I'm Afraid for our RevOps Community

by Frank Cowell | Updated Nov 5, 2021

My fellow RevOps peeps, I have an important announcement...

I have a big fear about the future of RevOps that I feel I need to share with you.

My fear is that in the RevOps community, we're getting fancy and losing sight of two big questions as it relates to our function:

  1. Why does RevOps exist within the organization?
  2. Where does the function live within the organization?

Allow me to answer these questions...

1. RevOps exists to identify bottlenecks and opportunities to maximize the organization's revenue and scale potential.

That's it.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of other stuff outside of this "mission" taking place within our community of leaders.

We're getting fancy, and if we don't bring it back to the basics of what I described above, we're going to end-up going the way of so many other flavor-of-the-month topics in the business world—relegated, unfocused, and tactical. Worse, eliminated altogether.

This focus requires that we are analysts first, strategists second. Our output should define the WHAT not the HOW. The HOW should be defined by the functions in the business that already exist:

  • Marketing should solve marketing problems.
  • Sales should solve sales problems.
  • Service should solve service problems.

The RevOps functions points out WHAT isn't working across the revenue engine and, secondarily, WHAT the strategy might be. Leave the HOW to the appropriate function.

2. RevOps isn't "peer" to the major functions in the business (Marketing, Sales, Service [Operations], Admin, Finance)—it's a right-hand function to the COO/GM.


Go back to answer #1. This "why" is, essentially, the COO/GM's job.

Of course, I now hear you asking "If it's the COO/GM's job, then why have the RevOps function in the first place?"—great question.

In my opinion, and again going back to why this function exists in the first place ("To identify bottlenecks and opportunities to maximize the organization's revenue and scale potential."), an organization would add a RevOps function in one of the following two scenarios:

  1. The organization struggles to hit revenue targets and realizes that it has to level-up their approach to growth, become more strategic and systematic. The idea that "What got you here won't get you there." The COO/GM brings on the necessary analytical, strategic, and technical help to infuse a better system into the business. In this scenario, a RevOps function would be accountable to helping the COO/GM ensure that the revenue targets are hit predictably and consistently.
  2. The organization hits their revenue targets consistently and wants to "step on the gas." The COO/GM is overwhelmed and would like support with the analytical and technical work so they can focus on coaching the executive team around the current execution plan. In this scenario, "strategy" is not necessarily needed from the RevOps function since the organization has a track record of successful growth (don't fix what ain't broke). I'm not suggesting that RevOps won't ever help drive strategy in this scenario, but the COO/GM has proven that they can successfully execute on the yearly plan (which supports the CEO's Vision). Here, RevOps is primarily focused on analytical and technical support. The COO/GM would keep this function around if the aggressive growth objectives (READ: SCALING THE BUSINESS!) were met and the RevOps function allowed them to focus on their best skill sets—essentially, the RevOps function makes the COO/GM's life easier.

If you find yourself relegated and tactical, unable to articulate exactly why your role exists, and/or doing day-to-day work that looks and smells a lot like marketing/sales, my guess is that you haven't gotten clear on the answers to these two critical questions. And there's a good chance your COO/GM is unclear, too.

If that's you, start here with these two questions. And my hope is that our community of RevOps leaders does so before our COO/GMs read this first and start to question our existence.

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Topics:Revenue Operations