One of the big dangers in the business world occurs when everyone jumps on the bandwagon of a “new” idea. New ideas are great, although I’d argue very few ideas are actually 100% novel. The problem occurs when people get all excited about the shiny new thing without—in most cases—actually changing anything they were doing.
The danger is that too much hype—especially when paired with the wrong focus— can devalue very legitimate business practices.
A great example of that? Account-based marketing. Everyone talked about it as the “new new thing”—but it really wasn't. It already existed; it just wasn’t neatly packaged with a nice name and a pretty bow.
When it became all the rage, a lot of people started calling what they were doing account-based marketing—while maintaining the status quo. While not everyone did this, a lot did.
Add in some vanity metrics, and voila! People started cheerleading about how account-based marketing was changing the world. The unfortunate result? A lot of cheerleading and very little actual change. Pretty soon, the term became just another buzzword.
Unfortunately, I’m starting to see the same hype with RevOps. I touched on this in a RevOps Show episode (Bringing a Value Mindset to RevOps: A Rant) and thought I’d expand on my thinking in a blog.
Now, I’m not against cheerleading. I enjoy the witty repartee and social commentary of Bring It On as much as the next guy.
I also hope it’s obvious from everything that I do that I’m a huge believer in RevOps. The problem is what I like to call “The RevOps bubble,” aka drinking the RevOps Kool-Aid.
What’s the RevOps bubble?
I recently heard someone say that RevOps is the biggest thing that has ever happened in business.
But here’s the catch: most companies have no idea what RevOps is. And don’t think this is just an unsophisticated segment; I’ve witnessed this lack of RevOps familiarity in businesses with revenue as high as $2 billion.
For example, my Chief of Staff Jess and I walked into a meeting with a prominent financial company wearing our The RevOps Show shirts. High-level employees asked us what RevOps was and why it merited a show.
If an extremely qualified business person has never heard of RevOps, then a big song and dance about RevOps has no meaning.
That's what I mean by the RevOps bubble: a relatively small circle of people who know RevOps, love RevOps, and often assume that clients and prospects already understand how it will lift their company to the next level.
The fact is, if you want to have a meaningful conversation with a prospect or client, you must break out of that bubble and show them what you can do for them.
If you want a seat at the table, you must talk about outcomes.
And sure, RevOps, when done correctly, is about outcomes—but you can’t assume your audience has heard and understood all the cheerleading and jargon. Businesspeople don’t care what you call something as long as it results in the growth and velocity they seek.
And I truly believe RevOps does change things for the better. I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.
However, I also think there are some cold, hard truths everyone needs to realize if they want to do RevOps right.
How RevOps Drives Results:1. RevOps should be virtually invisible - Despite all the excitement around RevOps, it isn’t sexy. It’s not cool. In fact, it’s so unsexy that I refer to it as plumbing. That means it’s at its best when it’s invisible and you don’t even think about it.
In other words, when RevOps succeeds, it solves problems upstream. When you solve an upstream problem, it never materializes as a problem.
Because it never becomes a problem, everyone starts wondering why you have this group of people working so hard. A perfect example is Y2K and the coding issue. (If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s a breakdown.) People scoff at Y2K now, but it’s because people got ahead of the problem and prevented it.
That’s how good RevOps works. It’s not about cheerleading (although when you’re solving problems upstream, it probably doesn’t hurt to make sure everyone’s aware of what’s been accomplished). It’s about creating a more efficient, aligned organization.2. RevOps requires a skeptical mindset - In that same RevOps Show episode, I said, “Every successful business needs a dreamer, a businessperson, and a skeptic.”
RevOps fills the role of skeptic within a company.
Now, that doesn’t mean that RevOps is negative or cynical. It doesn’t mean it’s the “sales prevention department.”
It means RevOps’ role is to ask incisive questions and provide a holistic view.
That requires skepticism. For example, I used to be a financial advisor and whenever some new investment manager would tell me about their great product and why every client of mine needed it, my first question was always, “If I were to invest in this, in what environment would I get hurt?” If the investment manager couldn't give me a very clear answer to that, their product was not under consideration.
Likewise, when someone comes in all excited about AI or another shiny new object, RevOps considers what would be impacted, weighs the good and bad consequences, and thinks about how this would fit into the overall priorities.
RevOps provides that much-needed holistic view by focusing on what matters.3. RevOps is also about what you don’t do - In business, what you don’t do is as important as what you do. Everything is about managing probabilities, which means not only increasing gains, but—even more importantly—minimizing losses.
The companies that actually sustain growth aren't usually the ones that have some huge, great breakthrough. They are the ones managing risk and monitoring the probability that they’re going to get the outcome they want. They know that if they eliminate or minimize the things that would cause their strategy’s failure, their likelihood of success soars.
You can gain more ground by preventing a failure point than by adding another success point—because it only takes one failure point to fail. And if there are no fail points, then by definition, a company is successful.4. RevOps manages complexity - On top of all the other issues, businesses must manage greater complexity. RevOps brings a discerning element that enables your sales and marketing to run more consistently and be more repeatable.
One of the keys to increasing velocity is finding the right places to slow things down. Just to be clear, slowing things down doesn't necessarily mean slow. But you need to be able to look at the big picture and manage all the complexity that comes your way.
Managing complexity also allows businesses to focus on what matters. After all, any company that wants to grow needs to be great at about 10 to 15 percent—maybe 20 percent—of their business. Most companies are okay at a whole bunch of things—but excel at nothing.
By managing complexity, RevOps can help lift a business to the next level by allowing a focus on core competencies.
When you’re excited about RevOps, it’s easy to get caught up in the bubble. That’s understandable, but you need to realize that most people—even executives at big, successful companies—don’t know or care about RevOps. They care about results.
If you concentrate on outcomes instead of the newest big thing, you’ll be doing RevOps right. That’s how you bring a value mindset to the table, ensuring greater success for you, your clients, and your company.