Lead Scoring: What Marketing & Sales Need to Know

TLDR: Lead scoring can help Sales focus only on the most valuable or receptive prospects, but the project stands or falls based on the quality of Sales-Marketing collaboration.

What is lead scoring? Lead scoring is the process of evaluating the interest of a prospect and their readiness to engage with the sales process.

The problem lead scoring solves: Lead scoring helps Sales and Marketing concentrate efforts on leads that have demonstrated a higher level of interest or engagement with your brand, increasing the chances of closing deals and generating revenue.

What’s in it for you? In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll cover how to explain the value and reality of lead scoring to Sales – what it is and is not, what it offers and requires. You can incentivize Sales to work together with Marketing with realistic expectations on a project that’s vital for both teams to grow the business.


Methods and data points

Companies can score leads in a variety of ways. You can ascribe numeric values, letter rankings, or descriptive terms like “warm” and “cold.” However you choose to score leads, there are several key data points that should factor into the analysis:

👉 Demographics (relevant individual characteristics, e.g. job title)
👉 Firmographics (organization profile, e.g. industry, vertical, size, location, annual revenue)
👉 Behavior (how the lead engages with your brand, e.g. visiting the webpage, interacting on social, requesting a demo)
👉 BANT qualification (the lead’s budget, authority, need, and timeline)
👉 Completeness of the data you have for each lead

There’s no objectively superior method of scoring leads and accrediting weight to different data types. Instead, your Sales team needs to work with Marketing to define the scoring methodology and establish what a “qualified” lead looks like.

An accurate view of lead quality helps Sales to focus on engaging only with the most receptive and valuable prospects. Neither team can make a complete assessment of this without ideas, data, and feedback from the other.


Qualify or nurture

Naturally, some leads will show a higher likelihood to buy than others. The task for Marketing and Sales is to determine how to identify and treat leads that fall into one of two groups:

1️ shows an optimal level of interest for Sales to act, or
2️ requires further nurturing by Marketing.

For this process to yield results, Sales needs to agree with Marketing on the benchmark for qualification.

Sales might expect the leads they receive from Marketing to be ready to sign, but there’s only so much your Marketing team can do in advance. As long as Marketing can unearth opportunities with a high likelihood of closure, it’s on Sales to identify where in the process to step in and how to approach each lead.

On the other hand, Sales shouldn’t encourage Marketing to pass leads over who show just enough of a pulse to open an email or click a link. Qualifying leads this way undermines the evaluative power of Marketing’s nurture process. Sales might get a couple of lucky bites, but it won’t translate to sustainable success.


Building lead profiles

Marketing’s nurture programs build insightful lead profiles through rich data collection, which allows Sales to approach the highest quality leads in the most engaging ways, showing awareness of their interests and the situational context. Without that basis, Sales risks burning effort on premature leads and failing to hit targets.

The point to make is that lead scoring best allows Sales to identify and win business from the highest value leads when two things are in place:

✅ clearly defined and realistic models for scoring and qualification, and
✅ time for Marketing to nurture developed engagement data from their campaigns.


Fuel your growth machine

To get started with lead scoring, Sales needs a good grasp of their past successes. Your reps should dig into historical data about past deals and lead journeys until they can answer these key questions:

👉 What makes a person qualified enough?
👉 What behaviors and traits did closed-won leads show?


The quality of collaboration

From there, lead scoring stands or falls based on the quality of your collaboration. Sales and Marketing should participate in healthy, ongoing discussions until you agree on a scoring methodology and handover process that both teams can comfortably deliver.

With that agreement in place, you stand the highest chance of seeing the benefits of lead scoring—the ability for Sales to prioritize quality leads, better insight for Marketing into the most valuable lead characteristics, and increased alignment and revenue that both halves of your growth machine can enjoy.

Want more guidance on lead scoring? Revenue Pulse is here to help.

How Automation Can Benefit Sales Ops

TLDR: Is your Sales Ops team feeling the strain of manual processes? Learn to discuss with leadership what you should automate, why, and how to prepare for automation.

Why organizations don’t automate: Sales ops teams rely on manual processes for various reasons. Automation might not be a priority in small or scaling businesses where teams are still developing their tech stacks and systems. Teams in larger organizations might use legacy systems customized to the business’s specific needs and aren’t designed to scale. In either case, there tends to be a shortage of people who understand the tools and mechanisms to accelerate work.

The problem with manual processes: Business that don’t prioritize automation can suffer issues from manual processes that compromise revenue, including:

❌ Inaccuracies
❌ Inefficiencies
❌ Limited forecast and analytical potential

And while companies might be mature in their commercial offerings and field of expertise, a lack of alignment prevents teams around the business (e.g. Sales and Technology, Sales and Operations, Sales Ops and Marketing Ops) from coming together to discuss and address these issues.

What’s in this article for you? If your business is feeling the strain of manual processes — and your teams aren’t talking about it — this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. We’ll help you have a strategic discussion about automation with your CRO and COO, covering what to automate in Sales Ops and why, and how to examine your processes and communication channels so your business can reap the benefits.


Benefits of automation

Your CRO and COO want to understand how automation can translate into increased revenue. To that end, there are a few important benefits that automating your lead and opportunity management can create:

Efficiency: Automating the likes of lead capture and routing will simplify and reduce the overhead of your operations, freeing up your sales and sales ops teams to focus on higher-impact initiatives.

Accuracy: Automation reduces the risk of costly errors that can occur. For example, manually creating contracts and quotes or entering data into your CRM.

Data enrichment: Automation tools can enrich your lead data with publicly available information and activity metrics, helping Sales to better segment leads and prioritize the best matches to the business.

Forecasting: Tools with forecasting capabilities can also lead to more accurate predictions (e.g. how Sales is performing vs. quotas) and more comprehensive analyses of various metrics. For instance, understanding how Sales is set to perform against quotas, how seasonality impacts lead behavior, or which channels to optimize your spending on, will fuel greater strategic decision-making that makes it easier to captivate leads and win business.


“Become more productive, predictive and responsive
to customer needs.”


Automation can help your Sales Ops function become more productive, predictive, and responsive to customer needs and preferences. In theory, these improvements should translate into growth, but there are several logistical and financial complexities with implementing automation.

Prepare to discuss the following points with leadership to show you’ve thought through what it takes to make automation successful:

👉 Recruitment and training: Implementing any technology entails having the knowledge and skills to use it. You’ll want at least one dedicated person or team to manage your workflows, with the know-how to maintain processes in good order and fix things. This might require a headcount budget, agency support, or upskilling people in your business who can progress into this role.

👉 Change management: What existing tools and integrations could be impacted by our implementation of automation? Given the available time that our team members have, what other projects and initiatives are we willing to put on hold in order to prioritize this?

👉 Data quality: Between tools, you might have disparate methods of categorizing the same data points. To make integrations between tools work correctly, and for your reporting to be accurate, you’ll need IT to help with data normalization as you implement and connect tools.

👉 Awareness: How will leadership educate people on the benefits and risks of automation? If Sales isn’t aware of how new processes and tools can improve their workflow, or if people aren’t encouraged to embrace the changes in how you do things, you risk wasting the investment of time and money.


Implementing automation

To address these challenges, your CRO and COO play important roles in the process of implementing automation:

🎯 Direction: Your CRO and COO can position themselves as sources of guidance and authority on data initiatives, offering mentorship and incentives to encourage a greater understanding and adoption of new processes and tools. Being able to answer questions and assure people of the logic behind what they’re doing will be crucial to the ongoing success of automation.

🎯 Communication: Your leaders should encourage communication between Sales, Marketing, Operations, and IT to encourage collaboration and alignment as automation impacts the business. This will be crucial to ensure that your uptake of automation in Sales Ops compliments the tools, processes, and workflows in other departments.

🎯 Resources and development: Leadership can allocate the budget for software purchases, training, hiring, and agency support towards the initiative. This can involve working with Sales Enablement to come up with a training plan, and devising a plan for hiring and skill development to ensure that automated processes are well understood and integrated into the team.

🎯 Measurement: Based on what your CRO and COO want to achieve with automation, they can establish success metrics for the initiative—KPIs and other points of reporting for Sales Ops to track in order to gauge the success of automation. Monthly or quarterly meetings between Sales Ops and leadership, discussing these data points and talking about how to further optimize things, can aid the ongoing success of the project.


“Automation is equally about
making changes to your communication structure.”


Implementing automation is equally about making changes to your communication structure as it is about adopting new tools and processes.

If you can explain clearly to your CRO and COO the kinds of preparation that are required to realize the benefits of automation, your leaders can use their time to guide and align stakeholders around the business and incentivize people to adopt new ways of doing business to achieve a strategic vision.

Treating the interpersonal elements of change management with care puts you in a good place to enjoy the strengthened efficiency, accuracy, forecasting potential, and growth that automation offers.

Get in touch for more guidance on change management and automation in Sales Ops.

How to Improve Data Hygiene in Sales Ops

TLDR: Is your CRM heaving with old records? Time to clean up your data. Learn how to advocate for good data hygiene to your Sales leaders.

The problem with data hygiene in sales ops: Sales ops teams struggle to succeed without clean, well-organized data. To work efficiently and make the right decisions, people at every level and in every function of your sales team need easy access to accurate, relevant information.

Why data hygiene is hard to maintain: Sales Ops handles troves of information from different avenues, which are often difficult to standardize including contact forms, data enrichment tools and research from sales reps.

The cost of poor data hygiene: Sales and revenue leaders can be reluctant to part with data, even when a prospect’s interest and engagement have long cooled. As a result, CRMs bloat with duplicate and incomplete records that only become less viable as time goes on—and this bloat costs in many ways.

What’s in this article for you: If your CRM’s heaving with records and difficult to segment, or your reporting doesn’t match the reality of your team’s performance, it’s time to clean up your data. In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to:

➡️ Illustrate the impacts of poor data hygiene with your CRO/COO

➡️ Raise awareness of practices that will keep your data clean and your Sales team on track

➡️ Save money for your organization


Why data hygiene matters

Bad data encroaches on everything your Sales team does.

❌ Leads to inaccurate analyses of opportunities in the pipeline.

❌ Slows progress on deals as Sales reps chase prospects who are no longer relevant to your business.

❌ Creates a lack of clarity on the accounts, industries, and regions you should target and how to target them.

❌ Results in technical debt, smaller pipelines, leads being routed to the wrong places, and hours burned cleaning up and correcting messy databases.


Why do these problems arise?

A lack of clean, consistent practices around how your organization handles data. Often, this is due to business culture. For example, your sales leaders might oppose deleting data because they’ve paid for the methods to acquire this information that could yield business at some point.


“It pays to know when
to part ways with your data.”


But it pays to know when to part ways with your data. Records that have been sitting cold in your CRM for years, with no signs of engagement, cost more than they’re worth.

Insights expire, industries evolve, and peoples’ interests and roles change.

After a few years of inactivity, you’re more likely to reengage a prospect inbound, in response to a different product or service line, than what you’ve previously been sending them. And at that point, as far as their potential as a customer goes, they’re an entirely new prospect whose old data is no longer relevant.

Your head of sales, CRO, and COO should all understand that data hygiene = time and money well spent.


Before renewing your CRM instance, follow these steps:

👉 See what your capacity costs annually.

👉 Scope out the data that you don’t need, such as duplicates, outdated and irrelevant information, and metrics that your reps don’t use.

👉 Then, present leadership with the savings you can make by getting rid of old records.

Important: This isn’t a one-time clear-out. Data hygiene has a systemic impact on the productivity of your Sales team and requires a continuous, purposeful effort to maintain. To increase revenue, Sales reps need easy access to accurate information that will allow them to focus on the most viable leads. Leadership can help Sales to achieve this by enshrining data hygiene into the culture and practices of your business.


Data standardization

Data should enter your system according to standardized methods of collection and categorization, following a central repository of business definitions that your sales and RevOps teams universally agree upon.

You also want to standardize the fields across channels people can use to enter information. Discrepancies between, say, United States vs. USA vs. US will bloat your database and compromise the accuracy of your reporting.

Sales Ops can take the lead with regularly auditing the CRM and other databases for data quality. Things like merging duplicates, flagging records with missing data, and removing data that are no longer correct or relevant.

Chat with your CRO and Head of Sales about the conditions that make data meaningful for the team:

  • Do we use it in reporting?
  • Do our Sales reps use it in their work?
  • Does it concern prospects who are reasonably engaged given the norms of our industry?
  • Does collecting and storing it drive our desired outcomes?

If the answer is ‘no,’ chances are you can safely delete a record. To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your data cleanups, encourage leadership to invest in a data preparation tool to automate parts of the audit.


Helping Sales win

In Sales, data hygiene and quality will make or break your capacity to strike deals and achieve growth.

Adopt clear and consistent practices for collecting and categorizing data, with regular audits to streamline your databases to only include accurate and relevant information, and it’s likely your pipeline will prosper.

Get in touch for more guidance on maintaining good data hygiene practices.

Explain the Value of Marketo to Your CEO (In Language They Understand)

TLDR: Marketo helps you save time, increase efficiency, and grow revenue. Communicate these outcomes and the value of your CEO’s investment in Marketo (and your team) will be undeniable.

You’re great at your job. 🔥

Why? Because you work hard to demonstrate the value that marketing operations brings to your organization.

The problem: Now you’re on the hook to explain the value of Marketo to your CEO.

What do you do next? Read this Tough Talks Made Easy. We’re going to arm you with everything you need to maximize your minutes with the C-suite. Ditch the buzzwords and focus your approach on the language C-Suite speaks on a daily basis: outcomes.


Focus on outcomes

Your CEO needs to worry about the bottom line without being bogged down by minutiae.

When we talk about speaking in outcomes, we don’t mean:

❌ increased clicks
❌ better open rates, or
❌ the things that only excite marketers. (Sorry).

Your CEO is interested in outcomes with positive impacts on pipeline.

✅ improved lead conversion by stage
✅ the ability to enable your existing sales force and help them achieve quota, and
✅ any other outcomes that lead directly to increased revenue.

The value of Marketo speaks for itself. But, it’s up to you to communicate its many uses into outcome-focused conclusions.


Outcome 1: The value of marketing automation

Marketing automation lets you streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks to save time, increase efficiency, and grow revenue more quickly. (Pretty good outcomes!)

Marketing automation takes every aspect of your existing campaign management and marketing programs and allows you to run them ‘lights out.’ With automation, you’ll get real-time data on what’s working and what isn’t, and a comprehensive scoring system to strategize new leads as you get them.

Your CEO needs to know what Marketo can do. Marketo is to marketing what Salesforce is to sales.

Here are a few features of Marketo

👉 boosts pipeline while providing insight into the customer journey
👉 allows for more targeted, relevant communication as relationships progress, and
👉 delivers insights to drive account and prospect intelligence to sales.


Outcome 2: Enhances doesn’t replace talent

Marketing automation isn’t about making humans obsolete. It’s about giving your talent the data and feedback they need in real-time to flex their marketing muscles in the right direction and do what they do best.

Marketo isn’t some set-it-and-forget-it approach—far from it.


“Marketing automation is
only as effective
as those who implement it.”


Marketing automation is only as effective as the marketers who implement it. Campaigns are at their best when the creativity of your talent is able to thrive.

Marketo provides digital experiences that weren’t possible before, but to be successful marketing ops need the right support, funding, and data to make it all work.


Outcome 3: Actionable data

Marketo isn’t about creating a deluge of information—it’s about telling you precisely which strategies are working and which aren’t, so you can react accordingly.

The insights delivered by Marketo are focused on efficiency, scalability, and ROI.


“Marketo tells you

which strategies work and

which do not.”


Without marketing automation, you simply aren’t measuring these things effectively—if you’re measuring them at all.

With Marketo, everything is tracked and displayed. It provides a comprehensive analysis that allows you to compare every facet against others—and keep constant track of how much everything costs.


Outcome 4: Enhanced relationships

Marketing automation has been exploding for a reason. Companies like Fujitsu and the Portland Trail Blazers have made big investments in Marketo and the teams that run them.

Buyers have the ability to google every option, consider every purchase, and compare every choice in spending.

In order to make a sale, relationships need to be fostered, nurtured and brought to fruition. This requires personal, targeted communications that don’t push for sales until the customer already feels confident in their decision to buy.

That’s where lead scoring identifies the best incoming leads for your sales team.


Outcome 5: Sales and marketing sync

Every CEO wants their sales and marketing teams on the same page.

The real-time, first-hand insight into customer behavior and lead ranking mean your sales team will receive a comprehensive list of the ‘hottest’ leads the moment they come in.


“Marketing will do

the same thing upstream

that sales is doing downstream.”


And once they’ve received the lead, they won’t only be armed with what they need to react immediately, they’ll also know how to react in a relevant way.

Your sales team will receive the same deep, actionable insights regarding which content has the most immediate, positive impact on conversion rates and closed sales. And they’ll receive instant notifications when it’s time to leap into action.

That means your marketing team will be doing the same thing upstream that your sales team is doing downstream. This is a harmonious tandem that spells success and it’s the type of outcome that CEOs’ dreams are made of.


The big takeaway

Marketo helps you save time, increase efficiency, and grow revenue by:

🎯 providing your talent’s with actionable data
🎯 deepening and nurturing relationships with your leads
🎯 enabling your marketing and sales teams to align with a shared strategy, and
🎯 working for the same goals with the information sales and marketing need to succeed.

Communicate these outcomes, and the value of your CEO’s investment in Marketo—and your team—will be undeniable.

And remember: if we can help prepare you in any way, let us know. That’s what we’re here for.

Exploring CPQ (Configure Price Quote) Solutions

TLDR: Are manual CPQ processes eating up your time? Learn how to discuss the benefits and tradeoffs of CPQ solutions with your leadership team.

What is CPQ? Configure, price, quote (CPQ) solutions allow Sales teams to automate the production of quotes and contracts.

The problem with current CPQ processes: Manually creating quotes results in time spent correcting mistakes, bloated approval processes, and delayed starts to projects that can leave negative impressions on customers.

How CPQ solutions help: CPQ solutions can improve the speed, accuracy, and scalability of quote and contract creation. Before adding another tool to your stack, you’ll want to establish whether or not the investment makes sense.

What’s in this article for you? In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll help you have a purposeful discussion with your CRO and COO about CPQ solutions. You’ll learn how to:

➡️ Position the benefits

➡️ Voice important strategic and logistical considerations

➡️ Impact ROI

➡️ Get the support you need to evaluate and implement a potential new solution


CPQ ins and outs

Your C-level execs want to know how investing in a CPQ solution will contribute towards the organization’s goals and needs.

Start by identifying where your CPQ processes are straining and what your leaders want to achieve. Then frame your arguments around the impact a CPQ solution can create to meet their priorities.

👉 Productivity: How many hours per week do your Salespeople spend on quotes? Automation can free up this time and allow Sales to focus on higher-impact initiatives. Do your teams struggle to produce contracts in a timely manner or end up spending way too much time on the approval process? You can issue contracts and get them over to QA, Legal and your customers quicker, and begin working with customers sooner.

👉 Accuracy: Do errors or ambiguities cause approval delays and extend contract execution time? CPQ solutions can ensure consistent pricing and service terms, including standardization and controls for customizations such as discounts and tiers.

👉 Scalability: Does leadership aim to grow the RevOps, Sales or Retention teams? The more people involved, the more complicated pricing and approvals can become. CPQ software enables efficiencies for scaling teams by reducing error-prone manual processes. CPQ solutions offer multi-currency support, which is beneficial for organizations working internationally.


CPQ solutions can help
refine pricing models.


👉 Insights: Tracking recurring revenue streams and establishing a trailing twelve months can highlight key insights to help make intelligent pricing decisions and better understand your client base. Dynamic pricing capabilities can also suggest effective price points for your services based on customer behavior and market conditions to enable better forecasting.

👉 CX: Automating renewals reduces friction during the contracting process. By streamlining work with your organization, CPQs can help improve customer relationships and have a downstream effect on churn reduction.

Your bottom line: How might the above factors translate into costs saved, revenue gained, and losses avoided?


Make your case for CPQ

These are all salient points to get your CRO and COO interested in a CPQ platform, but as with any tool adoption, there are trade-offs and planning elements to assess. Before you approach leadership, think through and prepare to discuss the following factors:

Appeal to your customer journey: At what points in the customer journey can you integrate a CPQ solution to close contracts more effectively, boost customer satisfaction, and improve retention? How will using this tool achieve the aims of your organizational strategy?

Immediate and future needs: What does leadership want a CPQ solution to address in the short- and long-term? For the investment to pay off, people need to know that using the tool will make their lives easier. Does the tool have the potential to continue meeting your organization’s evolving needs?

Alignment with existing tools and processes: Any CPQ tool should fit smoothly with your tech stack and business processes—if it doesn’t, teams may resist adopting the tool. CPQ processes often impact teams in charge of renewals in addition to Finance, Legal and Procurement. Getting the perspectives of key stakeholders can help you to identify whether a new piece of tech can complement your current finance, payment, and audit processes and align with the needs of your business.

Highly integrated vs. siloed products: What is the projected future state of your tech stack? You might opt for a CPQ solution that seamlessly integrates with a core piece of technology (e.g. your CRM), but what happens if you remove or change that piece? Alternatively, the autonomy of a siloed product may be more suitable than the high performance offered by a solution that integrates more deeply with your tech stack.

Power vs. lift: A more sophisticated solution will likely have a heavier lift, demanding more time and expertise to implement and manage, but will result in a more comprehensive solution. Consider who will be in charge of setting up and managing the solution? You may need to recruit a contractor or bring on a new hire to get the job done. Consider if your needs justify the cost of a more powerful, intensive tool over a lighter solution that is easier to implement.


“Leadership can help people
see CPQ as an investment.”

Raising these points will help your leaders gain a clearer sense of the total cost of implementing a CPQ solution and whether the ROI justifies the lift.

If your CRO and COO want you to explore this further, there are various ways they can offer guidance to support the process of evaluation and implementation:

💰 Parameters: What does the minimum viable solution look like—the capabilities and traits that have to be present to support your goals and needs? What is the maximum budget your leadership is willing to allocate—will this cover the purchase price and any hiring and training needs?

🎯 Choice factors: Based on C-Suite’s top-level goals (e.g. increase revenue by 10%), what performance factors make sense to prioritize? For example, can you best achieve these with a solution that’s optimal for speeding up quote creation, freeing people from admin, or deepening analytics?

🌱 Roadmap for growth: Where does a CPQ solution fit within the planned growth of teams within the organization? Will a new CPQ tool impact the requirements of the personnel within your team?

📈 Impact measurement: Which analytics and reporting points are crucial for understanding how the solution meets your organization’s KPIs, such as enabling growth, saving time, and cutting costs?

🧭 Alignment and direction: Your CRO and COO can be huge allies with this endeavor, using their pull to capture thoughts and encourage buy-in from people and teams involved and impacted. Crucially, this involves managing expectations since, for the first few months, the benefits of using the solution may not yet be apparent.

As you establish a baseline, leadership can help people see the tool as an investment that reveals its value over time and showing how riding out the bumps of implementation and onboarding is worthwhile. This understanding is key to internal adoption, which is how you fully realize the long-term benefits.

As you begin using the tool, leaders can stress its long-term value as an investment and inspire employees with their vision during difficult stages of implementation and onboarding. Leadership’s enthusiasm plays a vital role in achieving internal adoption, which is necessary to gain long-term benefits.


The bottom line

As you explore the pricing and specs of options on the market, you might find a piece of tech that responds perfectly to your needs, or you might decide that adopting a new tool isn’t the right move.

In any case, voicing the opportunities and realities of taking on a CPQ solution will help leaders make a decision that best meets the needs of the business.

Get in touch for more strategic Sales Ops guidance.

How to Hire the Right MOPs Leader

TLDR: Is your company looking for a new MOPs leader? Learn the fatal flaws to avoid when designing a MOPs leadership role and the qualities to prioritize instead.

One of the growing pains of Marketing Operations is that many organizations are hiring in the dark. Hiring teams with a hazy understanding of MOPs as a discipline struggle to design roles with realistic skill requirements that candidates find fulfilling.

And nowhere is this disconnect more blatant or consequential than with leadership positions in the space.

If your hiring manager or CMO is searching for a MOPs leader, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you.

We’ll help you articulate the fatal flaws to avoid when hiring a MOPs leader, and the qualities and experience your organization should instead prioritize.

By having this conversation, you can advocate for a strong vision of what it means to lead a MOPs team, help your hiring team to identify credible candidates, and position yourself to grow into a leadership role.


The split problem

Many job descriptions for senior management positions in Marketing Operations tell stories of confusion.

Companies look for candidates that must have:

  • current platform certifications
  • a wealth of data science experience
  • the ability to manage day-to-day campaign tactics, and
  • suitable knowledge to own the tech stack.

So along with having the technical experience from more junior roles, these desired candidates have had time to strategically lead the same functions they performed.


This is both unviable and uncompetitive

Your CMO may recognize the value of stellar technical skills and reportability, and budget to offer candidates high salaries. Still, the price too often means doing three different jobs in one.

For candidates ready to set strategic direction, roles with heavy platform administration and hands-on tactical work do not represent meaningful career progression.

If your hiring team’s idea of a MOPs VP or Director resembles an “upgraded” platform admin role, encourage them to reflect on other leadership positions in the company. Do any other senior roles have a comparable share of tactical responsibilities?

Probably not, because a 50/50 split between tactical and strategic projects is simply ill-fitting for a leadership position. In a marketplace where the demand for high-level MOPs skills outstrips the supply, it’s unrealistic to attract and retain good candidates with roles that don’t play to their strengths or career goals.


Advice for your hiring team:

Focus your MOPs leader role on setting the strategy, and leave the tickets and data pipelines to team members who’re still learning the tools of the trade.

If forced to flip-flop between two very different sets of competencies, your unicorn candidate will become a master of none.


From ‘management’ to ‘leadership’

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation in many businesses. To stay resilient and competitive, companies raced against the clock to hire candidates with the digital prowess to optimize their technology and data. The urgency for MOPs skills increased in kind. Companies bumped up middle management marketing operations roles to leadership status and pitched them to candidates with around 5-10 years of experience.

Just as the tactical and strategic split in these roles is ill-fitting for prime leadership, it also does not work for those still learning about management.

Your CMO will relate to this: The transition from “manager” to “leader” encompasses more than just a change in job title. This concept holds true for individuals in MOPs as well.

Becoming a MOPs leader is a development from knowing all the corners of Marketo to understanding what drives revenue and growth in your business, setting a vision for the department’s operations and priorities with the future direction of marketing and technology. Candidates with 5-10 years of experience are, broadly speaking, still nurturing that skill set.


Advice for your hiring team:

Giving a leadership position with high expectations (and a steep learning curve) to someone still learning what it takes to be a leader sets them up for failure.

You have two viable alternatives:

1. Downgrade the role appropriately. Give your new manager the time and space to develop their leadership skills.
2. Hire someone who’s truly ready to lead.


The right MOPs leader

Your Hiring Manager and CMO may need help identifying what leadership really means in MOPs. This is where you come in.

You know that MOPs is all about efficiency. Rather than putting out fires, a leader should demonstrate proactivity to set processes up for success and prepare to mitigate risks. They also need a strong grasp of how marketing operations as a function is evolving — enough to see through the spin of vendors and get to the real value of each tool.

From your experience at the crossroads of the company, you’ll know that MOPs demands exceptional communication skills, and nowhere more so than at the leadership level. Your MOPs VP or Director will lead the team that orchestrates data, so they’ll need to interpret insights, share feedback, and sell decisions at levels from C-Suite down to Business Development reps.

In a role that’s focused specifically on setting direction for the team rather than manning the same tools, these are the traits you want to advocate for as a MOPs leader:

  • a passionate student, as MOPs is constantly changing
  • someone who learns through adaptation rather than prescribed beliefs about how the industry works, and
  • is prepared to take new developments and apply them to current and future plans.

By having this talk with your CMO and Hiring Manager, you can set your MOPs function up to succeed with the right talent in the appropriate roles, and position yourself as someone who understands what it takes to lead.

Follow Revenue Pulse on LinkedIn for daily updates about improving communication with MOPs leadership.

Why Investing in Marketing Operations Reduces Risk

TLDR: Wondering how to prevent your budget from being cut? Learn how to make a strong case to your marketing leaders, speaking the language of risk reduction.

Marketing Operations teams are facing pressure to do more with less:

📈 more platforms to own
📈 more processes to optimize, and
📈 more revenue and productivity to generate.

All with stagnant or reduced budgets available as we enter a more cautious spending environment. Funds are spread thin, expectations are high, and you’re wondering how to prevent your budget from being cut or even how to gain additional investment to create growth and efficiency.

Periods of recession amplify the importance of two related skills in business:

1. Understanding what drives your leaders’ financial and strategic decisions.
2. Using that insight to speak up and make your case from a position of outcome orientation.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll explore these ideas in more depth so you can make a convincing argument for your Marketing leaders to preserve or increase your budget.


The risk mindset

When it’s time to make a spending decision, two considerations come top of mind for your executives: ROI and risk mitigation. During an economic downturn, leaders naturally veer towards the latter—making only the necessary investments to avoid losing a competitive edge.

Risk reduction is one approach to this, where leaders strategize to reduce the business’ vulnerability to risk or decrease the severity of its consequences. You can empathize with this easily, seeing as the implementation of controls is a significant priority in Marketing Ops and RevOps.

Examples of the initiatives you regularly work on that contribute towards risk reduction include:

✅ optimization of user roles and permissions in Marketing and Sales apps
✅ market and competitive intelligence research
✅ evaluation of the Marketing and Sales tech stacks
✅ identifying areas for skill development, and
✅ safeguarding data privacy compliance and security.

With tighter budgets, it’s harder for these projects to achieve what your leaders intend

Wherever economic hardship looks to compromise financial investment in your work, the argument for keeping or increasing your budget looks like this: we have an opportunity to maintain or gain market share by pursuing a certain course of action—if we don’t, we’ll lose ground instead.

Consider the particular disposition of your leaders and organizational culture to decide which side of that equation to emphasize. In a recessionary environment where new business is particularly challenging to sign, highlighting the threat of lost competitive advantage over the prospect of benefits gained will likely resonate stronger.

Because underinvestment in Marketing Operations exposes your business to a wealth of risks:

⚠️ security vulnerabilities
⚠️ financial and reputational damage
⚠️ customer churn without replacement
⚠️ staff churn and burnout
⚠️ technical debt, and
⚠️ obsolescence.

Many of these risks can coincide in response to, say, a data breach arising from security weaknesses or a violation of data privacy laws from a lack of compliance knowledge.

The consequences of these things occurring will cost your business significantly more than had your leaders initially made the relevant investments to help your team get these risks under control.

‘Lean and mean’ as a strategy only works when cuts are properly controlled and calculated, nourishing the initiatives that help you contribute to revenue growth, efficiency, and harm reduction. Of course, your leaders at C- and VP level can only know and respect your needs if you speak up effectively.


“Assert to leadership why
your budget is necessary.”


Understand the impact each aspect of your work delivers (the creation of positives and the prevention of negatives), the resources you need to perform to a high standard, and the risks incurred should those resources diminish. With this insight, you can assert to leadership why keeping or increasing your budget for particular initiatives is necessary for the business to grow or avert loss.


Tough love

Speaking up to get your desired results is part of doing your job well. Facing recession, your leaders need tough love from Marketing Operations to help maintain and grow market share.

Making the case to keep or increase your budget, highlighting the risks incurred by disinvestment, can steer your business away from crippling damage and help your team gain the necessary resources to accomplish what it needs in the challenging year ahead.

Get in touch for more guidance on risk mitigation in Marketing Operations.

How Misaligned MOPs and Sales Ops Stifle Business Growth

TLDR: Marketing Operations and Sales Operations work better together. People in both teams have a similar mix of skills, work towards compatible goals, and have knowledge that mutually enriches each others’ work. For a successful RevOps function, leadership should express this clearly through culture and processes. Set out accountabilities, clarify access to systems MOPs and SOPs needs, and make spaces for teams to share feedback and insights.


Marketing Operations and Sales Operations share many common goals and competencies. Both define processes to:

  • capture meaningful engagement data
  • measure the impact of Marketing and Sales activities, and
  • surface actionable micro and macro insights to help marketing and sales understand their performance and progress towards goals.

In a perfect world: Marketing Ops and Sales Ops are tied closely together. And they have a clear understanding of each team’s responsibilities and contributions.

In the real world: Issues will arise that hinder the productivity and revenue intake of your business—poor data hygiene, inter-team friction, and fragmented customer experiences.

Sound familiar? In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to explain to leadership why MOPs and Sales Ops alignment matters—and how to bring both teams together. This conversation will help leadership spend their time and money wisely and create team harmony.


How alignment breaks down

Often, the day-to-day projects of MOPs and SOPs teams don’t directly intersect, even as they both frequently use the CRM.

This lack of visibility can encourage a misconception that SOPs teams exclusively manage the CRM and have authority over all actions in the system. For comparison, while MOPs uses a CRM for things like attribution, lead lifecycles, and reporting, SOPs people typically don’t need to access a marketing automation platform.

In environments where SOPs and MOPs are siloed away from each other, the inevitable result is territorialism. Suppose Sales and Marketing leaders haven’t created a culture where SOPs and MOPs know each others’ accountabilities and haven’t incentivized regular communication. In that case, people become protective over “their” tools and systems and reluctant to share information.

In other words: Culture makes or breaks your Sales-Marketing alignment.

When SOPs and MOPs are at odds over who owns what in the CRM, both teams get things done slower and at a greater risk of creating problems with data hygiene.

With bad or outdated data, Sales and Marketing teams waste time acting on dead ends. If discrepancies build between the data in your CRM and marketing automation platform, Sales and Marketing leaders lose a single source of truth to support their decisions.

Sales and Marketing efforts become splintered as fractures emerge between Marketing content and comms versus Sales outreach. Lead gen falters without effective targeting, which causes your ROI to diminish.

The consequences are sweeping—paralysis, hostility, and stagnant growth. Fortunately, there’s a lot your leaders can do to correct course.


Uniting MOPs and SOPs

There are two initiatives your leadership should pursue:

1. Aligning MOPs and SOPs on goals, and
2. Encouraging them to work closer together.

First, leadership should punctuate just how much Marketing ops and Sales ops have in common. Both teams:

  • capture accurate lifecycle data
  • design effective lead-scoring models
  • create reports that surface key insights for Sales and Marketing
  • define processes to measure the impact of Sales and Marketing activities
  • protect systems from data loss due to technical limitations/errors
  • facilitate Sales and Marketing to review and share feedback on each others’ processes
  • set Sales and Marketing funnel goals in the CRM, and
  • enable cohesive customer experiences between Sales and Marketing efforts.

For each goal, leadership should establish which components MOPs and SOPs own. Responsibility Assignment Matrices are helpful structures to define and communicate who is responsible, accountable, informed, and controlled for each goal.

To make this work, your CRO should meet with SOPs, MOPs, and their leaders to identify the smaller processes that contribute towards achieving each goal.

For example: what’s the division of labor and impact on the lead lifecycle before and after the handover of MQLs? Use these accountabilities as a basis for joint ownership of the CRM, getting MOPs and SOPs to agree on features, dashboards, and processes that each leads.

The value of sharing information

Beyond assigning responsibilities, leadership should impart the value of sharing information on a regular basis.

Just as access to the CRM helps MOPs, MOPs people can share insights and reports from their marketing automation platform that SOPs might otherwise lack.

This deepens how SOPs people understand the customer journey and enriches the strategies and tactics they can recommend to sales.

Encouraging MOPs and SOPs to meet quarterly (at minimum) to share their opportunities and challenges—things that worked, things that didn’t, ongoing goals—also helps both teams be visible, accountable, and collaborative with each other.


Natural collaborators

MOPs and SOPs are natural collaborators—people in both teams have a similar mix of skills, work towards compatible goals, and have access to information that mutually enriches each others’ work.

For a successful RevOps function, your CRO should express this clearly through your culture and processes.

Set out accountabilities, clarify access to systems MOPs and SOPs needs, and make spaces for teams to share feedback and insights. The closer you align MOPs and SOPs, the more productive and profitable your business can be.

Get in touch for more guidance on making your RevOps team a success.

What Your Leadership Should Know About SLAs

TLDR: Internal SLAs in RevOps define your policies and contingency plans regarding the lead lifecycle. Logical, well-understood SLAs allow you to monitor the impact of your lifecycle structure and activities, and make it easier to improve processes and resolve issues. But SLAs only work when people are incentivized to follow them. Seek feedback from people in your RevOps team when developing processes, and gamify the fulfillment of SLAs to encourage participation.


Service level agreements (SLAs) define a business’s deliverables and services to customers and prospects. They also serve an important purpose between internal teams. SLAs lay out your policies regarding the lead lifecycle—the actions Sales, Marketing, and RevOps should take in response to customer activities and the contingency plans in case things don’t happen as expected.

Service level agreements standardize your timelines to respond to customers and prospects at each stage of the lifecycle. Establishing and optimizing these processes is essential to move prospects along their buying journeys and prevent leads from going cold.

In other words: the quality of your SLA processes can make or break your revenue function. In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to explain the impact of SLAs to your RevOps leader. You’ll help them to grasp why processes succeed or fail and encourage the implementation of strategies and initiatives with SLAs that lead to a healthy RevOps team.


The impact of SLAs

SLAs encourage clarity of policymaking in your business. They help people in your RevOps team to understand your default processes and corrective measures. Crucially, they give people a reference point to improve processes and resolve issues based on realistic expectations.

For each stage of the lifecycle, your team has measures to engage prospects within certain conditions. For example, if someone fills in a contact form, Sales might receive an alert minutes later alerting them to respond within 2 hours.

But if the Sales rep responsible for a particular account is away, what’s the handover process? If there’s no handover, why not? How do you escalate the situation? Given the data-crunching and people involved in responding to an inquiry, is the 2-hour turnaround time for a responsible feasible?

Effective SLAs allow your RevOps team to:

  • monitor the impact of their lifecycle structure and activities
  • rectify flawed processes, and
  • double down on what works.

For example, if your conversion rate from sign-ups to MQLs is below a certain threshold within a particular timeframe, an SLA to insert a new nurture campaign to the relevant subset of prospects can galvanize engagement. Likewise, if you’re experiencing an exceptionally high rate of closed lost opportunities, an SLA to investigate your processes can help to identify why sales aren’t flowing (are SDRs opening opportunities prematurely? Are Sales reps not following up in time?)

Crucially, SLAs can increase the pace at which the most promising leads progress through the lifecycle.

Let’s say your sign-up page receives 1k sign-ups per day. By inserting an SLA for RevOps to review all sign-ups and measure each prospect’s fit for the business, Sales can easily identify which sign-ups to prioritize in their outreach. This responsiveness shortens your time to revenue and prevents the most compatible leads from going cold.


Implementing SLAs

For all the clarity and improvement opportunities that SLAs offer RevOps, they only work when people are incentivized to follow the processes—otherwise, they risk falling apart. With ineffective or absent SLAs, your RevOps team will struggle to monitor behavior and make tweaks that boost ROI. Therefore, your CRO needs to consider how to educate and encourage people to stick by them.

Firstly, involving people in your RevOps team with the development of processes will help to encourage adoption. Your CRO should consult internally when conducting a process audit, inviting people from MOPs, Sales Ops, and Customer Success to share their perspectives on what works and what doesn’t. The more your CRO engages the team, the greater insight they’ll gain about SLAs to add, improve, or eliminate, and having team feedback guide these processes will make evident the value of following them.

For devising SLAs that involve multiple departments, get people together from each team to raise issues and strategize approaches. Your CMO, for instance, might analyze the results from your NPS surveys and report back. If client satisfaction is revealed to be low, then your Customer Success team can take the lead with approaching customers to mitigate and resolve any problems while your Product team stays in the loop.

For SLAs pertaining to processes that involve just one team (e.g. web conversions in Marketing), cross-departmental counsel can be useful to focus group any proposed SLA, but only the team following and impacted by the process needs to be involved.

Once an SLA is implemented, gamification helps motivate people to fulfill the process’ objectives. Establishing weekly or monthly targets and celebrating the wins of your team reinforces the value of following SLAs and usually comes at no significant cost—considering the uplift of processes that work, the ROI of rewarding people for meeting or exceeding their SLA fulfilment targets makes sense.


The bottom line

SLAs in RevOps spell out how your revenue function works and why. This helps your team to coalesce around logical, cohesive processes and makes it easier to measure, refine, and improve them.

Vitally, they support your team to take timely actions that progress your leads through the lifecycle and keep the dollars coming in.

Get in touch for any guidance you need with SLAs.

How to Explain RevOps to Your Marketing Ops Team

TLDR: In response to customer churn, technical debt, and siloed working, moving to a RevOps team helps people in marketing operations, sales operations, and customer success collaborate and align on strategy.


Marketing operations as a discipline grew from necessity. Businesses need people who understand marketing automation to master the tools and processes that make marketing teams succeed. As the field develops, MOPs teams are now moving towards a new organizational structure known as Revenue Operations (RevOps for short). This transition requires a comprehensive understanding of the entire customer cycle.

If you’re a MOPs leader managing a shift to RevOps, anticipating the changes in team structure and role demands can elicit some anxiety. Your MOPs team will want to know why the shift to RevOps is happening and what it means for their jobs.

As people question their place in the new order of business, how do you inspire confidence in the team?

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to present an optimistic vision for the move to RevOps. This shift can help people in MOPs to remedy historical challenges and make more significant contributions to the business. Convey this, and you can get people excited about the opportunities ahead.


RevOps in context

Multiple teams play a role in the customer journey.

  • MOPs’ contributions—campaign creation, data analysis, lead scoring and handover—kick off the cycle.
  • After MOPs brings good leads to sales operations, SOPs creates efficient lead management processes to help sales win business.
  • From there, customer success teams work to retain customers and prevent churn.

MOPs, SOPs, and customer success are responsible for engineering different stages of the funnel. Revenue Operations unites these teams to optimize the entire customer cycle.

Essentially, it means bringing all three teams under one roof to ask the same questions: How do we improve the customer experience through our tech stack, sales processes, and interactions?


Businesses are more vulnerable to churn

Shifting business dynamics in recent years makes integrating these three teams urgent. The rise of SaaS and subscription models have made businesses more vulnerable to churn. If customers can pay for your products and services on a rolling, short-term basis, maintaining high retention rates takes constant work. Hence, the growth of customer success.

Meanwhile, the explosion of workplace tech has caused companies to go all-in on tool adoption. As people leave roles and take their expertise, MOPs and SOPs teams are increasingly strained by technical debt and dysfunctional tech stacks.

A hard-learned truth: Tools are only as good as the people who use them.

As remote working becomes more commonplace, there is a heightened risk of siloes. Consider how connected MOPs, SOPs, and customer success are in the customer journey. These teams can’t work effectively when fragmented.

Someone in your MOPs team will recognize this one: without access to Salesforce, fixing a dataflow means pulling in someone from SOPs. When teams are disconnected, they get protective (“why are these people making changes in our tools?”). As a result, collaboration becomes difficult, even between teams that share the same goals.


What RevOps offers

MOPs, SOPs, and customer success all exist to support revenue generators. Integrating these teams under one banner helps people align on strategy, collaborate, and share their knowledge.

Instead of technical debt and division, you create opportunities for MOPs and SOPs to coalesce around a selection of tools and technical processes.

No longer working in isolation or with ambiguous impact, MOPs gains visibility with customer success and sales. From the very start of projects, they can work together to set goals and improve processes that translate across the whole customer cycle.


MOPs to RevOps

At this point, the logic of RevOps should make sense—but what does a RevOps role mean in practice?

The field is still new and fluid, but there are some guiding characteristics you can share with colleagues wondering how their roles could change.

RevOps moves away from granular tool ownership and data management towards calculating the impact of practices across MOPs, SOPs, and customer success. With more emphasis on visualizing these insights to leadership, RevOps provides opportunities to make holistic connections, identify the impact on revenue and productivity, and present these findings at high levels.

The key ingredients to RevOps

  • tool knowledge
  • business acumen
  • strategic thinking, and
  • a grasp of customer success and SOPs.

This presents a challenging learning curve for MOPs professionals, but it’s a chance for inquisitive people to get in on a nascent movement, develop new skills, and take ownership for finding problems and figuring out solutions.


Vision and change

RevOps is a team about the constant, integrated optimization of customer journey practices. It’s proactive, planned, and dedicated to winning and retaining business in the most efficient ways.

The shift from MOPs to RevOps responds to new business dynamics and demands, but it also helps MOPs people improve how they collaborate and align with SOPs and customer success.

Within a RevOps team, MOPs professionals can gain new skills and make greater strategic impacts through visibility, interconnectedness and a proactive role in optimizing the customer journey.

Invest in building a consistent experience that solves the challenges of siloes, and your MOPs team will want in on the journey.


Want to know more about RevOps? Get in touch for a chat.