Ready to shift your revenue operations (RevOps) processes to focus on your stakeholders and embrace user-centricity?

By focusing on the root cause of your sales, marketing, and customer success teams’ problems you can creatively solve the problem - not just the symptoms. How do you accomplish this?

Easy, utilize design thinking within your operations mindset and allow this approach to guide your processes.

In this article, we cover:

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a user-centric approach to problem-solving that allows for creative solutions that actually solve stakeholder problems from the root. This methodology originates in software development and has been making waves throughout the business landscape.

As a RevOps professional, design thinking can transform your core processes to shift your focus toward your key stakeholders: your revenue teams, and ultimately your customers.

The design thinking process calls for empathy, user research, creativity, and iteration to solve user problems.

How does design thinking benefit RevOps?

How does this developer mindset help with revenue operations problems? The design thinking approach allows you to understand your user’s pain points and solve the underlying problems.

Similarly, RevOps aims to solve internal problems that are leading to reduced revenue growth and poor customer experiences.

For example, poor onboarding processes when sales reps hand over to your customer success team may increase churn rates. RevOps steps in to align these teams and optimize this process, allowing for a great customer experience.

So in a way, design thinking is a similar mindset to how revenue operations professionals already operate - but a new ideology could spark a new perspective to creatively solve stakeholder problems.

Focus on stakeholders

Design thinking allows for a refocusing of the problem at hand. Instead of thinking about the problem at face value, it shifts the focus towards the end-user.

In RevOps, this could be the internal sales, marketing, and/or customer success team that will use the new workflow or tool, or you could dive deeper and focus on the results for your customers.

By thinking about how your revenue-generating teams will make use of this solution, you can understand what frictions might arise, or even discover that your fix causes more problems than it solves.

Likewise, by focusing on your customers you can shift your perspective to understand why an internal change that benefits your teams, may not be beneficial for your customers and therefore your recurring revenue.

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Get to the root of the problem

As a RevOps practitioner, it can feel like you’re too busy firefighting symptoms to get down to the root of the problem. But if you never fix the foundation, problems will continue to arise.

Design thinking allows you to dig deep and solve the cause of the problem, allowing your team’s workflows to run smoothly. In turn, this will allow your teams to communicate more effectively with your customers, resulting in higher conversion rates and lower churn rates.


Actionable data insights are the love language of any revenue operations professional; design thinking also aims to use data to eliminate guessing games and provide clarity when problem-solving.

The design thinking methodology relies on reducing bias with data. You might think you know what your stakeholders need, but if the data doesn’t back it up, maybe your assumptions were biased.

This data-driven approach to problem-solving allows RevOps teams to implement the right solutions to the right problems, and track success.

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How can you utilize design thinking in your RevOps practices?

Have we sold you the benefits of design thinking? Keep reading to learn how to implement these principles into your day-to-day RevOps processes.

Have empathy

Stepping into the shoes of your colleagues can allow you to understand their pain points with true empathy. This can help you to shift your thinking towards solving the core problem for your stakeholders.

This principle applies to sales, marketing, customer success, and customer problems that you’re looking to solve.

For example, if customer success is reporting a high churn rate, there may be many ways to solve that problem (new onboarding processes, automation, and better alignment with sales, to name a few) but having empathy will allow you to look at the problem from your customer success reps perspective.

Once you’re in an empathetic mindset you can start the next step: research.

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User research

To understand the right solution for the right problem, you’ll need to conduct some user research. This could be through observing how processes are used, interviewing your team members, or in the case of your customers, utilizing reviews and focus groups.

This research will allow you to start piecing together what the core problem is and what solution(s) might be more effective for your end-user.

To solve the previous high churn rate, you may shadow a customer success rep and watch them complete a slow, repetitive, manual onboarding process, while customer queries build up. This may point you toward automating onboarding as the solution to high churn.

Without this insight, you may have considered optimizing the hand-off between sales and customer success or changing the onboarding content.

User research can also point you toward blockers for adoption. If certain features in a process will stop your teams from adopting your solution, the problem will continue. Discovering these blockers in advance helps you effectively manage the upcoming change.

Idea generation

You might have a solution in mind after your user research, but it’s important to still brainstorm a few alternatives, to ensure you’re truly meeting the needs of your stakeholders.

Brainstorming, especially as a group, can help to identify new ideas that might not have occurred to you previously.

Consider mind-mapping, or challenging yourself to narrow constraints to generate outside-the-box solutions.

Fix the cause

Now it’s time to create and start implementing the solution. Utilizing data from your research can allow you to reduce ambiguity and bias within your approach. Allowing for a data-driven decision to determine the best solution.

By resolving the pain point at its root, this area should have fewer problems later on. Allowing your RevOps team to quit firefighting, and start focusing on more strategic initiatives.

Whether this solution is a new tool or a new process, ensuring you implement this change effectively with change management strategies is vital for proper adoption.

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Test and iterate

To continue with a design thinking methodology, after implementing the solution you should test how well it works, and gather feedback on the change.

You may find that it doesn’t quite solve the problem you intended, so it’s important to iterate and gather feedback throughout. And while the solution may work for now, it’s also important to re-evaluate regularly to ensure it’s still up to the task.

In six months or two years, your solution may be outdated, so it’s crucial to re-evaluate and iterate at a regular cadence.

Final thoughts

Overall, design thinking is an effective mindset for creative problem-solving that aligns well with RevOps processes.

These principles can be applied to revenue operations, allowing you to make more empathetic decisions, and solve the right problems for your revenue teams and customers.

By using empathetic thinking, user research, idea generation, and iteration, your RevOps strategy can get to the root of the problem, preventing the constant firefighting of symptoms. This allows your revenue operations function to focus on long-term strategic planning and revenue growth.

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