With the non-stop change of 2020 behind us, we begin looking towards what 2021 will bring. This article examines what we see as emerging trends in Sales Enablement and Revenue Operations for the new year.

Sales Operations No More: The Rise of Revenue Operations

For many organizations, it has become crystal clear that Sales Operations no longer supports only sales. Sales Operations is now the supporting team for all revenue-producing operational units across the entire business strata. In the post-2020 world of remote work from home, Revenue Operations is an enterprise-wide, cross-functional department. Every aspect of a business – sales, marketing, product development, information technology, finance, logistics, customer service, strategic management – relies on the mission-critical technology infrastructure selected, procured, built, and maintained by the Revenue Operations team. The CRM, ERP, Call Center, Data Analytics, Customer Portal, marketing system integration, and finance system integration are all the responsibility of RevOps.  In most respects, the Revenue Operations group is now as critical to a business’s success as the Information Technology department.

A change in the executive suite in response to this shift is also apparent. The Chief Sales Officer, Vice President of Sales, and Vice President of Marketing will continue to see their roles change. Many leaders in these roles are seeing their titles change to Chief Revenue Officer. The CRO is responsible for all customer-facing, revenue-producing activities across the business, including sales, marketing, and revenue operations. We recommend that companies consider shifting Revenue Operations leadership to a dedicated Vice President of Revenue Operations reporting to a CRO whose sole focus is on RevOps.

This shift to Revenue Operations is so crucial that companies that have not made the strategic investment in Revenue Operations at the enterprise level in 2020 – or did not budget for it in 2021 – will find themselves on the competitive outside looking in through the coming year.

Revenue Operations Professionals Will Have Their Most Challenging Year Yet

We are witnessing an industry shift from Sales Operations to Revenue Operations within both businesses and the vendors that serve those businesses. Salesforce sent a clear signal that they recognized the transition to enterprise Revenue Operations when they purchased Slack in late 2020. What does this mean for those working in the Revenue Operations group?

Revenue Operations professionals will spend 2021 adapting to change at three specific levels: the ongoing shift from sales-specific group to enterprise-wide support, the need for skill knowledge outside of sales, and the rapid innovation in the RevOps technology stack over the next 12 months.

The shift from Sales Operations to Revenue Operations means RevOps leaders will need to draw inspiration from their counterparts in Information Technology as they support the technology infrastructure that produces revenue for the business. We believe Agile transformation will be a crucial catalyst in the evolution of moving from supporting only sales to supporting the entire company.

Moving from sales to the enterprise will require the Revenue Ops team to acquire new skills beyond understanding how sales operate. Digital marketing, product development, logistics, data analysis, and other skills will be critical to support and interact with the entire business seamlessly.

Finally, we see a significant acceleration in the pace of innovation and change in the infrastructure products for Revenue Operations and the enterprise. We expect to see functionality, certification, and training for Salesforce professionals change as they integrate their internal Chatter service and external community portal products with Slack features. Other companies competing directly with Salesforce – Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle – are sure to follow suit. Smaller competitors like HubSpot and Pipedrive will innovate to keep pace and keep their target customers in place. Adjacent RevOps products like Adobe’s Marketo, Salesforce’s Pardot, and Tableau will capitalize with innovation on a similar scale.

Business Agility Will Be Pivotal to Revenue Operations Success

Reflecting over the past year, 2020 was the year of unknown unknowns. Very few businesses planned for the economic impact of COVID-19, an effect compounded by an uncertain timeline of when life would “return to normal.”

 The year 2021, however, is a year of known unknowns. We know vaccines are being distributed, but we don’t know how the world will adjust in its wake. We know an economic recovery will occur, but we don’t know how consumer reaction will drive the companies and industries that lead the charge. We know the remote workforce is here to stay, but we don’t know what degree or in which capacities.

Business Agility is an organization’s ability to quickly adapt its strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology toward opportunities that create and protect value. Businesses that can roll with the coming change and uncertainty will be able to outpace their competition definitively. Your business can become the brand that grows through change with its customers or the company that watches those customers churn away.

Revenue Operations is the group that builds the runway and operates the control tower that allows sales, marketing, and other groups to fly high. As the business revenue nerve center, adopting an Agile Revenue Operations framework that will enable them to meet their company’s changing needs will be crucial to a successful year navigating the change that we know is coming.

Lean RevOps Prioritization Will Be Essential to Meeting 2021 Goals

With so much change to come, the next 12 months may not be enough time to do everything your Revenue Ops team wants to accomplish and still meet 2021 goals.  Changes in strategy and customer needs will always impact the list of planned initiatives. Being focused on the wrong things – or worse, trying to be focused on everything – is a sure-fire way to miss your 2021 revenue goals. The solution is to be proactive and ready for change with an agile prioritization method instead of a perpetual reactive firefighter state.

Adnova Group’s Agile Revenue Operations framework in the Sales Accelerator Playbook offers the Revenue Prioritization Formula, one way to quickly introduce flexible, agile prioritization for RevOps. The RPF helps RevOps leaders set a baseline prioritization based on the fastest return on revenue, that can be further adjusted as needed based on strategic initiatives, customer needs, and revenue performance data.

Moving Forward in 2021

Determining how Revenue Ops leaders should adapt to these changes in 2021 is situational. The course of action depends on the level of investment into the RevOps group, the maturity of the culture, the reception to change in the enterprise, and the leadership’s ability. Adnova Group is uniquely qualified to help coach Sales Operations teams through the agile transformation required to move toward a world-class Revenue Operations group. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you transform your RevOps in 2021.