Aligning the B2B Revenue Engine: 10 Top Takeaways from 2019 SiriusDecisions Summit Europe

By Chuck Leddy

SiriusDecisions is an organization that researches and shares the latest trends in marketing. On October 10-12, 2019, SiriusDecisions Summit Europe was held in London, where thought leaders and marketing practitioners came together to learn from each other. The theme of this year’s Summit was Revenue Operations (officially, “TOGETHER: Achieving High Performance by Aligning the B-to-B Revenue Engine”). Summit sessions highlighted all aspects of RevOps, from defining what the concept means to detailing its requirements around cross-functional alignment, to presenting SiriusDecisions’ own approaches to driving RevOps success. Sojourn Solutions, a Gold sponsor of Summit, asked our team to share their key Summit takeaways, which they describe below: 

1. The aligned revenue engine, defined. The Summit’s opening keynotes explained RevOps, which aligns the functions of marketing, sales, customer success/service, product, and beyond under a Chief Revenue Officer. “Each function  must be highly functional on their own, and work together flawlessly to drive an efficient engine,” reported Claire Robinson, Delivery Director. While marketing takes the lead on demand generation, sales and other functional areas (including marketing, of course) are deeply involved in “opportunity management” and “customer lifecycle management,” according to the SiriusDecisions framework. The RevOps funnel is simply more extensive than the traditional marketing funnel, moving from demand generation to optimizing LTV (customer lifetime value).

2. Marketers recognize the benefits of RevOps, but it’s more aspirational than “real” right now. “SiriusDecisions does a great job describing its frameworks and explaining the benefits of RevOps,” said Rebecca Le Grange, Managing Partner, “and most B2B marketing professionals totally get the theory behind it. They know it’s good for the customer experience, for how we continue to engage across the customer life cycle. But right now, as a practical matter, most B2B organizations are far away from achieving the aspiration that RevOps represents.”

3. Alignment of “just” marketing and sales remains a challenge, so aligning for RevOps is even more so. “To make RevOps a reality, with its alignment of marketing, sales, customer success, and other functions into a fully-aligned revenue engine, is especially difficult for most organizations, especially if they’re multi-brand or multi-business unit or a large multinational enterprise,” says Le Grange. “Many companies are still struggling with alignment between marketing ops and sales ops, something we’ve been talking about for two decades now.”

4. The need for outside help and external expertise remains. “To make RevOps work in these very complex, very siloed businesses is so hard,” says Le Grange, “and organizations still need outside help in getting it done right. That’s why we’re helping our customers with their alignment journeys, helping them increase their maturity on the way to achieving marketing ops and RevOps capabilities: it’s so hard for them to do it internally and by themselves.”

5. Once achieved, RevOps is a complete, customer-centric paradigm shift. “The concept of revenue ops is shifting the paradigm. It’s forcing organizations to position their businesses around the customer and the customer experience,” says Le Grange. In the long-term and once achieved, that’s a very good thing and something all marketers want to achieve.

6. Marketing ops maturity remains hyper-relevant for any RevOps future. “There’s still a massive need around marketing ops,” explains Le Grange, “even though it might be folded into this RevOps function in the future. Our customers are quite forward looking, but many are still struggling with and learning how to incorporate AI or more adaptable, agile processes. Beyond that, many companies still struggle with basic stuff like data hygiene, integration of siloed systems, and more. Sometimes it feels like we’ve been talking about these issues forever, and yet many organizations are still not able to do them.”

7. RevOps will be driven from the top-down. “As with most major changes in business organizations, RevOps is going to be driven from the top down,” says Le Grange. “It won’t happen organically by waiting for the grassroots — that’s never going to happen because people are too busy with their day-to-day, functional tasks. People don’t work across functions by accident. Most organizations right now simply don’t have the cross-functional mindsets, the systems, the tools, the leadership, the structures, the mandate, etc. to create that cross functional collaboration.”

8. We need to measure marketing’s impact in a more holistic, collective way, especially with leads.  “You can’t evaluate one touch point in isolation from the whole. They all matter, and it’s the same with individual leads,” says Le Grange. “In B2B, we have to group together the individuals who make up the buying process, and then have sales focus on those groupings. For so long we’ve had this individual focus. But B2B has a complex sales cycle process, and often a committee buying decision. That affects measurement, how leads are being grouped together and how that shows a qualified account or a qualified opportunity. That’s a massive step change for most companies. It’s moving from one-to-one type measurement to this group measurement, which changes the metrics, the KPIs that we’re looking at.” Again, getting the larger context promotes better processes and more holistic ways to measure success.

9. Leadership communication skills are always essential for marketing professionals. Robinson attended a “highly valuable” Women’s Networking Forum at the Summit that shared insights on how to communicate with executives. Among the many Forum tips shared by Robinson were: “tailor your approach to the background and motivations of each executive,” “know exactly what outcome(s) you seek,” and “always remember that authenticity and passion matter.” In a cross-functional RevOps landscape, these communication skills become even more important.

10. Technology is increasingly allowing us to know the unknown. Rebecca Clark, Consultant, attended a Summit vendor case study that highlighted the work of PathFactory in helping its client Nokia identify and engage anonymous website visitors. “With PathFactory’s help, Nokia was able to convert so many unknown visitors to known visitors,” explains Clark, “either by IP association or form conversions.” Nokia was then able to engage these known visitors, at the individual and group level, with relevant content that moved them through the funnel.

To continue this conversation, or start another based on your business challenges around marketing operations or revenue operations, feel free to contact us directly with any comments or questions.