In researching revenue operations (RevOps) best practices and trends, I keep coming across the theme of connectivity. I noticed it cropping up again as one of the top pain points for RevOps leaders in the recent SmartBug Media survey, which asked over 200 revenue teams what leaders needed for their organizations to be successful five years from now.
In the survey, the need for connectivity was expressed in terms of seeking more connected technology and more connected teams but also in needing help to become more connected. Results showed that 84 percent of respondents felt they needed more cross-departmental processes and technology. And more than 96 percent indicated that shared data across systems will be important to their success. Talk about #breakingdownsilos!
In the March 2021 panel discussion, “Where RevOps and Inbound Collide in 2021,” SmartBug Media Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) Jen Spencer presented results from the survey I mentioned above. Here are my takeaways and notes from the panel:
RevOps teams need the right data to be available in the right systems at the time they need to use it, according to Mallory Lee, Senior Director of Revenue Operations at Terminus Software. She explained that it’s important to have accuracy in all your systems as well as timeliness and real-time availability of data, which is especially important when you go to market.
Dan Wardle, head of sales at Vidyard, agreed, stating that standardization and measurement are important so that all teams in an organization can access the same data, which is measured the same way. And this data doesn’t just include sales and marketing information, but also product data. Dan added that teams need to evaluate what kind of technology and data points they need to ensure all members of the team are on the same page.
But when do you put this in play? Timing can be an issue, but Jen Spencer felt that companies shouldn’t wait ‘till all their RevOps infrastructure is in place before they market, sell, or achieve customer success.
Mallory said that it typically evolves out of necessity as organizations acquire businesses, add product lines, or merge sales teams. In contrast, Dan stated that implementation could occur too early, not just too late, so that organizations might measure the wrong things and have to redo it.
According to survey results, 64 percent of revenue leaders said they wouldn’t purchase new technology if it didn’t include native integration to their customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Jen shared her frustration in having to get additional technology to make systems “talk” to each other. Dan agreed, admitting that he’d been mistaken a couple of times in thinking that different technologies would connect. He recommended doing your due diligence to ensure it works. (In my opinion, I think that could be done by verifying documentation and meeting with team members to ensure all points are covered. One reason why documentation is so important!)
The need for greater connectivity may not pose as much of a problem in smaller organizations because they can get by with manual processes when the volume is lower. Dan warned, however, that manual processes can break quickly and create more work than they need to do.
Dan emphasized that an organization’s CRM needs to be the “single source of truth” so that different departments obtain the same answer. “If it's not connecting there natively, there's just too many areas for human error,” he said.
Mallory said that the complexity and interdependency built into disparate systems make it all so hard to manage. The goal is simplicity, in her opinion, which is what native integration typically offers. Even though systems can inherently be complicated, at least you know them, and you’re not adding or introducing third-party products into the mix just to get systems to “talk” to each other.
It’s true that documentation helps, according to Jen, but “it's so easy to break things.” Also, companies that grow quickly don’t always have the time to create documentation or put systems in place, and that's just when those breakdowns occur.
Jen’s ideal technology integration is when users get warnings or prompts regarding changes they attempt to make. This type of intuitive integration shows that the companies that developed those technology products were really thinking about the user experience. “That's where I think we're going from an integration perspective,” she said.
Revenue teams can now envision critical operational efficiency through technology and processes. It’s an exciting time to be involved in RevOps, and I look forward to continuing to explore how connectivity impacts RevOps as we learn more about where the future state of companies who adopt a RevOps strategy. As revenue operators, I think it's important to stay connected both in the processes we use and in the software we employ. What do you think?