RevOps finally seems to be getting some of the recognition it deserves as a vital and strategic function. But, our work isn’t done yet.
So, we sat down with the managers of the Sales Ops Leaders community and authors of The 2021 RevOps Growth Framework. They’ve shared a behind-the-scenes look at the results from their survey of over 40 revenue and sales operations leaders.
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Kevin: Something curious is that we saw full-cycle sales reps were also deployed for sale cycle lengths of over five months and more. I personally would have assumed that they would start more into a separation of account-based SDRs and expansion SDRs.
You should really consider and talk to your peers here about deploying the full-cycle sales and sales reps. Because from the data, it’s shown that these full-cycle sales reps are not only valuable for smaller ACVs and sales cycles. These reps are also valuable for large ACVs, even more than those dedicated account-based and expansion reps.
Kevin: I was interested in the question: “Does a higher ACV automatically also means a longer sales cycle?” It’s something that you would assume somehow. Our data painted a relatively clear picture that you won’t find the smallest ACVs with sales cycles over five months. And you wouldn’t also find the biggest ACVs in below one-month sales cycles.
Interestingly, most companies can also close deal sizes of 25,000 to 49,000, relatively big, in not only three to four, but also one to two months.
I find this really impressive, and the lesson that I learned here is that you shouldn’t see a high ACV as an excuse for longer sales cycles. There are data shown from the sales deals that are publicly shared data. Many companies can push relatively high ticket deals through the pipeline in less than two months.
And it seems more a matter of efficient processes than what your deal size looks like.
Surprisingly, many companies can push relatively high ticket deals through the pipeline in less than two months.Kevin Probst, Business Intelligence Manager at Alasco
Kevin: I had the following questions: “What kind of CRMs those companies are actually using? Can I derive any information on what kind of CRM is best suited and based on your average sales cycle? Is there any implication? Is there any insight?”
My hypothesis would have been that as companies become more mature, then also eventually turn to enterprise sales. And also, therefore, longer sales cycles.
This means that they are gradually switching from smaller CRMs to bigger and more complex ones. But interestingly the data from the survey shows that Salesforce is really the first choice tool, regardless of your deal, size and velocity.
Salesforce seems to be suited for all sized ACVs, both short and long sales cycles. But here, like a personal note, Salesforce’s flexibility is somehow a double-edged sword. It’s important to have somehow a set of fixed processes that won’t change completely in the future. Because you don’t want to hire a Salesforce consultant every three months to adapt the system landscape according to recent process updates.
So, it’s really powerful for most ACVs, regardless of the sales cycle. But you really should know your processes before switching to Salesforce and not afterward trying to adapt them.
Yash: Sometimes people reach out to me directly for certain things, sometimes just because I’m involved in all the departments. I keep my eyes open then, I see something, and I wonder if this other team knows about this change.
Sometimes I create more work for myself, but that is how you have to do it. You have to be proactive in this case because people are not always going to come to you and tell you: “Hey, I’m going to make this change” and how they’re going to impact the other departments. That doesn’t happen. I wish it did.
I’m discovering things all the time, and I’m just like: “Hey, let me speak to the other team first. How is that going to impact them?“
You have to be proactive as a RevOps because people are not always going to come to you.Yash Arora, Senior Sales Operations Manager at Returnly
Yash: When you look at the numbers, you have certain reps who are more conservative. Or you have certain reps who are more positive. And you’re never a hundred percent sure ever if you’re going to hit your number.
What you can do is look at the behavior patterns of the reps outside of just listening to them. And over time understand how they behave, but also looking at it in a scientific manner.
I personally use this tool called Atrium which is a great tool. It generates insights for you or alerts for you even before something has happened.
Giving an example, rep A in this case had a pipeline with a two times higher win rate and 52 percent faster sales cycle. And they’re going to hit 25 percent. They’re going to go 25 percent over their target, even though they have less opportunities.
You think about this rep, and you think about the forecast. And it tells you that this rep is more efficient, and you can trust their forecast more in certain ways for the month because you see that their win rate is obviously better, and they’re closing deals faster.
In the same example, you see that another rep has more opportunities, a lower win rate, longer sales cycle. Their forecast maybe you have to, maybe lower it down lower it a little bit, and that’s one thing. The other thing that is happening here is you can influence their behavior.
You can see Rep A is doing something right, Rep B is not. So, you value your forecasting and also understand things about the reps and can help them improve.
Tom: I think that as the world realizes that as we become more distributed across geographies and more people are moving out of the cities than ever before, they’re leaving the office life behind forever. We need better tools, a great question came up just now in the chat from Maya about Knowledge Management, which is a huge part of it as well.
Think about the graph above as a shopping list. So, everything in the middle is the existing Tech Stacks and on the outside are what people want the most.
What we see is lots of companies already have CRM systems and they have marketing automation. What they don’t have is management or coaching tools and that includes Knowledge Management and rep coaching.
It includes conversational AI and some of the big trending tools like Gong. And I think what we can see from this is the companies that are planning to buy, they’re moving more and more to this world of Lead intelligence, Rep management and Rep coaching. And that’s because you need to get more value out of every single headcount in your team.
Everyone’s being pushed a bit to prove ROI more than ever before. It’s about understanding how you can synthesize a framework that doesn’t just add great tools and great CRMs but also makes them easy to use and easy to train people on.
Tom: I think we’re going to see a boom in sales enablement. Right now I’m hiring multiple sales enablement managers into my team because we can really start to see that for every new tool I buy, we need to be constantly training reps.
That means managing their knowledge, managing their access to information, and managing feedback cycles as well. We need to get on the ground information about what’s frustrating to use about these tools and continuously optimize them.
A lot of companies create a tool, they have a rollout process, they might, send out a Google doc and they’re done. It needs to become a continuous cycle. So, I’ve seen a lot of trends towards the sales operations team moving to these project management tools like the Atlassian Suite.
I’ve also seen a lot of companies moving towards products like Quip, which blend document management with project management. But I do think aside from the relatively short amount of technologies that bring a lot of that together, like Guru, we are going to see a boom in that space.
A lot of companies add a tool, they have a rollout process, they might, send out a Google doc and they’re done. But, training needs to become a continuous cycle.Tom Andrews, Sales Strategy & Ops Lead at Builder.ai
Tom: The next big tool space that’s going to really take off will be properly integrated Knowledge Management. If any of you follow a company called Spekit, three years ago, they were tiny. And now they are booming and just went through a massive funding round.
And it’s all because of what they give you as an overlay via a Chrome extension that allows you to interact with this knowledge layer. Thinking about the data in our systems: the data layer, the operations layer, and some of the clever automation we put.
If you’re thinking about using that data to then take action, I think the next layer everyone needs to look at is the knowledge layer. It’s the more human element to the systems and also how people interact with them. This means, keep up with the growing tech stack.
Tom: We’ve got this really interesting graphic (below) that looks at the involvement in overall strategic decisions. Towards the right-hand side is where Revenue Ops and Sales Ops are taking kind of a leadership decision. I think we need to see a lot more of the darker colors here.
Passively we’re the experts on most of the systems processes the way sales is happening. So, naturally, we form relationships with finance and synergies with marketing because they’re part of the overall ecosystem as well.
And I think more and more especially as companies scale we’re going to have a lot of decisions that will need to come back. What is that fundamental working process that drives the revenue ecosystem? We’re best placed as experts to lead that change.
It definitely is a problem in a lot of organizations, where marketing has scaled faster than people expected. Sales is more complex than most people ever realize. Finance is a world of pain for most salespeople and they didn’t think about revenue recognition. And I do personally think it’s up to revenue operations leaders to step in.
Where that’s not possible, it’s about finding that one person in the Exec Team who’s going to sponsor you. They can help you to get your point of view to the top table where Revenue operations has to be taking a seat.
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