Revenue Operations

The Hidden RevOps Mandate That Helps You Be a True Partner to GTM Teams

Adithya Krishnaswamy
Jun 27, 2021

The primary responsibilities of any role in GTM teams are always transparent and laid out but to truly differentiate yourself, you need to see beyond that and execute on things that move the needle and add value to the broader organization. 

RevOps is not unique in this regard. We all know RevOps is responsible for planning, reporting, commissions, CRM, and conflict resolution, but that’s not the complete picture. 

Let me introduce you to the implied RevOps mandate that we don’t talk about enough:

Be the trustworthy partner to the GTM teams and solve for Sales motivation. 

Wait, aren’t leaders supposed to solve this? 

Of course, sales managers and leaders are your first line of defense to solve this. 

But, if you work with the reps, as you might know by now, most of their problems cannot be solved by the sales managers. 

I will address why RevOps needs to do this in more detail in the latter part of this blog. 

Let’s understand six common reasons reps get demotivated where a neutral party needs to get involved in solving the problem. 

Challenging Territory With Poor Marketing Support

The #1 reason reps are unhappy is that they don’t have enough leads coming and cannot close enough deals.

I am not blaming marketing here, but there is no need for many reps if there aren’t enough leads. Sometimes this might be due to bad quarters or changes in marketing or sometimes due to the territory being very difficult or competitive to land leads in. 

Either way, marketing will not immediately acknowledge this, or sales managers will not convince everyone here. So, who has access to transparent data in this situation and a neutral party? Revenue Operations

How Can RevOps Support Sales Reps?

  1. Work with management to get more marketing support or budget.
  2. Cut down on quota if it’s that bad.
  3. Plan for SPIF programs in other regions to make them overachieve to compensate for this revenue loss. 
  4. Plan for SPIF programs in the rep’s region to solve for projected attainment.

Unreasonable Quota Expectations

In this case, not only are RevOps going to help the reps but also the managers. We all know how Quota planning is a complex activity. 

A sales team either gets lucky, or they get very unlucky. 

There is usually finance involved who live in their aim for an efficient world. 

Then, your upper management always wants to push everyone’s goals to deliver for the board. 

What usually gets rolled out to the reps is dependent on luck and which leader can fight the hardest to reduce the quota. 

We can’t expect everything to be perfect with all these variables involved in the planning. 

Things inevitably go wrong during the year. 

If a region’s best rep cannot do more than 70% of their Quota, then it’s not the region’s fault. 

It would be best if you started relooking at the quota. This situation is prevalent in newly created regions or newly opened markets where we are overconfident of closing more.

The sales managers cannot make this argument to the management simply because it is a biased proposition. Therefore, the only neutral party that can help with this is RevOps. 

If not solved, it might lead to demotivated reps. This problem worsens if other region reps can do their numbers – a scenario that is also one of the most common attrition reasons. 

If you are interested in learning how to set up proper fair quotas for your GTM teams, go through this content that we at Everstage wrote earlier. 

How Can RevOps Help With Quota Attainment?

  1. Run SPIFFs to boost rep earnings
  2. Relook at quota and make adjustments if required
  3. Make the case to management to be more realistic of quota deployments.

Insufficient Leadership Support

Sometimes, reps are going to leave because of bad managers or pod leads. 

Some managers can put excessive pressure on reps, while some can outright harass them for lousy performance. 

Being close to the ground by dealing with reps on various issues, RevOps will get access to this information, and like most reps, they won’t raise these issues to the Sales leaders. 

So, RevOps needs to get involved and let the leaders know of the issues after careful evaluation of the situation. 

How Can RevOps Help Sales With Leadership?

  1. Let the Leadership team know about concerns with specific data points
  2. Do thorough research to validate the claims.

Product Issues Plaguing GTM Closure Efforts

Every customer gets closed with 100 promised features, out of which the product team rarely delivers half. 

They don’t need to deliver everything, but the sales teams are in massive trouble if this becomes a pattern. 

They will end up losing customers after the first year rather than being able to retain them. In these situations, reps usually suffer the most as this is entirely out of their control. 

However, a few instances of closing deals only for them to leave within a quarter due to non-delivery features will make any good rep demotivated. 

Even though this might be rare for AEs, when it comes to your AMs and CSMs, this will be one of their most common pain points. 

Your sales leaders and SEs will bring these up and escalate them to the product teams. 

Still, as RevOps, when we run the annual planning with the finance team, we must get the bare minimum product commitment or even a dedicated pod for GTM requests. 

How Can RevOps Help Reps Deal With Product Issues?

  1. Track all lost deals or customers using CRM.
  2. Bring it up in Review meetings and push for a dedicated pod in the product org. 

Finance, Legal, or Sales Ops Concerns

I will start this section with a meme everyone in GTM should be able to relate with… 

Jokes aside, finance, legal, and billing teams play a critical role in being gatekeepers, but when the gate becomes very strict, Revops need to step in to ensure that there is adequate support provided to the sales team. 

The old way of sales teams working directly with the legal team on contracts is no longer valid. Instead, companies are setting up deals desk teams to solve these problems. 

And there is a lot of important Quote to Cash tools that completely automate this process. Platforms like RevOps’s Quote-to-Cash Solution are a must-have tool in your GTM tech stack. 

Why Does RevOps Have to Work With Legal and Finance?

  1. RevOps, Legal, Finance, or billing teams are there to support the revenue-focused executives. 
  2. The primary responsibility of a sales rep is to convince an external stakeholder to buy our product and not architect a complex deal internally. 
  3. Some insane asks do come up occasionally from reps, but 9 out of 10 times, reps shouldn’t have to worry about internal teams to close a customer.

How Can RevOps Work With Legal, Finance, and Billing

  • Identify operational gaps in the legal, finance, or billing workflows during deal closure. 
  • Automate the process gaps with teams and software. 

Incentive Compensation Issues

A fair compensation plan is not very hard to come by these days. 

But, some companies have sub-par compensation plans with outdated principles. 

And reps know this. 

If they find two offers and find out one of them offers lesser OTE but a much more lucrative compensation plan, what do you think the top reps are going to do? 

Here are four things every compensation plan needs to have:

  1. Very few primary components of measurement and incentivization.
  2. Proper bonus structure to reward the extra efforts.
  3. An occasional SPIFF plan to motivate during bad quarters.
  4. Unambiguous policies on renewals, expansion, churn, and clawbacks.

If your goal is to provide your reps with a proper plan to motivate them, head over here to learn how to build compensation plans from scratch by role. 

If you deviate from these four and keep on maintaining your old school compensation plans, you will lose reps, and this time, it is on Revops directly to solve this. 

What Can RevOps Do?

  1. Constantly revise compensation plans every year to stay competitive in the market.
  2. Introduce bonus components to reward the right behaviors.
  3. Put up unambiguous policies on everything commissions, so reps know exactly what to expect. 

Other problems demotivate sales reps, like bad headcount planning with overworked SEs or poor SDR alignment or territory issues. But, in the order of importance, I have kept them out of the main list. 

One question that comes up every time I discuss this with my RevOps peers is, “Why should we do these? We have enough problems already.”

So, Why should RevOps do this?

If you abstract the essential value addition of RevOps in the organization’s eyes, it probably boils down to these two things: 

  1. Predict and Forecast Revenue accurately. 
  2. Ensure all operations (process-wise or tool-wise) are running smoothly. 

The second part is in Revops control. But, for RevOps to comfortably predict Revenue, they need to get the pulse of the sales teams and reps. They need to know what’s going to land and what’s not. 

Some sales leaders under commit and try to sandbag deals, while some overcommit but miss their numbers.  

To separate the signal from the noise, you need to understand the basic reality. 

By talking to the reps directly and helping them solve their problems, RevOps should get the true pulse of the GTM forecasting. 

So, the hidden mandate here is not to help with Sales motivation but to work with sales reps and solve their problems so that RevOps can accurately forecast revenue at a realistic level.

This article was written by Adithya Krishnaswamy, head of RevOps and Growth at Everstage, a Sales Commissions automation platform. Before that, he was part of Freshworks for 5 years where he headed their RevOps efforts for Global Partnerships and Rest of the World markets.

If you like this blog, I write similar content over here at Everstage blog and share Revops related posts on my Linkedin.

Adithya Krishnaswamy

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