For SaaS companies, building a robust, competent and user-friendly product – no matter how sophisticated, capable or best-in-class – is only half the battle. SaaS is a billion-dollar industry. In fact, it’s poised to grow to $157 billion in 2020. Despite the opportunities for growth, these companies all face similar internal business hurdles that stagnate business growth in an oversaturated market.
The dark forces working against SaaS providers (like revenue leakage, incongruent business systems, siloed data, geographical conflicts, broken gateways and beyond) are a menace to a business’s sustainability and undercut its ability to scale towards profitability and growth. These threats loom over multiple departments and fester across the entirety of an organization, paralyzing it from the inside out. Which begs the question, who is responsible for combating the evils of operational inefficiencies?
It’s not a single caped crusader or vigilante fighting on the front line. The battle for growth and profitability is waged by the unsung heroes in all departments who work to maximize revenue and build the business as a cohesive, multifaceted team. These everyday heroes obsess over details in their lead-to-ledger revenue flow, manage complex revenue operations, and make incremental progress towards a North Star metric: revenue growth. These unlikely heroes are the SaaS companies’ Revenue Operations teams or RevOps.
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Within each company’s RevOps team (which is comprised of Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Procurement, Billing, Operations, etc.), various personas naturally emerge that provide a special skill benefiting the company’s profitability. Here are some of the essential champions that together make up a SaaS company’s revenue engine:
The Clairvoyant: Envisions the Future in Terms of Tools and Processes While Solving for the Present.
In order for a company to forge forward towards profitability and growth, its revenue operations team needs a clear vision of the future. This includes goals, milestones and even potential issues that may undermine the team’s work.
While picking a tool or setting up a process, the Clairvoyant focuses on building new paths rather than accumulating bottlenecks. This acumen for operations stems from the doer lens they wear, and really from their previous successes and failures.
The best of Clairvoyants are jacks of all trades, bringing knowledge from Marketing, Sales, and Finance into a deep business and market context. The Clairvoyant should understand each step of the entire lead-to-customer cycle. Most often, this superpower manifests as Managers of Marketing, Sales, Finance, and overall RevOps teams.
The Skeptic: Obsesses With Pushing the Limits of Perfection
While the team is out celebrating a victory of new business won, the Skeptic is unconvinced by percentage-based outcomes. They investigate and work to squeeze the most out of every revenue opportunity. The Skeptic understands that even a .1% improvement is still an improvement on the company’s bottom line.
The Skeptic identifies potentially missed opportunities and inefficiencies that everyone else passes off as “good enough.” This person questions why the cost of acquiring a customer compared to its lifetime value (CAC: LTV) is a tad high. The Skeptic can also be seen rallying the team to decrease the delinquent churn rate even further.
This forward-thinking and analytical mind often appears as a RevOps analyst or specialist overseeing marketing, sales, finance or billing operations.
The Data Wizard: Deciphers Complex Datasets and Translates Raw Numbers to Meaningful Insights
Raw data alone can seem relatively useless at face-value, so a new hero is needed to make sense of the tangled mess of valuable insights: the Data Wizard.
The Data Wizard shrugs away summarized data presented neatly in pie charts and line graphs. They prefer to muddle around with raw data constructing and deconstructing hypothesis to draw out conclusions. The Data Wizard is the one an executive should go to for a forecast on billings, revenue, and cash to predict the future growth of the company.
The Plumber: Cleans up and Unclogs Workflows
The SaaS Plumber is exceptionally good with tools and workflows. From setting up the arsenal needed to run pricing experiments, to coupon campaigns in CRMs that create a seamless quote-to-cash workflow, the Plumber is the hands-on person who runs around the clock.
On the quest to set up leak-proof processes, the plumber is always on the lookout for better tools and solutions in the market. They have a vivid mental image of the big picture and retouch the canvas to paint a better picture. She/he is constantly curious. And constantly hungry.
The Orchestrator: Ensures the Alignment of All Teams to Achieve the Same Goal
If there is one thing that matters to Orchestrator, it is objectivity. This person works closely with leadership and ties every activity back to the organization’s goals. When tension between different teams build-up, the Orchestrator steps in to pacify the situation and greases the wheels to ensure the lights stay on. At times, this might require reassessing the current state of things and establishing new ground rules.
With the ability to think out of the box and unlearn things to see fresh perspectives, the Orchestrator is the glue that keeps the rest of the hyper-passionate revenue heroes from tearing at each other’s throats. These heroes commonly take the form of CRO, VP or Director of various departments like Sales, Marketing, and Finance.
The RevOps team take on various roles to ensure every team member works toward the same goals. Together, these heroes assemble to take on daunting roles and move the company forward.