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The Digital Utopia Podcast Episode #27

Who Should Not Activate RevOps (Revenue Operations)?

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About the podcast

The Digital Utopia Podcast is for SMB Marketers and Business Leaders looking to align their Marketing, Sales, and Service departments so they’re part of one powerhouse growth team.

Each episode will dive into the strategies, philosophies, and tools that will change your approach to organizational growth, give you renewed focus and clarity, and allow you to build a brand that not only helps you stand out—but win.

The Digital Utopia Podcast is produced by Digitopia and hosted by Frank Cowell and Joseph Freeman.

Episode transcription

Frank: [00:00:00] What I often see a sin that a lot of business execs commit is they invest in something and they take a quote-unquote campaign mentality. Let's, let's give this 90 days. If you are in that mentality, everything just gets 90 days. Don't do this, do not do this. This is not only about optimizing revenue for what happens in 90 days.

But there are a lot of efforts you're going to be putting in place. So that way you have a buyer's life cycle driven business. 

You are listening to The Digital Utopia Podcast, a resource dedicated to helping B2B leadership and executives gain clarity and focus in a chaotic marketplace. 

Hey gang! Welcome to The Digital Utopia Podcast, episode 27. I'm your host, Frank Cowell, and I'm joined by my cohost:

Joe: [00:00:47] Joseph Freeman. 

Frank: [00:00:49] Joey, what do we have on deck today? 

Joe: [00:00:51] Yeah, so we are going to answer the question who should not get in bed with RevOps? 

Frank: [00:00:57] Okay. That's an interesting question. Yeah. 

Joe: [00:00:59] Which a little bit feels like we're shooting ourselves in the foot cause we want everybody to engage in rev ops for a myriad of reasons, but. There really are some situations where you probably aren't going to be a great fit for trying to implement this. Right? 

Frank: [00:01:12] Yeah. I think from a number of angles, there are some things that are just tactical. Right? And I think there's some things that are philosophical and cultural.

Joe: [00:01:20] Yeah. I think it's all about commitments. If you're not willing to make a certain number of commitments, then it's going to fall flat. You're going to be kind of bummed. And it actually, it's going to be, an investment that is not investment, just a waste of money. 

Frank: [00:01:33] So I would agree with you. I think that the ability to commit the willingness to commit to certain things, which I think we're going to touch on. And the other thing I would say is expectations, right? So at certain sizes, which we'll talk about certain company sizes and whatnot, You have to have a certain expectations for what that looks like.

And then as you're, you know, a larger company, the expectation of what that looks like and who's involved. So I think properly set expectations and what you think is going to come as a result. 

Joe: [00:02:04] Yeah. Yep. One of the first things you need is the desire, right? I mean, I think that kind of goes without saying, but you need a desire to want to do this and not only do it, but go all in and stick with it for the long haul, right?

Frank: [00:02:19] Yeah. I think this is really all about doing business in a different way. And if you're not willing to commit to doing business in a different way, it's not worth doing, you shouldn't even make the effort and spend the time and headache and confuse everyone in your organization because just like anything, getting momentum on something like this is just going to take time and money. 

But the time is the biggest component. And the reason I say that is we live in an instant gratification world and business execs, business leadership. They're not immune to this. Right. We, we, we want it to happen this quarter, invest our time and money. We want, we want amazing results this quarter.

Yeah. And that doesn't always happen that way. If you just think about how long it's taken your organization to get to where it's at. It didn't happen in 90 days. You've been working at this for years, decades, maybe. And so when you decide to invest into your company and do something that is fundamentally different than what you've done, so that way you can be poised to be able to compete for this next chapter in your organization's journey.

That's not a small effort. That's not a small task. That's not a campaign. 

Joe: [00:03:34] No. No. And I can't tell you how many times we have talked to people who want to implement rev ops and we tell them, okay, this is going to help fix your process. This is going to help fix the platforms with the software and technology that you're using.

And this is going to help fix people involved. Right. And put everybody in the right seats and with the right roles and the right responsibilities. And as soon as we get in, really all they are interested in is what marketing campaigns are we going to run to get new leads? 

Frank: [00:04:00] Exactly. 

Joe: [00:04:02] It seems to come up all the time and, and there certainly is an aspect of these are the right quote-unquote campaigns or the right sort of brand building efforts needed to do that as part of rev ops. But it's also about the process that you put in place for sales and ultimately service teams and the alignment between each of those, right? As you jump from one to the next, like that's important and it's not all about leads by 90 days from now.

Frank: [00:04:26] I'm glad you bring this up because there are a lot of people who think that revenue operations is just a new cooler, fresher, slicker way. To increase your inbound lead flow. That's what they think. 

Joe: [00:04:38] And if you think that you're not a good fit for rev ops right now.

Frank: [00:04:40] Correct? That's not why you do RevOps.

Will you increase your leads? Yes. You will increase your leads. That's not why you do rev ops. That's not the sole benefit coming out of rev ops. Essentially, if you look at listen to one of our past episodes, we talk a lot about how. Ultimately, what you're trying to do is align your marketing sales and service teams so that way the net effect is optimized revenue. And so that means you're taking a lifecycle approach. Not only to the way you try to earn more revenue, but also in the experience you're trying to create for your buyers. Because you have both, both benefits, your buyers end up with a better experience and as a result, they buy more, they buy more often, they stay longer, they refer more. So you have all of those benefits, but then you have operational efficiencies because everyone internally is aligned and on the same page, it's just a different way to go about doing business. And so again, if you think it's like just a now new cool way to get more leads, Don't do it.

Joe: [00:05:47] Don't do it. 

You need a budget for it. This is an investment. And I think when we make an investment as business owners, obviously we're looking for a return that investment. But I think where we fall short is the ROI we're used to looking for is, is simply monetary and rev ops. Does it, does address that, but.

It also addresses the ROI in terms of peace of mind and in terms of long-term projections and all of these different things that make your life as a business owner, much less chaotic that's ROI, you know, that's money that's well spent. If you can go to sleep at night, knowing that when you wake up in the morning, you're going to know what your business is doing now and potentially in 13 months.

Frank: [00:06:28] Yeah. And a big part of what, at least our playbook on RevOps emphasizes is ensuring there are things built-in that create a system that operates for the long haul that will then set you up for those things like increased retention, increased referrals, increased repeat buys, and so on. Those are things that oftentimes.

I have a 12, 24, 36 month kind of lagging effect in. So what I often see a sin that a lot of business execs commit is they invest in something and they take a quote-unquote campaign mentality. Right? Let's give this 90 days. If you like are in that mentality, everything just gets 90 days. Don't do this, do not do this.

This is not only about optimizing revenue for what happens in 90 days, but there are a lot of efforts you're going to be putting in place. So that way you have a life cycle, a buyer's life cycle driven business. 

Joe: [00:07:26] Okay. I'm gonna speak to 90 days real quick. You actually can have wins in 90 days. What you need is someone who's leading the charge.

So your RevOps strategist, or your VP of RevOps. They need to understand what 90-day wins are. And it's not always new leads. It's not always closed business. They need to be able to help guide and encourage the team on seeing what those wins are every 90 days. And there are right. You've got new process that gets put into place and you've got new salespeople who now know what they're supposed to be doing, and they're all doing it the same way and that's a win and we need to celebrate that after 90 days.

So I think we just need a mental shift as to what 90-day sprints and wins actually look like. 

Frank: [00:08:05] Yeah, absolutely. 

Joe: [00:08:06] Yeah. Once you have the desire. 

Frank: [00:08:08] Oh, by the way, I'm going to just stop there. We keep using the 90-day thing and so in, in one way being short-term and thinking, you know, what is my ROI in 90 days?

That's oftentimes too short term. Yeah. So realigning your expectations. But we often do talk about 90-day execution. And so to your point, we are huge fans of that. So that way you can establish some objectives that you can measure results in the near term. Look back once you come to the end of that 90 days and say, what worked, what didn't work.

Let's now make adjustments for that next 90 days. And so you get into this 90-day cycle of improvement, in fact, yeah. In the book Principles by Ray Dalio, he talks about these, this like cycle of success and the cycle of success is this loop. That has a downward part to the loop before it loops back up to improvement.

And that downward part of the loop is what he points out is are the failure points that happen in any given effort that have to happen that have to happen in. So the 90-day cycles are critical because you need to be able to look at the failures, the things that didn't work, and that's where you're actually going to learn the most, right.

That's where you're going to learn the most. 

Joe: [00:09:20] 90 days is not magic by the way, it does happen to align with a lot of the B2B we work with in terms of their sales cycle. A lot of B2B is have eight to 12 weeks. You know, sales cycles and so 90-day metrics usually serve most well. If you do a rolling 90 days, you can see what's happening from start to finish for a lot of your prospects and potential.

Frank: [00:09:39] Yeah. And in the book, Traction, by Gino Wickman, he talks about the fact that most humans can't sustain attention on a given effort longer than 90 days. So the 90-day cycle is really great, Nicole. 

Joe: [00:09:52] Yep. Okay. So if you've got desire and if you're willing to spend the budget, great, maybe you are a good fit for rev ops, however.

You now need to have a few commitments. You need to be committed to data and analytics as one of the commitments. And, you know, I think this is more than just collecting the data. We come across companies all the time. And I think actually we've been, perpetrators of this as well, but the software we're in place now we're collecting all the data.

We've got the sessions from the websites and we've got the leads. We've got conversion rates. We got all this. And no one's really looking at it and no one's really making decisions based on the real data. So you have to be committed to that and you have to be committed to also saying, well, the data says we shouldn't make that move.

We're not going to make that move. Even if your gut says you should, because you know, from the past you've made that move, but that hasn't worked. So now you need to look at the numbers and you actually need to trust them. 

Frank: [00:10:44] I think I'll see what comes along with that is one of the disciplines of focus.

And so one of the things that we preach a lot when it comes to rev ops is this idea of looking at the data and finding the bottleneck. And so then the focus for the next 90 days needs to be on that bottleneck instead of trying to do everything. And this is where I see a lot of organizations fail is they want to tackle every, you know, market segment and every product offering.

They have all the time. And the reality is you don't, you'll never have enough time, money, or resources to do that. You're better off. If you spend the time focusing on the bottlenecks, keeping the things that are going, going on, autopilot, making sure that those things are continuing to run that are working well, but then any additional time you have you deploy it completely to the bottleneck.

So the data's really critical there. And if you or your organization has a hard time, hyper-focusing in. On efforts and initiatives, and you're trying to do 37 different initiatives at once. Culturally, if, if you can't change that do not do a RevOps, rev ops requires you to focus and that's really critical.


Joe: [00:11:53] it requires here's another one. It requires that everybody's involved. And if you think that you're going to spin up rev ops and have a couple of kickoff meetings and then hand it off to somebody in your organization to just run with it. You're not a good fit. You need the CEO involved. You need all stakeholders involved.

There needs to be regular touch points. And this needs to be, I think you just said it, it needs to be a cultural mind shift. It's not just a hire the person who knows what they're doing and let them work behind the scenes. 

Frank: [00:12:18] Yeah, that's it. Especially at the executive level, you don't, like you said, uh, write a paycheck for this.

This is not like just a paycheck, an additional paycheck on your payroll. You know, this is a, a function that has to be tightly integrated with not only the executive team, but then the heads of each of the functional areas, right. Marketing, sales, and service. And some of those people are probably on your executive team, but this person kind of becomes that clue.

Yeah. And they need to. So let's talk about that now that we're talking about this person, the kind of authority that this person needs to have, whoever's leading the charge. Um, the authority is really critical because. If culturally, they don't respect this person or they don't see this person as driving the strategy for what's happening.

They're not going to be effective in that role. And so culturally, if you're working in silos and you're your units right now, don't work well together and you don't foresee that they will work well together. Let's not go down this path because rev ops requires that those three units market, those functions, marketing sales, and service work together very closely and they get on the same page and they all nod their head and agree.

Yep. This is the bottleneck. Yep. Here's what we're going to do about it. Yeah. And without that. you're going to have failure. 

Joe: [00:13:37] Again, this is a cultural shift and this is a long-term play. So if you're not willing to do that yet, I think there will come a time soon where everybody's going to have to do that just because the world is changing businesses changing.

There's a reason that this conversation is emerging in a really big way right now. And it has been for the last, you know, two years ish. I think it's going to become the new norm. So you're going to have to get on board at some point, but if you're not going to get on board right now, don't try it.

You're just going to get bummed. You're just going to waste money and you're probably gonna, you know, spiral a little bit. 

Frank: [00:14:06] Yeah. This is not, you know, just another point in your org chart, you fill it and like, yeah, we're doing it. That's not, not how this works. Yeah. It's not how any of this works. 

Joe: [00:14:18] So I think ultimately, all companies should do RevOps and I think ultimately all companies will. I think that's just, you know, the new frontier in business over the next 10 years, but let's talk a little bit about implementation because different companies can start, RevOps and put it in place. But implementation might look a little bit different for every company, right?

Frank: [00:14:40] Yeah. We talked about this a little bit. In a previous episode, we talked about the people episode. So if you go, go look that up. That's an interesting episode. We go through all the different roles of rev ops, but I mean, I think if you're a smaller company, the RevOps champion might be the GM might be the COO.

It's going to be whoever, you know, the general is of the business. That's probably who it's going to be. You're going to have to be the rev ops champion. You're going to have to be the one who is the data analyst, getting those three business functions together. Identifying the bottlenecks and then really leading the charge on what's the strategy to address that bottleneck.

But the one thing I would suggest is make sure you let the heads of each of those functions determine the plan, right? So we do this in our quarterly planning anyway, right in our organization, we will develop the objective, right. We call that the rock and that's the objective. That's what we need to accomplish.

But the, how. The person who owns that rock, the unit that owns that rock, they need to come up with the plan. How are we going to do that? And so if you're the RevOps champion and you're the GM, you're the COO because of your size, you can't afford to hire an additional person. You're going to have to let go a little bit. You're going to have to stop being the man or the woman who defines everything, tells everyone exactly how they're going to do it. You're going to have to step back and just say, here's the bottleneck. Here's the high level strategy to address that bottleneck. How we do that, how we accomplish that, lean on those function heads to come up with that plan, let them come up with the plan that you're going to then get more buy-in, you're going to get more light because if you try to do this thing where you then just dictate it to your, your function heads, that's not going to go for real well. 

Joe: [00:16:26] Yeah. I think the question who shouldn't do RevOps is a bit loaded. Really? Everybody should do it. Right. 

Frank: [00:16:32] Surprise

Joe: [00:16:34] Revenue operations is just that. Everybody, if you own a business, and if you want revenue, you need to operationalize that you got to do it, and there's different ways to do it. And there's probably different times when you should get in bed with it. And I think that's really what we're talking about here. 

Frank: [00:16:47] I, I think on that note, Joe, if I can interrupt you, I apologize, but...

Joe: [00:16:50] You already did.

Frank: [00:16:51] I'm going to, and I'll do it again, but I, but I think, I think you hit on something that's really important to emphasize in that. If you're an organization that doesn't have your current revenue pipeline, your current revenue experience, operationalized, if revenue for you today still is a bit unpredictable and it's a bit of a crystal ball that you wish you had, that you, you know, you can't really foresee and what you need. RevOps, revops aims to make that much more predictable. I think that's a great point that that's why I think most organizations need this because they don't have a predictable revenue pipeline, you know, their experience, their relationship to revenue is that it's fleeting and scarce.

Joe: [00:17:36] Well if you do already have that, then you're effectively, already doing RevOps. You don't necessarily need a plan. You know, we have a prescribed sort of way to get started with it. We have a way to continue with it and to flex the muscles you're not already flexing, but if you're doing it, you're doing it.

Frank: [00:17:51] Yeah. 

Joe: [00:17:51] You've already got your operationalized approach to revenue and that's all the point is here. 

Frank: [00:17:56] Yeah. Regardless of what you call it, right. I mean, you might have in your business already where, you know, you've got your, your buyer's path outlined by critical points. And you have KPIs for each of those points and, you know, maybe your COO, your GM has already had that dashboarded and you got the metrics that are your indicators so it's never a surprise you may be. Or if you're doing that, you're, you're essentially doing rev ops. Don't worry about, you know, all right. 

I think that brings us to the end of the topic. Frankie. 

Great. This has been fun. Join us for our next episode. We're going to be diving into this concept even further.

We're going to be talking about some of the things that we touched on today in further detail, but thanks for joining us today. Hope to see you back on another episode, remember to like share, subscribe and give us a shout out and let us know how we're doing.


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