Building a Revenue Operations Team

Take a look at some of the key insights from last night's conversations with the Bay Area's top B2B SaaS sales operations leaders.

Last night, in partnership with Modern Sales Professionals, we brought together a group of the Bay Area’s top sales operations leaders to talk about what it takes to build a successful revenue operations team. We learned a lot!

Here are some of the key insights from last night’s conversations with B2B SaaS sales operations leaders. The group represented a range of company sizes, ACVs, and industries.

Revenue Operations Isn’t New, But It’s Valuable

Across the board, leaders agreed that the idea of unifying and optimizing your revenue generating engine is not new. But, for B2B SaaS companies today, thinking in terms of a revenue operations umbrella is useful. It allows you to conceptualize, measure, and optimize the tight end-to-end processes characteristic of the industry.

Leaders acknowledged that revenue operations is a buzzword. But they agreed that if you’re a B2B SaaS company, you should be thinking about it.

Start From Where You Are

There was debate in our conversations over whether to prioritize execution or strategy. A common consensus was that where to start hiring depends on the questions you’re asking.

Sales ops leaders agreed that if you’re unsure of things like how many sales reps you need to hire next quarter or which metrics you need to be reporting to your board, you should start with strategy. You’ll likely want to hire an experienced sales operations person to lay your foundation. From there, you can build out your team.

On the other hand, a lot of smaller B2B SaaS companies said that process-based issues are their biggest obstacle. So, if you’re dealing with super slow response times on leads or untenable manual processes, consider hiring junior, execution-based roles first. Once you’ve put out your biggest operational fires, you can move on to defining a larger strategy.

We Have Great Tools, But Sometimes We Have Too Many

For the most part, last night’s sales operations teams shared the same basic tech stack. Typically, it consisted of data acquisition, sales engagement, marketing automation, and analytics tools–with Salesforce CRM at the center.

But leaders of larger sales ops teams complained that constantly adding new tools to the stack causes major headaches down the road. Often, they said, this results from years of solving immediate problems with purpose-built tools. Not considering how tools will form a tight, cohesive engine as you scale is a mistake that a lot of sales ops leaders regret.

We heard from many leaders that whether or not you add a new tool should come down to justification. Tools that majorly boost rep productivity, like data aquisiton and sales engagement tools, are easy to justify. But it’s harder to justify spending a lot on tools that serve purely operational purposes and have a murky ROI. A lot of these tools still come with a sizeable price tag, so it’s important to think into the future no matter where you are now.

We’re All Learning as We Go

One of our biggest takeaways from last night’s discussion is that we’re all learning as we go. One of the most valuable things we can do is keep sharing best practices with each other in community forums like Modern Sales Professionals.

Thanks to everyone who came out to participate!