I Need to Build a RevOps Function—Where Do I Start?

Hi Jo,

I’m hoping you can help me.

My executives tasked me with building out the Revenue Operations function at our company, and I’m not quite sure where to start.

Should I be talking to my peers across sales and marketing? Or should I be doing a lot of external research?

I’m not even sure that all my colleagues know what RevOps is—and I really want to make sure they’re bought into the changes that will come down the line.

What should I do first?

Thank you,

Directionless Dana

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Hi, Dana. This is really exciting!

You’ve got the chance to define what RevOps looks like at your company and build out the capabilities that make the most sense for your teams.

How cool is that?

But you’re right, being successful will require thoughtful engagement and planning before you can make any changes. Checking in and asking for advice is already a great first step.

To help you make the most of that momentum, here are three other strategies you can use to set a solid foundation for your RevOps team.

 

1. Define RevOps

You mentioned that your executive team has tasked you with this initiative—but are you all on the same page regarding what RevOps is and what it looks like?

Setting a definition that everyone can agree on will help ensure alignment and prevent any confusion (and headaches!) down the road.

Let’s define RevOps: Revenue operations is a business function that’s built to maximize an organization’s revenue potential across the funnel. Instead of having your revenue operations capabilities live under sales, marketing, and customer success, you can have them operate as a single cohesive unit with accountability throughout the full customer journey. This centralized approach helps build a culture that’s intentionally focused on operationalizing revenue—rather than having it be a byproduct of other important work.

Once you’ve defined RevOps within the context of your organization, you can move on to the next step in the planning process. Read our post ‘How to Explain RevOps to Your MOPs Team‘ for more advice.

 

2. Identify your capabilities

Identify where your RevOps capabilities are—and where they aren’t.

It’s more than likely that your company already has some revenue operations capabilities distributed across your sales, marketing, and customer success teams.

Your job will be to:

  • look at these teams
  • identify where the work is happening, and
  • create a roadmap for how those siloed functions can move into your new RevOps structure.

This is also an opportunity to understand how tasks are currently completed. Our posts on finding the right reporting tools for your RevOps team and how to optimize content can help.

Ask questions like these to get started:

  • What tools are your teams using?
  • Are two teams using different tools for the same tasks?
  • How are your peers talking about revenue operations in each vertical?
  • What data are they looking at and how are they using it to make decisions?

 

With a clear picture of the current state, you’ll have an easier time mapping out the necessary changes to centralize your activities and align incentives across the board.

 

3. Build your RevOps network

Like with any big initiative that requires a lot of change, you will need stakeholders on your side.

My advice? Have one-on-one conversations with leaders across sales, marketing, and customer success to talk about the value of RevOps.

Talk to them about what they’ll get out of this new team, and paint them a picture of what the organization could look like over the next one to five years.

Don’t forget: you’re running a very strategic project.

You’re reshaping how your company thinks about revenue and creating a resource for making the data you collect more impactful.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and have important conversations with other leaders at your organization.

You’ve got this,

Jo Pulse

4 Steps to Explain Technical Debt to Your CMO/Marketing VP

TLDR: Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by poor planning. Think long-term about your projects, and you won’t have to choose between speed and execution. 

Technical debt describes the implied cost of making “quick fixes” to your tech stack or IT infrastructure.

Technical debt accumulates when the people building your software take suboptimal shortcuts to complete projects over more effective approaches that take longer. Doing so entrenches flaws into your tech that become more troublesome to fix as time goes on, leading to higher rework costs later.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to discuss the causes and consequences of technical debt with your CMO and suggest cultural changes to prevent it from building.

 

Why technical debt builds

During projects like platform migrations and implementations, a CMO and VP generally focus on contract negotiations.

Their efforts to get the best deal. This focus can, inadvertently, eat into the time needed for the technical work.

When projects start too late, those responsible for building the project will face pressure to make up for lost time and choose “quick fixes” to hit deadlines and achieve results.

While CMOs aim to make the most cost-effective decisions, they often account just for the purchase cost of a new application or platform.

For instance, your CMO may choose a marketing automation platform license cheaper than its competitors without considering the extra admin, consultation, and custom development necessary to make it work.

Add in the cost of training personnel and additional support, however, and you could well face a higher total cost of ownership. Especially if you don’t plan from the beginning to bring these resources on board, or if the project is already running behind schedule.

Short-sighted thinking leads to these negative outcomes:

  • compressed timelines
  • bloated costs and scope, and
  • increased project vulnerability due to mistakes and substandard workarounds.

These decisions compromise a project’s execution and encourage technical debt, making subsequent improvements more challenging to make.

 

Preventing technical debt

Influencing upwards is an impactful approach against technical debt.

Depending on the dynamics of your organization, a direct line to your CMO or Marketing VP might not be possible. In that case, look to your Operations Manager or Marketing Director as allies with the access and technical expertise to impart the urgency of starting on time.

While it’s impossible to identify every gap a solution has until it’s in-house, you can confidently speak to the consequences of a late start.

Here’s how to sell your boss on the respect the project deserves:

“If negotiations drag out and leave us behind schedule, it will impact our ability to deliver this project on time, on budget, and to the level of competency you want. X will happen if we don’t start as planned, and it’ll take Y additional costs to fix.”

 

Implementations and migrations

Implementations and migrations are demanding initiatives. The planning phase is crucial to map out all your anticipated costs and labor needs.

Your CMO/Marketing VP can’t expect key contributors to carry their full workload and give their all to an implementation or migration—people who are stretched take shortcuts, and that just leads to technical debt proliferating.

Freeing up key team members to commit and provide the necessary focus to the project gives them space to contribute to the best of their ability, without incurring rework costs.

For instance, sales and marketing leadership could reduce the quarterly targets of the sales reps involved, or lessen the day-to-day campaign execution responsibilities of contributors from marketing.

 

Create a change management team

The creation of a change management team is a particularly progressive solution to technical debt.

Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by short-sighted planning.

Advocate for a dedicated team of people to support the project from conception, mapping out the ramifications of any change in:

  • costs
  • timelines
  • resource requirements, and
  • post-implementation training.

This increases the project’s resilience to disruption and lessens the risk of technical debt.

 

Long-term thinking

If projects are delayed at the early stages, you’ve ultimately got a choice between paying upfront or later on.

Do you use the most effective methods to build a new implementation or migration, accepting you’ll be up and running later than planned? Or do you take shortcuts to make your initial launch date, at risk of introducing flaws into the project that carry large rework costs and compromise how effectively it works?

Between the two, it’s not an even trade.

The cost of technical debt often outweighs the agility of completing a project as fast as possible.

Steps to avoid technical debt:

1. Reinforce the importance of making a plan and sticking to it with leadership.

2. Scope out your timelines, labor needs, and total cost of ownership upfront—when things need to progress to meet your deadline, the people you’ll need to be involved in the project, and its real financial cost.

3. Advocate for a change management team to reinforce the consequences of starting late or making changes, and to find solutions in a proactive, planned manner.

4. Take the demands of your project seriously, and you shouldn’t have to choose between speed and execution.

Need more guidance? Get in touch — we’re always here to help.

 

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What Leadership Should Know About Data Hygiene

TLDR: Bloated, inaccurate databases cause all kinds of problems; lost revenue and productivity, heightened risks of data privacy violations, and unreliable decision-making. Data hygiene is a company-wide project—everyone from the CEO to your SDRs should think critically about how they handle data and contribute to policies. Standardize how people collect and handle data across systems and conduct periodic audits to check the quality of your data and sources. This will drive the business forward and allow teams to support each other and reach customers and prospects as effectively as possible.

 

Data runs the world, and it also runs your business. Many leaders know this and have strategies for data hygiene and protection, but too often, the enforcement of policies and best practices is inconsistent. This creates a culture where teams don’t know how to collect, handle, and categorize data, and lack insight into why data hygiene is so important.

The results? Inaccurate data and bloated databases—sources of pain for people in many different roles and threats to the revenue and reputation of your business.

If you’re feeling the strain of dirty data, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. You’ll learn to explain to leadership the deep impact of bad data and influence a shift to a data-centric culture, suggesting policies, practices, and perspectives on data that help everyone in the team do their jobs more effectively.

 

The damage of dirty data

A database filled with entries that are inaccurate, outdated, miscategorized, or duplicated has a profoundly negative effect on the business. People doing tactical work burn hours to correct and clean data. Concerned with the quality of their information, SDRs get distracted from reaching out to people, which slows down the sales cycle. CX-wise, missing pieces of information compromise your interactions with customers, who’ll know when your outreach is less than seamless.

Between marketing operations and sales operations, bad data and unclear accountabilities cause infighting, as teams blame each other for disarray. Everyone who needs reporting, from C-Suite downwards, simply cannot surface or grasp the performance and impact of their work. With a messy database, extracting the insights to fuel strategic decisions becomes a near-impossible effort.

If you can’t trust your data, you can’t trust your decisions.

Bad news for the productivity, revenue intake, strategic potential, and inter-team collaboration of your business.

Then factor in some more explicit financial costs. You’re getting charged for your database per row—bloat = dollars spent.

Excess data also heightens the risk of breaching data privacy compliance requirements. EU regulators have issued an average of €1.4 million per fine to companies in breach of the GDPR, so if your database includes old and duplicate records of people who’ve opted out of communications or asked to have their data deleted, you need to clean up ASAP.

The larger your tech stack, the greater the likelihood (and consequences) of disordered data. Coming up with and implementing a system for data hygiene may seem like an effort that’ll slow you down in the short term, but it’s the smart choice every time over tolerating a messy database and all its chaos and revenue loss.

 

Develop a hygiene plan

Data hygiene is a company-wide project—everyone from the CEO to your SDRs is responsible within their remit for thinking critically about how they handle data and contributing to policies.

How does data enter your system?

The first thing to think about is how data enters your system. Your sources are often things like:

  • enrichment tools
  • CRM data
  • web forms, and
  • purchase lists.

But could also include people like SDRs manually inputting information.

Verify the source

With each new entry, verify that the source is reputable and the data is both factually correct and accurate (e.g. checking for spelling errors and duplicates). And take extra care with data obtained from gated content—in the earlier stages of the cycle, people are more likely to offer untrue or incomplete information to easily access your content.

Standardize your data types

Lots of different people touch data when it’s in the system, and without a strict policy on how to handle and categorize it, things can quickly get out of hand. Standardizing the data types you collect and fields used across your systems can help to ensure you’re handling only the most relevant information and organizing data consistently.

Form a data compliance team

To further help keep things clean, advocate for a dedicated data compliance team. This team comprises a board of people who assess the impact of introducing any new field, data type, or source into your database.

Review your approach to data collection

It’s also worth interrogating your approach to data collection. More data doesn’t necessarily make you better informed, and it’s certainly not worth the excess storage costs and risks of violating data privacy requirements.

Additionally, not all data created or data sources are equal. You may have one or several usual suspects for creating bad data. Get ahead of it by shutting those sources down so you’re not creating bad data to start with.

Ask of each piece of data you solicit:

  • What’s the purpose, use, and relevance to your goals?
  • What categories of information are relevant to your customers and prospects?
  • What information do Sales need to move through the cycle?

Auditing your systems and data on a regular basis (e.g. monthly, quarterly) is crucial to determine what your baseline for hygiene should be. This is your opportunity to detect and remedy any flaws in your database.

Steps you can take to improve data hygiene:

  • delete old and unused records
  • remove white spaces
  • merge duplicates together
  • check your integrations are tight, and
  • ensure your records are enriched with the correct information from quality sources.

 

Dealing with data

The way you handle data can make or break your business. Dirty data results in losses of revenue, productivity, and decision-making power—to avoid the fallout, C-Suite should treat data hygiene as a priority initiative for everyone in the organization to partake in.

Clear, enforced policies that standardize how people collect and handle data across systems, and periodic audits to check the quality of your data and sources, will drive the business forward and allow teams to support each other and reach customers and prospects as effectively as possible.

Struggling with systems and data in disorder? Drop us a line. We’re here to help.

How to Develop a New Process with Your MOPs Team

TLDR: Developing a new process and incentivising your team to follow it takes two conversations. First, learn how your colleagues experience processes and why they perform tasks in certain ways. Once you understand why certain issues arise, you’re in a good position to make constructive suggestions that benefit the team. To get leadership’s backing, forecast the impact that implementing your process will have and suggest running a proof of concept. Keep an open mind to feedback after implementing the new process, and you’ll help to encourage better collaboration and results.

 

MOPs is often about delivering on requests and building things for teams around the business. Every webinar, report, or lead handover system you produce takes considerable planning and time-sensitive work behind the scenes. From gathering information to scheduling deadlines and approvals, processes that encourage efficiency and good communication are key to making your projects succeed.

If problems frequently hold back your team from getting things done—whether it’s missing data, poorly-paced deadlines, or low visibility into who’s responsible for what—a flawed or lack of process is likely the culprit. You might have a good sense of how to smooth things over, but suggesting changes to how your team works requires a sensitive approach, particularly in environments where people have been long attached to how they work.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to pitch a new process to leadership and incentivise your team to follow it.

 

Listen and learn

The first stage of developing a new process: get to know how your team works and why. People naturally feel a great sense of ownership and personal responsibility with their work, so sudden criticism is likely to make your colleagues defensive and resistant to change. Even if you think you’ve identified a problem and have some ideas to suggest, watch and learn from your team first. 

Ask people to show you how they perform tasks, why they do things in certain ways, what their challenges and priorities are. When you’ve experienced a process from a broader set of perspectives and you understand why issues come up, you’re in a good spot to make constructive suggestions. Do your request forms give the MOPs team all the information they need? Where could a new checkpoint or approval flow help with visibility? Is there a more efficient way to order certain steps? Are your deadlines realistic and attainable?

Listen to your colleagues, take an interest in how they work, and you’ll convey that this new process comes from a place of empathy; a desire to make work easier and more efficient for the whole team. To embed a new idea into a team’s culture, you need advocates to champion the process, share knowledge, and encourage more people to participate; a human touch is the best way to accomplish this.

 

Make the case

Cementing a process in the team means getting the backing of your boss, whether that’s your CMO, CRO, or direct manager. Your CRO or CMO will be less sensitive to hearing about flaws, but they ultimately care about solutions that positively impact the business. Be direct in your assessment of the problems at hand, but focus on the outcome that your process will deliver, whether it’ll help people to work faster and more productively, attract more leads and opportunities, or make reporting and requests more transparent.

Numbers play a significant role in this conversation. For one, C-Suite wants to know if a process is going to incur costs for training or additional tools, so it’s reassuring news if you can use your current software to introduce new forms, flow builders, and any other technical pieces. Even more persuasive? Forecast the ROI of your proposal. 

If you’re pitching a process for the likes of webinars, with lots of dependencies to manage, you’ll have plenty of data points on hand to substantiate your case. Explain how your process will change aspects of the webinar such as spending per channel, time spent confirming speakers, building infrastructure, creating promotional campaigns, the lead handover process—and project how these changes will cut costs, increase efficiency, allow enough time for promotion, or result in more leads and opportunities.

Short on data points to do a forecast? Suggest trialling the process with a specific campaign, workflow, team, geography, or in another relevant context. A proof of concept gives you an opportunity to gather data and show your boss how the process performs in action. Run leadership through the before vs. after to illustrate how your proof of concept saves time, improves the measurement of leads, lifts ROI, or otherwise makes work easier over the ways of old, and your boss will highly appreciate that you spoke up.

Continuous improvement

Many processes connect or impact each other in some way, and the beauty of this conversation is how it can spur continuous improvement. If you’ve made some changes to your webinar process, for example, talk with your team about lead handovers. How can you measure or qualify leads differently? Will that change get leads to Sales faster, or surface more opportunities against your webinars? After you’ve got in the groove of a new process, follow up with your team regularly to gauge how it’s working and see where you can make things better.

Developing a new process and making it part of team culture starts with an open mind—speak to your colleagues and get to know how things work to discover where changes can really benefit the team. Project the impact your process can make before talking to leadership and suggest a proof of concept—if the process makes lives easier or gets results, consider your boss and team on board. Keep an open ear to feedback while the process is underway, and you’ll help to encourage better collaboration and results.

Get in touch for more on improving processes in MOPs.

 

What Skills Should I Build as a MOPs Professional?

Hi Jo,

I recently started a career in marketing automation and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.

It feels like I’m expected to know so many different things and I’m not sure I can keep up.

I want to keep building my skill set and learning as much as I can, but I don’t know where to start. Should I prioritize soft skills or learn about as many automation tools as possible?

Can you help me?

Thanks,
Learning Laura

Hey Laura,

You’ve hit on a challenge that I think a lot of people face in marketing operations (MOPs).

The marketing technology space is always evolving. In fact, it feels like there’s a new platform or solution every week. For marketing ops professionals that are seen by the rest of their organization as the guardians of that technology (even if they’ve never worked with most of it before), there’s a lot of pressure to have an opinion about each and every tool. But that’s not really possible, is it?

At the same time, MOPs covers a large scope of functions including:

  • content creation
  • campaign production
  • reporting
  • marketing automation, and
  • CRM management.

Many companies are only just figuring out that they need multiple people to fill those different roles.

This means that marketing ops professionals tend to be expected to have a large breadth of knowledge and, as you said, that’s overwhelming.

So, how do you prioritize your learning and skill-building time so that it’s most effective for you and your organization? I’ve come up with a handful of suggestions below.

 

1. Build on what you already know

Let’s make one thing crystal clear: you do not have to be a specialist in every single automation tool.

That said, there’s also no rule saying you can’t be proficient in more than one of them. If you want to expand your technical knowledge, I’d suggest sticking close to what you’re already familiar with.

For example, if you’re managing Marketo for your company and you’ve been asked to bring on a cool new tool that integrates with the system, that could be a good candidate for you. If you’re interested, see if there’s a way to dive deep into that new solution and get certified in it. Trust me, your leaders will be thrilled that someone wants to build knowledge in a technology the company is using.

Another thing to remember is that automation principles are the same across all tools. So, if that is the part of the tool that you love, then you can likely be an automation expert across multiple tools.

 

2. Lean on your community

One of the truly unique things about the marketing automation space is that there is a massive community of professionals willing to share their knowledge.

As the space keeps changing and growing, we all know that we don’t know everything. That makes us eager to help others when they come up against a challenge we may have faced before. I for one love getting messages from people in my network and helping them navigate issues on Marketo or in any other aspect of marketing operations.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Check in with other people using the same tools. And if you feel you don’t have the network yet, start building it with the help of communities like MO Pros.

 

3. Practice your soft skills

Your technical skills will be key for succeeding in marketing ops, but there are also some really important soft skills that you should be honing from the get-go.

Among the most important is the ability to translate what you’re being asked to do into technical steps, and communicate those steps back in a way that’s easy to understand.

Ultimately, you need to build common ground with your leaders and stakeholders so that there’s as little room for miscommunication as possible. My advice? A good diagram goes a long way.

Another important skill to practice is puzzle-solving.

So much of marketing automation is built on logic, and you’ll be responsible for finding the easiest, most effective, and most scalable solution to any problem that arises.

Part of that is about being curious and being open to exploring new ways of doing things—and the other part is tapping into your logical brain and uncovering the right patterns.

So, if you don’t have a puzzle book on your bedside table, maybe you should put that on the wishlist for your next birthday.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse

How Do I Help My Parents Understand What I Do for a Living?

Hi Joe,

I’m not sure if this happens to you, but every time I try to talk to my parents about what it is I do in marketing ops, I get nowhere. Regardless of how I describe it to them, they always seem to walk away from the conversation with more questions than they started with. Do you have any suggestions for how to make it easier to understand?

Thanks,
Tired Tim


Tim, don’t worry, we’ve all been there. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a conversation with a friend or family member where I start telling them about my job while secretly wishing that they’ll say something like “Oh, marketing operations! Yeah, I’ve heard about that.” It just doesn’t happen. Instead, I either get to watch their eyes glaze over as I dive into why marketing ops isn’t the same as marketing, or spend way too much time answering questions until they finally have a sense of what it is I do. Neither is particularly fun. 

With many of these conversations under my belt, I’ve managed to come up with a handful of strategies that seem to do the trick. Try them out and let me know how they work out for you.

 

  1. Keep it simple

Marketing operations is inherently a hard thing to describe—particularly to people who don’t have much exposure to this space. The fact that it’s a relatively new function, that it’s embedded in technology, and that it has so many moving parts makes it pretty hard to grasp at a surface level. That’s why I suggest keeping your descriptions as simple as possible. 

  • Avoid using jargon that might raise more questions. Remember, marketing ops is practically a different language, so you’ll need to use words that make sense to the person you’re talking to.
  • Try not to get too deep in the weeds. The more detailed you get, the more things you’re going to have to explain. 
  • Connect the dots between what you do and other business functions. If you tell people that you organize information, do the work to understand customers, and manage things on the back-end, they’ll be able to paint a clearer picture for themselves. 

With this in mind, I tend to say something like “I manage the software that allows companies to run their marketing” or “I help businesses understand how their investments in marketing convert to sales.” Simple, yet comprehensive. 

 

  1. Use a metaphor

Another thing you can do is use a metaphor that makes marketing operations more relatable to what they know. Here’s one that’s worked quite well for me. 

Marketing operations professionals are like the mechanics of the marketing world. Think about a factory line, for instance. The line is producing the different marketing materials (e.g. content and design) and there are machines (i.e. marketing automation software) that support that production. Those machines then need mechanics that set them up and fix them when they’re not operating properly. That’s what I do. 

 

  1. If all else fails, stop trying

It’s always great if you can talk about your job with your friends and family, but at the end of the day, it’s OK if they don’t fully get it. The only thing that’s truly important is that you know what your job is and that you love doing it. As long as you can showcase that, your loved ones will just be happy that you’re happy—and there’s not much better than that.

 

You’ve got this,
Joe Pulse

What’s My Role in the Shift to RevOps? 

Hi Joe,

I’m a marketing ops professional and I’ve just been told that my company is moving towards adopting a RevOps model. I actually think it’s a great idea—I’ve read about the approach and think there are a lot of benefits to bringing typically siloed teams together under a combined goal. However, I’m not quite sure how to help make it happen. Do you have any advice?

Thanks,

Helpful Harriet

Hi, Harriet. Let me just say: it’s so great that you’re asking this question. As things keep changing in the marketing ops world, we need people that are willing to put their hands up and be enablers. Thank you.

You’re right that, while still a relatively new concept, RevOps has a lot to offer. It’s the notion that marketing, sales, and customer success teams can operate better when they’re working towards a collective goal—helping their clients and prospects succeed—rather than as disparate silos. Plus, it relies on an integrated tech stack that easily shares customer data and lets prospects flow through the customer lifecycle with a personalized experience. Sounds great, doesn’t it? 

While it might sound easy, getting to this integrated place is a long-term project. First off, you need to do a lot of work to ensure alignment between these three teams. That means a lot of conversations around goals, metrics, and performance to get rid of any discrepancies. There’s also a technology and data aspect here. To build a RevOps tech stack, you need to look into where there are gaps or redundancies, and make decisions accordingly. 

All that said, there are also things you (as a MOPs team member) can do at an individual level that will make a big difference, and help things move faster. 

 

Expand your knowledge 

If you want your sales, marketing, and customer success teams to be fully aligned, it can’t just happen at the executive level—you need alignment on the ground as well. Start this off by learning more about how things are done in those teams, including how they communicate, what their metrics are, and how they measure performance. Talk to a colleague and ask if you can shadow them for a couple of days; you can observe them as they go through their daily tasks and join them in team meetings. 

 

Become a champion for the RevOps approach

You know it, we know it: Marketing and Sales aren’t always best friends. In fact, we often find ourselves in a rather antagonistic relationship. So, once you’ve taken the time to learn more about what your sales team does, and why they do it, share that knowledge within your team. These insights should help build comradery and make it easier to collaborate better down the line. 

You’ve already done the work to learn about the benefits of the RevOps model—so make sure you share that as well. People tend to be wary of change, but a lot of the time that comes down to a lack of understanding. Empower your team with the knowledge they need and it might make for an easier transition when the time comes.

 

Keep putting your hand up

As I mentioned before, rolling out RevOps is going to be a long process—and your leaders are going to need help. Talk to your manager about how you can actively contribute to the project. You never know, they might need someone to bring the MOPs perspective to the decision-making table, or they may be looking for someone to champion the project and help communicate it’s value. Good thing you’re likely already doing that last one!

You’ve got this, 

Joe Pulse

How to Show Your MOPs Value to Sales in a Constructive Way?

 

Hey Joe,

I’m really frustrated with Sales right now! They just aren’t understanding what we do and how MOPs can really help them. How do I express my frustration without getting emotional? I want to share my thoughts, but need to do it in a constructive manner. How do I go about that?

Thanks,
Frustrated Frank

Frank, this is a great question. The fact that you’re looking for a constructive solution to this challenge speaks volumes. So often, we see Sales and MOPs teams at odds with each other, even though they’re meant to be working towards the same goal: bringing in more qualified leads and new customers. Taking the time to ensure your teams are on the same page and understand the value each of you bring to the table is a great first step.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with Sales team members who don’t have any insight into what we do and how we do it. Just trying to get them to input data in a consistent way so that our marketing automation tools can work properly can feel like pulling teeth. This is particularly frustrating when you feel it’s your role to connect the dots between Sales and Marketing, and it doesn’t feel like you’re being heard.

When it comes to sharing these thoughts with Sales in a constructive way, there are a couple of things you can do. The first is to remember that your Sales team is likely dealing with their own frustrations and challenges—and it’s worth knowing what these are before having a conversation with them. They may be facing pressure from their director or have KPIs that run against your team’s, although that shouldn’t be the case. All Sales and Marketing metrics should ladder up to a joint revenue goal, and if you feel that’s not happening or that your KPIs are at odds, then that’s an important conversation you should be having with your leadership.

Another big thing you can do is talk to Sales about your processes and how they align with theirs; but be careful with how you address this. One thing I’ve learned in my years working with different teams is that any time you question a process, people are bound to get a little defensive. So, instead of asking ‘why aren’t we doing XYZ?’, you can reframe the question to ‘are we able to do XYZ?’. This will open the door to a much more constructive and collaborative conversation—and it’ll inspire your Sales team to ask your team questions in the same way.

Lastly, remember that sometimes actions speak louder than words. You know that MOPs can be a valuable partner to your Sales team, so show them. Consider building out scoring models where Sales can identify prioritized personas and automatically receive the leads that are the most likely to convert. Establish an automated system for passing on the right content at the right time to leads that are already engaged. Develop processes that help MOPs and Marketing bridge the gap for MQLs during the nurture stage, without overwhelming them with information. Showcase the different tools (e.g. social, targeted ads, event invites) that MOPs can deploy for engaged leads. These are all things that will help build the partnership across the customer journey.

At the end of the day, it’s all about teamwork.

You’ve got this,
Joe Pulse.

Sales Rejects My MQLs

Hi Joe,

Sales and I are at a real disconnect. They keep rejecting my MQLs, and I’m not sure why. The leads I’m passing over are all showing interest in our brand—downloading our campaign assets, visiting our pricing page—but Sales doesn’t seem to think they’re valid. If that engagement isn’t valid, I’m not sure what is.
How can we get to the bottom of this? How can I make Sales understand that my MQLs are valid leads?

Thanks,
MQL Max.

 

 

Max, I get that this is frustrating. My Marketing team spent months in a similar dynamic with Sales. We had what I considered sensible criteria for an MQL: active interactions with our campaigns, job titles and industries that line up with our target buyers.

Many of those leads would get rejected, which took me by surprise. Those leads seemed like golden opportunities for Sales to close deals; we drum up interest, they bring it over the finish line.

Turns out, after talking with Sales, they had quite different expectations of what “qualified” means; ready to sign. Here’s when we figured out the problem: between us, we had two different definitions of a qualified lead, and no one talking to each other to establish common ground.

That joint conversation is crucial. You both need to agree on definitions; what makes a lead null, ready to nurture, qualified, and ready for Sales.

Figure out your processes, too; at what stage you’ll hand leads over to Sales, and how long Sales should take to give you feedback.

Open dialogue is the name of the game. Sales’ expectations might have risen without you knowing it. Encourage people in both teams to explain their rationale for passing over, accepting, or rejecting leads. What’s the criteria? Why is or isn’t this lead valid? What’s missing?

Continuous feedback makes for better collaboration. It’s easy to forget this when you’re not communicating, but Marketing and Sales are part of the same growth engine. You bring in leads for Sales to close deals—when the business brings in revenue, it’s a shared win for both of you.

All the more reason to meet in the middle. Sales typically wants leads that are BANT qualified—the right budget for your pricing, decision-making authority, relevant needs, and the timeline to make a purchase in the near future. It’s not always viable for Marketing to tick all four boxes, so talk with Sales about how to make each other’s lives easier.

How can you optimize your campaigns to reliably gather that information? Which, of those factors, are the “must haves” and “nice-to-haves”? When can Sales continue the conversation? These are all points to establish to bridge the gaps.

For extra assurance: check out your reports. Look at where leads are progressing, getting stuck, and dropping out of the funnel. Those patterns of behavior are good guidance for where to switch up your criteria for qualifying and passing over leads.

Ultimately, you want to have a formal conversation between Sales and Marketing at least once a month. The idea isn’t to change your lifecycle every time—that’ll throw your reports and processes into disarray—but to solve any problems with leads together and make sure you’re both on the same page. After all, you’re both on Team Growth.

You’ve got this,
Joe Pulse.

How Can I Get Sales & Marketing in Sync?

Hi Jo,

My sales and marketing teams aren’t working well together.

People from both teams aren’t really talking to each other or sharing information that could help them both to succeed.

As a result, we work in an environment where processes are slow, communication is tense, and Marketing and Sales don’t understand one another.

How can I make my teams collaborate like partners? How can we bridge the gaps between us?

Thanks,
Out of Sync Sally.

 

Sally, it’s good that you’re asking how to fix things. When disconnect is the norm, it’s impossible for teams to work effectively together. In a past workplace, my Marketing team would publish whitepapers and run events as a separate machine from Sales; likewise, they’d turn down the majority of our leads without giving any feedback.

From a distance, you’d have no idea that we both shared the same goal: drive revenue for the business. We were completely misaligned, and worse still, Nobody felt they could speak up. That was ‘the way things were done’, with little hope for dialogue or change.

Strong purpose, shared understanding, active listening—all those things were missing. Now that I’ve moved on to manage teams, I realize just how essential these components are to bring people in the workplace together. Here are some tips to create an environment where teamwork actually makes the dream work:
– Have someone representing each team attend the other team’s meetings and presentations.
Having a representative to share feedback and updates, to show interest in helping and understanding
each other — will help both teams to work more considerately.

– Encourage transparency around data, goals, and knowledge. If Sales shares where they need help
fulfilling quotas, Marketing can help them size up the impact of campaigns. Which Marketing webinars
are valuable to particular prospects? Who can Sales pursue based on event attendance? How can Sales
and Marketing line their activities up?

– Invite teams to share their updates on a monthly basis. Common dashboards that visualize key
performance metrics, project presentations from people in various different roles—these initiatives
help everyone to demonstrate how their work connects to the bottom line.

– Consolidate your teams on one project management tool to show how each person’s activities contribute
towards a shared outcome.

– Create open channels for people to share their successes or ask for help. The mindset you want to
promote is: “how can we celebrate or solve this together?”

– Ask people what they see their purpose as, and accept honest answers. If someone doesn’t know their
purpose in the company, encourage them to think about the bigger picture and show them the true
impact of their contribution. Whether it’s press coverage from Marcomms or products from
Merchandising, quality work in every role plays a part in the company’s growth.

– Get people moving around and talking to each other. Hotdesking, catch-up calls, open invites to
knowledge-sharing and brainstorming sessions; all of these help sociability and belonging as a team.
Ultimately, people want colleagues and leaders they can trust. Make clear that Marketing and Sales
are on the same side, and that you’re here to help and encourage them to perform at their best.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse.