs that come from its data team. They provide the historical data (from a variety of internal and external sources) that drives assumptions for the new plan and points to new possibilities. They can create the simulations and “pressure-test” different models to estimate outcomes based on different scenarios.
Throughout the plan year and in different sales cycles, the data team constantly monitors the overall performance of revenue producers. It’s not just a simple leaderboard showing you who’s on-track to reach their quota(s) – though that’s certainly important. You also want to know the forecast for cost of sales if revenue producers overperform. Which territories are too big or too small? Are reps at risk of churning? Which regions need additional resources?
Through dashboards, summaries, and in-depth reports, the data team provides the crucial visibility by surfacing the insights and otherwise-hidden trends in time for corporate executives to take action.
Calculating Incentive Payments
Previously, many organizations viewed the Rev Ops function as little more than tactical sales administration: some quickly drawn territories managed by a secretive squad of spreadsheet ninjas quietly calculating commissions in the backroom each month. But those days are long past – and for good reason. The fragile 200-tab spreadsheet that gets emailed back and forth creates auditing and security nightmares. Creating and distributing commission statements is another thankless and time-intensive task.
And then there are the morale-killing clawbacks and wasted time of “shadow accounting” by untrusting reps, and you have a sales administration team that feels constantly under siege.
For even the simplest of comp plans, the time, cost, and errors climb exponentially as the organization grows, leading to unacceptably high – and hidden – costs that drag down profitability.
Instead, many companies are adopting incentive compensation management systems that provide the speed, precision, and efficiency that equate to a high-value ROI. ICM is part of a larger tech stack that modern Rev Ops requires to meet its goals.
In many ways, the sales enablement function acts as a strategic bridge between sales and marketing. While marketing is responsible for generating the content – everything from top-of-funnel emails to e-books, buying guides, in-depth white papers, and sales decks and other tools – the enablement team plays a crucial role in helping the sales team derive the greatest value from that content. They analyze data from across reps, territories, product lines, and geographies to assess what material moves sales cycles along faster and to more profitable outcomes.
The enablement team answers key questions like:
- What’s selling – and what tools were used in the sales cycle?
- What materials are used more frequently by the most successful revenue producers?
- When should producers receive training on new products – and what should that training look like to increase the chances of success?
- How can we mature a pipeline?
- How can we build out a pipeline in a new vertical market?
Scale Revenue Operations with Performio
In fast-paced markets with constantly evolving competitive dynamics, a high-performing Rev Ops team can be a crucial difference-maker. Make sure your Rev Ops team is covering all the bases: setting targets, tracking performance, calculating commissions, and reporting on the factors that lead to competitive advantage.
If you want to see how Performio can help with your specific challenges, schedule a demo today.