We are getting technical today, saddle up. We're talking about RevOps, also known as revenue operations. We define RevOps as the glue that holds revenue engines together. It's further defined as the tech stack or the technologies you use in every revenue department; any technology or operational process that's aligned to the customer experience, from that first touchpoint in branding all the way through marketing, the sales funnel and post-purchase once they become a customer.
The Importance of RevOps
Not all companies have embraced RevOps and it’s causing marketing, sales, and service to butt heads. Let me paint a picture of what a disjointed revenue engine looks like. We've had the privilege, since the end of 2019 when we first launched our RevOps offering, to implement more than 30 revenue engines. What we typically find is that marketing, sales, and service all use separate technologies. Sales has a CRM. Marketing has some sort of email automation, but typically not much more than Mailchimp or Constant Contact. Lastly, the service team might use ServiceNow, ServiceFusion, ZenDesk, Confluence, or another customer success tool.
Revenue departments all use technology, but typically not the same technology. They're usually not integrated and unfortunately, it impacts more than your internal teams. It impacts your customer.
Let's break this down. The person who suffers the most when your marketing, sales, and service technologies are disjointed is your buyer that then turns into your customer. The overall client experience you're creating starts with the first touchpoint with branding and continues all the way through the marketing funnel, the sales funnel, and into customer success. With that, we recommend allowing marketing, sales, and customer success to live in one CRM. One database, one system, and one record of truth. Then, that system should have options for automation and workflows built natively, as in, inside the technology, and not require you to layer on multiple technologies.
Revenue Operations is both the tech stack and the operational workflow. The operational workflow includes the duties, tasks, and behaviors of the internal people who work in each revenue department. When your internal teams each work in different systems, there’s a lack of collaboration that causes contention.
It's clunky. It's creating friction. Alignment between revenue departments isn’t solely about the technology. What about the alignment of the internal people, their behaviors, and processes with the buyer's journey and the customer's journey? The human part of the operational workflow of the customer is usually misaligned.
Here are some examples.
When your revenue departments are out of alignment:
- Marketing is frustrated that sales don’t close their leads, which hurts their KPIs and potentially impacts their earning potential if they’re compensated based on performance.
- Sales is frustrated with marketing because they don’t believe that someone who downloads a whitepaper should be considered an MQL. Sales often discredits the leads generated by the Marketing team. They want more blue birds. Oh, and another 1-pager or brochure would be nice.
- Sales is frustrated with the service team because they “drop the ball” on their implementations and onboarding their new clients.
- The service team is frustrated by both marketing and sales. First, they believe sales rarely communicate the information needed in the post-purchase handoff, and they usually “over-sell capabilities” of the product or service. Marketing typically doesn’t extend past the purchase point of the customer life cycle and leaves the service team to design their own client onboarding materials, training videos, and product upsell emails if they even send any at all.
It’s a gaping hole of opportunity if your marketing team isn't supporting the entire revenue function and the entire customer lifecycle.
Eliminating Sales & Customer Success Feud
It is equally important to eliminate the age-old feud between sales and service. I've lived this life when I was selling for a fortune 1000 payroll and HR company. I started in 2006 as a District Sales Assistant and started selling in 2008. During my first two years as a District Sales Assistant, the company did a massive migration from Act, an old database CRM tool, to Salesforce.com. I served on the committee, and I got to build Salesforce.com in a highly customizable enterprise version of the software from start to finish. It was an incredible experience.
I remember it clearly and I still use what I learned to this day. We had no marketing automation and we had no email or sales automation. Everything was manual. The operations and service team operated out of a completely separate oracle database and we did not communicate through technology to operations. The communication was walking over to the other side of the hallway and taking a stack of papers, usually filled out by hand, and saying “here you go, here's all the information you need to implement this customer”. I’d put a paperclip on it, drop it in the basket, and sometimes I would attach some skittles or other candy for the person who would be implementing my client.
Not a surprise, but that's not an efficient way of consulting the sales to operations handoff. Fast forward to today. What's surprising is even though that was in 2008, now in 2022, we at House of Revenue™ work with companies that still have this outdated way of communicating between revenue departments. Most companies we partner with have a silo focus for each revenue department, including technology and the operational workflow.
Not only are they not using the same technology. But the teams barely talk to each other and the person paying the price is the customer. So how can you solve this in your company?
I will speak from experience and tell you how we have solved it for 30 companies. After vetting dozens of revenue technologies and CRMs, we decided that HubSpot was the best system to build a revenue engine. It has proven itself over and over and over again for us and our clients (yes, our revenue engine is also built on HubSpot). HubSpot provides the winning formula for scale, every time. Typically, we implement the pro or enterprise bundle for our clients and we start with the CMS. Yes, we rebuild every client’s website and move it to HubSpot CMS. There's a lot of power behind connecting your website to the database of your marketing engine.
We build the marketing component, including the lead magnets, automation, workflows, email marketing campaigns, and connect the social media and paid media accounts so our clients can view campaign-specific revenue attribution reporting. HubSpot CMS websites act as the base for all SEO, keywords, blogs, and content marketing. Building your website with a growth-driven design methodology encourages conversion. HubSpot CMS coupled with the Marketing Hub is perfect for creating opportunities for conversion.
Then, HubSpot is flawless between marketing and sales. There are no separate systems, databases, walls, or barriers. The sales team has full visibility, because it's a single database and source of truth, into all the information on each prospect record, contacts, and companies inside of HubSpot.
Marketing & Sales Can Co-exist
We believe inbound marketing and outbound sales can and should co-exist. This means marketing is generating inbound leads on the same targeted list that sales are working through their outbound cadence. Marketing and sales can easily see the activities and results on the same target account list. When marketing and sales actually work together, in harmony, buyers are attracted to your brand, and they enter into a seamless experience between your brand, your marketing funnel, and working with your sales team. It’s not clunky or full of friction. This process encourages conversion. RevOps is the glue between marketing and sales alignment and HubSpot is the best revenue engine we’ve worked with.
At a more granular level, a target list can be uploaded into HubSpot, then segmented into ICP and buyer persona-specific campaigns. The sales team enrolls the contacts into a multi-step cadence like this sample below:
Multi-Step Cadence Example:
- Connect with the prospect team on LinkedIn
- Enroll in each prospect in the correct prospecting email sequence for _____ ICP + _____ Buyer Persona
- Send email 1
- If no response within 2 days, send email 2
- If no response from email 1 or 2, a task appears for the rep to make phone call 1
- If no response, rep makes phone 2
- Then if no response, emails 3 and 4 are sent 1 day apart
During this time, the emails are set up to encourage an opt-in. The URL in the sales rep’s email signature links directly to the buyer-specific landing page the marketing team created on the HubSpot CMS website. That landing page is written solely for that type of buyer and includes 3-4 clear CTAs, all with an opt-in to receive marketing information. Also, the sales outbound emails contain links to relevant information for that specific ICP/buyer that are of such high value, the prospect is willing to part with an email and give an opt-in to receive the item.
Once the opt-in is received, the marketing email drip campaigns, including invites to upcoming events or webinars, can begin. Now marketing and sales are working together. The salespeople can see all activity by each prospect on their contact record inside of HubSpot (i.e, what website pages they visited and when), and HubSpot can even calculate an MQL score and create a task for the salesperson to call the prospect when they’ve landed on the website again or have earned enough points they’ve qualified as a marketing lead.
If you don't have a single revenue engine for marketing and sales you're missing out. This is a way that you can create camaraderie and alignment between marketing and sales and have them work in a single database with automation that works in everybody's favor and it honors. the buyer and their process and how they're interacting with your brand. It's specifically based on their ICP and buyer persona. This is how marketing and sales teams can remove the need to collide with each other and argue and disagree.
Customer Success + RevOps
Next, let’s discuss what happens with the buyer when they reach a post-purchase decision and are ready to become a client. You have a new client onboarding experience and this is where sales and customer success might collide if you haven’t implemented a RevOps strategy to smooth out the process and break down the walls. One way these teams might collide is by not transferring all the information the sales team worked so hard to obtain during the sales process. As a buyer, think about when you buy something. Your salesperson probably asks quite a few questions, obtains information from you, learns about your specific pains, problems, and challenges. They’ve customized a demo or presentation so that you feel 100% comfortable making a purchase decision. But then… you’re transferred to the new client team and they start the process by asking, “Would you tell us more about you? What do you do? What brought you to our company?” Facepalm. Now you’re triggered, frustrated, and emotional, thinking “I just spent three months with your company… What do you mean to tell you about myself?”
So what are you doing to make sure there's no friction for your customer and it's seamless through that handoff? Well, I can share with you how we have solved this. Our RevOps team builds new client profiles. We've used custom objects and forms within HubSpot to allow all the information that the salesperson worked hard to gather and find out during the sales process to flow directly to the new client team once the client signs the contract.
That information lives on the client record, both on the contact record and on the company record. Then any additional information that needs to be collected, like a signed contract, contact information for supplementary contacts like the billing contact, billing information, or whatever else is needed can be retrieved by sales and included in this new client profile, in order to pass this new client from purchase into implementation.
It’s seamlessly present, in real-time, for the implementation team to review. The implementation team can also go back and read anything they want to. They can even go back and listen to prior recorded calls because in HubSpot, all calls can be recorded and all that history lives on this client record now. With this new client profile, service and sales aren't colliding. They worked together during the handoff and the customer is the one who wins in this circumstance. The client is excited. Their guard hasn't been raised. They are bringing forth a more optimistic attitude to the experience. They're not triggered or frustrated. The implementation is going to go smoother now.
Marketing + RevOps
How can marketing continue to support clients post-purchase? What about adoption and training? Can marketing really assist customer success? Yes, they can assist by producing written copy for the knowledge base, producing training videos to get the new user's up and running on the technology, and sending emails to clients about upcoming webinars, events, opportunities to engage with your company, and even emails with product roadmap updates, new feature releases, and product upsell opportunities.
For client retention, you can use a technology like HubSpot to input all the fields to help you get ahead of renewals. Your team can automatically receive reminders of dates when a client is coming up for renewal. You can put in multiple dates to remind teams of when they need to be having renewal conversations to get ahead of it. You can trigger the reminder and even include sales in the conversation if your customer success and account management, as an example, are separate functions. You might have a need to engage sales if your customer success team is responsible for retaining the relationship but is not responsible for augmenting or growing revenue on existing clients.
Marketing plays a part in making sure that you have proactive communication upon that renewal. And what if the product or service set has changed? What if the client only came on board with 1 or 2 products or services that you offer, but during renewal time you pull in marketing collateral and have a conversation about growing the relationship? That’s expansion.
Whether expansion happens at renewal time or it's happening throughout the relationship, marketing plays a significant role here and you can trigger reminders and notifications inside of HubSpot to align with all these customer lifecycle events. What kind of client communication and education do you have? Leverage marketing for that to work in conjunction with the customer success and account management team.
From Client to Advocate
The last part is having your RevOps and Marketing teams help you build client incentive programs. You want brand advocates. You want these customers to be shouting from the mountaintop, ”Hey! This is a great product or service!” Have you built a client incentive program? Or do you just continue to rely on your salespeople to forget to ask for referrals? You can use HubSpot and leverage your marketing team to create ways for your customers to share their experiences on social media or invite others to try or buy your product or service. Perhaps they can earn points, incentives, or discounts for referring others to your brand!
When marketing and sales and service collide. It's usually because they're working in separate technologies. The teams aren't communicating or talking to each other and the customer loses because it creates a friction-full experience. RevOps can solve this problem by bringing in a single database and tech stack like HubSpot that comes with all the workflows and automation you need, unlike Salesforce.com, as an example, that doesn't have native marketing or sales automation. You have to tack on Pardot and Salesloft or Outreach to get the additional pieces of functionality whereas Hubspot has it all inside of the technology already.
Once you fix the tech stack and operational alignment problem, including communication, you can cut down the sales cycle, reduce friction for buyers, create a better onboarding experience, and remove barriers to retaining clients, expanding revenue, and incentivizing referrals.
It's 2022. We have to start aligning revenue teams. I feel like, as a buzzword, we've talked about marketing and sales alignment for the last few years. There's technology out there to do it. There's a RevOps revolution happening. It's one of the most sought-after, hard-to-find, hard-to-fill roles out there. Find a great RevOps professional, get the right technology, get them reworking your systems, the data flow, integrations, processes, and automation for all of your revenue infrastructure and I promise you the client… your customer is going to win and then in turn. You win.