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Revenue Operations: The Secret to Scaling Your Business Without Sacrificing the Customer Experience

To say that the world has changed pretty dramatically in the last 18 months and that most businesses have been forced to make some of the most challenging decisions one could think of would probably be something of an understatement. Unquestionably, one of the biggest hurdles was centered around customer communication and ensuring brands were using the right channels and messages to reach customers during a period of massive disruption. 

Lockdowns caused much of the disruption and indefinitely changed shopping habits. For many, shopping has become a truly digital experience, while others still crave human interaction. In fact, our recent survey for the UK highlighted that over 52% of UK shoppers want to return to physical stores for that very reason. 

Customers expect brands to have kept pace with their changing expectations and cater for a digital shift but also an ongoing need for personal connection. What’s more, buyers want businesses to be easy to buy from, easy to engage with, and easy to get service from, and they expect their experience to be frictionless – whether digital or in-person.

The problem is that there’s something wrong with the status quo. As companies scale, their customer experience grows more complex, leading to a need for more technology to manage it. But then, stitching together technology grows more complex too, so businesses end up hiring more people to manage the news processes. This ultimately leads to folks spending more time fixing systems than actually delighting customers.

The pandemic has brought the operations challenges to the forefront and highlighted why it’s vital for businesses to unify internal processes in order to get the customer experience right. Raising capital to hire more employees can act as a stop-gap to the issue, but it’s not a long-term solution. Organizations need to reinvent their approach to building customer relationships or risk losing their trust, which most cannot afford in today’s increasingly volatile environment.

Welcome to the Operations Team – The New  Gatekeepers of Customer Experience

The answer does not lie within more cross-functional meetings, increased headcount, or longer hours for support staff. It lies in the hands of the Operations (Ops) team – the enablers of forming deep, lasting relationships with customers. Rarely is this team among the first hires an organization makes, but these professionals are vital when systems show signs of cracking and internal relations start to become hostile. 

For those organizations that have hired operations professionals, it is usually into separate functions, tasked with fixing issues affecting individual departments. For example, if a marketer is having difficulty segmenting a contact, Ops is who they call; if a salesperson’s automated emails are misfiring, Ops get tagged; if a service professional is unable to access a customer’s communication history, Ops come to the rescue. However, they’re all potentially using completely different systems and platforms, which makes sharing information tremendously difficult and immediately paints a disjointed picture of a customer internally. 

Customers want to be cared for, whether they pick up the phone to a business, or open a marketing email. And Ops folks carry the responsibility of ensuring that everything within a business works – from segmenting contact lists and managing customer data to making sure automated emails don’t misfire. They’re the people who set every customer-facing team up for success. As such, they are the orchestrators of the customer experience and yet, most companies view operations as a reactive function whose sole purpose is to frantically find fixes to issues as they arise.  

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An integrated, well-functioning Ops team brings a whole host of benefits. Their focus is to maximize productivity, minimize risk and cost, and deliver on customer expectations. But working under the same umbrella of unified systems and platforms is where the true benefits for both well-established businesses, and those looking to scale.

Unifying Data, Nullifies Challenges in Revenue Operations Management

The survival mindset of the pandemic isn’t an option anymore, and most companies are now looking back to scale and grow. But sustained growth is only achieved when internal processes are operating at a level that will enable businesses to deliver a delightful customer experience. This entails a two-sided approach to improve cross-department workflow that updates at an organizational level approach and ensures departments have sufficient tools at their disposal.

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That’s why I strongly recommend applying a revenue operations (RevOps) mindset, aligning all teams with the goal of improving incoming revenue and consequently reducing internal company friction. As opposed to employing operations professionals to only focus on the issues that impact their silo in business, businesses must invest in the right platforms that can free up time for operations specialists to collaborate and deliver value across all teams – not just the ones that shout the loudest for help. 

When Ops teams are unified, they are not serving their separate teams’ goals; they are serving the customer. They work with the same data, which gives them a single source of truth for what’s really going on with customers at a holistic level. They collaborate on cross-functional processes that allow them to bridge the gaps between teams where friction frequently festers. And perhaps most importantly, they work together to proactively identify issues before they have a chance to hurt the customer experience.

RevOps is not just the name of a team; it’s a philosophy by which to run a company – one that thrives when Ops teams are equipped with the right tools. This change in mindset to a more collaborative approach between teams can seem daunting, but doing so provides Ops teams with the time and tools to break down the barriers between departments and implement processes that make a lasting difference to customer experience. 

When a company scales, friction inevitably emerges, and customer experience is often the first discipline to suffer. It’s time for us as an industry to re-imagine operations and transform these teams from reactive fire-fighters into proactive friction-fighters with RevOps.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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