Due to my interest in breaking down the silos that separate customer-facing teams, I’ve attended a few webinars focused on Revenue Operations (RevOps). Uniting the commercial team to produce profitable buyer and customer-driven experiences is something I’m thinking a lot about given the shift to self-reliance.
While the events I’ve attended and material I’ve read tend to apply the focus on sales as the central pivot for RevOps, I find that approach distracting for sales and a discredit to B2B marketers. Customer success is often not even mentioned by these experts. But in a market driven by subscription business models, CS plays a key role in onboarding, retention, and expansion.
This said, the focus of this post is on marketers earning a leadership role in Revenue Operations.
Here are a few reasons why marketing deserves consideration, supported by research:
- 47% of CEOs say CMOs most critical role is to grow the business (Boathouse CMO Insights)
- 69% of B2B marketers are responsible for some (41%) to all (28%) of customer experience (Capgemini)
- 76% of CMOs are responsible for business growth – either directly or as a shared responsibility (Capgemini)
- Buyer-to-seller engagement hangs at 16% and will drop 2 – 3% further in the next few years (Gartner)
- 83% of a typical B2B purchase decision happens before a buyer engages with a vendor – therefore, marketing now owns impact across most of the buying process. (Edelman/LinkedIn)
Marketing is the only group on the revenue team that plays across all three functions of the commercial team. They’re the ones who spend their time understanding the market and the customer continuum.
Because the marketing team’s focus is broader than the 1:1 focus of both sales and customer success, they can see the big picture more strategically—at least they should have that capability.
Why B2B Marketers are Well Placed to Play a Pivotal Role
Below are a few reasons marketing is well positioned to help lead revenue operations:
Marketers do the work to build actionable buyer personas and understand customers – hopefully by interviewing customers and buyers so they have a well-rounded perspective vs. the one-off views sales gets from talking to buyers already well through their buying process.
Marketers produce or oversee/govern much of the content used across the customer continuum, including for brand awareness, demand generation, ABM, sales outreach and follow-up, customer engagement, social media, events, advocacy programs, and more.
Marketers have insights in relation to content usage and engagement that the other teams don’t—or at least aren’t as immersed in daily. This means they are better able to spot trends and engagement patterns (and gaps) that sales and customer success may not see. The best thing we can do is empower marketers to address them—and help other teams do so, as well.
Given the above, combined with intent data, analytics, lead/account scoring and feedback loops from sales and customer success, they’re best suited to make strategic adjustments to messaging and content to engage customers and in-market and potential in-market buyers with a continuous storyline.
The Heart of RevOps is Revenue
As a level set for Revenue Operations, here’s the definition I use:
Revenue Operations (RevOps) is a communal go-to-market strategy that joins marketing, sales, and customer success functions across the full customer life cycle to generate:
- Pipeline growth (Marketing)
- Predictable revenue through closed-won deals (Sales)
- Net dollar retention and expansion (Success)
RevOps is showing such strength as a go-to-market strategic approach that Gartner predicts 75% of high-growth companies will deploy a RevOps model by 2025.
Give Marketers a Seat at the Revenue Operations Table
My query in exploring RevOps is about why marketing is an afterthought in most of the discussion I hear. Let’s face it, B2B buying and selling is getting more complex every day. Each of the core revenue teams has a role to play. With buyers becoming more self-reliant, buying becoming more chaotic and confusing, and confidence jittery on both sides, we need to stack the deck in our favor the best way possible.
The role of the B2B marketer must evolve to be the market whisperer and master storyteller across the continuum of the customer lifecycle. There needs to be one orchestrator of brand narrative: messaging, content, and story.
Yes, other roles can—and will—add their touches, but consistency and relevance rule the day. The core of the story and the brand must always be present, or you risk experiences becoming fragmented and disengaging because we’re asking for too many leaps of faith that confuse all involved.
Sales needs to focus on direct interactions with buyers and accounts—with the resources and tools they need to address context shifts at every stage—to win deals.
Customer success also has a direct, individual focus with each account they serve and support. CS also need to pull the through-line of the story consistently across your customers’ ongoing experience with a focus on value realization. That’s what drives retention, loyalty, and expansion.
While marketing plays a key role in building and moving pipeline, they’re also the team that starts the story—more times than not. They build the story to help buyers advance and gain momentum and have the skills to continuously unfold the story (with care to the consistency of messaging) ensuring buyers and accounts advance to their interactions with the other teams.
This decision to invite marketing to help lead RevOps should be as easy as realizing that your buyers and customers don’t care which team they’re interacting with, they care about what’s in it for them. The value they recognize and receive. Which all boils down to the relevance and resonance of their experiences with your company—irrespective of team involved.
You need a leader for this function (someone to own it) across revenue teams and I strongly suggest that B2B marketers are the best choice for the job.
And they have clear incentive > nearly half (44%) of B2B marketers named “content marketing as a revenue center” as one of the most important areas of focus in 2022. (B2B Research 2022 CMI)