The Revenue Engine

#OpsTherapy 3: The Characteristics of a Great RevOps Leader

May 27, 2021
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The Revenue Engine

Each week, Revenue Operations expert Rosalyn Santa Elena shines the spotlight on founders, CEOs, and Revenue Leaders from hyper-growth companies and dives deep into the strategies they implement to drive growth and share their learnings. Rosalyn brings you inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators and disruptors, as well as Revenue Leaders in sales, marketing, and operations.

What characteristics does a great RevOps leader need to exhibit? In this episode, Rosalyn shares the skills and qualities required to be successful, and how these characteristics help drive the Revenue Engine!

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Thanks to Sales IQ Global for powering the Revenue Engine Podcast.

Rosalyn Santa Elena
As an advisor for several high-growth start ups on all things GTM and Operations, an active leader of Revenue Operations in multiple communities and platforms, and the host of The Revenue Engine Podcast, I'm on a mission to elevate the Ops function & Ops professionals.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Welcome to the revenue engine podcast. I'm your host, Rosalyn Santa Elena. And I am thrilled to bring you the most inspirational stories from revenue, generators, innovators, and disruptors revenue leaders in sales, in marketing. And of course, in operations together, we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers the revenue engine. Are you ready? Let's get to it.

When you think about revenue operations, there's a few different ways to look at rev ops, right? One way is to think about revenue operations as the end to end. Business process of driving predictable revenue across marketing, across sales, across renewals. If you're in a SAS business and across expansion, you know, from your operating plan to top of funnel demand, gen to execution within your sales process to expansion and growth within your installed base of customers.

If you think about revenue operations as really that infrastructure, right? The people, the processes, the technology, and the data that support all of your revenue generating teams, it's really the engine behind, you know, enabling and powering and optimizing how you drive revenue and how you drive growth.

And because of that, the revenue operations. People are professionals that go into these types of roles are also very broad and from very different backgrounds because the function again is so broad and deep in a number of areas, the knowledge, the experience, and the expertise required to be successful in a rev ops role can vary significantly depending upon the specific responsibilities required.

For example, the role may be more focused on strategy, or maybe it's on demand generation or forecasting, or maybe compensation or planning or deal execution, right. Or maybe more backend around customer adoption and data and analytics and insights. So there's just, there's so many different areas. So when you think about the knowledge of the background that you need, you know, some of these areas require similar.

And some different in terms of knowledge and experience, based on my experience, what I've seen is there are some key characteristics that I have seen in all what I would call revenue operations superstars. And I'm going to go through some of those today. So one of the things is a communicator, right?

The operations functions. Often owns all the formats of communication, including training and meetings, events, all of the processes, policies, programs, and much more so clear, concise, effective, verbal and written skills are a must. But beyond this, these professionals are active and effective listeners and they're able to keep everyone informed, right?

They need to keep everybody informed, aligned, and on the same page, even at times of chaos, that's one, the second one characteristic that I would say is being that cross-functional partner. I think there's very few roles. That are, as cross-functional as the revenue operations role within an organization, this role often works across the company with marketing sales, customer success, finance it, product legal, HR, and even engineering, especially in smaller startup companies.

I would say that nobody is safe from the operations function. Really the ability to build relationships through respect and trust is such an important strength of this professional being successful in this role has a direct dependency on your ability to build advocacy, influence others and drive consensus without necessarily having direct management responsibility.

Another characteristic that I've seen of a real rev ops superstar. And I think that this will resonate with a lot of folks who are in this role is really the ability to be strategic and tactical. I think this is a unique quality of a revenue operations superstar. Being able to bounce back and forth between being strategic and being tactical.

Oftentimes during the same day, right? Maybe the same hour or during the same meeting, or even at the same time, right. This thinker has the ability to take a high level objective, or maybe it's just an abstract idea. Create a framework, build an action plan. And then turn that plan into reality by operationalizing it and then executing upon it.

The other characteristic of a robot superstar is what I like to call the yoga master revenue organizations, especially in high growth. Companies are often moving at a lightning speed. Changing direction, mid plan is typically anticipated and expected. So the revenue engine that powers the organization needs professionals who are agile.

They're flexible. They're nimble. They're yoga masters. Because change is sometimes really the only constant. So the ability to quickly pivot and change directions is a key characteristic. I think for success. Another characteristic that I think is probably innate in all revenue operations folks is just get staff.

Revenue operations professionals have a really strong sense of accountability. When you take on a task, you're a hundred percent accountable and you're determined to see things through and drive it across the finish line. So I think knowing how to get stuff done and being able to get to actually pull things across the finish line is definitely a must have.

The other thing around being a rev ops superstar is being very process focused. Oftentimes when individuals might ask me, Hey, do you think I'm a good candidate for revenue operations? I always ask them, you know, are you someone who you're always trying to organize things when you see things, are you always trying to document step-by-step what to happen?

Are you someone who's trying to figure out how things work. Maybe you make a lot of checklists and you're are you translating business needs thinking about automation, right? All of these type of questions, I think make for good rev ops person. If you're somebody who. It's very organized. You like to organize things you like to document processes, you like to build, um, structure and scale, and then you like to take sort of what is the business need and try to think about how to automate, um, and how to automate those solutions.

Because I think these individuals are always looking for opportunities to streamline. Improve efficiency and just be more effective. I think they're really good at operationalizing, you know, systems, processes, and policies to be both scalable. And repeatable along the same lines. I think of being processed focused and other area is really being a project manager and being someone who's very project focused and good at that because being in revenue operations often means managing a lot of end to end projects.

You know, whether it's rolling out a new work stream. A new system or even just a new policy, right. Being very skilled at managing simple and complex projects is really a necessary characteristic to be successful in this role. Some of those projects are going to be really small. Like maybe it's rolling out just in you.

Policy or a new couple of steps of a process, but some are going to be really big where you might be rolling out a completely new go to market selling motion across all of your teams, across processes and systems and policy, and being able to really manage that project end to end from inception and sort of an idea all the way through execution and adoption and other characteristic of a rev ops superstar from my perspective is what I like to call the data.

I always say everything starts and ends with data revenue, operations professionals know how to obtain the data, maintain the data and make sense of the data. Right. These are the folks who have to be really good at analyzing the data, presenting the insights and helping the business make strategic data-driven business decisions.

So if you're somebody who really loves to dive deep into the data, and you're not afraid of it, you might be somebody who would be really good in revenue operations. So after the data group, The next characteristic of a rev ops superstar is that growth mindset, right? Mindset is often more than half the battle.

Having a growth mindset is a key differentiator for all professionals, but especially in operations, there are so many ways to solve a challenge, right? You should be someone who is always learning, staying creative, thinking outside of the box and really questioning the status quo. Because there are always ways to do things better, more efficiently and more effectively.

The other characteristic of a rev ops superstar is empathy. Rev ops folks have a super power, I guess, a super power to be endlessly empathetic. They can actually see from another's perspective, understand what others value. And know what motivates them being empathetic and truly understanding where another person is coming from helps this professional be successful when working with individuals from different teams across the company, right?

One of the earlier characteristics was around being that cross-functional partner, right? Being able to influence others, drive consensus, and keep everybody aligned. And I think being. Extremely and endlessly empathetic is a key characteristic that will help somebody be a superstar in revenue operations.

The last characteristic I would say, I like to just call, keep calm and rev ops on. Right. I think characteristics that all rev ops superstar has have is keeping calm, being controlled, even in an uncontrolled and uncontrollable environment. I think the ability to stay calm and collected, even in chaos. Is going to help you be successful in revenue operations.

So again, if I think about revenue operations, it really encompasses a broad set of responsibilities and therefore the experience, the skills and the expertise required to be successful can definitely vary based upon the needs of the organization. Okay. However, I think these are some of those characteristics that are related to the soft skills and the mindset that help revenue, operations superstars be successful.

So if you're someone thinking about transitional into a rabbi ops role, or maybe you're a hiring manager of looking for that next superstar, Remember to consider the characteristics, the work ethics, the work style, and especially the mindset. In addition to any related professional work experience and education.

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