Thinking About “Rev-Ops”


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There’s a lot of discussion about creating a role/function in the organization responsible for “Revenue Operations.” Depending on who is making the argument, there is talk about combining Sales and Marketing for a more cohesive strategy to drive revenue generation and revenue growth. Some will add in Customer Experience/Service/Support.

As we consider this concept, there is no “right approach.” Slapping all these functions together doesn’t mean we more effectively and/or efficiently achieve our revenue goals. However, too many people think that consolidating these functions under one executive will drive greater revenue growth.

Perhaps the thinking is that having all these functions under one executive makes it easier to focus and collaborate across different parts of the organization. Well, yes, I suppose so……. But don’t we have that already, that executive is called the CEO. Organizational alignment around a single reporting relationship do little to improve cross organizational alignment and collaboration. For example, within the sales organization, we see conflict/mis-alignment between SDRs and Sales, or between Field Sales and Channels, or between Sales Ops and Sales Enablement, or between…….. In marketing, we see similar conflict between the Brand builders, content developers, demand gen/lead gen, and so forth.

So organizational realignment may not improve cross departmental or cross functional collaboration.

Some argue that all functions responsible for revenue generation should be aligned around a single executive. But then one reflects on the perspective presented by Peter Drucker some decades ago, “The purpose of a corporation is to create and retain customers….” To Drucker’s way of thinking, every part of the organization contributes in some way to generating or supporting revenue growth. For example, product development is responsible for revenue generation and growth, but creating products/services that customers want and value. Manufacturing creates revenue by building and shipping the products that actually generate revenue. Without either of these functions, revenue generation is impossible.

So, in reality, we’ve long had the organizations responsible for driving revenue generation and growth consolidated under a single executive—the CEO.

Too often, we use organizational structure as a method to better align and focus efforts. In reality, the issue may really be how we more effectively collaborate and align work efforts across functions in the organization. Stated differently, how do we break down barriers between different groups within our companies?

In fact as we look at rising complexity, increases in disruption, faster rates of change, increasing uncertainty and risk, few organizational models address our abilities to effectively and efficiently address and respond to the opportunities. And when we create an organizational model that does, all of a sudden things change…..

Instead of focusing strictly on organizational structure, aren’t we better served by improving alignment and collaboration across groups and organizations? Aren’t we better by creating agile organizations, where people of diverse experiences and responsibilities can come together to address issues that impact our abilities to perform?

Organizational structure seldom addresses problems of alignment, collaboration, team work, and effectiveness in achieving our goals. Organizational structure is seldom a solution to dealing with complex performance issues. Structure doesn’t necessarily improve our ability to respond to shifts and changes in our markets.

Structure can help us be more efficient–though only when we have alignment across differing functions and have removed the walls between our silos. Structure helps us more efficiently consolidate similar types of work and resources.

We want to maximize our ability to grow revenue in all our companies. But since so many parts of the organization contribute to our ability to achieve that goal, i’m not sure that a Rev Ops function is that helpful Instead, I think we are more productive focusing on improving alignment and collaboration across organizations in our companies. By doing this, we will serve our customers far more effectively.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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