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RevOps—If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It
Blog / For Sales Pros / Oct 8, 2021 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 150 

RevOps—If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It

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There is often-discussed topic today—some might say it’s even a buzzword: “RevOps.” It is short for “revenue operations,” and it is defined as “the strategic integration of departments to provide a better end-to-end view to administration and management. Its holistic approach is designed to break down silos between departments.” The word “silo” here refers to a business department or function that is entirely separate from others in the enterprise, which they have tended to be.

It is only sales, marketing, and service departments that are included in many definitions of RevOps. In my opinion, however, this is too narrow a view, which I’ll take up in more detail below.

Today RevOps is one of the most rapidly growing segments of tech. Doing a Google search on the term, you’ll discover an enormous number of sites and solutions. If you search LinkedIn or other employment sites, you’ll find thousands of available positions with titles such as “Director of Revenue Operations,” “Revenue Operations Manager,” and “V.P. Revenue Operations.”

Waltzing The Blue Danube

It was the sales manager, in times past, that performed functions currently under RevOps. But through today’s digital transformation, stemming from the fact that we’re now a networked society, these operations must go well beyond sales, for data is now running through the entire company in a seamless experience for the customer. We could make the analogy that this data flow is much like the Danube river, for which the famous Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss II is named. Our waltz dance partner would be the customer, and we need the data to waltz with the customer harmoniously.

I stated in the beginning that restricting RevOps to only marketing, sales and service is a narrow-minded approach. In actual fact, revenue operations is a correlation of all departments to each other.

Taking an example from Pipeliner, we make sure that data from customer support is constantly sent to developers. A product only produces revenue when it is highly beneficial to customers. When customers have problems with the product, they provide feedback through support tickets. This feedback, freely provided to development, dramatically contributes to ongoing product development and therefore to revenue.

The Key is Overcoming of Silos

Part of the RevOps definition stated at the beginning of this article stated that RevOps is a holistic approach to breaking down silos. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about “having the right people on the bus” in the management of an organization. He also discusses having specific people in the correct rows on the bus. He points out that these people are overcoming the silo structure through the right management.

It was stated by Austrian-American management consultant and author Peter Drucker that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” We can see, then, that revenue operations must be a cultural factor.

The concept above can be combined with another. At Pipeliner, we have as one of our core principles “contribution to the whole,” which means that every aspect of an organization contributes to the entire operation. Any executive must be able to visualize how each piece contributes; in other words, to see the big picture.

Bringing these two concepts together, a culture needs to be created in which the bigger picture is observed by everyone. And that bigger picture, for a company, is the customer. Consistently focusing on the big picture brings about efficiency. Efficiently doing the right things brings about productivity, and productivity brings about the goal of every company: profitability.

Revenue Operations and CRM

As data flows through the entire company—like the Danube river makes its way from southern Germany all the way to the Black Sea—data must be centralized. Something like a centralized data repository of historical operations (where data formerly existed in silos) is required.

It takes people in new roles connecting all the departmental dots to overcome silos. Such individuals in these roles need powerful tools to do so.

Pipeliner CRM is such a toolset, in my opinion. Pipeliner, with its advanced dashboard and reporting system, allows a company to visualize all its data. Pipeliner also has a business intelligence (BI) feeder so that data from CRM can be fed to a company’s BI tools. Company executives can then see, from an operational standpoint, what’s occurring in the enterprise. We will describe this functionality in-depth in the next chapter.

This all evolves out of a comprehensive digitalization strategy. From the flow of data, we can view its effects on marketing, on the quality of leads coming through, and how it all correlates to sales. The flow of data can be optimized for all of a company’s processes. For that to occur, there must be a clear structure up above a company’s departments.

Taking the Holistic Approach

RevOps could be seen as a form of centralization. Centralization definitely has pluses and minuses, but because data is so important for a company, it must be centralized. In past times, a department took care of its own operations, budgets, technology, and decision-making. This methodology no longer works because it doesn’t take other departments into account.

You’ll recall that this article’s title was “If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It.” This is a paraphrase of a quote from Austrian-American management consultant and author Peter Drucker, the actual quote being “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” It is no more appropriate than today, for today we must measure across departments to manage them. This is what RevOps is all about.

About Author

A 30-year veteran of the computer industry, Nikolaus has founded and run several software companies. He and his company uptime iTechnology are the developers of World-Check, a risk intelligence platform eventually sold to Thomson Reuters for $520 million. He is currently the founder and CEO of Pipelinersales, Inc., developer and publisher of Pipeliner CRM, the first CRM application aimed squarely at actually empowering salespeople. Also a prolific writer, Nikolaus has authored over 100 ebooks, articles, and white papers addressing the subjects of sales management, leadership and sales itself.

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