Here at Fifth Executive, we’ve worked with many organisations to help increase the effectiveness of their Sales teams. Once we have established that they have the right people in place with the requisite skills, experience and values, we look at the things they are doing on a day- to-day basis– the Sales Operations.
Sales Operations is the set of processes and activities that help the sales organisation work efficiently and in alignment with the Company’s overall business strategy. It covers areas such as Sales Team Structure, Sales Processes, Sales Training and Development, Sales Analytics and Sales Goals/Incentives. Each of these topics deserves a deep dive discussion on their own, which we hope to address in future articles. One thing however that we see time and time again when reviewing Sales Team Effectiveness, is some degree of disconnect between the sales organisation and the rest of the Company. This is where the sales team, in the worst of cases, is operating almost in a silo.
As an example; We were asked to consult to a company with 20 frontline sales staff who were making an average of 4 meaningful meetings per week ie., 80 Client meetings/week. That same company were receiving 10 x that number of telephone calls into it operations/service centre from clients over the same period and none of that data was being systematically channelled back to the Sales team. These calls contained sales rich data about the company’s clients, their locations, experiences and business issues.
Another example of a disconnect was a client whose marketing teams engaged in Lead Generation/Top of the Funnel/Middle of Funnel activity with minimal input from the sales teams. In this case the processes, methodologies and tools employed by the marketing team were sound, however there was a misalignment between the two divisions regarding the Ideal Customer Profile. It sounds impossible but this was the case for this global company with a $1B turnover.
We call this aspect, the “Wiring” of the organisation. In their own right, each division of the company can seem to be doing things in the right way and in alignment with the organisations overall business objectives, however they are not connected or wired to other parts of the organisation in a structured way.
Its often said in business that “Everyone is in sales” – A maxim often used but not borne out by the wiring of the company to support efficient sales and revenue growth.
In the two examples provided above, we have three divisions of a company namely, Sales, Marketing and Operations all having client touch points and influence in customer experience and the delivery of revenue growth to the company. In recent times there has been a growing recognition of the multiple touch points and the symbiotic nature of all three operational teams and therefore, the need to unify these three divisions under a single banner.
The concept of Revenue Operations or “RevOps” has been around for several years now but has only become more widely accepted as a separate business function in the last couple of years. In fact in the last 18 months, LinkedIn reports a growth of around 300% in jobs with RevOps/Revenue titles.
So what exactly is RevOps?
RevOps is a business function that aims to maximise Revenue Generation through the systematic convergence of Sales, Marketing and Operations (Service). It looks at the cross departmental organisation of a company and through effective ‘Wiring”, breaks down the walls that can have an impact on consistent customer experience and revenue. It aims to drive growth through the Customer Lifecycle by creating operational efficiencies and making all teams accountable for a shared single metric – Revenue.
RevOps further recognises that clients have multiple touch points with an organisation (not just Sales) and therefore there needs to be a unified and consistent approach. Having teams with disparate and/or misaligned metrics, objectives, reporting and even incentives, can have a negative impact on Customer Experience and therefore revenue. There are a growing number of Sales Tech tools on the market now that can support these unified objectives.
Beyond Sales, Marketing and Ops
Depending on how a business is structured, other departments may also be involved and interact with customers. This would be especially true for businesses with recurring revenue streams. Product divisions, finance, legal can all impact the customer experience and potential revenue of the company. In such cases we would recommend a functional reporting line to RevOps with consistent and shared metrics and goals.
RevOps – Cross-departmental organisation. Breaking down walls that impact company revenue.
Sales Ops – Creating operational efficiencies in the Sales Organisation alone.
Organisational Wiring: Shared Intent
Intrinsic to RevOps is the concept of Shared Intent - a key Pillar in the execution of any successful business strategy. We often challenge our clients by asking them how their senior executive team are supporting the Revenue Growth agenda. Amongst the C –suite what is each person doing to leverage their positions and contacts. How many are attending Sales calls? Is there a documented metric for this? Is it tied to their incentive?
“I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don't hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.”