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Named a Strong Performer in “The Forrester Wave™: Sales Performance Management Platforms, Q1 2023”

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The Rise of Rev Ops - A Conversation with Rosalyn Santa Elena

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In the early 2000s, the world began to notice a new title among the C-suite of major corporations — Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In the past 5 years, there has been an emergence of yet another title among the C-suite — Chief Design Officer (CDO). Today, we are excited to report on what seems to be the next key C-suite necessity — Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). 
What is Revenue Operations and why is this function becoming increasingly prevalent? We sat down with Rosalyn Santa Elena, Head of Revenue Operations at Clari to find out how folks are structuring their Revenue Operations teams, and to get her take on the importance of this function. We also got her tips on how to keep remote teams motivated and engaged during these strange times!

What is Revenue Operations?

Revenue Operations ties together the entire revenue process — from top-of-funnel, to net new sales, to upsells, through to renewals — as it maps to the customer journey. It often serves as the bridge between marketing, sales, account management, and customer success, while overseeing the technology, infrastructure, processes, and policies that support these functions.

What is the ideal organizational structure in which Revenue Ops sits?

According to Rosalyn, this is the million dollar question. However, there is no single answer. Throughout her career, she has seen structures where Marketing Operations and Sales Operations roll up to Revenue Operations. She has also seen structures where Sales, Services, and Customer Success report into Revenue Operations. 

More important than reporting structure is whether functions are arranged in a way that fosters alignment. Does your organizational structure cultivate alignment in terms of metrics and goals? Is data easily accessible and shared with appropriate team members? Increasingly, companies are leveraging Revenue Operations as a way to break down barriers across all of the customer-facing teams including Sales and Marketing.

What types of backgrounds are suitable for individuals looking to pursue roles in this field?

Operations is so multi-faceted. You can come from so many different types of backgrounds and leverage those skills in Revenue Operations. Rosalyn started her Operations journey early on in sales compensation and then expanded to broader areas of Sales Operations before owning all GTM/Revenue Operations. Other common skills are data analytics, sales planning, system administration, sales enablement, and other areas that are typically part of Sales Operations and Marketing Operations.

Rosalyn mentions that individuals in Revenue Operations often have a broad range of experiences across the customer journey and across operations. However, they usually dive deeper to become an expert in specific areas such as lead generation, sales analytics, or customer success. She advises people to think about the customer funnel and hone in on specific areas in which one might want to become an expert.

Given the current environment, how should sales leaders be thinking about quotas, sales targets, and compensation plans?

Priorities should include making sure you have really solid infrastructure around processes, policies, tools and systems. Companies that have a really strong foundation in those areas are able to quickly pivot and support their teams in an ever-changing environment. This ability to be flexible and to execute efficiently becomes a strategic differentiator. Teams need to be flexible on how to sell and who to sell to.

It has become increasingly important in today’s environment to communicate early and often to ensure everyone is aligned, make sure systems and data are always accurate and up to date, and find creative ways to keep the team motivated.

One thing to watch out for: Be careful not oversaturate your teams with modern communication tools like Slack and email. There needs to be a healthy balance, so check in with your teams to gauge the state of their mental well-being.

Any tips on how to keep teams motivated lately?

Focus on celebrating the small wins. When small deals close in the office, people have mini celebrations even if it’s just giving someone a high five. Now, with people working remotely, we don’t have those seemingly small interactions, so bringing the team together often to celebrate small wins can make a big difference. 

Focus on celebrating the small wins.

Having more 1:1s between sales reps and managers and getting the team together for fun activities can build cohesion.

Here are a few fun ideas from Clari and CaptivateIQ!

screenshot of a CaptivateIQ virtual stand-up meeting
Virtual stand up at CaptivateIQ! It was a LOL of fun.

Increasingly, the CaptivateIQ team has been working with leaders like Rosalyn in Revenue Operations roles. If you’re a RevOps leader and you’re curious about how CaptivateIQ can help you manage commission plans, please contact us here.

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