If consistent revenue makes a business successful, then a solid RevOps team is a non-negotiable. After all, RevOps teams play an active role in supporting every function that drives revenue growth, from sales to marketing to finance to customer success.
Because RevOps is such a critical function of any GTM motion, RevOps professionals often shoulder the heaviest burden during times of economic hardship or uncertainty.
Whether you’re feeling that pressure right now, or simply want to prepare for future down swings, today’s blog post is for you. We offer six specific RevOps strategies that reduce costs and ultimately drive revenue– even if you have limited resources.
The RevOps Essentials
Before we get into the specific strategies, there are a few prerequisites to making these strategies work. If you’re shifting your approach in order to navigate economic hardship, you’ll first need to have the following bases covered:
Accurate, real-time data.
Many of these strategies are built upon insights derived from data analysis. They require you to have a clear picture of prospect and customer behavior, market trends, and performance metrics. Before you start to modify your RevOps strategies, make sure you have systems in place to continuously gather and organize these data points.
Adaptation and iteration are core aspects of the RevOps strategies we discuss below. You’ll need to make changes quickly and often based on your revenue targets and each go-to-market team’s needs and performance. For maximum efficiency, the tools that make up your RevOps tech stack— including CRMs, sales enablement tools, analytics and reporting platforms, and so on— must offer the necessary automation and customization capabilities to support agile RevOps strategies.
Efficient communication channels.
We’ll get into some specific ways to improve communication across GTM teams. But, none of these strategies will be successful if you’re relying on antiquated or inefficient communication frameworks and channels. They require collaboration platforms or channels that your sales, marketing, and customer success teams understand and consistently engage with.
6 RevOps Strategies to Keep Your Business Afloat During Economic Hardship
During times of economic uncertainty, we don’t recommend you reinvent the wheel— and the strategies you’ll read about below are no less effective during prosperous times. But, when revenue starts to decline and budgets start to shrink, it’s always smart to go back to the basics and patch up any revenue leaks.
Here are the six strategies we recommend you visit the next time market conditions are uncertain and revenue slows:
1. Audit your tech stack.
Technology spending has risen steadily in our current era of digital workplaces and rapid innovation. Cost-efficiency is critical in times of economic hardship, so assessing your tech stack should be priority number one.
But, that doesn’t mean you can simply get rid of expensive tools or freeze subscriptions until the economy stabilizes. Even during hard times, your teams need the right tools to perform revenue-generating functions. In fact, 80% of CSOs say that an effective tech stack is critical to hitting revenue targets (source).
We recommend working alongside your IT department and GTM teams to audit your tech stack strategically. Here are some specific steps to take:
Identify underused or outdated solutions.
There are many factors that indicate whether or not a piece of software is essential. Maybe a tool no longer aligns with current workflows. Or, two solutions have overlapping functionality. Or, a tool may have simply failed to fulfill its intended purposes and never earned widespread adoption.
Dig into software usage data to gain a better understanding of how teams are using the tools your organization pays for. Determine whether each tool fulfills an essential revenue-generating purpose, how adoption of the tool has changed over time, and whether components of your tech stack can be consolidated in order to reduce overall spend.
Map your tech stack to your buyer’s journey.
Every tool you implement should support a specific stage of your ideal customer’s journey. Marketing automation and content management systems are critical during the awareness stage. Sales enablement platforms help sales teams guide prospects through the consideration stage. Customer success and advocacy tools support customers in the post-purchase stage. And so on.
Make sure to draw these correlations for every tool you implement. This will help you identify gaps in your tech stack— and it will also enable you to better educate GTM teams on the customer journey, what role each tool plays, and how to effectively use tools to maximize revenue.
Get stricter with licenses and permissions.
Software license optimization is one of the quickest methods for identifying and correcting cost inefficiencies. Take a close look at the usage data for all relevant tools. Then, determine who is using what tool, how frequently they’re using it, and what revenue-generating function the tool supports.
Recommended reading: A 3-Step Framework for More Informed B2B Software Buying
2. Identify the ROI of resource-heavy GTM campaigns and initiatives.
Consider where each of your GTM teams– product, marketing, sales, customer success– spends the most time and money. If you’re not sure, work with each department head to understand the activities that eat into department resources.
Here’s an example of what this may look like:
- Product team: Spends time and money to collect all kinds of user data– user testing, feature requests, customer feedback, etc– but doesn’t consolidate or use the data in a meaningful way to inform the product roadmap.
- Marketing team: Pays a network of freelancers to create generic, low-quality content that doesn’t seem to be generating any kind of results.
- Sales team: AE’s and managers alike spend too much time on manual admin work, shadow accounting, and data entry.
- Customer Success team: The customer success team spends most of their time engaging (perhaps over-engaging) with customers who don’t require hand holding. This has led to an abundance of uneventful meetings, empty meetings.
After collecting preliminary findings, validate your assumptions with data. Then, share that data with each department head. Be sure to include ROI calculations and model “what-if” scenarios that illustrate the money your organization would either save or earn by eliminating or rectifying inefficiencies within your GTM organization.
From there, work with each leader to develop a plan, test new processes, and monitor for improvements over time.
Recommended reading: How to Motivate Your Employees in Tough Times
3. Analyze and modify your compensation plans.
Speaking of resource-heavy initiatives, let’s talk about sales compensation. RevOps plays a key role in determining the ROI of sales compensation programs. Compensation is a business investment, after all, and you need to study it closely to identify areas of overspending or risk potential.
However, unlike the example initiatives cited in the previous section, sales compensation isn’t just another line on your list of expenses– it’s also a strategic lever to be pulled in times of economic uncertainty.
An economic downturn might mean you need to make some changes to your existing comp plan structures. A word of caution: if you can help it, don’t make drastic changes to commission plans that you know will upset sales employees. These plans exist to motivate and encourage the right sales behaviors, but an unreasonable commission cap or other provision that hinders their potential earnings will have the opposite effect.
Instead, look for ways to encourage revenue-driving behaviors without elevating financial risk. For example, you might introduce a multi-year accelerator that rewards sales reps who close deals with longer contracts. Overall, revenue can be volatile during economic downturns, so it’s smart to reward sellers who deliver results that the business can count on long-term.
Recommended reading: How to Use Clawback Clauses in Your Sales Compensation Strategy
4. Optimize your buying cycle from lead to close.
During periods of economic hardship, every qualified lead counts. So, it goes without saying: if you want to keep revenue from declining, you need to make sure your sales organization is equipped to capitalize on every potential opportunity.
By optimizing your buying cycle from lead routing to onboarding, you can ensure that there are fewer unnecessary drop off points and inefficiencies along the way. Consider auditing the following processes:
- Lead collection
- Lead routing
- Lead handoff between teams– from marketing to SDR to AE to onboarding, etc.
- Qualification processes and criteria
- Mutual action plan templating
- Onboarding outreach and communication
- Win/loss reporting
- Feedback collection and review
The goal here is to understand where the drop-off between prospect and customer happens and implement automated solutions or processes to prevent it. When inbound interest is slow, it’s important to make each and every opportunity count.
Recommended reading: The Definitive Guide to Recession-Proofing Your Sales Organization
5. Erase silos between GTM teams.
Misalignment is one of the most damaging business problems, and yet, it’s one of the most perpetual. Studies show that misaligned departments cost companies an average of 10% of their revenue per year (source).
While there’s plenty of debate (and finger-pointing) about who and what is to blame for the incessant misalignment problem, RevOps is best-suited to help solve it. And, when times are tough, the need to break down silos between go-to-market teams becomes that much more pressing.
So what’s the trick to maintaining alignment between teams? We’ll keep it simple: shared information and shared objectives.
Start by assessing how well your infrastructure supports the shareability of data that’s relevant to all GTM teams. Replace disparate systems in favor of centralized platforms where all teams can access and share data. Data centralization will mitigate discrepancies that lead to conflicting strategies, duplicated efforts, and wasted resources.
It’s also critical that all go-to-market teams are operating with shared objectives, especially as they seek to keep revenue stable during economic hardship. It’s up to you, as RevOps, to establish overall revenue targets as part of the sales planning process and determine what shared goals sales, marketing, and customer success teams will pursue in order to achieve those targets.
We suggest implementing regular cross-departmental meetings where all go-to-market teams can share insights, provide updates, and brainstorm solutions to both mutual and distinct challenges.
Recommended reading: Leveraging Your Revenue Operations Org Chart for Success
6. Prioritize customer retention.
No matter how fine-tuned and aligned your GTM processes are, economic downturns come with an unavoidable truth: sometimes, new business might be hard to come by. And, when demand is low, the need to maintain and improve customer relationships becomes critical.
Prolonged economic hardship should trigger a reallocation of RevOps time and resources towards supporting customer retention. You should implement systems within your CRM that improve your ability to analyze customer behavior, call attention to customers who require specific assistance or attention, and highlight nascent customer problems.
The more that new business opportunities dry up, the more effort you need to put into understanding how your customers interact with your products and services. Make sure you are equipping your customer success teams with ways to proactively identify signs— like increased product usage, adoption of new features, or frequent engagement with support resources— that indicate a customer with upsell potential.
Recommended reading: The ROI of Losing: How to Rethink Loss in Sales
We know that financial hardship is stressful, challenging, and downright scary. But, it’s important to view economic uncertainty as more than just a storm you need to weather. View it also as an opportunity for growth and improvement.
Economic downturns are the best time to reassess your process, try new methods, and fill the gaps that have been there all along. The improvements you make in order to keep your business afloat will be the same ones that lead your business to new heights in the years to come.
Spiff is a new class of commission software that combines the familiarity and ease-of-use of a spreadsheet with the power of automation at scale- enabling finance and sales operations teams to self-manage complex incentive compensation plans with ease. Spiff is designed to facilitate trust across organizations, motivate sales teams, increase visibility into performance and earnings, and ultimately, drive top line growth. The platform’s intuitive UI, in-depth reporting capabilities, and seamless integrations make it the first choice among high-growth and enterprise organizations.