Recession Proof Your RevOps: Panel Discussion Takeaways
Unstable economic times are difficult for RevOps leaders; you have a reduced budget and hiring freezes, but your growth targets stay the same. It’s a daunting task for even the most seasoned professional.
The key is building a RevOps foundation capable of surviving these challenges.
You must prepare your team, tech stack, and processes amidst market turbulence and ensure your team can weather any storm. How do you prepare yourself today?
Let’s ask the experts.
Our recent RevOps panel brought together experts that have been through economic downturns in the past and know how to navigate the waters calmly and effectively. They cover the warning signs to look out for, how to prepare your team and tech stack, and what you must do to fill skill gaps on your team.
Featured in the discussion are
- Lisa Daly, VP, Revenue Planning & Operations at FloQast
- Ann Neir VP, Revenue Operations at Cockroach Labs
- Neil Alvanzo Senior Director, Delivery at OpFocus
In this panel roundup, you’ll receive the crucial insights from their discussion in 5 short minutes. After reading it, you’ll have the understanding and confidence you need to build a reliable, scalable RevOps foundation for the changing market conditions.
Let’s get started.
1 – What warning Signs indicate your personnel budget might be changing?
Keeping your ear to the ground is critical to identify when your RevOps budget will tighten and offer time to prepare your team and processes.
Here are a few warning signs highlighted during our discussion:
- Sales are falling behind, and your team is not hitting your targets
- Management’s tone is shifting from expecting high growth to staying afloat
- Downward trends in the market emerge while your team is underperforming targets
- Customers mention plans to shift business priorities
2 – How do you build a RevOps foundation of operations, automation, and data to support responsible growth in your organization?
Once you see the warning signs above, you need to develop a RevOps foundation capable of sustaining itself, even with a diminished budget & headcount.
The first step in building a solid RevOps foundation is to think about operational efficiency and automation. When headcount decreases, automation empowers your team to do more with fewer resources. Evaluate your touch points and activities, then consider what you can automate.
A downturn is an ideal opportunity to look at employee efficiency. Evaluate your sellers first, then move on to your support teams. Dig into the data to assess where efficiency gaps appear. Think about where you want to be in 6, 12, or 24 months, then formulate a plan to reach these milestones.
3 – What does operational efficiency look like in your organization? (Real-world examples)
Before planning how you’ll scale operational efficiency, it’s essential to understand what it means for your team. Operational efficiency is defined differently for each organization, but it typically entails leveraging automation to make your team more productive.
Here are examples of what our panel is doing to drive operational efficiency at their organizations.
- Build integrations into your ERP from Salesforce to automate sending billing orders to revenue recognition
- Measure team productivity more closely to identify areas to streamline your processes
- Centralize information in one location to avoid going to multiple platforms for metrics
- Pressure test your “customer handshake” process
- Clean up your CRM, dedupe contacts, and enrich accounts
4 – How do you fill technical roles when your budget is reduced?
Filling technical positions is essential, but you must first evaluate what your organization needs to maximize growth and build ROI. Once you clearly outline these priorities, create a business case for how you plan to reach your goals. Your evaluation clarifies the resources you need, which helps determine the right blend of internal and external resources. This plan also makes gaining internal support to fill these roles much more manageable.
For example, you may decide that data cleansing is a priority. This function, however, may not require a full-time employee. It’s a temporary task, so you may want to leverage an external resource. After this initial cleanse, a new data cleansing tool or updated internal processes can ensure continued data quality.
5 – How do you maintain your tech stack considering your internal and external resources?
Caution: Avoid shiny objects. When new challenges pop up or you begin a new project, it’s tempting to bring on a new tool that directly meets your needs. Try avoiding this temptation.
Instead, prioritize your goals for the next 6-12 months. Once outlined, take stock of your existing resources and how you can leverage them to reach these goals. If you have a tool that does 80% of your project needs, that’s likely enough; plus, you’ve already done the implementation.
Resource prioritization helps prevent a cluttered tech stack, but many teams already have more tools than they need. In this case, evaluate your needs and start consolidating tools. Even shrinking the tech stack over time and being more thoughtful about your tech stack pays off big. Not only does a more streamlined tech stack preserve the budget, but it reduces the time your team spends switching between tools.
6 – What recommendations are there for finding talent to meet tech needs?
During an economic downturn, you must think about team members as much as your tech stack and processes. A hiring freeze introduces a unique opportunity to invest in your current team and help them grow as individuals.
Think about the following questions our panel discussed:
- Are you investing in people and roles that will help scale your business?
- Does your team have cross-functional exposure for team members?
- How are you mentoring team members to manage themselves during downturns?
- Have you connected with your team on their career growth opportunities?
- Have you created management opportunities where available?
7 – What recommendations do you have for RevOps leaders?
All RevOps leaders want to hear advice from seasoned veterans. Our panel discussed the one thing they wish they had known earlier in their careers.
- It’s ok to take risks and feel uncomfortable – these moments are when you experience your most significant growth. Don’t be afraid to fail.
- Even if you’re an individual contributor, think about how you help others. Doing so includes your customers and your internal team. Always allow people to be successful.
8 – What does RevOps mean, and what should it look like in an organization?
Revenue operations vary from company to company, but have some universal properties. In short, RevOps focuses on revenue (shocking.) It encompasses the entire revenue cycle, from the first touch to customer success/expansion. RevOps is a combination of processes that impact organizational growth. The term includes sales commissions, systems and technology, processes, order management, data managers, and more.
9 – How long does it typically take to get a return on automating processes?
When automating processes or bringing on a new tool, you want to know when you’ll see a return on investment. Unfortunately, there’s no exact answer. The time to return varies depending on the technology and function you’re using in automation, but there are some examples we can look at to get a general understanding.
A good example is implementing and automating the order and deal process with Salesforce CPQ. This process involves moving from manual pricing and quoting to having price books in your system. Ann measured return on deal velocity and saw continued improvement as team adoption rose. Lisa also implemented CPQ and saw a similar improvement with her automation. Both panelists began seeing an impact in about one quarter.
10 – How do you set the right tone regarding company culture?
RevOps leaders are responsible for creating an effective, high-growth team. Company culture does not always fall into this category; it’s often set from the highest leadership position and promoted downward. As a RevOps leader, you’re responsible for prioritizing the necessary actions for reaching growth targets and communicating this across functions.
Properly communicating these goals includes conveying company goals to your team. Although doing so is always important, it’s critical during a downturn. The messaging shows that you have a plan moving forward and outlines how each team member contributes to reaching milestones.
11 – Should leaders focus on automating their RevOps foundation before budgets are cut?
The simple answer is yes. Even when your team is growing, automation is vital for capitalizing on your team’s work. When headcount drops or remains the same, this becomes critical. RevOps leaders are looking ahead to improve processes, and automation is essential to this planning.
Bringing it all together
Difficult economic times cause stress and concern for RevOps leaders, but there are steps you can take in advance to create a stable foundation enabling your team to survive and thrive in any storm.
In summary, here are seven tips leaders need to take to advance to set their teams up for success:
- Be vigilant of the warning signs your personnel and operations are in jeopardy.
- Build operations, automation, and data foundation to support responsible growth in advance.
- Understand what operational efficiency looks like in your organization.
- Outline organizational priorities to determine the right mix of internal and external resources.
- Streamline and simplify your tech stack.
- Take the opportunity to invest in your internal team.
- It’s ok to be uncomfortable; this is when you grow the most.
If you’ve made it to this point in the article, you’re a proactive RevOps leader willing to think ahead and take action. Using these recommendations, you’re ready to invest in your processes and prepare your team for potential budget reductions. If you’re in the market for a growth partner, this guide outlines questions you should ask potential consultants.
At OpFocus, we have a staple of experienced experts — like Neil Alvanzo — who will not only help your team create a comprehensive plan for the future but fill any niche technical roles you need to make it a reality. If you’re ready to create recession-proof processes, reach out to our team and let’s get started.