Startup Musings #5: RevOps is the new kingmaker: How to sell to them

RevOps will play a larger role in making or breaking deals next year. Here's what this mean for sales teams in the coming months.
An image of a chess piece that highlights the importance of RevOps in the B2B sales cycle
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The second half of 2022 has been a tough one for businesses. A once-booming economy that yielded a boom in revenue and growth has taken a downturn. This downturn has made closing a deal more cutthroat—and more crucial—than ever.

Based on my experience talking to customers and prospects on sales calls, I’ve noticed a few trends that I expect to carry through to 2023 and possibly even 2024:

  • The new motto for many teams is “do more with less.”
  • Companies are looking to consolidate their tools to streamline processes.
  • Evaluations to add and retain tools are going to be incredibly strict.

Based on these trends, I think it’s safe to assume that revenue operations (RevOps) will play a larger role in making or breaking deals next year. So what does this mean for sales teams? Sales employees need to learn how to talk to RevOps professionals to convince them that purchasing your product is the right choice.

I think RevOps will be the kingmakers during this market downturn—if you can win over RevOps leaders, your company may have a better chance of surviving and selling in a tight economy. This article will demystify the decision-making process for RevOps and provide tips for getting to a "yes."

How RevOps affects purchase decisions

RevOps roles are on the rise, and the titles are becoming more diverse as revenue operations takes on a larger role in organizations. Some common RevOps titles now are Chief Revenue Officer, Director of RevOps, and RevOps Specialist, among others. Clari found that over 18 months from 2020 to 2021, VP of revenue operations roles increased by 300%.

No matter the title, the main function of a RevOps role is typically to align all revenue-generating teams and activities in an organization. That means that part of their responsibility is to find and fix ineffective processes, implement new software and evaluate prospective and current software solutions. This is where being able to speak to RevOps concerns is a critical skill set for sellers.

Although RevOps roles aren’t typically involved in the first phase of a purchasing decision, they often have definitive say in whether or not a tool can be implemented. Whether or not your tool can bring value to the team isn’t their top concern—rather, it’s whether a solution can be fit into current processes that will matter most.

Understanding the RevOps decision-making process

The process of getting a deal past RevOps often reminds me of the movie Gladiator. There is a moment where the character Commodus offers a gesture—thumbs up or thumbs down—to decide the fate of a gladiator. Thumbs up means he is safe, while thumbs down means he will die.

RevOps, believe it or not, has this level of power over buying new software.

Getting a thumbs up from RevOps means that your software has a chance of making it through to the final stages of a deal. A thumbs down can leave your deal dead on arrival. Your sales team needs to know how RevOps makes their "yes" or "no" decision so you can speak directly to the pain-points and solutions they’re looking for.

In my experience, these are the top three factors that RevOps leaders care about when evaluating new software:

  1. Ease of implementation and team adoption
  2. How the software integrates with their existing processes
  3. Whether the software offers a solution to a problem that isn’t fixable internally or with one of their existing software solutions

If you can address all three of these deciding factors and get a thumbs up from RevOps, you’ve managed to leap a huge hurdle to closing a deal.

How to get RevOps on board for a deal

Sellers face many challenges when trying to bring a deal over the finish line. From dealing with multiple stakeholders, budget restrictions and the dreaded scenario when a champion leaves before closing, there’s almost no end to the hurdles sellers face.

But the more you know about your obstacles, the better prepared you are to overcome them. This is why your sales team should be prepared to handle these common challenges sellers face when dealing with RevOps.

Challenge: The contact can say no to a purchase without being the person or team benefiting from the product directly.

Solution: Multithread RevOps into the deal early on so that they know the company is evaluating your solution. Bringing them in last-minute can stall the process, and, as we know, time kills deals.

Challenge: RevOps teams are small and often just a team of one or two. Their calendars are busy and it’s hard to move up their priority list.

Solution: Does your solution lighten their day-to-day workload or make reporting easier? Is it easy to implement and maintain? Emphasize the things that lighten their load.

Challenge: RevOps professionals will have a lot of technical, in-the-weeds questions to ask before making a decision.

Solution: Make sure you have a dedicated person on board who can answer these questions in detail, rather than relying on sellers to do this.

And, finally, the most important thing a seller can do to get RevOps buy-in is to prove the value of their software to a wide cast of stakeholders, especially those with seniority. If the value of your solution is clear enough, you’ll have multiple champions to help push RevOps if necessary.

The power of RevOps

RevOps could be the key decision makers for sellers, getting the ultimate power to say “yes” or “no” to implementing a new software.

If you haven’t updated your messaging, outreach and internal processes to resonate with the things that RevOps professionals care about, your sales team is likely going to struggle to hit revenue goals moving forward. This is especially true now that RevOps is gaining influence and headcount across B2B companies. And will likely play a critical role in evaluating software purchases going forward.

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