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Why Marketing Ops in RevOps Can Be a Good Thing

Posted May 3, 2023
Why Marketing Ops in RevOps Can be a Good Thing

Jerine Erice, MOPs & RevOps Professional at RiskOptics, joins our host, Camela Thompson, in this episode of the Revenue Marketing Report. Jerine shares how her consulting background has helped her in her current role, how to make sure your data is good enough to make decisions, and how RevsOps professionals can help align different departments in an organization. 

Jerine is a Marketing Ops & RevOps Professional. Previously, she consulted for nearly a decade, helping clients with Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot, and Pardot integrations along with all other tools in between. However, for the past couple of years, Jerine has been doing MOPs, but it’s really more of a RevsOps function with reciprocity. At the start of this chat, Jerine provided details of the advantages her consulting background has proffered to her.

How has consulting experience helped you in your current role and how does your perspective as a consultant provide value in addressing gender disparities in the workplace?

“I’ve definitely been in situations where consulting has helped validate my wealth of experience which is awesome. Because I think there’s the thought of hey, this person is coming in from the outside. They’ve had a chance to work with so many other different companies. So they can bring that third-party perspective pretty easily. This is great since I’ve certainly sat in rooms where I am the only woman where they ask can you help us with this? It’s quite an empowering moment. And it forces you to look for answers because that’s what they’re looking for in that role.”

I think once somebody points it out to you, you start noticing it more. It’s hard not to notice it once. Once you see it, you can’t un-see it.

“It’s not really intentional, but I’ve had the fortune to work with a lot of women-led companies, and over the years, I have become a lot more sensitive to it and more attuned to it. I do think that when you’re a consultant, you come in with a very different perspective. You’ve got to have your answers already there and show what you are willing to do to get the answers right.”

I totally agree. Whenever I’m working with a consultant I appreciate the people who tell me they haven’t run into this before, but they’ve got a solid network and they say ‘Let me reach out to a couple of friends and figure out what they’ve done about it.’ I appreciate that so much more than trying to bluster through something. I think operations is in just a special position to learn that skillset more than anyone else because a lot of times, the people that we’re serving or reporting to don’t necessarily understand what they’re asking.

How can you make sure your data is good enough to make decisions?

Jerine discussed why it’s important for your data to be good enough, though it can never be perfect. 

“So fun story today. I was sitting with our marketing leader and we were talking about conversion rates. Down-funnel conversion rates. Like everybody else, we’re always looking to optimize that and make it better. What can we do? What levers can we pull to ensure we’re getting the best conversion rates, down the funnel, to bookings, as much as possible? All our goals, right? So I pulled up a report and thought someone on it made this report. It’s beautiful. And lo and behold, I pull up a report and realize, hold on a second! This isn’t what I saw the other day. And he goes, hey, Jerine is this just wrong? And I thought this isn’t wrong data. I’m sure I am interpreting it incorrectly. This is probably a different purpose since there’s the whole thought of hey, if the reports aren’t showing me what I want, then it’s wrong. If it is not verifying my gut, then I’m going to throw the whole thing out. 

“So it’s one of the things we’ve talked about, particularly in RevsOps is to make sure that people don’t call this stuff wrong because it’s not wrong. We use different filters for different purposes. And then you need to recognize what it is for. It’s a bit of a mindset change.”

I don’t think everyone understands that data will never be right, especially when it comes to B2B data. I think about the Great Reshuffling or the Great Resignation or whatever you wish to call it and then we’d see all these layoffs. Your contact database is probably 75% wrong, right? But it doesn’t mean you cannot get valuable information out of it by looking at who used to engage with you and what their profile was. Jerine agrees.

“I’ve always pulled up data that way since I recognize that particularly when you’re talking about executives – they need data now. They need to make decisions now to help guide the team. So whenever I’m pulling stuff I think okay,  please know there are these caveats here.  However, directionally speaking,  I’m confident with that because now this is showing me some kind of trend. I rely so much more on that than, oh, okay, I’ve got like 2,000 MQs today. Yeah, is that valuable?”

No, I think some people think it’s valuable. And I tell them, okay, how are they converting? Did you flood it with a lower-converting source? There are so many other factors. How big is your organization?

“But know that looking for the right data and the right KPIs, the right data points, and trusting that the data is good enough for you to make decisions is key.”

And being in operations, it’s always hard to learn that when people don’t see the same things I do, it’s why I am in this job. They’re in that job. It’s normal and how it is. But the other thing is they aren’t necessarily equipped to tell the story you would be able to tell because they aren’t as close to it. So being proactive and saying I know you didn’t ask, but here are the things  I am seeing and that’s why I think they’re happening and what we should probably dig into next is much, much more valuable than giving me this report with these three data points. Jerine concurs.

“Yes, I’ve got to say that our team has made a very big concerted effort to be in that more strategic role. And I know it’s difficult since MOPs has been always more of a service type of role, right? Hey, what campaign do you need to be executed? Sure, I can go ahead and do that. Do you want to go ahead and check another UTM? Awesome! Let me do that for you. But all this doesn’t tell you what’s working. That is what I’ve loved about moving into a RevsOps role. I don’t know if it’s because of the position that I happen to step in because I don’t have a wealth of experience when it comes to being in RevOps.  I have to say our team is very supportive in terms of advising me that really we need to take a look at what our conversions are down funnels because that’s what counts when that comes to bookings, right?  How much money are we truly making? How are we maximizing our dollars? Are we being efficient with our spend? And I think that’s so much fun to be in that position.” 

How can RevsOps help to align different departments in an organization?

 I think having been in various flavors of RevsOps and B2B tech for the last fifteen years, I’ve seen that work. I’ve seen that fail and one size never fits all. You talk to an organization and they’re going to tell you about all the special things that make them special. But when it comes to RevOps, a lot of people label them the next iteration of sales operations. That’s not what that is. No, a lot of times, they don’t know whom they should report to. And a lot of times, they aren’t inclusive of all the go-to-market functions so they will just focus on marketing and sales. I get why people do that, but in my humble opinion, it’s wrong. Jerine agrees.

“I agree. This is my first foray into the RevOps world. My background has always been MOPs and that’s always been under marketing. But when I joined this company, RevsOps was actually under our COO and then sales and marketing actually rolled up to the CEO. Therefore, it is nice that we’re where we’re empowered to actually take it from a third-party looking in. so I feel that dovetailed so well with my consulting background. We felt we could be truer to the numbers which is awesome. 

“And while what we do is not a focus of sales and a lot of marketing focus, we definitely do a lot of customer success as well and product since product is big. That’s why we have a company, right? So being able to evaluate how that product is working for our customers, how well it is selling and how well we’re placing that product and marketing, how those functions come together. That is what I’ve really enjoyed about this particular RevOps role.”

Right. And then going a step further is understanding how to tap into any product signals that you can get to understand one, who is the ideal customer profile? Who are your super-users? Who are the people that are really engaged? And then how can you pick up on who is ripe for expansion or at risk of churn? There’s great data you can have in there in marketing ops, sales ops, customer success ops, and then RevOps.

 Eventually, the common frustration I ran into in each of those siloed ops roles was that the other teams didn’t understand that anything they changed impacted up or downstream. So like sitting in marketing ops and being frustrated when the sales team changed all the fields in Salesforce and nothing’s mapping anymore or sitting in sales ops and having the marketers do a big book upload at the end of the quarter and locking everyone out of Salesforce. A whole bunch of ways how they can get mad at each other. Yes, they make a small change like, oh I decided to go ahead and comp now on this as opposed to this. I think who can we talk about it to first? And then having everybody report in the same area. 

There’s a lot of opportunity to have structure around your cadences and how often you meet and what you talk about in those meetings and you start to learn what the other people need to know which is helpful. The other reason I was going down that direction is I see a lot of CROs having RevOps report to them and it’s highly problematic for those out there. So I know it is really hard to sell to the board on the idea of somebody in operations being on the executive team since it’s another executive position. However, you need to look at your alternatives. For anybody you have in the CRO seat, there are too many skillsets to be had between marketing and sales.

Generally, in B2B, it’s a salesperson who is the CRO and they’re always going to want you to pay attention to what most impacts the sales team. And that is not always the right thing for the business. Therefore, hearing that you report to the COO warms my heart and makes me think that is why this is working so well for you.

“It could be and I will say too that we’ve just got such strong people on the team. So the person that I report to is our Director of RevOps. She’s excellent because even when there are changes, she says, hey I just need you to know that while I work closely with marketing, I’m really true to the numbers. So it is the perspective she takes. That’s what she actually helps to enforce, and she empowers us to do that. Therefore, when we’re seeing things that are going on, well this could be better. It’s not like, well it is marketing that needs to do it and it’s not sales that needs to do it. It is more of what can we do? Because yeah, we see the entire funnel, right? And how can we work together as that towards that common goal.”

I have rarely seen the CRO position do what people intended to do and that’s still aligned with sales and marketing. I’ve rarely seen that play out.  In fact,  I am sure somebody out there is screaming into whatever list, my devices say it works perfectly fine for us. But what I have seen play out over and over is similar to being over RevOps, whichever department they’re most familiar with gets the most attention.  And understanding because they know the work that goes into things, they understand how long things take. And all of these other pieces. If it is a salesperson, they understand how difficult the job is and how long it is going to take someone to ramp up, and how much patience they should have. It is a natural human thing. I think people are thinking it’s going to fix their alignment problem.

“Alignment is very different. We’re like any other company out there. We have alignment issues, that’s for sure. And it gets even worse when the economy isn’t great. When there’s a downturn in sales. When people are feeling very uneasy about the current environment in the industry. There’s a lot more finger-pointing going on, right?  But as much as we can, what our team has really tried to do and we’d struggle with it every single day, is not to throw away any of the go-to-market strategies under the bus because it’s never going to be like that. It’s always going to be, hey, we have this entire funnel here.  It’s never going to be like, oh, that’s the one that is broken. Now, we have got the holy grail. We can fix that. And then we’re good to go.”

I think that beautifully encapsulates why RevOps is so great! You’re functioning more as the unbiased referee which really operations should be, is imparting being able to detach and really look at things objectively and figure out where the sticking points are vs. somebody who is really embedded and biased towards making the other people change.

For more expert interviews and advice, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.