How focusing on 'revenue operations' could be your best way to grow in 2024

‘It’s the economy, stupid’ was the famous behind-the-scenes theme of Bill Clinton’s successful US presidential campaign against George Bush Senior. Meant to focus his campaign troops on what really mattered to American voters, we B2B sales and marketers could use a similar call to action when it comes to our discussions with business leaders in 2024.

‘It’s the revenue, stupid’ could be the message to ourselves, to reinforce the primary importance of driving revenue to those who own and run the businesses we work for or within. AI, branding, leads, advertising, CRM, social media, sales enablement, customer experience and so on are irrelevant if they are not increasing money in the door.

Given the headwinds of 2023 it’s a message we must heed. According to one report, 91% of B2B companies missed their sales quota in 2023. A relentless focus on revenue growth is what we should all be committed to in 2024, no matter what levers deliver it.

Like focussing on improving the entire US economy in Clinton’s case, increasing revenue involves many moving parts. It’s everything involved from generating demand for your business, converting that to closed deals and then delivering an experience that leads to recurring income from happy customers. The message might be simple, but not easy to execute on (as successive US presidents have found).

For B2B businesses the emerging discipline of ‘revenue operations’, or RevOps, is one way to focus on the revenue growth challenge. RevOps is about taking more a scientific approach to sustainable revenue growth, aligning the respective contributions of marketing, sales and customer service.

While SaaS businesses have been pioneers of RevOps, the concept of having a revenue growth framework is only just emerging in other sectors of business.

It’s about looking at your business from the customer’s perspective, to understand their ‘journey’. That is, the series of actions buyers undertake from identifying a problem in their business that needs to be solved right through to being a happy, repeat customer.

Why do we need to take this customer viewpoint? Because in a digital age, they have more power. Traditionally a company could ‘manage’ the customer through this process providing information at each stage in the journey. Now with everything they need to know online, the customer can largely drive it themselves. And they do.

Driving revenue requires us to meet customers where they are. To make it easier for them to find the information online to understand how they can solve their problems, to compare the solution to other options, to help them buy and then get the maximum value out of your solution.

Supporting this journey isn’t simple. For a typical B2B transaction in sectors like tech or manufacturing, it could involve hundreds of digital interactions over a period of months from multiple personas at the target account.

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Ensuring a smooth customer journey means internally that marketing, sales and customer service need to align seamlessly. The companies best at doing this will experience the most success in driving revenue growth.

According to research group Forester, focusing on revenue in this structured way delivers tangible benefits in a B2B context. 41% of organisations that had adopted a RevOps approach had increased revenue growth, 36% improved customer satisfaction and 35% strengthened the bottom line.

Companies cited other benefits. Revenue has become more predictable, always a challenge when you are selling complex solutions with long sales cycles. The agility and efficiency of their organisation overall had also improved, not just in the revenue-focused teams. And they could deliver more value to their customers by seeing the whole buyer journey.

How do you get started on RevOps? Online communities like RevOps Co-op are a good place, as are free educational resources like HubSpot’s Revenue Operations Certification.

As a starter, taking a revenue operations approach requires a focus on three key areas:

  1. Tech stack: you need the right software or set of software to align marketing, sales and customer service. That’s not ‘revops software’ as such, but the right combination of CRM and complimentary apps. These systems need to have the right data (e.g. who are our current customers, what products are they using, what did we invoice them last month, what are they reading on our website, which emails do they open etc), which will likely require some integrations of your systems.
  2. Digital engagement: you need to be able to meet your customers and prospects where they are. That means having the right digital channels (e.g. website, portals, social media, chat) in place and the right content on those channels to help buyers on their journey.
  3. Capability: alignment between your revenue-focused teams is a given for RevOps to work, but you also need the right amount of resources and expertise.

As we head into another round of the biggest political show on earth, it’s worth remembering that success in that arena can come from focusing on some simple truths – most people care about whether the economy will look after them and their families.

For us in business, the same focus on the primary importance of generating more revenue will help us all grow in 2024.

Learn more about RevOps with our guide, or get in touch to chat with one of our RevOps consultants.

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