RevOps, Book

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Process Strategy in RevOps: Book excerpt

It's been a while since I shared a book excerpt in the book newsletter, which I had started for accountability and sharing insights before I finally complete the 'What is RevOps?' book...but it appears I need even more public accountability to finish the book!

I'll start sharing excerpts in blogs as well as emailing these relevant blogs to the book newsletter list. Hopefully, releasing some of these insights into the world will help a few people learn about RevOps, as opposed to keeping it all hidden away in my draft document!

I'm starting with the chapter most relevant to my usual topics here on the blog, the chapter about processes and documentation. It's currently chapter 4 in the book, after chapters about the definition(s) of RevOps and the people category of work.

Scroll down to read about:

Part 2 of this chapter, related to documentation, is the next blog in the series here.


Disclaimer for book draft excerpts:

  • This is a draft, which is not exceptionally clean, clear, and concise writing yet.
  • Everything may change between now and publishing. 
  • The job titles are from the time the experts were interviewed (otherwise, I'd be changing them constantly)
  • If you were interviewed and your quote feels out of context, please contact me now while there is time to correct it. I'll also be directly sending complete drafts to the experts when it's closer to publishing.
  • I am not adding new research or new quotes to the book. I had to stop the research to have any hope of finishing editing and publishing. 

Chapter introduction

RevOps Principle #2: Process

Once you and your organization have a full understanding of the people side of RevOps, it’s time to move on to understanding the importance of processes. Not just “having” processes, but designing, visualizing, improving, and aligning processes to achieve the business goals.

To get alignment on what the word process means, the Cambridge dictionary states that process is “a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result.” In the context of RevOps, these actions are strategically designed and implemented to drive revenue growth and operational efficiency.

The documentation and communication of processes help your people understand what to do, how their work fits into everyone else’s work, and the effects of any changes they make.

A significant part of RevOps work involves creating, clarifying, and improving processes and process strategies, which helps align people to work towards the same goals. To achieve process adoption and ongoing reinforcement, documentation of the process is vital.

Though we discuss change management as a people element in the previous chapter, and also a part of project management in the upcoming tools chapter, these parts of RevOps are also processes you follow to achieve an intended outcome. Change management and project management overlap all three RevOps principles. 

Similar to the general “people, process, tools” principles, more departments than just RevOps should create process strategy and documentation, but RevOps can lead the way and be a good example for enabling the adoption and ongoing success of processes.  

Questions answered in this chapter from interviews:

  • What role does process strategy and documentation play in RevOps?


Though the full questions are addressed in other chapters, several quotes from the following responses were also used in this chapter:

  • Would you consider project management tools part of the RevOps stack?
  • In your opinion, do you consider change management as a responsibility of RevOps?

What roles do process strategy and documentation play in RevOps?

The interviewed experts resoundingly agreed that process strategy and documentation ARE part of RevOps. This consensus is why you see the word “process” in the proposed definition of RevOps in Chapter 2.

Rosalyn Santa Elena, Head of Revenue Operations at Clari, said this topic of processes refers back to having an operational mindset. “If you don't think that way or that's not your natural tendency, then you would dread doing the documentation and building process. You would hate that part, which a lot of people do,” Rosalyn said. 

A few themes from the responses to this research question included:

  • Both process strategy and documentation are commonly not given enough weight
  • They are two of the most important components of RevOps, described as the foundation or heart of RevOps 
  • The functional role of the entire company’s process strategy and documentation may not sit in RevOps, but the processes and documentation related to revenue teams should belong to RevOps 
  • The maturity of the company may determine how much of these topics are included in their RevOps responsibilities
  • In larger companies where enablement may not be a direct responsibility of RevOps, RevOps should closely partner with the enablement team for these topics


For clarity, the responses are divided into two topics in this chapter:

  • Process strategy and process management
  • Documenting processes (this topic will be a future blog, part 2)

Process strategy and process management

“The foundation of RevOps is process strategy, the documentation and adoption [of it], figuring out how the processes need to work, documenting how those work, and then making sure people use them…[unfortunately] people rely heavily on the tools and a lot less than the fact that it's how we use the tools, when we use the tools, who uses the tools, that matter. And that's where RevOps becomes successful, when that's in place,” Nicole Pereira said.

Additional experts confirmed that process responsibilities are in the purview of the RevOps team, especially the strategy of creating, connecting, improving, monitoring, and adopting revenue processes. ‘Ownership’ of these processes could be another way to look at it, though using that term may get pushback from the top revenue team leaders, such as the sales team leader or CRO who may view the ownership of the sales process as their own responsibility.

“RevOps is all about understanding the connecting points across the buyer journey, and internal processes play a big role in that,” Jenna Hanington said in response to the question.

Matthew Volm said, “Process strategy is the primary role of the RevOps team.” Though this book places process as second to the people-related topics of RevOps, Matthew’s strong stance shows the importance of RevOps being involved in process strategy.

Jeff Ignacio, Head of Revenue and Growth Operations at UpKeep, mentioned a W. Edwards Deming quote about process: “If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing.” Since a key part of RevOps is knowing what is happening across the customer journey, who is doing what (including yourself), understanding process strategy and management is essential.


The role of processes for the RevOps goal of alignment

“Removing redundant platforms, consolidating the tech stack, having trainable processes, and centralizing that documentation… having a single source of truth [is all part of RevOps]. Not just from a reporting standpoint, but also from a process standpoint. So people are all hopefully marching [together] and are rowing the boat in the same direction. And we're all in the same boat together as opposed to, one [person’s] in a boat, one’s in a canoe, and we all have different maps or broken compasses,” said Lorena Morales, VP of Marketing at Go Nimbly, a RevOps consultancy.

As Lorena said, having someone responsible for process strategy is important to ensure all the teams are aligned and they are not working against each other. RevOps is an ideal owner of cross-functional process work since it is a team outside the biases of the individual revenue teams, a team that interconnects with many teams such as sales, marketing, and customer success, and a team that has a view of the entire customer journey.

Keith Jones, RevOps Manager of Systems at MURAL, added a point about involving stakeholders from the teams the processes affect when working in process strategy. This will also help gain buy-in for those teams to actually perform the processes in the prescribed way. “I think the process strategy piece is a partnership between Revenue Ops and the stakeholders that they represent and support. But the documentation, I think that burden falls on revenue operations.” (We’ll talk about documentation later in this chapter.) Keith’s quote refers back to the tricky use of the term ownership, and creating clearly shared ownership or shared responsibility for revenue processes with the other functional leaders.

Being a business partner, not a task taker or cost center

Emphasizing the RevOps team’s role in process strategy and reminding leaders of its importance can help the RevOps department be seen as a business partner instead of a cost center. It can also help RevOps not be seen as a team in service to the individual revenue teams. This business partner perspective can help relieve the RevOps team of the avalanche of requests for non-strategic tasks from sales, marketing, customer success, and additional teams.

Rosalyn Santa Elena is a vocal advocate for RevOps focusing on strategic work and not merely completing tactical, technical work. “As an operations person, you are always thinking about the strategy and being involved in the strategy. Ideally, you're leading it, but even if you're not, you've got to be involved in the strategy because you're the one who has to go and execute on it. That's why I think strategy also belongs with RevOps because the ops people are the closest to what's actually happening in the business,” Rosalyn said.

1Process strategy revops rosalyn

Briana Okyere, Community Lead for the AdaptivOps community, agreed about creating a balance between strategy and execution. “A lot of time with operations you get in the weeds a lot. The true value of an operations individual is actually their strategic input on the organization as a whole. And so I think that's arguably one of the most important parts of that role,” Briana said in response to the question about process strategy.

Focusing on revenue-related processes

It’s important to clarify that RevOps is not involved in ALL company processes when we discuss processes and ownership. Though RevOps interacts and connects many teams in different ways, including teams such as finance, product, and general leadership, the customer journey processes and revenue processes are the usual focus of RevOps’ process strategy.

“As a RevOps team, we need to constantly evaluate the processes we use to support our go-to-market (GTM) teams, seeking ways to reduce friction and unlock efficiency in the name of delivering a seamless customer experience,” said Alison Elworthy, Head of RevOps at HubSpot. 

2Process strategy revops alison

Another key aspect to remember is that revenue processes are NOT just sales team processes, as noted by Virinchi Duvvuri, Senior VP of Sales and Revenue Operations at UST Global. “The backbone of revenue operations is the end-to-end process, not the sales process. The end-to-end lead-to-close-to-customer-success process.”

For specific examples of revenue-related processes, Adam Tesan, CRO at Chargebee, talked about the necessity of process strategy when performing cross-departmental work such as adding in a new outbound sales team to their company’s inbound strategy. Process strategy is necessary in order for these teams and individuals to not trip over each other, and for knowing who owns what. “That requires a lot of process reengineering, system integrations, signals being passed back and forth between marketing and ops,” Adam said.

Scaling and succeeding in larger organizations

In response to this question, Dana Therrien, Senior Sales Specialist of Sales Performance Management at Anaplan, discussed how process strategy is even more important as the company grows. Dana said, “Especially in the larger organizations, you need to have process experts…that can do the analysis of everything that occurs from lead all the way through renewal, and map that customer journey, and then map what's required of all the individuals who participate in that process as well as the tech stack that's required to support it.”

Recruiting firms often have an inside look into the needs of scaling and growing businesses. Jerry Bonura, Senior Principal at RevOps executive search firm TwentyPine, said, “A lot of companies go wrong when they start with technology first, without figuring out their process, so I think process is definitely most important…[it has to be] adaptable... You have to have processes defined for your business now of course, but always keep in mind what's going on, what happens when we go from 20 to 200 salespeople, or when we expand into selling into new verticals territories, or internationally, or when we launch new products.”

Building a strong process strategy foundation for revenue teams is important to put into place before the company expands, whenever possible. Crissy Saunders, Co-Founder and Principal Consultant at CS2, a B2B marketing and revenue operations agency, said, “The process strategy, everything, should have a strategy behind it. And that's hard when there are a lot of small things that come up, especially if you're in a startup you're working fast and breaking things. But if you get to a certain point, you shouldn't be doing that. Building a great foundation from the start is better. Really thinking through the strategy and whether it will scale with the business. Yes, you might not have everything all at once, or it's not super sophisticated. But always think about, ‘Are we going to grow out of this process, or the strategy, or are we going to maybe even grow into it?’ And stick to something that is going to scale but is also simple enough to maintain.”

3Process strategy revops crissy

As companies grow and the roles become more specialized, enablement roles may not be part of the RevOps team, at least not in some of the larger organizations at the time of research interviewing. Mallory Lee, Senior Director of Operations at Terminus, explained, “I do think this should be part of RevOps, specifically for the departments that the team is supporting. For example, we do not support DevOps, so I would not expect our team to document their work. I like to partner tightly with enablement on these projects,” she said. 

What happens when no team or person is responsible for process strategy?

If no one owns the process strategy (and the documentation of it for training, consistency, and improvement), there would be a lot of meetings where the revenue teams may talk about process/strategy, but nothing would actually happen as a result of those meetings or communication. Without a ‘product owner’ of revenue processes, there could be lots of talk and no action, or worse, conflicting actions between sales, marketing, and customer success. RevOps is currently in the best position to be the owner or steward of the revenue processes and process strategy.

In a Medium article, Konrad Treter, Operations Manager at City Pantry, discussed three common process management problems, in addition to a lack of defined processes. Note how all three of these issues are related to people, the largest principle of RevOps (Chapter 3).

  • “Lack of Governance — This issue arises when you do not take the time to properly map out a process and choose the correct person to manage it once it is formed.
  • Inability to Access Knowledge — This issue arises when you don’t take the time to create a knowledge management framework.
  • Limited Workforce Engagement — Limited workforce engagement brings process development to a halt because no one is going the extra mile to continually make a process easier and more efficient.”

These three consequences also occur when there is a lack of documentation of the processes, which is how the process strategy and process management turn into action and results. Let’s move on to address the second part of this research question about documentation’s role in RevOps.


The second part of this chapter, related to documentation, is now published here!

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Topics:   RevOps, Book