Seeing a lot more companies taking note of RevOps and participating in related communities is good. But seeing it being boxed into something that can be outsourced to be managed as-a-service is not.
I’ve been fortunate enough to interact with many RevOps professionals and recently met up with many of them in person last month at the Pavilion Summit in Miami. That’s when it struck me that many providers are currently jockeying for position to be the voice/group/thought leader etc. in the RevOps space.
What is sometimes missing in the RevOps discussion is just how nuanced and vast this function is. Some are trying to neatly pack everything RevOps in a box, and this is a mistake.
The fusion delusion
My winter travels took me from the warmth of Miami to the frost of Minneapolis. While I now count it as one of my favorite places to visit, the dining experience I had there reminded me of the fusion delusion I’ve been grappling with in RevOps.
We all went out to eat at Asian Express, which serves everything from kimchi to chow mein to teriyaki. So the entire, vast continent of Asia with its many distinct forms of ethnic cuisine were all reduced to one general label.
I appreciate the fact that just calling all the dishes “Asian” can make it seem more approachable for those who are unfamiliar with the breakdown of different countries and cultures. But what you miss is the nuance and beauty that lies in each one.
From my own personal experience, trying to break out of the box that I’ve been frequently placed in has been a recurring theme in both my personal and professional life!
That overview approach can deprive you of appreciating the many varied forms of Asian cuisine. When you look at it, these countries and their cultures have stark differences – just like different roles in RevOps.
Our team broke down what it takes to own and manage a RevOps technology ALONE. It blew people’s minds how many different types of skills and forms of management are involved: business requirements, stakeholder management, functional requirements, technical specs, project management, development, QA testing, release management, training, documentation, support, etc. That doesn’t even account for the data analytics, process, enablement, or stakeholder management portion of it.
RevOps was created as a catch-all for things that were not traditionally covered by marketing and sales functions. RevOps is responsible for ensuring that:
- The product or service is being sold to the right people.
- People on the front lines are properly trained and enabled.
- They are provided with the right tools and processes.
- They are given the best possible chance to succeed,
RevOps is an all-encompassing function that – when done right – results in alignment and harmonious interactions across the organization. As the responsibility extends across departments and jobs, It calls for a wide range of skill sets:
- Technical skills: to be capable of using RevOps tools and technical systems
- Analytical skills to know what data to look at and how to make sense of it
- Communication skills to communicate their interpretations to stakeholders
- Strategic skills to align departments and effect necessary changes
- Management skills to manage third party firms that manage their technology
- People skills to hire and recruit people with varied skills sets and personality types and work alongside them
Literally, in a single day, you might have to present to the board, write requirements for a salesforce admin, navigate SQL tables, and rally a sales team. You’ll go from creating compensation plans to having to convince the marketing team that they are losing money by focusing on the wrong segment.
Navigating the nuance is the job
You need to make people successful that don’t even know, and therefore don’t truly value, all that you enable for them. That entails having to grasp and convey gray area and nuance.
While we have worked hard as an industry to make go-to-market a data-driven science, there is still a lot of nuance. Working through all that requires a ton of trust and chemistry built with stakeholders.
I see so many firms and outsiders try to put a script, formula, or playbook around RevOps. Quite frankly, I think this is a disservice to these complex teams and people.
Great RevOps teams are diverse. They know where and how to navigate nuance. They know where to apply their time and creativity. They know how to identify, scale, and delegate parts of it that don’t require this.
Having a playbook or script in the early days is certainly a good way to get the function started, but it’s not something that can carry you through scaling up in the long term. Scaling up is about knowing WHICH play to run and why you take it and how you implement it.
This takes not only familiarity with best practices but also intimate knowledge of the business that you are in, the personalities involved, and the culture they are working in that is unique to them. It takes equity and trust built over time and multiple battles.
Understanding RevOps roles
That’s why trying to outsource your entire RevOps team is a mistake. The highest performing, most efficient RevOps teams know when to hire full-time and when to hire fractionally. It’s about understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your team.
It’s about understanding what it takes to win in your space. In general, I recommend anything that requires specific domain expertise and/or frequent stakeholder alignment to stay in-house. Tasks that are repeatable or those that can be completed asynchronously are prime candidates for fractional hires.
RevOps needs to be unbundled to to continue to evolve and to be fully understood as business functions come to depend on its function more. The key to successful RevOps is not reducing; it’s the opposite – recognizing the beauty of multiplicity.
Recognize it. Speak to it. More meaningful impact can be made together when you don’t try to box in RevOps.
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