When Meredith Schmidt joined Salesforce more than 17 years ago, her first big challenge was to make sales and finance love each other.
Schmidt, executive vice president of Salesforce Revenue Cloud, is quick to explain how Revenue Operations (RevOps) enables that love. This business-to-business (B2B) function gathers customer data into one place, automates the flow of that data through every touchpoint in the revenue lifecycle, and gives finance and sales a single customer view that helps them work together to create growth.
Companies across industries are in a frenzy of RevOps adoption. The Rise of Revenue Operations, a 2021 Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Salesforce, shows that 86 percent of executives say RevOps is important to meeting company goals. Yet less than half of those same execs (41 percent) feel very confident in their understanding of RevOps.
As a result, the RevOps adoption trend is about to look like a hockey stick: 32 percent of executives currently identify one person at their company who is responsible for revenue growth. Within two years, 89 percent of executives say they will have such a person. And Schmidt, who created RevOps and its team, is now preparing for that RevOps evolution. In a recent webinar, she and Jennifer Lagaly, executive vice president of sales for Tableau Americas at Salesforce, shared their vision to speed up and automate processes, while also giving RevOps users deeper insights and analytics.
Benefits to sales and finance, using RevOps
To overcome the impasse of finance’s focus on margins and compliance versus the sales team’s desire to close deals quickly, Schmidt and Lagaly shared how RevOps is helping sales and finance focus on the same thing: the customer. Every time the customer interacts with the company, that information is captured in a single platform. Every team that has access to the platform has access to the same insights and data to help grow the relationships.
Those insights and analytics help both teams. Finance can lean on automation to validate transactions rapidly and accurately, ensure compliance, and protect margins across all channels. They can also study customer behavior to innovate on pricing models and identify new revenue opportunities. “With RevOps, finance teams are now saying, ‘How do I speed up and take friction out of the deal cycle while doing good deals?’” Schmidt says. “Then they are working with sales teams to say, ‘Here are some good levers of growth’ that maybe they haven’t seen before.”
Sales can use the data to identify customer similarities and suggest other products, allowing them “to sell better and to create a better customer experience,” Lagaly adds.
Meanwhile, over in finance, the chief revenue officer has ready access to customer data that used to be locked away in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The same 360-degree customer view helps account executives bring more value to the table with every conversation. And finance automation-- enabled by RevOps-- helps sales teams move faster to secure approvals and get quotes out the door.
It’s the ultimate win-win.
How to bring RevOps into your company
RevOps is relevant to any size business with 10 to 10,000 employees. To bring RevOps into your company, Schmidt recommends following these steps:
- Gather all revenue data in one place. That means tracking down product and account data, quotes, orders, contracts, invoices, and payments.
- Bring your quote-to-cash process onto one platform, like a customer relationship management (CRM) system, and integrate it. Imagine every back-office touchpoint as a customer touchpoint.
- Automate manual tasks, especially those that are repetitive. This allows team members to upskill to more important work.
- Use customer behavior information to find new leads, create new opportunities, and sell the right product, to the right customer, in the right channel, at the right time. This will help grow revenue.
By putting the customer at the center, your company can grow. “Now teams can work together to find customers, find deals, win them with sales, and keep them with customer success,” Schmidt says.
She adds that RevOps is all about the customer experience. “Orders, contracts, invoices-- those customer touchpoints are all something to think about when you’re interacting with your customer. Having those all together on that single platform is a game-changer.”