TL;DR Edition — Winning in the BizOps Era
So much content, so little time! If you’re like me, you’ve got a mile-high stack of reading next to your bedside and a looong list of bookmarks in your browser. Here’s a TL;DR version of Winning in the BizOps Era so you’ll sound super savvy in your next account-based team meeting ; )
Whether you’re following an account-based sales strategy, account-based marketing strategy — or even if you’re thinking more broadly with an account-based everything strategy — the key element here is clearly the account. But saying you’re going to focus on accounts and then actually enabling the entire organization to execute the right activities that support the right outcomes in the right accounts? Well, it turns out that’s actually pretty difficult. To achieve effectiveness with account-based strategies at scale requires some pretty fresh thinking and a willingness to leave behind familiar ways of doing things.
Rekener CEO Alex Laats recently published a pair of blog posts called Winning in the BizOps Era, Part 1, The LTV<>BizOps Connection: Why Ignoring BizOps Could Sink Your Business and Part 2, The Account Lifecycle: Throw Out the Pipeline and Deliver Effectiveness at Scale. We soon heard from a BizOps VP at a local software firm who wrote, “There were quite a few AHA moments while reading these.” Another said, “I’ll definitely use these in communicating with our management.” If you’re in the business of BizOps, meaning your responsibilities include marketing operations, sales operations, customer service, customer success or financial planning and analysis (FP&A), here are some key takeaways from the Winning in the BizOps Era posts.
Leaders of SaaS businesses — and recurring subscription model businesses in particular — know the importance of driving LTV and reducing CAC. But mapping day-to-day marketing, sales, service and customer success activities across the business to these high-level business goals is problematic at best. That’s because we tend to track activity broadly, including activities over which we have limited control, and worse, we don’t always track the activities that matter. Jason Jordan’s terrific book, Cracking the Sales Management Code, showcases how a focus on critical, controllable activities and metrics makes a massive difference in driving business results.
SaaS businesses have invested billions to build out the BizOps Pipeline, an array of powerful productivity tools that optimize the efficiency of departments. The downside? The stack also fortifies organizational and data stovepipes, propagating different dashboards each with its own view of what’s going on within the business and within the accounts, and forcing embattled managers to defend inconsistent results in what we call the report_loop_trap. Modeled around 90’s-era efforts to market and sell perpetual license software, the BizOps Pipeline traps teams and data in parochial structures and does nothing to enable effectiveness at scale.
The emergence of the subscription economy means that yesterday’s lead-to-close unidirectional sales-driven pipeline doesn’t work. It’s clear that companies with recurring revenue models generate the largest portion of LTV after the first sale from subsequent renewals and upsells. So why does the pipeline read left to right? Does it still make sense to have one account manager when prospect and customer interaction occur at so many intersections? Sales and marketing leaders have also realized that there’s been a real shift in the balance of power. Buyers have radically changed the game, doing research and gathering input on purchase decisions long before they ever engage with a sales rep. The traditional pipeline model doesn’t tell the whole story.
That’s why Rekener has introduced the Account Lifecycle, a simple and flexible customer engagement model that puts the account at the center of all activity, giving the prospective buyer or existing customer the ability to engage with your team when and how they want.
Adapting to this flexible new framework shines a bright spotlight on your BizOps team. From marketing operations to sales operations, from FP&A to customer service, from customer success to sales enablement — however defined and regardless of reporting structure — it’s clear that BizOps is the team making the most significant yet often the least appreciated contribution to the business. At Rekener, we believe that extreme competence in BizOps is now as important, if not more so, than competence in Sales and Marketing. Long viewed by many as a support function, BizOps must become the center of your go-to-market strategy because it’s the team that makes the rest of the company effective. To gain extreme competence in BizOps requires executive understanding and appreciation for the BizOps function; collaboration and communication among BizOps teams across the entire business operating from a unified view of accounts; and a company culture that supports experimentation, measurement, understanding and improvement.
If your account-based strategy relies on the same tools, the same processes, the same metrics and the same ideas about teams and their roles, you might be missing out on an opportunity to effect real and lasting change in your business. To win in the BizOps era, fresh thinking is needed.
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Steph served as Rekener’s Community Manager and CMO. A Rekener co-founder, she was previously Senior Director of Marketing at CCC, a $300M+ recurring revenue business, and served in marketing leadership roles at Vertical, @stake, Informio, DotContent and Meridian. Her first recurring revenue role was as an inside sales rep selling real-time stock pricing subscriptions.
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