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About This Episode
Traditionally, “alignment” between teams looked like this:
Marketing did its thing then passed (or, more accurately, threw) the baton to sales, who then closed the deal and passed the baton again to customer success.
There was a lot of movement, but there was one crucial element missing: synergy. If you didn’t get the baton passed to you the way you wanted, you could complain about why you weren’t successful.
To get to the bottom of this problem we interviewed Sterling Snow, SVP of Revenue at Divvy, who talked to us about how to line up multiple teams around a single target—and why that target should always be revenue focused.
Here’s what we learned.
The First Step to Unify Your Teams
Misalignment often starts because teams use different tech stacks—and they don’t line up.
Marketing says they passed over X amount of SQLs, but sales says they don’t see it. If people can’t even agree on the numbers to start out with, goals are bound to be missed.
According to Sterling, the first step to fixing the problem is creating a revenue operations team: a central team responsible for the entire technology stack and all the data points you’ll use to run your business.
The technology solution doesn’t necessarily matter, as long as it’s mutually agreed upon by all of the stakeholders. There should be no more skin in the marketing game than in the sales or customer success game.
After you have a rev ops team in place, you’ll have to create the overarching goal for the revenue team.
The objective you set has to tie in every team and team member. Then you have to dive deeper and ask how you’re compensating. Is your compensation aligned toward the success of the revenue team as a whole, or just one organization?
An easy example is marketing: What’s defined as an MQL is subjective if you control the qualification yourself. You can make it easier or harder to hit your numbers depending on where you need to be for the month.
But if you’re tied to a deeper goal, such as sales converting those opportunities, then it’s not all within your control and you have to work with your sales counterparts to achieve the goal.
So to recap, there are two phases:
- Look at the objective you set and make sure it’s tied to revenue goals.
- Look at how you’re compensating performance. Are you tying all of the organizations together?
Is There Ever Any Conflict in This Approach?
You have to have great team members who can accurately diagnose problems. There’s also a tendency to cross boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed.
For example, if you’re a sales rep and the success of the customer is part of how you’re compensated and measured, there’s a tendency to want to do the CS job. Instead, as a revenue team, you have to carefully set up parameters around functions.
But as you set up the infrastructure, it actually becomes simple and people stay largely in their scope.
How Do You Push This Alignment Down to the Masses?
Having good revenue operations in place means you’ve got a great dashboard with great reporting, and your leadership team has eyes on the numbers at all times. If you’re slow in any particular area, the leadership team will see it. That way, they’ll know when to motivate and convey urgency to their individual teams.
Also, when you have all hands meetings with everyone and you show them the entire funnel, magic happens. The more junior a person is, the less they tend to understand about their impact at large. But everyone wants to be successful, and it’s a simple but powerful thing to align everyone to a single goal.
If you show them the comprehensive picture instead of just saying, “Go out and get as many MQLs as humanly possible,” you get little mini-CEOs that care about much more than their slice of the company.
The Biggest Challenge in Building a Rev Ops Team
When you create a revenue/growth function, what’s their natural skillset? You probably won’t have someone who made their way through marketing, then sales, then CS. Instead, they probably worked in one of those areas.
Do you handicap true experts in their own domain by putting them under someone with a different area of expertise? That’s the main challenge you’ll face in building a rev ops team. If you don’t hire the right people to be on that revenue leadership team, things could go wrong.
If there’s not trust, you should be worried. But if you have a leader who’s willing to learn new areas, you’ll be in good hands.
Further, the challenge might be overstated. If you’ve been a marketing leader, you’ve worked closely with sales leaders for years. The same goes for sales and customer success people.
There’s an awful lot of familiarity due to proximity—more than you might recognize at first.
One Last Piece of Advice
Your ultimate goal is to get everyone to pull in the same direction.
You don’t have to wait for major organizational changes to move in the same direction. Form a real partnership with those a step down and up from you in the funnel.
You’ll recognize the benefits even before your organization is ready to make those changes officially.
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