Adam Ballai
Sep 30, 2020
9 min read

For the last five months, you've been on the hunt for that perfect job. Perhaps you were laid off when the pandemic hit, or maybe you just came to the point that you didn't feel you were being challenged enough in your previous role. 

Whatever your reason, finding a new job during these uncertain times was surely a difficult task. 

But you did it. 

You got the job you had always dreamed of at a company that's a rocket ship getting ready for blast off. 

And now the day has come; your first day at the new gig. 

You are thrilled to be joining a startup that is poised to be the next Unicorn. Joining an early-stage startup in a Revenue Operations role comes with much responsibility but also amazing opportunities. 

As you transition into this new role, you may find yourself looking at an entirely blank canvas. While intimidating, it also allows you to build processes and systems from the ground up. 

To really crush it in this new role, you will want to come to the table with novel ideas to help the company grow exponentially. 

This article will provide you the means to get internal buy-in for tools and strategies that will help your new company streamline operations, increase sales velocity, and hit exponential growth. 

History of Revenue Operations

Historically, operations were siloed between multiple departments: Sales, Marketing, Customer Success – even Accounting, Finance, and Legal. Each of these teams was bound to their metrics, often at odds with how those metrics impact the business as a whole. 

Over the last few years, smart companies have realized that these silos negatively impact their business. What was needed was a unified organization that had a singular metric – revenue. 

Thus, Revenue Operations was born. 

The key to Revenue Operations is breaking down walls between organizations and giving everyone a singular goal to focus on. 

In addition, this model puts its greatest importance on the customer and making the customer experience as positive and frictionless as possible. 

As you transition into your new role, it's important to understand what tools you should be relying on as you begin to lay the groundwork for the work you will be doing going forward. 

Reducing friction and increasing sales velocity should be at the top of your mind when entering this role. 

The End-User Era

Sales teams have historically employed a top-down approach, centered around an executive's decisions rather than the person in the company who would be using a product. As the SaaS world has evolved, more and more companies have embraced a bottom-up approach. 

This has crystallized into what we today call "Product-Led Growth."

In this model, the end-user of a product is the main focus. They are the one who introduces a product into a company, becomes an internal advocate, and sells its benefits to others. 

This has given rise to what the folks at OpenView Partners have called "The End-User Era," which has helped usher break down walls between teams and create positions such as the Chief Revenue Officer and the Head of Growth. 

This new model has also focused on a new type of lead qualification – Product Qualified Lead

As opposed to a Qualified Marketing Lead (MQL) or Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), a PQL qualifies themselves by adopting and using a product. The process of working within the PQL framework takes what was traditionally a function of marketing and move. It moves the product – scoring a PQL based on their usage and other aspects of their journey.  

The Hybrid Approach

While many SaaS companies have models that focus on the self-service approach, they often want to move upmarket to the enterprise. 

In a hybrid model, sales teams often find the greatest friction points during the pricing process. 

From proposing a pricing structure to getting final approvals and closing a deal, each additional step in the process can lead to lost sales and wasted time that could be better used for prospecting by your sales team. 

A Lead-to-Cash pipeline will have the most benefit to companies that operate this hybrid model.  

What is a Lead-to-Cash Pipeline?

As you walk in the door on your first day, you'll be brimming with excitement about all the possibilities that await you. 

As someone in RevOps, you already know that each company's revenue function is different and complex in its way. Your job will be to help remove friction and empower teams across the organization to perform better. 

In this new world of revenue operations, having a 360-degree view of a customer from the very beginning of their journey all the way to purchase and beyond is essential. 

One of the best ways to achieve this is by implementing a Lead-to-Cash pipeline strategy. 

Lead-to-Cash refers to the entire customer journey, beginning from when they indicate (implicitly or explicitly) their intent to purchase through revenue realization. 

A Lead-to-Cash process takes a holistic approach by combining the entire buying cycle into a singular pipeline. 

Instead of having a marketing funnel that flows into the sales funnel and then on to the customer success team, Lead-to-Cash puts the entire journey into a single flow. 

With a Lead-to-Cash pipeline in place, your company will have a 360-degree view of the customer journey, understanding friction points as well as opportunities for upselling. 

The key to Lead-to-Cash is integrating strategy, tactics, process, tools, and technology. For it to be successful, the disparate tools and systems used within a revenue organization must speak to each other seamlessly, giving anyone involved in the process a full view of all the touchpoints. 

Here's how a Lead-to-Cash pipeline might look when implemented at your new company:

PQL -> Opportunity -> Negotiation -> Quote ->Payment -> Invoice -> Revenue

Most importantly, having a Lead-to-Cash process in your revenue engine enables repeatable and scalable growth. 

Why Your Company Should be Leveraging Lead-to-Cash

As you take on your revenue operations role at your new company, your goal should be to empower teams such as marketing, sales, success, and others with the tools they need to succeed. 

In a recent blog post, RevOps broke this down into the Four Building Blocks of Revenue Operations:

  1. Data: Defining your KPIs and housing that data in a single source of truth by integrating disparate systems into a system of record. 
  2. Tools: As someone in RevOps, you will be responsible for owning the entire stack of tools required for alignment and visibility across the entire revenue organization. You will be in charge of procuring these tools and their administration, as well as onboarding other team members. 
  3. Process: You are in charge of enabling the company to grow. As such, you must have the structures in place to help that growth happen. You will need to keep documentation for the growing organization to enable consistent messaging across teams and throughout the company. 
  4. Strategy: Given the level of data that RevOps has visibility over, it is their responsibility to suggest the strategies and tools needed to continue the company's growth. 

Lead-to-Cash enables you to hit all four of these building blocks. 

  1. By breaking down the silos between functions and having a single pipeline, you will more easily define and track the KPIs needed to increase velocity and decrease friction. 
  1. Having a Lead-to-Cash pipeline will enable you to have a more streamlined stack of tools that speak to each other seamlessly.
  1. With Lead-to-Cash, the friction points in the sales process will be identified, and strategies will be put in place to alleviate them. In particular, Quote-to-Cash will be optimized with greater ability for different stakeholders to coordinate and have visibility over the entire process easily. 
  1. With the data available through this approach, you will be able to gain insights on how to optimize various aspects of the sales process, including pricing, to increase sales velocity and revenue.  

The clearest use-case for a Lead-to-Cash pipeline is that of a usage-based business

In this scenario, the product user will meet the usage criteria that will make them a Product Qualified Lead. Once a PQL is passed off to the sales team, their usage journey will need to be easily accessible to the salesperson. In addition, these types of qualified leads do not need a demo – they have already used and found value in the product. 

The challenge is that most companies do not have this usage data tracked inside their revenue engines

Most importantly, Lead-to-Cash will empower your sales teams to sell more and provide a better buying experience to new customers. 

Having all parties involved in the pricing negotiation process in a single place, easily customizing pricing structures, will remove burdensome tasks from people in your company that could better use that time to help the company grow. 

With Lead-to-Cash, you will be able to break down the barriers between organizations within your company more effectively, increasing sales velocity while giving greater visibility over the entire process to your internal teams. 

You will be able to identify the friction points at every stage and optimize them to increase revenue. 

What to Look for When Choosing a Lead-to-Cash Solution

When looking for the tools needed to have an optimal Lead-to-Cash pipeline, you will need:

Usage Tracking

In the world of SaaS, pricing models are constantly in flux; future-proofing your pricing with the kind of flexibility that product-usage data provides will help you set yourself up for success. However, the resources required to analyze this information, identify pricing change opportunities or even calculate current pricing can be prohibitively burdensome.

A "Pay as you go" model, where customers are charged more when they use the product, requires tools to connect product usage data with your revenue engine.

RevOps can help businesses track and reconcile usage computations and add significant time savings for engineering teams to spend on their products.

The RevOps Solution for Usage Tracking:

RevOps enables businesses to easily create proposals for usage-based pricing with built-in overage rates, allowing for a seamless transition to usage-based billing and invoicing.

Click here to learn more about RevOps' Usage Tracking functionality.

CPQ

While Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) solutions are not necessarily new, the legacy systems in place are clunky and expensive – they are generally focused on enabling one-off sales. 

A CPQ system for your company will need to be purpose-built for your company's growth with features focused on flexibility and helping your sales team close deals faster. 

The RevOps Solution for CPQ:

RevOps' solution was built to help modern SaaS businesses close deals faster and provide their prospects with a better buying experience. It sets them up to be happy, long-lasting customers. 

From real-time quote building to instant approvals and more streamlined opportunities for legal teams to make necessary changes, RevOps' CPQ solution enables startups like yours to increase sales velocity, decrease friction, and delight new customers. 

Click here to learn more about RevOps' CPQ functionality. 

Complex Pricing

In today's world, businesses with complex pricing schemes need technological solutions that help free up sales from the time-draining process of crafting these proposals. 

The RevOps Solution for Complex Pricing:

RevOps was built with the idea that sales and finance teams are too burdened during the "Quote-to-Cash" process. With RevOps' complex pricing solution, complex contract changes are easily flagged and reviewed, new products with custom pricing and billing methods can be added, and legal teams can easily make necessary revisions. 

Click here to learn more about RevOps' proposal functionality. 

Easy Integrations

Your task in your new revenue operations role will be to make sure that all the systems you've put in place for your teams are speaking to each other seamlessly. For Lead-to-Cash, you must make sure whichever solutions you choose can easily integrate into your CRM as well as your billing system. 

The RevOps Solution for Easy Integration:

RevOps fully integrates with a variety of systems, including Stripe for billing and Salesforce CRM. 

RevOps lets you easily sync deals with Salesforce opportunities within the platform and streamline the billing process of your signed proposals. 

Next Steps

If you want to increase sales velocity and transparency across the entire company, check out RevOps! 

RevOps is the Lead-to-Cash solution for modern Saas companies. If your new company is still relying on Word docs and Excel spreadsheets to close deals, bringing RevOps onboard will be just the thing to cement your rockstar status in your new role.  

We're offering a free 14-day trial with no credit card required.

Have more questions about how you can crush it in your new revenue operations role? We're here to help you learn how to implement Lead-to-Cash in your company and put the systems in place to help your new company reach its revenue goals. 

Want to learn more? Reach out to us, and let's set up a call.

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Adam Ballai

Adam Ballai

Adam Ballai is the CEO and Co-Founder of RevOps. Adam loves to test the boundaries of what's possible with technology and learn what people value with it. From his time as the first engineer at Twilio, Adam founded RevOps to make monetization simpler and easier for everyone.