Paolo Negrini, Head of Marketing Ops, Tech and Analytics at Adobe, gave this talk at the Revenue Marketing Summit hosted by our sister community, Revenue Marketing Alliance, in 2022.

In this article, Paolo gives his perspective on why your RevOps function should be separate from sales and marketing and how to go about building the function itself.

For more insights, keep scrollin' 👇

Separating the RevOps function from sales and marketing

In a traditional organization, you've got a VP of Marketing that looks at the entire marketing function, and you've got your marketing operations that usually supports that function from a technology and a process perspective. Usually, you've got your VP of Sales, sales and customer success, and sales operations that looks at how the sales function performs.

In a RevOps world, you add another layer. You add a VP of RevOps that effectively takes ownership of the traditional marketing ops and sales ops areas.

And that's your three layered approach.

But what’s the advantage of doing that? You might feel like you’re creating another silo, but to me, there are three main reasons why you’d want to move in that direction.

  1. Neutral party.

You've got somebody that sits outside and doesn't have the same incentives. In fact, they have quite different incentives.

If you have data analytics and you've got sales analytics within sales, or marketing analytics within marketing, you might have a lack of trust from the other party. They might say, “How do we know that you’re actually doing well with your marketing spend? Or, “How are you doing so well with your sales engagement?”

That's why having a neutral party is a really good thing in my eyes.

2. Holistic point of view.

Again, you don't have incentives like the VP of Sales who’s said, “We have to go in that direction because of XYZ reasons.”

And then marketing and the CMO are saying, “Let's actually go in the other direction because PMMs are actually driving us on that other angle.” Therefore, you have a bit of friction in the middle.

So you need to have a holistic perspective that again looks at the entire process end to end.

3. Integrated approach.

You might have a situation where you've got your analytics function within marketing that designs a really shiny, cool looking SQL server where all the data sits. And then the sales function does the same. And then you start having two different systems which results in a lot of different complexities across the board.

And then data doesn't talk to each other and they start building their own dashboards and reports. And then magically, you have a pipeline number that doesn't look the same on the other dashboard, and you start having conflicts on other numbers and you stop looking at what's actually driving the business and helping the customer.

That's why I think RevOps is a function that supports that perspective.

So, you know it should be separate, but how do you actually build a RevOps function?

How to start building your RevOps function

I would start simple, and it really depends on the size of your company. But the way I always think about it, and maybe you can use this as a maturity model exercise, you can basically take those nine points and then score them from one to five. You can then say, “Okay, how am I doing in terms of the first point?” And define your own goals.

Set a common ground

Define your own goals. That's literally having a way for marketing to not just get to MQLs and then throw them over the fence for another part to magically pick them up, but having those common goals and making sure that they’re intertwined in marketing and sales.

Agree on a target-setting methodology

How do you set your targets? That's very important because you might start from the bottom-up and say, “Hey, I've got this amount of budget,” and then you work out what you can deliver with that.

Or you can work from a financial perspective and say, “Okay, this is what we have to hit, and this is the contribution from the different teams.” But you have to agree what the target setting methodology is across the different teams so you don't find ways in which marketing does one target setting and sales do a different one.

And then agree on a shared BI and taxonomy. Are we talking about MQLs in the same lingo? Are we talking about the same language? Or are they different? My MQL in marketing is the same MQL as the one for sales.

A shared BI is having a central point where business intelligence is stored in the same place so you don't have to go into your sales database or system to look at the sales metrics on one side and marketing on the other side. How do you make sure that it's central?

Data integration

Then the other thing is that you're building a foundation. Integrating data and systems infrastructure is super important. Having that in one place is key.

How do you define data processes and governance? One thing that can be very challenging is account creation. Maybe you have sellers that are creating their own accounts and then you start having duplicates in the system, so that then becomes a challenge.

So if you want to go down the path of account-based marketing, how do you then reconcile your account strategy?

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Business cadence

Establish your business cadence. What does it look like? Is there a weekly cadence? Is there a quarterly cadence? Maybe it's both. How do you do that? How do you do that in sync?

Enable your teams

Set very clear roles and responsibilities and make sure that roles are clean and clear so you don't have a tonne of overlaps. And make sure that everyone is present when you set those roles and responsibilities. Make sure there’s someone that can own a specific project or initiative.

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Open feedback loop

And then establish an open feedback loop with your sales folks, marketing folks, and your customers. For example, get feedback on campaigns. How do we know this campaign works? Do we ask our customers? Do we go out and ask our prospects, “Hey, do you like the messaging? Was it good? Was it not sticking?”

We need to ask and we need to figure that out. We need to reach out and get that perspective directly from them.

Centralizing the knowledge base and training

So every time you have a new person coming in, you have a central place. Wikis can be challenging to manage, but they can be really good if you've got a strategy in place to manage and centralize them.

Making sure you get your build right is essential and following those steps should help steer you in the right direction. Ensuring your RevOps function is separate, independent and cohesive is sure to set you on the right path.

Thanks for reading 👋

Paolo gave a great talk at our Revenue Marketing Summit - want to see what else he had to say? Check it out 👇

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Paolo Negrini discusses how revenue operations can navigate your business through change.

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What are five key areas of responsibility for a person in revenue operations? Paolo Negrini, Head of Marketing Ops, Tech and Analytics at Adobe, gives his perspective.