SalesTech Star

The right RevOps architecture to thrive in 2023 and beyond

By Ed King, co-founder and chief executive officer, Openprise

The revenue operations (RevOps) market is maturing and practitioners now realize that a jumble of connected point solutions is unscalable and just too complex to manage. Many high-growth companies are drowning in technical debt because they added more tools, custom code, and people to their RevOps architecture as they were growing, but that strategy didn’t scale as quickly as their business and they started losing opportunities.

That wasn’t the right revenue operations architecture for any of us.

So, how do we get our RevOps technology back where it needs to be to truly tap into the uniting power of this new and growing field? It starts with three steps: recognizing the red flags that indicate your tech is at a breaking point, understanding the right architecture for an ideal stack, and rethinking the build mentality.

1. Red flags to spot in your tech stack

As organizations focus more on efficient growth instead of growth at all costs, there will be renewed focus on the customer lifecycle and their expectations. Net Revenue Retention (NRR), instead of new customer acquisition, will be a key metric, and GTM models have exploded in usage. These changes have resulted in the symptoms we now see, particularly overloaded tech stacks. Pulled together piecemeal, these bloated stacks are now in danger of tipping.

None of the shifts that need to happen involve purchasing yet another tool. Instead, we must focus on making the following adjustments in both mindset and approach:

  • Low code/no code. Solutions need to be approachable to team members across marketing operations, sales operations, and revenue operations. We need more tools and tech stacks that don’t require extensive coding knowledge to set up, maintain, and utilize.
  • Shared data. When data is siloed among teams, the whole organization suffers. Data that’s accessible and shared across the organization makes it more actionable and saves the need for different departments to have similar tools, making your company function more efficiently in the long run.
  • IT as a stakeholder. In addition to strengthening collaboration among sales, marketing, and RevOps, it’s time to bring Ops and IT to the table. Insight from these teams is invaluable and necessary for building a strong tech stack.

Read More: SalesTechStar Interview with Brett Sussman, VP of American Express Business Blueprint

2. The right architecture for the ideal stack

So, what does the right architecture look like? Consider building, consolidating, or shifting your tech stack using a layer approach.

  • Systems of record layer. This layer speaks to the different systems of record your organization uses, your sources of data and truth. Again, it’s important that you adopt a shared data mindset among sales, marketing, and RevOps and consider how to make these sources accessible.
  • Execution layer. This layer involves those tools that help you get things done, the pieces that allow you take data and turn it into action. This is where you make the data work. Low code/no code is of particular importance in this layer.
  • Agility layer. These tools enable your team to stay flexible and move at the speed of data, adapting with your customers in real time.

3. Rethink build vs. buy

One frequent point of contention around tech stacks is the concept of build vs. buy. Typically, the RevOps team wants to buy an off-the-shelf product so they can get something done quickly, while IT wants to build the product internally using the portfolio of middleware and development tools that it already has. The discussion often centers around cost, with IT claiming it can do the job at lower cost. It’s the classic build vs. buy decision.

The outcome is often decided by the power dynamics within an organization and not based on actual cost-benefit analysis. In companies where IT has a lot of power, you see custom code everywhere. This is especially true when IT has just made a big multimillion-dollar investment, like Snowflake or Google Cloud, and suddenly every project needs to use the new technology. It’s true: when you carry a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

For RevOps teams faced with the build vs. buy discussion with IT, shift the discussion away from the traditional metrics of total cost of ownership, flexibility, and scalability. Instead, focus on a metric that’s easy to measure and hold people accountable for: time.

Ask this simple question to your IT counterpart who prefers the build option: “Can you build this solution in the same 3-month timeframe I could have it deployed, and can you do it for the same cost or less?”

This is where RevOps needs to do its homework and clearly articulate the ROI of the project. With a tech stack already overloaded, every month and every adjustment counts. Don’t just ask about buy vs build; follow up with a question about when they can commit to getting it done and what the opportunity cost for the wait will be. If you can’t answer those questions satisfactorily, then maybe the right answer is neither buy nor build, but to do something else entirely that will have a more quantifiable impact.

Ultimately, the right RevOps architecture involves some big shifts in mindset and approaches. It won’t happen overnight, but the process must begin now if our organizations hope to thrive in 2023 and beyond. Keep collaboration and accessibility at the forefront, and you’ll already be off to a great start.

Read More: Three Things to Do in 2023 When You’ve Been Ghosted by your Prospects