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Weekly Episodes - Listen on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, & Google.

The Digital Utopia Podcast Episode #41

DEBATE: Is RevOps a good fit for SMBs?

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Ep 41

 

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

Joe  
When we talk about who makes a good Reb ops leader, not a team of Rev Ops, but a Rev ops leader, I think you need to have that heavy tech component because what you're describing is fantastic. But it's fantastic for probably an enterprise level business.
 
Intro  
You were listening to the digital utopia podcast, a resource dedicated to helping b2b leadership and executives gain clarity and focus in a chaotic marketplace.
 
Frank  
Hey, gang, welcome to the digital utopia podcast, Episode 41. I'm your host, Frank Cowell. And I'm joined by my co host, 
 
Joe  
Joseph Freeman
 
Frank  
We have a bit of a disagreement going this morning, we're talking about rev ops as it relates to SMB's, and I have some very strong opinions. And I think, Joe, you have some mild pain, I think they're pretty weak at this point. You're gonna have to, like prove your case to me.
 
Joe  
You know what, just because you can Corinne rotti kick me better than anybody else doesn't mean you can beat me in every argument.
 
Frank  
We need to at some point show our listeners if you're watching the video version, my moves. And they might be I'm sure there'll be impressed.
 
Joe  
Well, we're gonna we're gonna go from 12 down to six listeners after that.
 
Frank  
So let's talk about it. Let's get it on. Yeah, rev ops for SMBs. You know, I think there are big questions around whether or not rev ops is applicable for SMBs? And if so, what portion of rev ops do you run? Because rev ops is a big conversation. And I think first SMBs, it can be a bit overwhelming.
 
Joe  
Yeah. And I think the other question that has come up, kind of riddled in there, and maybe we're most of the disagreement is is, who is the right? You know, quote unquote, rev ops leader? Who should you be looking for? Who should you be hiring? Who sits in that seat? And what are their credentials? What is their history that gets them to a point where they are qualified to even do that? So ready, begin? 
 
Frank  
Yeah, so I think for small business, the thing that we have to be careful of when trying to implement Reb ops. And when I say we, I just mean, we as a business community. When trying to implement rev Ops, when you're an SMB, the thing that you have to be careful of is that the time spent doing the function, when compared with a company that say, is 5x, in spending the same time, you're going to get more output on the company, that's 5x. Because rev ops is about leveraging information and leveraging your solutions. In a small business, you only have so much throughput, whether it's with your traffic, whether it's with your sales velocity, whether it's with your repeat buyers in your customer base, you just only have so much to leverage in so you could spend the same time and only bear so much fruit, and it may not pencil out in terms of ROI. And so that's the distinction I think we have to make sure our listeners understand is if you're a small midsize business, you have to be careful about the time investment. And I think what's important is to understand, okay, what activities should you be doing, then of the entire rev ops function? There are certainly some activities that you can focus on, and try to maximize the ROI of your time in this area. And then I think there's some other things around tech that can help you as well. So that way, you're not. You don't have those headaches to your plate?
 
Joe  
Hmm. Yeah. And I think as we work, you know, we work mostly with SMBs. Right? We we have experience, obviously, with bigger companies as well. And I think the the difference that we see at least that I see, is it bigger companies, the RevOps conversation really has to be more around tech, because in most cases, there's many departments using many different types of software with much data flowing through. And nobody really knows what's happening, where with whom, at any given time. And so connecting all of that is super important. Right? So Reb ops becomes a big tech conversation. Now in that there's also process that has to be adhere to to make sure that data is flowing through the tech properly and that, you know, offline things are happening to continue to push away the revenue bottleneck. When we come down to an SMB level. Tech is not that crazy. In most organizations, a lot of times, there's a couple pieces of software. And sometimes in a lot of, you know, companies we work with, they're using HubSpot. So there's oftentimes just one piece of software, which is really cool, because it's already all talking to itself, the service hub, and the sales hub and the marketing hub, all the data is flowing into the same, you know, account and it can all talk to each other. So the tech becomes a little bit less of the conversation. And the process really becomes a big part of that conversation. Right? When you start to see that there's a revenue bottleneck at your opportunities level or maybe down at your leads level. It's less about how do we get the tech talking to figure out how to clean this up and more about what do we do? whose responsibility is it to help move this bottleneck out of the way and so I think That's a huge distinction too in the SMB conversation when it as it relates to rev ops is it's all about tech, it's all about process. But there's kind of a waiting there, you know, it's it's waited every year in tech, in my experience with the big companies weighted heavier on process with small companies.
 
Frank  
I think so I think this is where we do agree. I think for small businesses, I think it's really important small to midsize in in just to help our listeners, I think the range we often talk about in that room is you know, zero to 50 million, you know, somewhere in there as you're at SMB. And I think businesses in that range really have to get their platform dialed in. So that way, they're not just adding unnecessary headaches by having multiple systems doing things in spreadsheets and 42 different software's to run the business, the idea that you're going to get it down to one and only one is probably not realistic, but you can certainly decrease it dramatically, and unifying the platform. I think it's really important for small businesses in that range, especially when we talk about the growth function, the growth aspects, right, which is marketing sales service, you have other things like admin, you have other things like finance, you have, you know, what have you r&d, but I think marketing, sales and service, I think those are especially important to get into one platform. Because if you can do that, the tech that that one platform is going to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, and show you, you know, where things are following down in that process, you'll be able to see your best customers where they came from, originally from the moment they clicked on a tweet of yours, for example. And so to have that 360 degree view of your customers, I think is job number one when it comes to the tech, your other functions, you know, admin and maybe even some service delivery. Maybe those are in other systems, but getting marketing sales and like the the customer service aspect of of your operations and getting that in there is so critical. And but but here's where I think is the it takes a step out of that is once that's in place, then I think whoever leads that function has to be very business analyst minded so they can get the organization focused on the one problem we have right now. In fact, I've often been calling this you know, the Boulder, like the the idea that organizations have rocks that they're working on each quarter, and rocks are your projects or your your objectives that have been elevated to, you know, major attention level. So you have your rocks, but to me like there's one Boulder, there's, there's like the big rock. And that's the number one problem in the company right now, or the number one initiative right now. You know, I remember Vern harnish telling the story about how Apple when they were wanting to get into retail jobs is number one rock is Boulder, if you will, was retail. That's it. That's all he did. He just focused all his effort there. Because they their imperative was to get retail in play. And he had a certain vision for it. So that became their Boulder. So whether it's in a more goal oriented or whether it's problem oriented, I think that business analyst minded person needs to focus the company there and keep everybody's attention there. And keep everybody understanding why that's important and what progress is being made towards that.
 
Joe  
Yeah. Well, and the question came up in, I believe it was a forum, who should be hired who should be considered as a rev ops leader in my organization? Actually, I think the question came from somebody who is aspiring to be a Rev ops person, what should my background be? What should I start studying now? or working in now to be ready to be a rev ops leader? And I thought that was a really interesting question, because we do talk a lot about it being a business analyst. But in my experience, and even on the SMB level, I think you need to be tech minded. And this is where the disagreement I think comes in. I think we both agree that you need to be a business analyst and have some tech savvy, I think you need to almost be more tech savvy in a lot of ways. Because understanding where the bottleneck is, from a business standpoint, great. You need to do that. Being able to, you know, having an analytical skills to be able to dig deep to figure out really what's causing that, yes, you absolutely need to do that. But then you get a little bit stuck. If your next step is well, I don't know how to fix this. From a technical standpoint, if you have to then go to a developer to help architect that now you've kind of split that Rev ops role into two in my mind. And I think the real true effect of RevOps leaders are the ones who can do both. And I also recognize that that's a unicorn. There are not a lot of people who have been on a marketing team at some point, and then a sales team at another point and then also helped to deliver some service and then also are geeking out on dev stuff and have a little programming background and also are analytical And oh, by the way, they're also great at communication. I think you need all of those skills. And I think that's a bit of a unicorn and I think that's where we're getting into trouble in the RevOps community. Understanding who is the perfect person there is the perfect person is few and far between
 
Frank  
and so This is where I disagree. I think when you talk about people who are going to lead functions, you need leaders. First and foremost, in any given function, one of the primary skill sets needed is leadership, communication, you know, calm under pressure, knowing how to see the forest through the trees. And so having someone who's more of a business strategist lead that. And having some tech understanding is important. But we're talking about as you grow the function beyond one person, look, that Reb ops team should be that strategist, they should also have an analyst on their team. And they should also have an architect, someone who is the tech savvy person, but make no mistake, that business leader works hand in hand with the CEO, to ensure that they're executing on the CEOs vision. And so to be able to lead the organization and rally marketing and sales and service together and get them into those conversations, and know how to lead them. So they can believe in the solution and believe that they're moving in the right direction, I think is job number one, you can hire analysts you can hire architects, leadership to, in my opinion, is is the most valuable skill in that area.
 
Joe  
So I'm seeing right now where we're disagreeing, because I actually do not disagree with that. I believe that 100%. But when we talk about who makes a good rev ops leader, not a team of rev Ops, but a rev ops leader, I think you need to have that heavy tech component, because what you're describing is fantastic. But it's fantastic for probably an enterprise level business. It's fantastic if you have salaries to dole out to a team that can spend all of their time doing that. But most companies, even beyond SMB are not really budgeted for that, at least in my experience. And so when you need to find the single person who's going to drive this forward, I think you are kind of looking for a unicorn, I think you're looking for somebody who has spent 10 plus years, not in a role as a sales leader or a marketing leader, and now they're just interested in RevOps, I think they've skipped around and done a whole bunch of stuff.
 
Frank  
Yeah, but then I think what we're talking about is we're really offloading business strategy and leadership back to the COO, which, when you're in a small company, that is your job, if you're the COO, your job is to kind of do "rev Ops", you know, optimize revenue. In other words, as things flow marketing sales service, how are you optimizing that machine for the most growth possible. So in, in that scenario, where I would agree with you, as sure have someone who's tech to kind of be to be that right hand to the COO, we've talked about that before. But you know, business leadership and strategy that's still going to come from the COO, not this tech person. And I think that the challenge, if you put someone who's primarily tech focused in leadership of any position, they're, they're going to look for tech solutions to every problem. You know, it's that that old saying, if you've got a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And so I think, to me, that's why leadership and strategy come first. But in that scenario, I agree with you that in a small business, you are better off putting a right hand to the COO that is very technically savvy, because they're ultimately going to be implementing solutions driven by the COO. And maybe they can bring some suggestions. But those suggestions and recommendations, in my opinion, are going to be more tactical. What we should do about this problem is still probably going to be answered by the COO/GM.
 
Joe  
So I'd be really interested to hear what the community thinks about this. I feel like we should put that out there and have a communal conversation around it. Because, you know, of course, I'm not always right. In fact, I'm mostly not right. But this is what I feel.
 
Frank  
And that's why you have me, that's why you have me on this show,
 
Joe  
the almost always right guy to come alongside.
 
Frank  
I'll take that. I'll take that. Alright. You know, as I've gotten older and wiser, I'll take moments.
 
Joe  
But you know, wrapping this back to SMBs. I think it's worth bringing up again, something we've talked about on previous episodes, but as an SMB, I'm interested in rev ops. At what point do I actually need to consider a rev ops leader as part of that conversation, as opposed to just my companies adopting DevOps mindset, I as the CEO, I as the COO, or whoever is just going to kind of push this conversation forward. But we don't need a dedicated, you know, role for that. And so, where do you think that breaks down? 
 
Frank  
So I think, I think early on, when you're just now needing the CEO realizes they just need some help. Because what happens is in today's world, due to the tech, and due to the amount of information that we deal with, say that becomes overwhelming, right, that that becomes an overwhelming additive to the job of COO. So I think the first thing is getting some sort of right hand person and you could probably do that fractional if that's what we do for our clients not to put out a commercial here, but that that right hand or that advisory, to the COO, I think is the very first step because that role can do a lot of the Tech analysis they can do guide some of the tech implementation guide, you know, some of the more tactical implementation around whether it's content and whatnot. And they can be that advisor and say, Hey, I see what you're wanting to accomplish. Here are some some ways that can get done. Oh, by the way, here's an analysis. This is kind of flashing off what's happening in this area. And the questions can go back to the COO/GM. So I think that's, that's the first step for small businesses is when you're ready, is it's more of a right hand to that role.
 
Joe  
So you said not to put out a commercial, but I actually think we are putting out a commercial because the truth is, so if you're listening to this, you are interested in this. And you should actually work with, you know, an agency that understands a rev ops mentality, whether you're working with you know, we preach HubSpot, whether you're working on HubSpot, or anything else, I think you should get a fractional help there, because you are going to be able to push stuff forward quicker for a third of the cost of a dedicated person. The truth is, in many small businesses, this is not really a full time gig. This is, you know, a kind of a part time maybe a third time someone has to just be checking in once a week and making sure things are pushing forward and then really keeping the three departments wrangled. And by that I mean the the marketing the sales and the service depart getting. So getting them aligned, whether it is you work with us or somebody else, that part probably doesn't matter at all. I do think you need help as an SMB with this.
 
Frank  
You really do you really do you mentioned I think you encapsulated well, right? Get the tech platform in place. So you are operating from one source of truth, get the guidance to understand, okay, here's what's happening with this data, here are the things that we're seeing. And by the way, let's get a process going. So those three departments are aligned, mean that right there is huge, right? That just that alone is huge for a business, especially a business that's growing. And you're at a point where you need this help, but you're not ready to bring on these six figure salaries and multiple positions,
 
Joe  
want to take it to people. So we talked about Rev ops to the lens of you know, you need to get your process optimized, and you get your platform optimized, and you got to have your people optimize to make sure that all of that process has been executed properly on that platform. Yep. And, you know, I just think that with outside help, fractional help, you're going to get all of that kind of bundled together. And I think if you are going to build out a team to do that in house, maybe you can, and maybe you should, but you can do the math on that. I mean, that's a lot of salaries to make sure that that has always been optimized properly,
 
Frank  
You're gonna step into that over time. And certainly, I wouldn't suggest, I hope our clients over time start to grow that function more and more. And that's why the way we help our clients as we come in almost like the, you know, the, I've been using the phrase Special Forces, right, so we're going to guide you, and then we have some special forces for you. And so this way, you have the best of both worlds. And it kind of just makes sense. But yeah, if you're here today, and you're listening, you're in that range zero to 50 million. And you realize, hey, this stuff's getting more complex, we need to figure out how we optimize this growth system that we're trying to develop. And we need the help, we'd love to talk to you actually. So come visit us at digit topia dot agency on the interwebs. And if you'd like to learn more about the information that Joe and I talked about here, we talk about our methodology quite often, you can go to buildingyourdigitalutopia.com, buildingyourdigitalutopia.com. That's all we have for you today. I would love for you guys to take up, Joe on his suggestion of commenting and starting a conversation around your thoughts on this very subject. Again, go to building your digital utopia.com. We have a list of all the podcasts and you can start the engagement there. But until next time, folks, thanks for joining us. We'll talk to you soon.
 
 
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