Based on fielding the same questions related to scaling revenue, the duo founded Domestique to help B2B SaaS companies build, grow, and scale.
In a conversation for founders and leaders at GGV’s portfolio companies, Alex and Rhys walked us through a GTM operational framework that can help guide companies through creating, accelerating, and optimizing their revenue.
Read on for how Alex and Rhys answer these 10 frequently asked questions about revenue operations:
“When done well, RevOps is the connective tissue across the entire customer journey—not just marketing and sales,” Rhys says.
According to Rhys, these five RevOps workstreams matter across the customer journey—“and the order is important”:
The team at Domestique says one of the processes that companies get wrong most frequently is the concept of stage advancement criteria, or “how you define and codify the difference between an opportunity stage one and opportunity stage two.” In addition to opportunity stage advancement criteria, Alex says: “Companies should also define each of the lifecycle stages based on the customer jounrney.You really shouldn't have more than six to 10 max lifecycle stages.”
For Rhys, capacity planning affects the entire all go-to-market team—not just sales.
“Capacity is not just a one-time-a-year type of thing,” Rhys adds. “Take those assumptions and plug them into a recurring process … If you track the inputs well, you then are not surprised two or three quarters later when you either have enough pipeline or you don't have enough pipeline to ultimately hit your quarter.”
Before adding a tool to your existing tech stack, Alex suggests asking questions like:
“Because if you don't enable it, nobody's going to use it,” Alex says.
Rhys recommends having a core owner—such as a business systems council that’s willing to “push back and essentially say, ‘We're not going to do this because that doesn't line up the strategy or process. We will do this, but we're going to treat it as such because this is our process, and we will do this.’”
If the responsibilities fall to a CRM admin, consider expanding that person’s purview to include things like: “How do they address ad hoc requests? The whole goal is to have a structured process to evaluate all the incoming requests and make sure you're setting up the tech stack as a best-in-class process.”
Startups often struggle with reliable forecasting but according to Rhys, “the vast majority of the time, it has nothing to do with having a forecasting tool or not.”
Instead, consider focusing on: “Is there a clearly defined and documented stage advancement criteria, and do all the reps understand it? … The reason why we're big advocates of a value-based messaging framework (i.e. BANT or MEDDPICC) is it's essentially a language. It's how you talk to the customer, making sure Rep #1 versus Rep #20 versus # 50 are all asking the same types of questions.”
Similar to a business systems council, Rhys recommends having a recurring enablement planning process: “We typically recommend a quarter where you sit down and say, ‘Hey, what are the biggest issues addressing the [entire] go-to-market team? And how do we address them?’”
“In a perfect world, RevOps would have a seat at the executive table so they can be Switzerland and neutral,” Rhys says.
If that's not doable, consider having the RevOps team sit with a cross-functional department like the COO. “If you do report into a CFO, you need to be thoughtful that they just don't turn into finance ops,” Rhys adds. “If a CRO, RevOps needs to be able to do the other things outside of whatever departments roll up to. So if the CRO is just sales and marketing, RevOps still needs to help out and address the customer and/or product.”
Think of the revenue operations team like the operating system of your business. For Alex, there's a big opportunity to treat the revenue operations team like a product team with different deliverables they have to deliver.
For example, think of an attribution model or a capacity plan as a product—“there's delivering it and delivering it on time, and whether or not that function enables the team or the company or the stakeholder to achieve whatever the goal is,” Alex says.
If your product team doesn’t have a dedicated ops team, Rhys believes “it's on RevOps to engage with product so that it’s engaged with the GTM team.”
Product feature requests can be tied to ARR and “weighted based upon whether it's a customer or new business. And then when product goes into their planning cycle, they then have a weighted-ARR-by-feature request of what are the most impactful features and be building.”
Alex and Rhys recommend screening for someone with the ability to lead through influence—and someone with enough gravitas to communicate with the C-suite matter more than technical skills. You’re looking for someone who can respectfully say: “‘That hypothesis is incorrect or this approach is not going to work—here’s why,’” Alex says.
By the way, “Rev Ops has been around for like five years and if somebody says they have 10 years of experience, you know they're making it up,” Rhys says. “So don't put on your JD description: ‘We're looking for 10 years of experience’ because it hasn't existed for that long.”
For early-stage startups looking to uplevel their RevOps, consider starting by assessing where you are with these five workstreams across the customer journey:
Remember: “We’re a big fan of crawl, walk, run,” Alex says. “If your revenue operations team or your revenue operations individual is in a constant state of being reactive, you're not going to get as much value out of them.”