“It looked like being the pain in the butt BDR who asked way too many questions, broke anything that could possibly be broken, and paid for my own subscriptions to software just because I wanted to tinker with things before I had to bother asking for approval and budget.”
That’s Jacki Leahy’s description of her path into a RevOps career — and it’s a great summary of what it means to be a RevOps pro, if we’ve ever seen one.
(Not the breaking things part, the curiosity part.)
Do you love chasing down the sale? What about using data analysis to create sales strategies? How about collaborating with lots of different teams and functions?
If the answer is “yes” to all three, now is the best time to get started in a revenue operations job. Revenue operations (RevOps) is a centralized org within a company that supports all revenue-generating business operations including Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, Customer Success Ops, and systems management.
Visit job boards like LinkedIn or Glassdoor and you’ll see thousands of job postings. On Linkedin alone, a search for “revenue operations” in the US brings up almost 20,000 results.
RevOps is the biggest competitive advantage for early adopters. But what is it all about, and how do you build a revenue operations career?
Remind me again – what is RevOps?
Okay, some of you who are reading this are probably new to RevOps, so here’s a little refresher.
RevOps is “a centralized function that consolidates these historically-siloed operations teams. It is a single team that serves all revenue-generating business units, including: Sales Operations, Marketing Operations, Customer Success Operations, and Systems.
In essence, RevOps is a hybrid job function that combines components of sales, marketing, and customer success roles all wrapped into one, with a goal of helping to eliminate silos that are naturally weaved into the sales process.
RevOps jobs may also be listed as Chief Revenue Officer or VP of Revenue Operations in job postings, so keep that in mind when searching for senior-level roles in RevOps.
Why is RevOps generating so much buzz?
Traditionally businesses roll up their operations teams under the organization that they serve, resulting in siloed processes, software systems, and often, conflicting goals.
According to Gartner, the switch to RevOps is due to five key business drivers:
- Companies are disillusioned with rigid silos
- An emerging need to support multiple GTM plans across segments and regions
- Unified data problems
- Proliferation of marketing and sales technology
- Customer experience becoming a critical revenue driver
This results in dozens of bottlenecks. Are any of these situations a little too familiar?
- A sales rep has won over a new customer. Now, the AE must work with sales ops, salesforce admins, and legal to close this opportunity. It may take days before the rep can actually send a contract for signature.
- The marketing team ran a super successful campaign and generated hot leads. SDRs are ready to start calling but first they must dedupe dozens of contacts just dumped into their CRM.
- The director of customer success brings her Salesforce report to a cross-functional meeting with sales and marketing leadership. Half of the meeting is spent validating data across three different team reports.
We could also add a sixth business driver to the list. The popularity of the cloud subscription model has changed the way customers purchase products. Most do extensive research well before they speak to a sales rep. And once a deal is closed, it is important to provide an exceptional customer experience to retain and grow recurring revenue.
RevOps centralizes all of these processes, operations teams, and software under one leader who understands how all of the moving parts are connected.
Ok, but what does someone in RevOps actually do?
There are a few different role functions present in RevOps already, so each role has its own unique responsibilities and functions. For our example, we’ll cover what a RevOps manager does on a daily basis:
- Makes decisions on sales and marketing strategies to drive business revenue
- Creates processes to enhance cross-functional collaboration between sales, marketing, and customer success
- Selects a tech stack for each of the teams above while thinking about how customers and prospects would best benefit from specific software solutions at each stage of their journey
- Analyzes business data across departments to make high-level decisions that impact the company’s bottom line
RevOps vs. Sales Ops – what’s the difference?
While these two job functions may sound similar, they differ in a number of ways. Often used interchangeably, Revenue Operations roles are a hybrid role that revolves around sales, marketing, and customer success initiatives to benefit the company at large.
Conversely, Sales Operations roles focus solely on the direction of the sales team, their metrics and success, and things pertaining to only the sales team – not how their success or failure impacts other related teams across the organization.
How to find RevOps jobs
Now that you’re familiar with RevOps at a higher level, it’s time to talk about how and where to find jobs. Revenue Operations is still a fairly new field, so finding work in this area can be challenging for people who don’t know how to navigate the seemingly endless job boards and websites.
Here are a few good resources you can use:
- The Sales Hacker Community Jobs & Hiring board
- Traditional job sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, and Indeed
- Google search engine using the terms “RevOps jobs” and “Revenue Operations jobs”
Career Advice from 6 RevOps Pros
Get in there and ask questions
“Don’t be afraid to “learn by doing” — many of these tools are similar in nature and your skills will transfer. But also find a senior advisor that can tell you what to look out for that you are currently unaware of.”
Figure out the big picture
“Learn how to ask questions of your stakeholders so you understand their challenges. Develop a strong understanding of a basic sales process from top to bottom and think about where processes need to be improved and what technology makes things more efficient.”
Take time to learn lots of skills, first
“For those that are looking to get into revenue operations, I think it’s truly investing in being a generalist. And the best generalists usually have a few areas of specialty that they can apply to problems. What matters is solving gaps.”
Connect the dots
“Stay close to three things: the data, the money, and the strategy. Marrying data across different teams and translating that data into tangible steps to improve revenue (or, better yet, profitability) are skills that you can work on at every level of your career, if you know to look for the opportunities.”
Do your homework
“I’d recommend reading Financial Intelligence (A Manager’s Guide to Knowing what the Numbers Really Mean) and Fix This Next. Once you’ve done that schedule lunch or coffee with the finance leader in their organization (or prof. network) and ask them questions about the things they pay attention to. The insight you’ll gain will be priceless.”
Focus on process and project management
“While it’s great and very necessary to be able to manipulate data (build and run reports, use excel/google sheets), what I haven’t seen so far is a lot of process-driven advice. Be able to define and map GTM processes and workflows, identify gaps, and iterate and improve.
Project management skills will help you immensely. You don’t have to be a PMP, but having a good understanding of project management principles (the ability to put together a project plan for example) will take you far, RevOps or no RevOps.”
Revenue Operations career path options
How do you get started in a revenue operations career? Ensure you have the two most important qualifications: a mind for data analysis and some understanding of a true love for problem solving.
“If I were telling someone the skills they need I would say a love for finding and solving problems and a knack for learning technology,” Allyson Clark (Director of RevOps at Halo Health) told us. “You’ll probably be thrown a new software tool about every 3 months in this job.”
RevOps isn’t quite the wild west of careers, but it also doesn’t have a formal promotion path that is set in stone yet. You might join a startup as a Revenue Operations Manager and run the show in collaboration with a VP of Sales. Or you might sign on as a Chief Revenue Officer at an enterprise company and oversee a team of 30.
Take Jeff Ignacio, for example. Now Head of Revenue and Growth Operations at UpKeep, Jeff shared his “long and windy road” to RevOps with Sales Hacker:
I took a long and windy road to RevOps. (See? We told you.)
First job out of college was with Accenture designing and configuring SAP as a marketing application for the movie studios here in Los Angeles. Taught me the importance of documentation, project management, and the all important requirements first mentality.
I had dreams of moving into sales so I went into commercial real estate. That didn’t go so well at all!
I turned to sales for a technical recruiting agency and project management services. Went to get my MBA at Michigan. Interned for Experian developing an international GTM strategy. Summer internship with Intel’s VC group developing M&A strategies for their media and strategy play. Full time offer with Intel on their strategic finance team.
Shifted over to Google where I supported the Enterprise sales team as their Sales FP&A partner. There I taught myself Python and SQL to help automate many of the analyses that took me hours to perform manually. The last few years I’ve joined startups as the proverbial “Team of One.” At Visier I was there for the $8M to $60M journey in three years. What an incredible ride that was.
Today, I manage a team of 5 at an amazing startup called UpKeep. We cover top of funnel to post-sale.
You don’t have to have a full background in sales and revenue management-type roles to land a job in RevOps, though the latter helps. Often, RevOps managers and directors have held other high-level positions in other departments as well, such as a VP of Marketing or a CMO, which is a job that deals with high-level decision-making regarding financial decisions that affect the company at large.
Even if there isn’t a single Revenue Operations career path, one thing is for sure: now is the golden opportunity to get your foot in the door and become the next leader in RevOps. Here are some job titles and their progression to look out for as you start on your Revenue Operations career path:
- Revenue Operations Specialist
- Revenue Operations Analyst
- Business Intelligence Analyst, Revenue Operations
- Revenue Accountant
- Revenue Operations Manager
- Manager, Revenue Accounting Operations
- Data Manager, Revenue Operations
- Revenue Cycle Manager
- Director, Revenue Operations
- Director of Revenue Accounting
- Director of Revenue Strategy
- Director of Revenue Cycle
- VP of Revenue Accounting
- VP, Revenue Operations
- Chief Revenue Officer
What skills do you need for RevOps jobs?
Each step up in the RevOps career path will push you to grow your skill set. Take a look at this list of job postings to understand what responsibilities and qualifications you will need to rise through the ranks.
Revenue Operations Analyst/Specialist
If you are a problem solver who is process-oriented and can track projects to completion, this job will teach you a broad range of skills.
Fast-growing startups have similar requirements to these in their RevOps specialist job descriptions:
- Work on mission-critical processes with strict timelines
- Assist in month-end revenue processes (heads up, you usually can’t take PTO during end of quarter)
- Assist the account executives, SDRs, and renewals teams in processing Salesforce opportunities
- Review sales orders for completeness and accuracy
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in finance and accounting
- 1-2 years of work experience in accounting, FP&A or other financial employment, preferably in quote to cash process functions like booking, billing, order management or accounts receivable
- Able to complete tasks accurately, effectively and on time with superb attention to detail
- Excellent external and internal customer support skills
Senior Revenue Analyst/Specialist
Securing a senior title means having a deeper understanding of revenue operations. You will also need to be skilled in communicating with stakeholders about important processes and rules. It might take you longer to get this promotion compared to other career paths.
- Ensure timely completion of order management, billing and collections tasks
- Process closed deals in software tools like SaasOptics
- Perform a hands-on role that touches all aspects of the quote-cash-cycle
- Act as a partner to sales and customer success; propose solutions for unexpected problems
- Help implement accounting and ERP systems like Netsuite or CPQ software
- Minimum 5 years in revenue recognition within the tech industry
- Deep understanding of ASC 606 (the newest revenue recognition standard for companies that contract goods and services with customers)
- Able to articulate numbers and complex accounting concepts clearly and concisely to laypeople
Manager, Revenue Operations
This role involves managing a team of analysts, or for startups, being the only person in the revenue operations org. To prepare for this role, focus on developing your leadership capabilities and soft skills. But don’t neglect your understanding of systems and processes.
- Lead team to develop efficient closing processes, streamline reporting, and maintain responsibility for critical accounting projects
- Ensure systems are running smoothly and take the lead to put out fires
- Manage the implementation of system enhancements and automation for tools like NetSuite, OpenAir, Tesorio, AppDirect Marketplace, etc.
- Partner with cross-functional teams to advise on impact of new and existing initiatives or launches
- 5+ years of progressive relevant work experience
- Prior experience managing a team or being a team lead is a big plus
- Able to mitigate process conflicts between the RevOps team and other orgs
Director, Revenue Operations
Here you can really make a contribution to the revenue organization as a hands-on player and coach. On top of day to day tasks, you may have dozens of internal customers and will lead growth initiatives across the entire revenue funnel.
For fast-growing companies, here are the expectations:
- Lead planning for data architecture, reporting, territory planning and sales incentive systems
- Coach and develop the skills of your direct reports. Take the lead on resolving conflicts with other departments and improving current processes
- Assist the CEO and sales leadership team with go-to-market planning
- Own the preparation of reports reviewed by the Board of Directors
- Extensive experience with MS Excel/Google Sheets and Salesforce, and some familiarity with SQL, Looker, or other databases
- 7+ years experience in Revenue Operations, Finance, or related functions
- 2+ years experience leading teams
- Experience writing policies and procedures
- Exceptional communication, listening, coaching and conflict resolution skills
- Ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects and goals
- Bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting required; master’s degree a plus
VP of Revenue Operations
A VP of RevOps needs to have experience in quote to cash processes, and most importantly, they need to exhibit strong revenue acumen. They also should excel as a customer-centric communicator and be committed to working with the sales org to drive growth. This title reports to a CRO, COO, or Chief Accounting Officer.
If you envision yourself in this role, here are the key skills and requirements:
- Be the subject matter expert and the company lead on global revenue functions
- Oversee and improve order management, revenue recognition, commissions, billing and accounts receivable
- Lead change management for new projects and initiatives
- Scale revenue and develop a team of rockstar professionals
- Work closely with the deal desk, sales, accounting, finance, services, engineering and systems teams to identify and implement process and system improvements
- Assist in closing large enterprise sales by owning contractual discussions
- 10+ years of progressive experience within revenue operations functions
- Minimum of 5 years in a leadership/management position in a revenue organization
- Demonstrated ability to drive success in change management
- Strong technical and analytical skills
- A bachelor’s degree required, MBA, or related master’s degree is strongly preferred
Chief Revenue Officer
The Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) is a leader and an innovator. Although this is a C-suite role, you may still report into a COO, or Chief Accounting Officer (CFO). A sales leader may also become a CRO, although they will need to prove their operational prowess. Job descriptions from enterprise businesses include these essential skills and expectations:
- Design and build a global commercial selling system
- Determine and achieve revenue goals
- Plan, develop, and implement effective sales strategies and policies
- Recruit, develop, manage, retain and scale the commercial selling team
- Contribute to company strategy, vision, culture, and mission
- Ability to take siloed operations analysts and integrate them into a unified team
- Possess a deep understanding of commercial strategy, sales and selling systems, sales operations, customer success, channel programs and business development
- 15+ years of industry experience
- Proven record of scaling and growing a business
- An extensive network of relationships in the industry
- Experience taking new products to market
- Extensive understanding of market dynamics
- Bachelor’s degree required. MBA or related master’s degree is strongly preferred
Revenue Operations salary expectations
Depending on where you start out in your RevOps career journey will determine the salary expectations you can anticipate.
All salary data below is accurate at time of writing (April 2021), but note that these numbers can fluctuate greatly based on industry, location, experience, education, and other factors not present in salary projection websites available online.
Here are a few key job titles in RevOps and their corresponding salaries in the United States:
- Director of Revenue Operations: Median salary of $110,000 USD annually, with a range between $74,000–166,000 USD (Glassdoor)
- Revenue Operations Manager: Median salary of $77,000 USD annually, with a range between $44,000–133,000 USD (Glassdoor)
- Revenue Operations Specialist: Median salary of $67,000 USD annually, with a range between $38,000–120,000 USD (Glassdor)
- Revenue Operations Analyst: Median salary of $66,000 USD annually with a range between $47,000–92,000 USD (Glassdoor)
6 Revenue Operations interview questions to coach yourself with
Now that you know your options and the salary range you can expect for a career in RevOps, you might be ready to take the plunge. But before you do, you need to prepare.
When preparing for your RevOps interview, focus on the following questions that may be asked to you in the interview process:
- Which of the three core functions that a RevOps role touches are you most drawn to: sales, marketing, or customer success, and why?
- What experience have you had streamlining sales processes?
- How do you define success in a role like this?
- How would you realign sales and marketing teams in need of more structure?
- What are some of your favorite cross-functional software tools to use?
- What level of experience do you have with Salesforce and other CRM tools?
Jumpstarting your RevOps journey
Revenue Operations is a business discipline made for the multitaskers of the world. In a decision-making role, RevOps professionals impact three core teams – and often others as well – overall metrics relating to the end goal of driving revenue for a business.
If sales, marketing, and customer success initiatives excite you to no end, RevOps is the career path for you. Ready to take the next steps toward a career in RevOps?