How Successful SaaS Companies Elevate RevOps Strategy and Use ABM
If you’ve worked in RevOps, you’ve likely run into questions around how to improve department alignment or lead conversion strategy and wanted an expert opinion. As SaaS growth experts, OpFocus provides leading Revenue Operations practices for growth-minded companies. The Director of our SaaS Growth Advisory Practice, Natalia Kochem, recently held an “Ask Me Anything” session where she answered questions companies had around how to elevate their RevOps strategy. These are the top recommendations from our RevOps conversation. You can also listen to the full recording below.
What are the latest B2B SaaS trends that companies are looking at?
The first trend we’re seeing is the movement away from Leads to an Accounts & Contact-centric model. As B2B SaaS companies target larger, enterprise-level Accounts, teams are realizing that Leads no longer meet their needs since they focus only on an individual rather than the account as a whole. An account-centric approach that focuses on target accounts serves them better since it focuses on targeting more stakeholders and decision-makers at the company rather than a single individual.
The second trend we see teams adopting is bringing on full-time marketing operations experts. No matter what tactics and campaigns you’re using, there is a big emphasis on understanding the data. Organizations need analytical minds that understand marketing data from beginning to end and how platforms pass information between one another. Bringing someone on board to manage automation and leverage accurate data is only becoming more crucial. With technology advancing quickly, teams are realizing that they can’t simply count on their sales team conducting business as usual. When SaaS companies look to scale or seek more funding, there is more pressure to act quickly. To accommodate these needs, more teams are bringing on full-time marketing engineers.
The third and final trend we’re seeing is in the improvement of marketing, sales, and client success alignment. As the platforms, these departments rely on overlap more often, cross-functional collaboration naturally develops. Alignment across these three functions reflects the health of a SaaS B2B companies ability to reach its growth target.
How many Accounts should we designate for ABM?
Moving to an account-based model is a company-wide initiative and will involve working with your marketing, sales, client success, and operations teams. Together, identify your ideal customer profile, then develop an understanding of the universe of demand that fits this description. Although it can be tempting to say that all of your total addressable market could be your target Accounts, your team will need to develop a way to focus on key serviceable addressable Accounts.
You can use a financial and business perspective to help make these decisions. The size of your sales team, average sales cycle, and the number of deals they need to close are factors that you’ll need to consider. The factors that will help set the baseline number of Accounts to assign to each sales rep include target revenue, your budget, your marketing and sales resources, your ideal customer profile, and the data you use to measure this process. You should consider the length of your sales-cycle when determining how often to re-evaluate the number of targeted Accounts. For example, if you have a long sales cycle (over 9 months) you may want to only do an evaluation annually to avoid changing Account owners mid-deal.
How necessary is moving away from Leads to having an effective Account-Based Model?
When considering Accounts vs Contacts, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. One of our clients discussed her experience with Contacts and the impact they had on her business. Using Contacts that are connected to Accounts ensures that all interactions and data from the individual is elevated to the corresponding Account. This approach ensures that no Lead is left behind and activity is easier to track. If you’re looking for this type of connection between the individual Contact and the Account then moving away from Leads is necessary. Read how to effectively make the change from Leads to Contacts.
There are instances of teams adopting a hybrid model. They use Contacts for a select number of targeted Accounts and Leads for all others. The team continues to work Leads in their traditional manner while the targeted Accounts have Leads converted to Contacts. This enables them to target particular companies with an account-centric approach that brings multiple individuals into the purchasing process early on. Through the hybrid model, teams adopt Account-Based Marketing without fully moving away from leads.
Is it possible to trial an Account-Based model? If so, how?
We have seen clients do a pilot program. They start with a handful of large Accounts they want to target and get the marketing, sales, and client success team involved in an initial conversation about how to pursue them. After implementing the account-centric process with this handful of Accounts, the teams will reconnect. They’ll discuss what worked and what didn’t work with that pilot program, make adjustments, then roll it out to a larger number of targeted accounts.
How does sales get involved in implementing Account-Based strategies?
As mentioned above, an essential component to rolling out a successful ABM plan is to align sales and marketing. Our SaaS Growth Advisory Practice developed a framework outlining the key elements of a customer’s journey with your SaaS company. This framework creates an understanding between different departments around how they fit in the client journey and their role. This mutual understanding increases cross-department alignment.
When you think about how to improve sales and marketing alignment, have a conversation with both departments and ensure there is a shared understanding of your business processes and goals. You’ll want to make sure that every department knows where they fit into this framework. Map out the actions each department takes at every step and where they fit into this journey. Schedule a meeting with our SaaS Growth Advisory Practice to assess your inter-team alignment and where to focus in order to scale effectively!
When onboarding several new RevOps technologies, what is a reasonable amount of time between each implementation?
At OpFocus, we recommend focusing on the business process before purchasing a new tool. Some companies expect a tool to solve their problems without first recognizing the impact it will have on their business. Ensure the teams benefiting from the tool are aligned on the desired outcomes and the business impact it will have. Be aware of the outcomes you want to attain, the data required, how the team plans to act on the data, and these actions serve the business objectives before purchasing a tool. Have a conversation with the departments using this tool around the impact on the business processes. We recommend having this conversation towards the beginning of the process so everyone is on the same page. Keep in mind where a client interacts with each department when deciding on a new tool.
As your team continues to improve and expand your revenue operations strategy, questions are bound to come up. As your SaaS growth experts, OpFocus is here to help you with your organization’s growth strategy. Need help determining if your team is ready for ABM? Drop us a note and we can schedule an assessment! Let’s help you hit your operational growth goals!