RevOps is the unsung hero of the go-to-market organization. They don’t get to run creative marketing campaigns, attend glitzy ad shoots, or organize happy hours at conferences. They are the ones who build processes to make sure the GTM team can execute efficiently. Like engineers on a cruise ship, they manage the business while the party sails on.
To make sure the GTM team can execute on tight deadlines, come hell or high water, RevOps teams adopt a can-do attitude and get things done even if it means they have to power through manually. However, if manual tasks are not automated, they ultimately pile up, crippling the GTM organization.
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Why RevOps manual tasks are invisible
What makes manual work even tougher to talk about is that it becomes invisible, especially to management. Because the team just sucks it up and doesn’t complain, management often trivializes the amount of manual work the team is doing.
When times are good, management can deal with manual work challenges easily: they throw money at it and hire more people. However, this weird bipolar economy is finally forcing us to shed a light on these invisible costs.
What manual work really costs you
Much of RevOps infrastructure is like plumbing. You take for granted that it works—until it doesn’t.
With all the layoffs in tech, even RevOps teams have been impacted. Personnel are gone, teams are smaller, and many things have stopped getting done. This is when the team discovers how much manual work their now-departed colleagues have been doing. If the new post-layoff reality means keeping the lights on with fewer people, continuing to do those tasks manually won’t cut it.
On the flip side of layoffs is historically low unemployment. Businesses can’t find the workers they need. How can tech companies be laying off while businesses can’t find workers? It’s because tech is laying off highly skilled workers who make six figures, while the labor shortage is mostly with blue-collar workers. If you’re following the train of thought, you’ll reach the same conclusion that many business leaders have: lots of manual labor has been done–and is still being done—by highly skilled, highly paid teams. Not exactly the recipe for efficient growth, the new mantra in tech.
The reason it is hard to call attention to manual work and easy to trivialize it is because its impact is diffused. When each task is looked at individually, the impact indeed looks trivial, but when you actually inventory all the manual tasks a RevOps organization is doing, the cumulative impact can be quite shocking.
An ROI model and a case study
Consider the case of a huge multinational, which, like every other tech company, is looking for areas to cut staff and budget. When the CFO came looking for opportunities to remove automation software, the RevOps team finally spent time to inventory the manual work that had been automated to demonstrate the cost-saving impact of the automation. Here is the simple ROI model they built.
Model inputs include cost of labor and basic assumptions: 30 productive work hours per week, 50 weeks per year, across four types of resources:
- Category 1: U.S.-based senior resource – $150,000 (fully loaded annual labor cost)
- Category 2: U.S.-based junior/offshore senior resource – $40,000
- Category 3: Offshore junior resource – $15,000
Next, the model lists the most common repetitive manual tasks the RevOps team has automated. Inputs include the number of records processed monthly and time to process each record manually. The model calculates the total cost of labor by type of resource:
- Data cleansing: 5,000 records/mo, 3 mins/record, 3,000 hrs/yr, 2 employees
- Deduplication: 50 records/mo, 5 mins/record, 50 hrs/yr, 0.03 empl
- Enrichment: 5,000 records/mo, 3 mins/record, 3,000 hrs/yr, 2 empl
- Segmentation: 5,000 records/mo, 1 min/record, 1,000 hrs/yr, 0.67 empl
- List loading: 1,500 records/mo, 0.5 mins/record, 150 hrs/yr, 0.10 empl
- Lead-to-account matching: 5,000 records/mo, 5 mins/record, 5,000 hrs/yr, 3.33 empl
- Lead routing: 100 records/mo, 2 mins/record, 40 hrs/yr, 0.03 empl
- Track champion movers: 1,000 records/mo, 2 mins/record, 400 hrs/yr, 0.27 empl
- Annual labor costs: $1,264,000 (Cat. 1); $337,067 (Cat. 2); $126,400 (Cat. 3)
High-skill tasks like data preparation and campaign list building use an hour-per-month-based calculation instead of a record-volume-based calculation:
- Prepare data for analysis: 40 hrs/wk, 2,080 hrs/yr, 1.4 employees
- Campaign list building: 40 hrs/wk, 2,080 hrs/yr, 1.4 employees
- Annual labor costs: $416,000 (Cat. 1); $110,933 (Cat. 2)
Finally, by specifying what combination of resources the company uses to accomplish these tasks, they arrived at a final cost. In this example, the company came up with a very conservative estimate of $680,587 in annual labor:
- Low-skill tasks
- 20% – U.S. senior resource: $252,800
- 30% – U.S. junior/offshore senior resource: $101,120
- 50% – offshore junior resource: $63,200
- High-skill tasks
- 50% – U.S. senior resource: $208,000
- 50% – offshore senior resource: $55,467
Total labor cost, automated: $680,587
By taking the time to calculate the costs, the RevOps team was able to demonstrate the value of their automation solution to the CFO, reinforcing the company’s purchase decision–and nixing any further discussion of removing the software.
It’s time to shine a light on the cost of manual work
The mandate for operational efficiency demands RevOps leaders get serious about quantifying the cost of manual work. In an economic environment where hiring is hard, automation is the easiest way to do more with less. It’s time to root out the inefficiencies within your RevOps organization by shining a light on manual work. Both your CFO and your RevOps team members will thank you for it.