Crissy Saunders (CEO & Co-Founder, CS2 Marketing), Nick Bonfiglio (CEO, Syncari), and Rosalyn Santa Elena (Vice President, Global Revenue Operations, Neo4j) held this panel discussion at the Revenue Acceleration Festival in 2021, brought to you by our sister community, Sales Enablement Collective.

Crissy ⚙️

Hi, everyone. I'm Crissy Saunders, and I'm the CEO of CS2. We’re a marketing ops agency in the US on the West Coast.

I have two excellent speakers with me on this panel today. I have Rosalyn Santa Elena, the VP of Global Revenue Operations at Neo4J. She has a tonne of experience in business and revenue operations, and she's also the host of the Revenue Engine podcast.

I also have Nick Bonfiglio, the CEO of Syncari and the former EVP of Marketo. He's joining us with a tonne of experience on the operation side internally but is also now answering some of the biggest problems that marketing and revenue operations leaders have when it comes to data.

We're talking about something near and dear to my heart, the RevOps roadmap, and how perfecting it can clear up some chaos and keep you focused on the right things.

In the third and final part of this talk from the Revenue Acceleration Festival, Crissy, Nick, and Rosalyn discuss:

Let’s dive right in 👇

How to create a successful operations roadmap

Crissy ⚙️

Let’s look at the roadmap. There are many different opinions on what a roadmap is and what a good one is.

Q: How do we craft a good roadmap? What goes into creating a product roadmap from your experience? And what are some of the key components of that roadmap?

Nick 📊

I'm a product person, and I approach everything from the lens of needing a roadmap for every team. So the reality is that at Syncari, almost every team has a roadmap.

There are two types of roadmap.

When you're building a product, it’s about what you’re getting done this quarter. That becomes very granular in how you think about what will get done that quarter.

And then, what's my out-quarters roadmap of big rocks that I want to go tackle sometime in the future?

It lets you do a couple of things. One, it lets you lock in the work you're trying to complete that quarter without interruptions.

“We try to make as few changes as possible to the execution roadmap as opposed to the visionary roadmap that we have for the product and the company.”

If you had a product stuck in bug-fix mode, you can't innovate. This applies to every other team in the organization. If you're stuck in firefighting or bug-fixing mode, you can't think strategically about the next few quarters.

And so this ability to at least spend some time doing that is important. A product team wouldn’t be able to function if it didn't have that.

And even when building a product, you have a back-end team, a UX team, a UI team, etc., and you're aligning all those people with your roadmap. It's no different.

“When you're talking about RevOps, or marketing, or sales, or whatever you're talking about, you have to have a roadmap of where you're trying to get to and everyone needs to share in that vision of where you're trying to get to.”

If not, you're going to have teams going in different directions and doing different things but never congealing around a strategy for the whole organization.

Why you need an outcome driven product roadmap
a product roadmap can be so much more than a timeline. It can be an agile and strategic tool to help you not only keep up with a rapidly changing market, but to have the adaptability you need to get ahead of competitors.

Crissy ⚙️

And I think if we also look at the way that product teams work now, some ops teams might say, “Oh, we have a roadmap. We know what projects we're working on.”

But that might just be a list of projects and tactical things that you're tracking off a list. That's not the same thing.

“So when we think about a roadmap, there's a vision, business objectives, and some key outcomes that our team wants to achieve.”

And we're going to tie a feature to that. So that will be what goes onto your roadmap for that quarter.

You can then get into more of an iterative approach because the outcomes will sometimes be long-standing. You might aim to improve your conversion rate, but you won't fix that overnight.

So you're always going to have different features you're building against, and some of those need to be iterative.

And that's also sometimes a struggle with ops, where we never return to the things we built. We'll wait until it becomes a problem or until there's a fire, and then we put that out.

So when you get into more of this outcome base where you're tracking something and then iterating, you're less likely to have those “uh oh” moments later. And I think that's probably very relatable.

How outcome-driven RevOps can affect a roadmap


Q: When you're focusing on the customer journey, what does the future look like for your team's roadmap?

And can you give some examples of some outcomes that your team would prioritize when it comes to the customer journey and that you’d tie your features to on your roadmap?

Rosalyn 📈

“For one, I'd love it if we stopped talking about RevOps as being very tactical and just the combination of sales ops plus marketing ops plus CS ops”.

You see that everywhere. Or even just a rebranding of traditional sales ops.

“This is a complete shift. We're not just data, we're not just tech stack, and we're not just tactical folks. We're so much more than that.”

If you think about RevOps and always talk about us in the context of that end-to-end customer journey, providing that frictionless experience for the customer, and then also providing that infrastructure and that optimized, efficient, scalable revenue engine for the entire go-to-market team, then you can think more about outcomes versus conversion rates.

Adding fields to Salesforce and updating your lead scoring model is tactical.

But at the end of the day, I always think about what it is that you’re trying to get to. We all want more revenue, faster, better conversion rates, and better win rates. So, what are the things you can do to drive that?

We always tie back to that because I look at RevOps as being the vehicle for building out the go-to-market strategy. You're taking that strategy, operationalizing it, and then executing it through the people, process, technology, and data.

So for me, it's all outcome-driven.

We obviously have project lists and tactical things that we have to get done this quarter or this year, but I'm always looking at what we’re trying to achieve to optimize deals desk, which is one of our focus areas right now.

How do we revamp our quote to cash process to really speed up not only closing deals faster, but to enable new product into the market? New selling motions and things like that.

So that's where we're focused.

And then you break it down. And that's the thing about ops. We're very good at saying, “Here's the big picture. This is what we're trying to do.” And then breaking those into digestible, executable parts.

For me, it's focusing on those big two or three KPIs that the company or go-to-market is trying to achieve, and then breaking those down into what it means from a people, process, and technology perspective.

Sales-led Go-to-Market, a case study with Jarod Greene | ROA
Jarod Greene discusses sales-led GTM strategies and how he used this approach at Highspot.

Crissy ⚙️

With the RevOps roadmap, I think it’s about being clear on how we build a roadmap that helps, especially for teams that are understaffed, or they've gathered all of the business objectives, or they're working cross-functionally with the different teams.

They're still trying to figure out what's feasible and what they can do.

When it comes to a roadmap, it's also having some way to really calculate that. So taking into a model of the ability to execute what's high, medium, and low priority. And then also, how much resource would I need? And tracking that.

And also, timeliness. Can I finish that within this quarter? There are different models you can take.

Q: When you prioritize these projects for your team, is there any model that you use or any way to it say on your roadmap that will really prioritize where you should spend your time?

Rosalyn 📈

I always prioritize first what affects the customer. Anything that's customer-facing is a top priority.

And then secondly, anything that affects revenue is the next priority.

And then, we look at things in terms of high impact and low effort. It's that matrix, the quadrant in terms of high, medium, and low of the business impact and the level of effort.

You want to tackle the high business impact, low effort tasks first, get those out of the way, and then keep moving through those items.

There are a lot of projects, but there are also a lot of things that are low effort, but they're also very low impact. And if they're not going to impact something that ties back to your go-to-market strategy and key objectives, then it's a low priority for me.

Crissy ⚙️

The roadmap is aligning what your outcome is, what the feature request is, and what team this supports.

Start to measure the value, the impact, and the effort, and then that will quickly be something where you can see a sense of priority.

And some things might not make it. You can push it out into your next quarter, or just know that it's always going to be iterative.

It's a breathing thing, your roadmap.

It's something that you're reviewing and coming back to, and for the outcomes, too, making sure that we come back and measure that, because for ops teams, we want to show our value. Like Rosalyn said, we’re not just tactical.

Building in times to look back and get feedback from your team, but also measure to the outcomes is key.

Strategies to gain stakeholder buy-in for RevOps change
Karli Brophy talks us through change resistance and explains how to gain stakeholder buy-in to manage change and create successful project outcomes.

How to include data in your RevOps roadmap

Crissy ⚙️

Sometimes it feels like data projects can be really hard to get onto the roadmap because people can be swayed by, “Oh, we're a fast-growing company, we just need to do XYZ and let's just tackle data later.”

This is a huge problem because data rules everything that we do. It's what makes your customer journey effective and precise, and that's what drives revenue.

Q: For some of your clients who are taking the approach to transform their data, how do they make that case internally and get it on the roadmap?

Nick 📊

Where I work, we provide a single pane of glass for RevOps to control two of the three pillars. If that's people, processes, and data, we help you control the process and data together, which hasn't been done before.

So we see customers coming at this from a couple of different directions. We have this mentality of ‘think big but start small,’ and going progressively across your journey and building your roadmap for your data and key indicators along the way.

So we have companies where tackling projects would normally take them six months and three to four engineers to do that, but they’re now able to do them in a couple of weeks with our product and get their processes under control, like lead to account matching, quote to cash, routing of leads, etc.

All these things that we can do on our platform are at our fingertips with a no-code platform for our prospects.

People are seeing huge ROI savings of up to $600,000. And other customers are seeing ROI increases as a result of just having better access to the information across the organization.

So those are all things that are going to start coming more and more to the forefront as RevOps continues to mature strategically.

Want to read the rest of Crissy, Nick, and Rosalyn's talk? Check it out here 👇

Why is revenue operations important?
Why is revenue operations so important to your business, and, what are some common issues revops practitioners face when building their function? Join Crissy, Nick and Rosalyn to hear their thoughts and insights.