Revenue Operations Guide: Implementing RevOps in Your Agency

Lucija Bakić

December 14, 2023

An example of an interface from a revenue operations software, Productive. It depicts a reporting dashboard with charts for profit, budgets, scheduled time, and billable time.

How can professional services agencies tackle challenges? The answer is: revenue operations.

Revenue operations refers to aligning marketing, sales, and customer service teams to drive continuous agency growth. As an organizational practice, it has been gathering significance over the years and is showing great promise for optimizing agency operations.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the meaning of revenue operations, its benefits and challenges, and how you can implement it in your agency.

Key Takeaways

  • RevOps aims to align key business functions such as sales, marketing, and customer service, driving sustainable growth. It can significantly enhance financial performance and revenue growth.
  • Emphasis on critical metrics like CAC, ARR, and CLTV, along with the use of comprehensive operations management software, is central to RevOps success.
  • Building strong RevOps teams requires promoting the right mindset, with values of collaboration and integration, hiring the right staff, and implementing incremental changes.
  • The key responsibilities of RevOps managers include overseeing sales funnels, providing analytical guidance, and developing processes to enhance team performance and operational strategies.

What Does Revenue Operations (RevOps) Mean?

Revenue operations aim to integrate your operational functions, including sales, marketing, and customer success, into one strategic team. The goal is to drive long-term revenue growth and create more value for the customer by creating unified, cross-functional teams.

There are three main RevOps models:

  • Centralized: the centralized model consists of creating fully integrated teams with a uniform strategy, management, and data.
  • Decentralized: the decentralized model keeps teams and management separate with each department contributing to a shared revenue goal.
  • Hybrid: refers to mixing the two approaches — for example, teams might be structured in a decentralized way, but use a center of excellence (CoE) for their data or analytics.

The best model depends on your agency’s circumstances. Agencies can succeed using each or any model, as long as they understand that it’s a long-term process that relies on constant iteration and assessment.

The Importance of RevOps

Revenue operations can have a significant benefit on your agency’s financial performance. According to a recent study, when implemented well, organizations that use revenue ops in some form grew revenue nearly three times faster than those that didn’t. Their stock performance was also 71% higher (Forrester).

Here are the main ways in which RevOps can impact your revenue:

  • RevOps helps you get the most out of your data and digital technology, leading to improved selling decisions and resource allocation.
  • RevOps provides more accurate revenue prediction with better account health visibility and strategic alignment.
  • RevOps streamlines daily workflows and seller experience, which can help reduce costs, develop and retain talent, and speed up technological adoption.

In short, efficient revenue operations allow you to better manage, measure, and monetize your commercial assets — customer data, technology, content, infrastructure). This can boost your bottom-line profit and support long-term growth prospects.

The History and Rise of RevOps

While the concept RevOps isn’t new, it has gained prominence in the past decade or so. The main reason for its popularity can be found in the forces and trends impacting our understanding of revenue growth.

One of these is the rising importance of customer experience and the shift to digital communication channels. As a result, agencies experienced more pressure to improve their selling channels by making their processes more efficient and personalized. Team alignment, the basis of RevOps, helps achieve both.

Technological development has made selling more data-driven. Tools that can ensure reliable and timely analytics, such as cloud-based software solutions, have become the primary drivers of competitive advantage. A process that ensures unified and standardized operations has an advantage in supporting accurate data and analysis.

An example of a revenue operations software. It depicts a report with budgeting insights group by company, with bars for revenue and margins.

an all-in-one agency tool like productive can provide reliable data in real time

Finally, there’s the growth of SaaS solutions, or more generally the focus on ensuring recurring revenue. This means that instead of constantly searching for new opportunities, agencies must ensure that they provide lasting value to their existing customer base. This also requires that all levels of the agency are focused on the same strategic goal.

Learn more about the latest agency trends:

Key Metrics in RevOps

Some of the most important metrics in the process of RevOps are:

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): One of the cornerstone KPIs in RevOps, CAC indicates the effectiveness of your agency’s marketing and sales efforts, enables budget allocation, and promotes sustainable growth strategies.
  • Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR): ARR shows how stable your revenue pipeline is. With financial predictability, you can measure growth, make informed decisions, and assess scalability.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLTV quantifies the total revenue an agency can expect from a customer, supporting investments, marketing and sales strategy, and profitability analysis decisions.

Key Components of a Successful RevOps Strategy

  • Bridging the marketing and sales gap: Data from the Aberdeen Group shows that aligning sales and marketing and help you generate 32% higher revenue, retain 36% more customers, and achieve 38% higher win rates. RevOps fosters this alignment and helps streamline the customer journey from start to finish.
  • Organizing disparate business functions: According to data by PWC, 55% of organizations work in silos. RevOps integrates various business functions under a unified operational framework, which helps reduce silos and enhances communication across teams.
  • Streamlining the revenue cycle: RevOps identifies and addresses inefficiencies in the revenue cycle, such as bottlenecks in the sales process or gaps in customer engagement. By optimizing these processes, RevOps increases the efficiency of revenue generation activities, boosting overall profit margins.

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The Necessary Tools for RevOps

From CRM software and marketing automation tools to accounting software, agency professionals have never had such an array of potential software solutions at hand. All these tools can be a valuable asset for your team.

However, consider implementing a tool that consolidates multiple agency operations into one. These tools are usually called all-in-one solutions, or comprehensive platforms. A popular example is Productive, a tool tailored to professional services agencies of all shapes and sizes.

An example of a revenue operations software. It depicts an automated resource plan that shows allocation per team member and project. Color-coding is used to indicate utilization -- green for balanced allocation, and red for overutilization.

optimize your capacity management with productive’s resource plan

Here are some examples of how Productive can support and optimize your revenue ops:

  • Project Management: Productive’s project templates, customizable views (Gantt, Kanban, Calendar), and automatic notifications provide project visibility and foster communication and collaboration across all key stakeholders.
  • Resource Planning: With its resource planning capabilities, including heat maps for balancing workloads and utilization forecasting, agencies can optimize allocation and achieve their resources’ revenue potential.
  • Budgeting: Productive offers budgeting, billing, and purchase order features, supporting financial planning and tracking. Additionally, Productive’s budget spending and revenue forecasting support scope management and financial predictability.
  • CRM: Productive’s lightweight CRM offers sales funnel customization, communication management, and sales analytics tracking and forecasting. This helps align sales teams with broader agency operations on a single platform.
  • Integrations: You can connect Productive to other key agency operations software to streamline workflows. This includes Xero, QuickBooks, Hubspot, Zapier, Google Calendar, Breathe, and more.

Bryan Casler, the Vice President of Digital Strategy at 4Site Interactive Studios, underlines the usefulness of an all-in-one solution for your business performance:

We used to have a project management tool, a time tracking tool, a support tool, a way we handled opportunities and sales-driven processes. Those were all separate tools that we had, and it wasn’t good. It also meant that all that data was being lost every time we switched between tools, or we had to find a way to normalize the data between them. And now, the fact that it’s all in one, it’s really a game changer.

Amy Nichols,
Director of Operations AT Seven2

The Benefits of Implementing a RevOps Framework

By aligning your sales ops with commercial processes and customer success, you can experience the following main benefits:

  • A holistic approach to data: Having in-depth insights across the entire customer-to-buyer lifecycle means you can improve your client engagement, increase satisfaction, and reduce customer churn.
  • Project management for agencies: Revenue operations help you manage your assets better, both in the present and for the future. It supports the alignment of investments between various departments, which helps keep agencies on track toward the same strategic goals.
  • Revenue predictability: RevOps enhances revenue prediction by improving your team’s understanding of who the buyer is and where they are in the cycle. This leads to more accurate forecasting of trends and customer lifetime value, ultimately informing and improving strategic decision-making.

The Challenges of Implementing a RevOps Framework

We can identify three main issues that need to be considered and addressed when implementing RevOps:

  • Cost: Like implementing any significant change, revenue operations require a level of investment. For example, you’ll need to attract and retain expert staff to ensure effective revenue operations.
  • Resistance to change: Change is always difficult to manage, and even more so when you’re trying to bring together different teams. It’s important to ensure that all stakeholders are putting individual priorities to the side to work towards collective goals.
  • Unrealistic expectations: Because revenue operations have the potential to improve your performance and growth, many agency leaders fall into the trap of thinking that it’s a quick and easy solution to all issues. It’s important to maintain that RevOps is an iterative and long-term process and won’t produce results overnight.

According to the 2019 State of Revenue Operations survey, some other issues are disconnected systems and inconsistent data, organizational maturity, siloed data, and low understanding and awareness of revenue operations.

Setting Goals in Revenue Operations

Effective goal-setting in RevOps involves identifying clear, measurable targets directly linked to revenue growth and customer satisfaction. Take, for example, revenue goals. Some general tips to manage this process are:

  • Analyze past data, such as churn rates and CLTV
  • Monitor and adjust your performance with short and long-term targets
  • Divide targets by specific teams or activities for more in-depth insights
  • Create custom lead scoring criteria that take into account your agency’s unique context and ideal client profile

Remember, setting goals in revenue operations isn’t just about short-term gains. It’s about creating a framework that delivers consistent, sustainable growth.

Building a Strong RevOps Team

  • Foster the right mindset: Implementing RevOps is not simply an organizational change, but a core shift in the agency’s culture and mindset. This is why it’s crucial to get everyone on board with it, from business leaders to team members. The qualities of a successful RevOps mindset can be summarized into three key concepts: cross-functional accountability, value integration, and balance between different goals.
  • Hire expert staff: Seek candidates with a unique mix of skills: technical expertise to understand and manage complex systems, analytical abilities to interpret data and derive insights, and strong collaboration skills to work effectively across various departments. This combination ensures a team capable of driving efficient, data-driven revenue strategies.
  • Take baby steps: Make sure not to rush this process. Start with getting individual GTM leaders aligned on strategic goals and data. The next step is assembling operational teams that transition to a dedicated RevOps team, managed by a RevOps manager who reports to a C-suite executive.

The Role of a RevOps Manager

A RevOps manager is responsible for leading a team focused on revenue operations, overseeing the entire sales funnel, and tracking various operational metrics. These metrics often include sales performance, marketing efficiency, customer success, and occasionally resource utilization metrics in project management.

The RevOps manager’s core duties are streamlining processes, enhancing efficiency, and increasing revenue. They are critical in promoting collaboration across various business segments, boosting overall agency performance and success.

Check out a strategy draft created by a RevOps manager:

A screenshot from subreddit about revops, or revenue operations. The poster underlines a draft of their strategy for developing a revops department in their company, with synchronized data, streamlined processes, metrics tracking, and unified marketing.

source: reddit

The Responsibilities in Revenue Operations

Some of the main responsibilities of a RevOps manager are:

  • Facilitating the collaboration between sales operations, marketing teams, and customer service managers to reach the same strategic and revenue goals.
  • Specific tasks, such as ensuring customer satisfaction by monitoring the sales-to-customer success process and implementing market strategies.
  • Promoting ongoing learning initiatives and development with webinars and coaching workshops to ensure RevOps alignment.
  • Reporting to the Chief Revenue Officer in larger companies, or the CEO in smaller to mid-sized agencies.

The Requirements for RevOps Roles

According to LinkedIn, the role of a revenue operations manager is one of the fastest-growing in the US.

It typically demands a combination of analytical capability, strategic thinking, and cross-functional collaboration. Professionals in RevOps roles are tasked with aligning various departments such as sales, marketing, and customer success, leveraging data to drive decision-making, and implementing processes that enhance overall business performance.

Here’s an example of a listing for a revenue operations manager for a digital agency:

Proven experience with a minimum of 4 years in revenue operations, with expertise in utilizing HubSpot.

Deep understanding of CRM, marketing automation, and sales enablement tools.

Strong analytical skills with the ability to translate data into actionable insights.

Excellent communication and collaboration skills to work cross-functionally.

HubSpot certifications or relevant training is a plus.

Source: LinkedIn

The Best Practices for RevOps Leadership

1. Data Accessibility and Training

Promote open access to data among all team members and enhance their skills in interpreting real-time data. This approach breaks down silos and empowers teams to anticipate and react to market changes in time.

2. Alignment with Revenue Goals

Ensure RevOps leaders work closely with finance to understand and support the company’s revenue goals, setting appropriate sales quotas that benefit both the business and the sales reps.

3. Unified Technology Systems

Implement an all-in-one agency management solution to unify data from sales, marketing, and other departments, ensuring consistent data management and insightful analytics.

The main benefit we get from Productive is planning, clarity, everyone working towards one system. It facilitates reporting, hugely. It’s very easy to use. Also, I think one of the biggest things for me is the fact that it’s constantly improving.

Andrew Harb,
Program Director AT Saffron

What Are the Future Trends in RevOps?

According to the 2023 State of RevOps Trends Report, there are three key areas that top-performing sales teams need to focus on: enhancing rep productivity, ensuring process adherence, and improving forecasting accuracy.

Companies aim for profitable growth by investing in tools for better coaching and sales behavior management. Despite the challenge of accurate forecasting, with only 22% of leaders confident in their data, teams are turning to automated solutions for more reliable predictions. Additionally, 87% of teams struggle with process adherence, prompting a search for solutions that integrate seamlessly with sales reps’ methods.

Other trends are likely to include:

  • Increased automation and AI integration: RevOps will focus on leveraging AI and machine learning for more efficient data analysis and decision-making.
  • Greater emphasis on customer data platforms (CDPs): The use of CDPs to unify customer data across all touchpoints will become more prevalent.
  • Predictive analytics for sales and marketing: Predictive models will be more widely used to forecast sales trends and customer behaviors.

Takeaway: Building a Successful Revenue Operations Team

Embracing revenue operations is key for agencies aiming to optimize their performance and growth.

RevOps aligns crucial business functions, utilizes data efficiently, and ensures a customer-centric approach, driving sustainable revenue growth. The right balance of technology, data accessibility, and team collaboration is essential. As the future trends towards automation, AI, and predictive analytics, staying ahead with a well-implemented RevOps strategy is crucial.

Book a demo with Productive to learn more about the benefits of investing in a single source of truth for your data, revenue teams, and overall agency processes.

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Lucija Bakić

Content Specialist

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