Rev Ops vs Sales Ops: The Evolution of Operational Excellence

Key Takeaways:

In today's turbulent business environment, operational excellence has taken a front seat, with roles like Revenue Operations (Rev Ops) and Sales Operations (Sales Ops) becoming increasingly vital. These roles stand at the intersection of strategy, technology, and customer experience, enabling businesses to deliver value efficiently and effectively.

  • Revenue Operations (Rev Ops) and Sales Operations (Sales Ops) are key players in operational excellence, with Rev Ops offering a more holistic, integrated, and revenue-focused approach compared to traditional Sales Ops.
  • Both Rev Ops and Sales Ops function together along the same spectrum to streamline processes, break down silos, and emphasize revenue growth, thus leading to operational efficiency and effective decision-making.
  • Despite the evolving business landscape, Sales Ops remains crucial, inheriting greater importance under the Rev Ops model. This relationship symbolizes the intertwined nature of various functions within the organization, all leading towards a unified mission – driving revenue.

What is Rev Ops?

Revenue operations, or Rev Ops, connect the function to the higher-level value it brings to the organization. Every job revolves around the threefold mission of generating revenue, enabling others to generate revenue, or helping protect revenue.

By positioning the function as Rev Ops, every role—functional or otherwise—gets tied to this higher-level mission. This article aims to delve into the specifics of Sales Ops and Rev Ops, tracing the evolution of the latter from the former and highlighting their key differences and impacts.

Revenue Operations (RevOps), in contrast to Sales Operations (Sales Ops), brings a more holistic and integrated approach to the operational functions in a company. It ties these diverse functions directly to the overall value they contribute to the organization, which is fundamentally about revenue.


Revolutionizing Revenue-Centric Operations: The Rise and Role of Revenue Operations (RevOps)


Rev Ops dissolves the silos between different functions like sales, marketing, customer success, and others, ensuring that all these operations are strategically aligned towards the common goal of revenue generation, facilitation, or protection. This cross-functional alignment provides the organization with a comprehensive and real-time view of the customer journey and operational efficiency, thereby leading to better decision-making and business outcomes.

In a RevOps model, every job is indeed about revenue. But it's not just about direct revenue generation. The activities and roles in an organization usually fall into one of three categories:

  1. You generate revenue: These are the roles that have a direct impact on revenue. In a typical organization, it would include sales and business development roles.
  2. You enable someone else to generate revenue: A significant portion of an organization helps enable revenue generators. This includes marketing that creates awareness and interest; it also includes roles that help to create and deliver the products or services that the sales team sells.
  3. You’re there to help protect revenue: This category includes functions that might not directly contribute to revenue generation but play a significant role in revenue protection and reduction of revenue leakages. It includes roles such as legal, compliance, and certain aspects of customer service.

By recognizing and embracing this revenue-centric reality, RevOps ensures all roles and functions understand their contribution to the broader business objectives. This enhances cross-functional collaboration, breaks down silos, and aligns everyone toward the common goal of sustainable revenue growth, thereby enhancing the higher-level value each role brings to the organization.

The Goal of Revenue Generation

When you eliminate all the trimmings, each role falls into one of three main categories – generating revenue, enabling others to generate revenue, or protecting revenue. Understanding these categories can shed light on the value of each role within the organization.


  1. Generating Revenue

These are the jobs that have the most direct impact on creating a company's income. Roles in sales, business development, or those that directly contribute to product or service creation can be considered as revenue-generating roles. Here, the employees' performance is often easily measured by quantifiable metrics such as deals made, the number of units sold, or the margin on synthesized products.


  1. Enabling Others to Generate Revenue

Not every role is directly involved in selling a product or service. However, many roles in an organization are crucial in supporting and enabling those revenue-generating functions. These might include positions within marketing departments that raise brand awareness and generate leads, product management that ensures market-fit features, IT support roles that maintain the critical technology infrastructure, or HR teams that hire, train, and retain talent in a company. All these roles empower others to effectively generate revenue.


  1. Protecting Revenue

Lastly, some jobs within an organization fall into the category of protecting revenue. This includes risk management roles, legal teams, compliance officers, and certain roles within the customer service and account management functions. By managing risk, ensuring compliance, preventing lawsuits, retaining customers, or minimizing churn, these roles safeguard the company's existing and future revenue.

Elevating Operational Roles: The Transformative Impact of Revenue Operations (Rev Ops) Alignment


The positioning of roles under the purview of Revenue Operations (Rev Ops) has a transformative impact on how these roles are perceived within the organization. By aligning every function with the overarching concept of revenue generation, support, or protection, Rev Ops adds a new dimension of value and purpose to these roles.

Traditionally, the more functional roles - such as IT support, HR, logistics, etc., might have been viewed as support functions. While they didn't directly generate revenue, they provided the infrastructure or the workforce required for the core business operations. In the Rev Ops model, these roles are not just seen as support functions, but as crucial cogs in the larger revenue generation machine.

By tying these roles to the higher-level mission of revenue generation, Rev Ops elevates their perceived value. An IT support role, for instance, is not just seen as a technical troubleshooter but as a vital enabler that ensures the smooth functioning of revenue-generating operations. Similarly, an HR role can be viewed as a strategic enabler of revenue, attracting, retaining, and nurturing the talent required for the organization to reach its revenue goals.

This enhanced view of roles greatly impacts how tasks are prioritized, how resources are allocated, and even how success is measured and rewarded. Employees across all functions gain a better understanding of how their daily tasks contribute to the bigger picture and are more likely to feel invested in the organization's success.

In the end, this alignment fosters a collaborative culture where everyone is working towards a shared goal. It encourages teams to break out of their silos and see the interdependencies of their roles, thereby promoting effective collaboration and synergy.

So the significance of positioning the function as Rev Ops not only lies in the operational alignment it brings but also in the positive shift it brings about in the organizational culture, driving everyone in the organization to move towards a unified mission – revenue.

What is Sales Operations?

Sales Operations, or Sales Ops, essentially offers the backend support needed for a sales team to function efficiently. This includes process management, technology and tool oversight, and data analysis. Some of the key metrics followed by Sales Ops include sales cycle length, quota attainment, and deal size.

While we've spoken much about the operational shift to revenue operations (RevOps) and its benefits, it's important to remember the foundational role that Sales Operations (Sales Ops) plays in any organization. As we venture into an era where RevOps is becoming increasingly adopted, we must not overlook the continued importance of Sales Operations in this new landscape.

Sales Operations, as one of the critical mechanistic structures in an organization, plays a pivotal role in supporting and enabling the frontline sales teams. Through process management, technology oversight, and data analysis, Sales Ops ensures that sales teams have the support they need to sell more efficiently and effectively 1.

In many ways, Sales Ops serves as the backbone of the sales organization. While it might not be directly involved in generating revenue, it plays a crucial role in enabling others - the sales reps in this case - to do so. It provides strategic direction, streamlines sales processes, employs best practices, and leverages automation for predictable revenue generation

Beyond this, Sales Ops is also responsible for a host of other tasks like lead management, sales strategy formulation, and territory structuring and alignment

These functions, while supportive in nature, play a significant role in ensuring the smooth operation of the sales machinery.

In the broader perspective of RevOps, Sales Ops forms an integral part; its tasks and goals align seamlessly with the overarching aim of revenue generation and protection. The role of Sales Ops, therefore, remains as crucial as ever, even as it gets embedded within the grander scheme of Rev Ops.

Rev Ops vs Sales Ops: Key Differences

The main difference between Sales Ops and Rev Ops lies in their scope. While Sales Ops is limited primarily to sales functions, Rev Ops encompasses the broader organizational functions, including marketing and customer service. The metrics tracked by Rev Ops are more comprehensive, offering a holistic view of business performance across departments. This also extends to the management of tools and technology, with Rev Ops aimed at creating a seamless toolchain that spans the entire customer journey, as opposed to the sales-focused toolchain managed by Sales Ops.

The Impact of Rev Ops on Sales Operations

Rev Ops doesn't replace Sales Ops; instead, it offers a broader perspective and a more holistic approach, thereby complementing and enhancing the Sales Ops function. This leads to more coherent and effective customer journey management, ensuring that every touchpoint across the marketing-sales-service continuum adds value and feeds into the ultimate goal of revenue generation.

The Benefits of Rev Ops

The adoption of Rev Ops offers numerous benefits: it enhances cross-departmental alignment, leads to more informed decision-making, and improves operational efficiency. Case studies and anecdotal evidence point towards the positive impact of Rev Ops adoption on businesses: higher customer satisfaction rates, reduction in sales cycle times, and increases in deal sizes.

Diving deeper into the realm of Sales Operations, one of the significant aspects where Rev Ops brings a more comprehensive outlook is in the measurement and evaluation of operations.

Sales Operations have typically been more focused on direct sales outputs, evaluated on metrics like sales cycle length, quota attainment, and deal size. While these measurements are important, they can potentially overlook the broader impacts on revenue generation, especially those brought about by cross-departmental changes or improvements.

In contrast, Rev Ops brings a more expansive view, focusing not only on direct sales but also on other crucial aspects that impact revenue. By comprehending and influencing four critical metrics - value, volume, velocity, and conversion rates, Rev Ops ensures every operational initiative is mapped to the ultimate goal - revenue growth.

Consider sales rep efficiency; Rev Ops focuses on ways to increase the revenue each rep can carry, decreasing ramp time for new hires, and predictable growth. These metrics align perfectly with the sales rep's function in an organization, further streamlining the process to generate revenue in a more predictable and efficient manner.

Moreover, Rev Ops can also help businesses respond to market changes such as CRM re-implementation, restructuring of teams, and introducing new products. By providing communication, training, and project management, these transitions become more seamless, reducing the risk of losing deals or staff and saving time - all of which indirectly enhance revenue generation and safeguards.

Unified Mission, Amplified Results: The Symbiotic Relationship of Revenue Operations and Sales Operations

By complementing and enhancing the function of Sales Ops, Rev Ops ensures that each aspect, each role in an organization, steers towards a unified mission – driving revenue. This alignment & holistic view of operations is key in navigating today's interconnected and dynamic business world.

As we conclude our exploration into the realms of Revenue Operations and Sales Operations, it becomes evident how these operational models aren't contrasts but complement each other. They play their roles along the same spectrum, aiming to streamline processes, break down traditional operational silos, and emphasize revenue growth.

Under the spotlight of Rev Ops, Sales Operations has witnessed a transformation where it continues to hold its instrumental place in supporting and enabling frontline sales teams. More so, it has now been integrated into a broader vision that extends its impacts beyond immediate sales targets toward organizational-wide revenue objectives.

In this dynamic era where an organization's adaptability defines its success, Rev Ops imparts the agility to adjust to market changes, roll out new products, and carry out significant operational restorations like CRM re-configurations. With these strategic changes bolstered by robust communication, intriguing training programs, and profound project management, organizations can navigate transitions seamlessly. This not only reduces the risk of losing vital deals or staff but also secures the organization's time - an indirect yet influential factor on revenue generation.

To sum it up, whether it's about generating revenue, enabling someone to generate revenue or protecting it, all paths in modern organizations lead to the same vital destination – revenue. And entrenched in these paths is the essence and influence of Operations - both Revenue and Sales Ops. Together, they drive the operational excellence that organizations require to thrive in today's interconnected business environment, ensuring that the fundamental mission of driving revenue is woven into the workday of every single employee.

The exciting evolution from Sales Ops to the broader Rev Ops has unlocked the potential to view every role through a lens of revenue influence. By connecting the dots between roles, operations, and revenue, businesses can truly leverage their operational models to navigate the road ahead, making the journey just as rewarding as the destination. The story of 'Operational Excellence' thus continues to unfold, pushing boundaries and redefining successful business practices.

Looking ahead, the key lies in not just understanding these operational models but, more importantly, in employing them creatively to harness their full potential and elevate an organization's journey toward achieving its strategic goals.

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