by Karen Schmelzer
We all know on an intuitive level that it’s better for our sales, marketing and customer service teams to work more closely together.
When their goals are aligned and they understand each other’s needs and pain points, the entire organization benefits.
“RevOps” is the term that’s increasingly being used to describe the general alignment of these revenue-facing functions. But as we wrote in our post RevOps: Just Another Buzzword?, RevOps is a relatively new term that can mean different things to different companies.
For example, RevOps can stay relegated to a collective mindset that all departments share, or it can have its own dedicated team that works alongside sales, marketing and customer support. In more advanced companies, a VP of Revenue or Director of Revenue might be in charge of the sales, marketing and customer support departments.
However, RevOps is much more than a general sense of camaraderie between departments. Whatever RevOps means in practice to your company, it must have tangible processes and measurable results.
Your sales, marketing and support teams can collaborate frequently and be intimately aware of each others’ needs – but that still isn’t enough. Your departments only are truly aligned if they’re built on a solid foundation based on tools, data and shared objectives.
In this article, we’ll discuss how your customer-facing teams can:
- Choose better-aligned tools (and get full-funnel data as a result)
- Adopt shared objectives and a shared mindset that is crucial to alignment
When your team uses too many different tools, it can cause a lot of confusion across functions. This is especially true if those tools don’t share data or integrate consistently.
If you want your departments to truly be aligned, the first step is to choose tools that work well together to give comprehensive insights. Here are just a few of the tools that you can improve through the lens of RevOps.
There are more digital marketing tools on the market today than you can count.
Specialized software helps your marketing department keep track of leads, manage touch-points with those leads and measure engagement with your company.
Whatever marketing tools your team uses, the data needs to be easy for people outside of the marketing department to access and understand. Essentially, your marketing tools should integrate in some way with sales and CRM tools.
When marketing data is available to sales and support teams, they’ll have insight into which marketing channels and techniques are landing the most valuable, best-fit customers over the long term.
Customer Relationship Management Tools
Your sales department is probably well acquainted with the use of customer relationship management (CRM) software to track and nurture relationships with potential customers.
But is marketing and support data available in that CRM tool? And can your marketing and support teams also get easy access to the CRM data if they need it?
The sales team should be able to see:
- Where each lead came from
- How they found your product
- Special questions or concerns that have surfaced in their initial interactions with your organization
- Any unique demographic and professional information that the marketing team may have collected
(To learn more about how leads are passed from sales to marketing, check out our recent post “The Complexities of Measuring SaaS MRR Accurately in the Real World.”)
Once the prospect becomes a customer, the marketing and sales teams need easy access to support records, too. This helps them understand the client’s experience more deeply. They need that level of understanding before they reach out for things like upsells, referrals or testimonials.
Help Desk Tools
Your help desk software may do an excellent job of tracking customers’ issues and following up on those issues until they are resolved.
However, unless your support team has all access to all of the information about each customer’s journey up until the point they became customers, they won’t have the insights they need to serve each customer most effectively. Help desk software should integrate directly with sales and marketing software in order to give your team those insights.
As we wrote in our post Think Relationships, Not Subscriptions, providing a consistent experience for the customer is crucial these days. If customers ever get the sense that your company doesn’t “know” them, it can do serious damage to the relationship.
Pipeline Inspection Tools
Some apps specialize in bridging the gaps between the various tools used by different departments. These tools aim to analyze and measure the funnel in its entirety.
These systems use machine learning to identify things like revenue risks (i.e. stalled or at-risk accounts) and growth opportunities across the funnel — from initially attracting a lead to landing them as a customer to retaining them over time.
When all of your teams are looking at the same funnel reports, it’s much easier for them to understand the big picture and work together effectively.
Automated Data Entry and Data Capture Tools
No one loves data entry – especially your sales team.
The odds are that there are plenty of sales-related interactions that are happening each day that never get recorded in your CRM system.
This includes things like ad-hoc meetings, phone calls and social media messages (such as reaching out on LinkedIn). When your reps don’t keep records of these interactions, it’s impossible for other team members to get the full scope of your company’s relationship with customers.
“Activity intelligence” apps, such as People.ai, aim to log these kinds of details automatically so that reps don’t have to worry about them. Automating this work also gives the rest of the team a better idea of what the customer has experienced up until that point since fewer details go unrecorded.
Here’s a great infographic that People.ai uses to explain how their tool works in the context of RevOps:
Sales Intelligence Tools
We’ve mentioned that a big factor in the success of RevOps is the effectiveness of the transitions from one department to the next.
Many tools are taking it a step further than simply tracking interactions and are using AI to score leads and predict the best times to reach out to those leads or transition them to the sales department.
For example, 6Sense is a tool that helps turn “intent signals into actionable insight that accelerates demand.”
This can work for internal sales, too. For example, the tool Leadboxer can alert the sales team when current clients visit the site or view important pages, which can be an indication that they’re ready to change their plan or make an upgrade.
Pricing, Billing and Quoting Tools
Are your customers’ pricing plans and history of financial interactions with your company available for all departments to reference?
SaaS pricing is complex. Seeing a customer’s current pricing plan or tier isn’t enough to give your team the insights they need to understand their journey up to that point.
Everyone on your team should be able to see a history of upgrades, downgrades and metered and add-on features that can give them a better idea of how customers’ past experiences affect their needs and perspectives in the future.
Joint Objectives and Goals
All of the tools we mentioned in this article can be crucial pieces in the RevOps puzzle.
However, even the most perfectly aligned tools and beautiful full-funnel reports won’t be enough to align departments on their own.
The entire team needs to see themselves as the sum of a whole that’s greater than its individual parts. They need to understand their specific objectives in the context of the larger, shared revenue goals.
For example, sales reps historically focus on numbers like the total new customers won for the month, or the total new monthly revenue won. Marketers focus on increasing the number of quality leads generated. While customer support focuses on the number of issues they’ve solved and how quickly they’ve done it.
Whatever the individual, departmental goals are, all of these teams must understand the role that they have to play in boosting MRR, expansion MRR and Customer Lifetime Value.
This requires a mindset shift that can be challenging for employees who are accustomed to working in their individual silos. For this shift to be successful, strong organizational leadership is crucial.
Leaders need to demonstrate with their actions and words that individual departments are only be considered successful if they’re moving the company closer to meeting those big-picture growth goals.
We hope you’ll stay tuned to the Chargify blog as we explore more about how SaaS companies can leverage the power of RevOps as part of a comprehensive revenue management strategy.