If you’re a marketer today, you are a revenue marketer.
But you probably already know that.
Many of you have held marketing ops roles or sales ops roles, but we’re starting to see those functions roll up together into a revenue ops role, into one true revenue team. We’re seeing this whole category of revenue operations emerge. All with the purpose of guiding revenue planning and execution around your go-to-market strategy.
At the B2B Marketing Exchange conference four stellar speaks — Yun Fan, Karen Steele, Laura Patterson, and Jocelyn Brown — joined forces to talk us through what revenue ops means in their organizations. These were some of our key takeaways.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Why it’s all about revenue now
- Why developing a relationship with your finance team matters
- And a word of caution — why you still need to maintain a holistic perspective when it comes to your marketing strategy
This post is based on a podcast featuring a panel discussion from the B2BMX conference. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.
Why it’s all about revenue:
Jocelyn: You hear so much dialogue out there about sales and marketing not being aligned and it’s usually, “I don’t have enough leads” or “You didn’t follow up on that.” But at the end of the day, it’s all about revenue. The only metric that matters to any business, whether you’re a PE owned or not, is revenue.
If you heard SiriusDecisions’s Webinar this morning, you know that they’re seeing a huge rise in just the titles on LinkedIn, of people that are now a “Director of Revenue Ops”. I think people realize that bringing these functions together, and having one common thread for revenue is what B2B companies need to be successful.
So, whether you’re on the sales side or the marketing side, there’s a movement towards establishing a centralized planning function, with finance involved, of course. That planning function is about revenue, then it’s about ensuring the go-to-market strategy can hit that revenue goal. So, we’re seeing those teams come together. They’re coming together because they believe that it’s a really powerful thing to centralize the revenue strategy and process around this thing called revenue ops. And it’s powerful because when you do it like that, everybody aligns.
Building relationships with finance:
Jocelyn: Marketers always have the same concern: How can we make sure that we’re viewed as a profit center, not as a cost center?
What I realized in terms of promoting the success of my customer success organization is, the better my VP of finance understood the intention of what I was doing, and my plans for what I would do if I had more budget or the growth, the better she could defend me when I wasn’t in the room. There are lots of times where scenarios are being played out, CEOs are trying to understand the dynamics of a market, or something like that. And I’m not always there to give my opinion or what’s going on. But if my VP of finance understands the way I operate, she can speak on my behalf. So, I’m never kind of just cut out because it’s convenient.
I think the same goes for marketing. The more your finance team trusts you and believes that you are supporting the company’s goals, spending money with intent, being upfront about that intent, and reporting back on whether you met it or not, the more likely it is that, when you’re not in the room, and they’re considering a budget cut, you’ll be well represented.
That’s why it’s so important to try to build that alignment with finance.
A word of caution:
Laura: There are two things a CEO is thinking about every single day is. First, they’re trying to understand where growth is coming from. And second, they’re trying to understand which customers are loyal, which customers create value, and which customers are at risk. Those things are the two most important things they’re thinking about.
So, those had better be two of the things we’re thinking about, too. If we’re not talking about those in marketing, then we’re not in the conversation of the top two things they care about. We can make revenue numbers, but we can end up out of business. And actually we’ve had some customers who’ve made revenue numbers, and they make their targets, but don’t stay in business. I just want you to think about that. While revenue is really important, there are many other things that also need to be incorporated into what we’re looking at and managing, if we’re going to be a whole discipline. So, look at revenue. But don’t forget to look beyond it, too.