Building a Revenue Operations Team: Who to Hire, When to Hire, and How to Scale

Picture of Dan Bruce
Product Marketing Manager, Varicent Lift

Revenue Operations, or RevOps, is a new department that manages full funnel operations across Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success.

Revenue Operations has one job: to drive growth through operational efficiency across the customer lifecycle.

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In this post you’ll learn:
  • who to hire on your Revenue Operations team
  • when to hire them
  • best practices for scaling your team

What to think about when hiring your Revenue Operations team

Revenue Operations has four areas of responsibility: OperationsEnablementInsights, and Tools.

(1) Operations management

Operations management works across the business at macro- and micro-levels. Operations management works on everything from strategic business objectives to tactical program design; managing resources to ensure every outcome aligns with the needs of the business.

Operations management can start with distributed roles, such as Sales Ops or Marketing Ops, and become more specialized over time.

(2) Enablement team

Sales Enablement removes friction from your reps, turning an ordinary Sales team into a high velocity, high throughput deal factory. Revenue Operations takes Enablement to the next level – bringing Enablement practices to Marketing and Customer Success.

Each enablement effort has compounding effects on your whole business, and you’ll see reps closing more business, faster, with fewer resources.

(3) Insights team

The Insights team gives superpowers to everyone from a Marketing Program Manager to your Board. From day-to-day insights to strategic analysis, this team will give you confidence in the decisions you’re making (and the quality of data to back them up).

(4) Tools team

The Tools team is responsible for all technology used by Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success – from implementing CRM to social selling tools. The tools team should have a deep understanding of CRM and business processes, in addition to technical capabilities.

Start by assessing your funnel

When starting to think about hiring your Revenue Operations team, start with a funnel assessment:

  1. Where are the gaps?

  2. How do these gaps prevent you from achieving revenue goals?

  3. If you close each gap, where does that get you?

Go ahead, quickly answer those questions to help point you in the direction of where to start.

If scaling the business is a goal, and there is gaps in things like your territory model, compensation model, sales structure, etc. then you should look at bringing on an operations team hire.

For pipeline generation, a gap could be reps creating deals and moving them to pipeline stages inconsistently. That signals that there are problems in one or more of the following: sales process design, stage usage, SLA compliance, Salesforce adoption, sandbagging, etc. and means you should invest in an enablement team hire to help close the gaps.

If you’re having trouble identifying your gaps, it’s a quick sign that you need an insights team (or a product like Varicent Lift). Otherwise, it’s a stab in the dark for prioritizing revenue operations projects and measuring impacts.

For new logos, the gap could be with the integrations across systems failing, or the inability to solve problems because you don’t have the expertise to solve them in the systems you have, i.e. building a lead scoring system because too many bad inbound leads are getting to reps leading them to leave good leads to die on the vine. If that’s the case, hire a tools team.

Depending on your place in the business, you might be able to rhyme off a number of gaps that are affecting revenue growth. If that’s the case, inventory them in a Google Sheet (or similar product), associate how they are impacting revenue growth, and document where you’ll be if the gap is closed. Use this as a framework to prioritize which hires to make first.

FunnelCake Stage Conversion Report

Lead to Revenue Stage Conversion Report

Who to hire on your Revenue Operations team

When it comes to how many to hire, what level, and what their duties should be, it depends on two main things:

  1. how many gaps you have (identified in the section above) and

  2. what your budget is

Most Revenue Operations teams start out as distributed capabilities, with one person doing multiple roles, for example: Sales Operations also does Enablement and Insights or Demand Generation also doing Marketing Operations and managing Tools. Eventually these responsibilities become dedicated roles and can be brought under the Revenue Operations umbrella as you scale.

Now, a few questions to help you determine who to hire and how many/what level of expertise to hire:

  • How many people do you need to get to the next stage of the business?
  • How are you measuring the impact Revenue Operations is making to your organization?
  • If you’re able to increase funnel efficiency (i.e. improve the lead to meeting rate, or meeting to pipeline rate, or enable a move upmarket) how much revenue impact does that create for the business vs throwing more sales headcount or demand generation spend at the problem?
  • If your executives wants to improve customer onboarding, what do the efficiency gains in that process look like, and what team do you need to enact that change?

If you can’t hire specialists, hire generalists. It won’t be perfect – but people and teams evolve.

How to scale your Revenue Operations team

There are two rules of thumb for when to hire: by company size or number of sales reps:

Scaling by company size

Hire Insights and Tools roles, like analysts and systems administrators, at specific company milestones. Below we’re using employee count as a proxy for need.

Scaling by sales team size

Hire Operations and Enablement roles, like Sales Operations, as soon as you have 5-10 Sales reps. Add Enablement roles to the team in a 10:1 ratio with the number of Sales reps. 

Screen+Shot+2019-03-11+at+11.18.32+AM.pngBuilding Your Revenue Operations Team

Revenue Operations teams are most successful when they are built to align the full funnel, identify operational roadblocks, and remove those roadblocks so your marketing, sales, and success teams can be more effecient.

Building that team starts with assessing your funnel:

  • Where are your gaps?
  • How are they (the gaps) preventing you from achieving revenue growth?
  • If you close those gaps, where does that get you?
Picture of Dan Bruce
Product Marketing Manager, Varicent Lift

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