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How to Unlock Your Startup’s RevOps Data

“The job of RevOps, or go-to-market operations, is to see the dots, connect the dots, and then draw [and] surface those insights to different GTM leaders. When done well, you’re providing the ‘so what?’” —Alex Biale, Founder & Managing Partner at Domestique

If you’ve ever run into roadblocks around your startup’s data, you’re not alone. Companies with costly tech stacks often reach out to RevOps consultants Alex Biale and Rhys Williams for help with fixing broken dashboards and sifting through murky metrics.

As it turns out, issues with reports and dashboards are rarely the underlying problem. “Oftentimes, it's a number of key data building blocks (i.e. data definitions, data integrity, source-of-truth reports, etc.) that are the issue,” Alex says.

In a workshop for revenue leaders at GGV’s portfolio companies, the founders of Domestique reveal three ways that better RevOps efficiency can unlock your startup’s data for deeper insights:

Create cross-functional dashboards and source-of-truth reports 

Before you revamp any dashboards, consider first aligning on a go-to-market framework for running RevOps at your startup—according to Alex and Rhys, RevOps should look at the entire customer journey. 

“RevOps is not just sales and marketing,” Alex says. “It’s the entire prospect and customer journey … The goal of RevOps is to provide (or define a path toward aligning on) a source of truth that we can all agree to draw insights from and then start connecting the dots.”

As a former chief of staff at a startup, Rhys also understands common pain points like needing to pull custom reports for quarterly board meetings. Over the long run, a more productive approach might include asking yourself:

  • What are the types of questions that the board typically asks? 
  • How can we align these types of questions with the reporting that we already have?
  • How can we create a set of standard source-of-truth reports that start all the way at the IC level and filter up to the board?

By creating on-demand, ready-to-go reports, Rhys says “the next time [you] actually have to put together a board deck, it’s literally copying and pasting in a bunch of dashboards from existing reporting.”

Pro tip: “Only measure data that you can make a decision around,” Rhys says.

Streamline sales forecasting processes

At many companies, account executives have a difficult time forecasting because they: 

  • Don’t understand the stages in the funnel
  • Have a different process based on geographies and opportunities
  • Don’t have a standardized forecasting cadence

Whether it’s agreeing on the definitions of ideal customer profiles (ICPs) or any stage advancement criteria, Rhys recommends taking the time to define—and document. Ask yourself:

  • For each stage, are all of the criteria and activities clearly defined, documented, and codified in Salesforce, HubSpot, or other CRM tools? 
  • Does every account executive (regardless of team, geo, or seniority) understand each stage?

Rhys also suggests emphasizing accountability with a regular forecasting cadence. Consider breaking up meetings into distinct purposes, such as:

  • A 30-minute forecasting meeting with all sales account executives members led once a week by a sales leader or RevOps leader, where each member provides a commit and best case. The forecast is then rolled up into updates for the executive team.
  • A 30- to 60-minute pipeline review meeting led by a sales leader once a week to discuss opportunity strategy one-on-one with an account executive
  • A 30-minute biweekly meeting led by a sales leader to discuss an account executive’s professional development 

As Rhys points out, “everybody always squishes it together in one meeting. And what ends up happening is you don't spend any time on the professional development stuff, and you end up mixing pipeline reviews and forecasting.”

You may also want to consider setting up a Demand Council, Rhys adds. Led by RevOps, this recurring weekly meeting—which includes functional leaders, the head of sales, the head of marketing, the head of business development, and the head of CS—lets you review the WoW funnel data compared against the targets in the annual plans. The goal is to be able to see hot spots well before six months go by, giving you a chance to “identify tiger teams to address [problems and] drive more consistent pipeline across teams,” Rhys says.

Remember: “If it’s not documented, it doesn’t exist,” Rhys says.

Refine your marketing attribution model

“When done well, your attribution model should provide insights into the least—and most resistance—through your customer journey,” Alex says.

If you “build lifecycle stages well and it’s automated,” Alex believes a startup’s marketing team can then reliably answer strategic questions like: “If you had another $100K to spend next quarter, how much pipeline would you create?”

With an efficient marketing attribution model, you’re in better position to glean insights like:

  • Out of all of our customers who have churned at an abnormally high rate, are there common touch points?
  • Of the deals that closed at a much faster rate, what are those common touch points?

“Your attribution model should allow you to make investment decisions, plus it’s a way to establish how marketing, sales, and customer success teams should think about coordinating,” Alex says. This level of analysis can be especially insightful for longer sales cycles of three to 12 months.

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Takeaways & next steps 

If you feel like your startup’s existing data isn’t accurate and doesn’t provide insights, consider taking a closer look at the systems and processes fueling those dashboards. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a set of source-of-truth reports that can be used by individual contributors all the way up to board members?
  • Have you defined—and documented—everything from your startup’s ICPs to stage advancement criteria?
  • Have you standardized your sales forecasting cadence and cross-functional meetings?
  • Is your marketing attribution model granular enough to allow your marketing team to know how to effectively deploy an extra $100K next quarter?

Once you’ve completed this foundational work, you—and your team—should now be in a better position to quickly (and accurately) surface key insights.

Remember: “The magic of RevOps is being able to connect dots that other executives and other stakeholders might not see,” Alex says.