4 Tips to Align RevOps and Sales

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The goal of RevOps is to unify marketing, sales, and customer success departments and identify strategies and tools for efficiency and accountability, ultimately driving growth. This function is catching on; Gartner predicts by 2025, 75 percent of the highest-growth companies will run a silo-breaking RevOps model.

But one of RevOps’ key tenets, the unification of these disparate departments through connected technologies, has brought to light an important myth: that sales reps work must be done in a customer relationship management (CRM) application. Why? Because their business depends on data in CRM, hardening the idea that the work salespeople do must happen within the CRM itself. Most organizations have been conditioned into thinking this way. However, if you study how salespeople actually do their work, it happens across a range of applications mostly disconnected to CRM, creating issues for the business with process adherence, data hygiene, and frustrated salespeople moving between too many tools. Solving these challenges can lead to happy sales teams that are more productive and close more deals.

Why is this happening? Traditional CRM applications were never designed as a place for end users to actually do their work. And as other software applications improved their user experiences over the years, CRMs didn’t evolve at the same pace to fit into the new sales workflows of today. Consequently, adoption of CRMs and sales tools such as Salesforce as a place for salespeople to do work remains low and is an issue plaguing nearly every sales organization. The downstream effect to the business is that data hygiene suffers, process adherence is a pipe dream, and salespeople become frustrated, unhappy, and churn. Too many workarounds and shortcuts are being used. To combat this, RevOps staff use forcing methods to make salespeople work in the CRM and then create overly rigid workflows using required fields, validation rules, and strict flows to drive process adherence. As if that wasn’t enough, ineffective automation is added on top through Slack or email to remind sales reps, nudging them to complete a task or take an action in CRM.

But this doesn’t solve the core problem for getting salespeople to adopt CRM, which really means follow the sales process and use good data hygiene.

A vicious cycle emerges where RevOps leaders design and instill guardrails to drive adoption and process adherence to force making sure data is flowing into a CRM. But because the CRM isn't where salespeople love to do their work, the guardrails simply add busy work and make it more difficult for reps to do their jobs. This cycle of inefficiency is why sales reps spend a disproportionate amount of time on non-revenue-generating activities and why RevOps leaders are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of CRM adoption. This dynamic creates drag in nearly every sales organization, keeping revenue teams from achieving peak sales performance.

What Can Be Done to Satisfy Everyone?

New strategies are now available to benefit both the sales team and RevOps leaders, leading to improved alignment between the groups. These include the following four tips:

Tip No. 1: Listen to sales teams, study how they work, and build empathy.

All teams involved in sales, marketing, customer success, and RevOps are responsible for driving revenue and helping the company grow. Each is an integral piece of the puzzle, but with the focus on their day-to-day work, they may not have insight into other teams. As a RevOps team member, observing how salespeople work and listening to their needs will help gain an understanding of what makes each person tick and what causes the biggest headaches. Not all RevOps leaders have a sales background, and it shows. Focus on learning and building empathy.

Tip No. 2: Adopt the right tools for your company.

This is all about solving use cases that matter to salespeople, so they can better serve your businesses’ customers and produce more. New tools are created daily, but buying a tool does not mean it’s the right one for your team. Good news! Many salespeople are already using tools that improve their process. Work with them to adapt what they already use. This removes friction and enables quick adoption of proven solutions, resulting in happy sales teams and more closed deals. Success might mean actually reducing the number of tools.

Tip No. 3: Process adherence isn't easy, but it's required and attainable.

Showing empathy for reps and improving the speed of their workflows is where management should focus, not on creating rigid rules that slow reps down. Flexibility in terms of tools and process is the key to empower sales teams to close. RevOps people need to work with a sales team’s workflow, and sometimes that workflow does not include a CRM directly. Thus, RevOps team members must be prepared to handle some or all of the CRM data input that salespeople dislike. If they dislike it, they won't do a good job at it, and that eventually reflects on RevOps teams.

Tip No. 4: Require better data hygiene.

Data is more valuable than ever. Companies use data to make predictable business decisions like forecasting. If salespeople aren’t entering data, then forecasting for sales managers is impossible or inaccurate at best. Getting reps to be better about data hygiene starts and stops by creating a workspace they love to work in that is connected directly to their CRM.

Call to Action Is Twofold

The call to action now is twofold: (a) focus on listening to what sales teams really need; and (b) use what you learn to remove friction and empower every member of the team to be successful.

The teams, their roles, and their workflows are plainly apparent and are already working profitably for a number of successful enterprises. When will you make the decision to align to this way of thinking and rid your company of costly workflow snags?

Pouyan Salehi is cofounder and CEO of Scratchpad, the pioneer of the Revenue Team Workspace. Prior to Scratchpad, Salehi was cofounder and CEO of PersistIQ, the complete outbound platform engineered from the ground up for sales. A successful serial entrepreneur, Salehi is passionate about creating delightful user experiences and products that impact how people and teams work, especially in sales.

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