Last week on May 25 I had the pleasure to host an AMA with Dr. Jenn Deering Davis, a RevOps expert and thought leader. Jenn has had a pretty amazing career, from getting a PhD in Organization Communications and Technology to now growing her second startup, Gradient Works. During that AMA, I was able to ask her some questions I had about RevOps – about its fundamental purpose and where it’s headed.
If you hadn’t read any of our previous blog posts, you probably wouldn’t think to equate Operations with Customer Experience, but that is in fact the challenge RevOps is trying to solve. After her Ph.D., Davis started out in Communications at the first company she founded, Union Metrics. While Union Metrics isn't a publishing company, her title was still Editor-in-chief. In short, Jenn was the company’s customer experience orchestrator, making sure that the messaging of that organization stayed consistent across the board, from press releases to social posts to sales decks.
While brand marketing, messaging and communication don’t fall under the job description of RevOps professionals, creating and maintaining a consistent customer experience still is. It’s ops who are responsible for the way your customers engage with your company as they enable how your marketing, sales, and success teams operate. And if you want to learn more about that, I highly recommend this blog by Alison Elworthy.
With a great customer experience at its core, the RevOps team is in charge of your company's revenue engine: from creation to maintenance, to optimization. If Implementing RevOps has one main benefit, it's the ability to get a system-level perspective on all processes, platforms, and data that your company runs on. Having that kind of holistic perspective helps prevent redundancies and will increase efficiency.
Davis added that with phrases such as ‘increasing efficiencies’, ‘preventing redundancies’, there is a connotation that RevOps will lead to lay-offs. That’s a misconception clarified Davis. While adopting RevOps will likely trigger some restructuring and change management, the intention is not to have automation replace human resources. After all, RevOps is a methodology to help take companies from linear growth to exponential scale. Its intention is to unlock more revenue per headcount, and not to remove any.
Jenn compared the rise of RevOps to the rise of Customer Success. The latter still is a relatively new department that has become much more established in recent years. Revenue Operations is still very much in its infancy, but it's beginning to get some traction and acknowledgment in the industry. While a lot of people have been figuring out the 'what?' – this blog post included – there's a lot of uncertainty about the 'how?'. Getting best practices out there will require some trial and error, but if there is one tip Davis has for companies, is that it's never too late to start adopting that RevOps mindset. However, she advises caution: "Smaller businesses and start-ups should not invest in a RevOps department too soon". Having a dedicated RevOps team likely only makes sense once the business has grown to a certain size.
With the creation of new departments, there are some big questions that come with it: what is the skill set I should look for in people. To this question, Davis added that a successful operator should be someone who is a problem solver. Someone who likes to get their hands dirty and troubleshoot workflows and integrations, but also someone who can think critically about the implemented processes and pushes for innovations. Having some experience in sales, marketing or success always helps because RevOps requires cross-functional collaboration. Having empathy towards the department you’re supporting as an operator will greatly help you understand how to craft better solutions that not only service their needs but also your own.
And that concludes my main learnings. What did you learn during the AMA? Please share what stuck with you in the comment section below!