Skip to content
Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistThu, Apr 22, 2021 11 min read

Sales And Marketing Alignment Is Old School; Revenue Operations Is New School

Revenue Operations
If You Want To Scale Your Company, Stop Thinking About Marketing And Sales As Different Departments

By now it’s a really old story. Marketing hates sales because they don’t properly attack the leads they generate. Sales hates marketing because they generate “bad leads” or don’t understand what sales does.

If this is your company, or if there is any misalignment between marketing and sales, you’re never going to grow. Getting these two departments together and including customer service in the effort is the secret to unlocking the true growth potential of your company.

But how do you do that with decades of bad blood between these two teams? Good news today you can take specific steps to fix this challenge and fix it for good.

A Single Team

This is going to be a big change, but it’s required. No more sales team and no more marketing team. No more VP of Marketing or VP of Sales. Instead, build a single revenue team with a single leader Chief Revenue Officer, VP of Revenue or Director of Revenue, depending on your hierarchy.

You’ll still have salespeople and sales management. You’ll still have marketing people and marketing roles. However, they’ll all report up to a single person with accountability and responsibility for driving month-over-month revenue goal attainment.

If you have a big customer service team, or if customer service is a source of revenue for your company, I’d strongly recommend rolling that entire team up to the same CRO. This ensures you have full accountability and responsibility for the entire customer journey. In short, you can completely manage the full life cycle of your potential and current customers.

This also means merging the teams physically. Set up meetings and sessions that bring all the formerly disparate teams together. Have the functional leads (marketing, sales and customer service) huddle regularly with their leader to fully optimize the prospect and customer experience.

This single change is going to transform your organization, and while the individuals on these teams might see a bumpy ride ahead, the results are going to be astounding.

A Single Goal

No more separate goals. Eliminate marketing’s lead and visitor goals. Give them the same goals the sales team has — revenue. Actually, all three departments are now responsible for hitting the company’s month-over-month revenue goals.

This isn’t going to be much of a change for sales. It’s going to be a dramatic change for marketing and customer service. For the first time, marketing managers might actually ask sales reps for the outcome associated with a lead generated by marketing campaigns.

Customer service people might start thinking about how to generate revenue when helping a customer with an issue. I don’t mean trying to upsell them. I mean trying to give them such a remarkable service experience that they consider referring you to their friends, family or colleagues.

Marketing is going to immediately feel the same pressure sales feels, and that will result in an immediate change in behavior. Going forward, they’ll be much more interested in sales-qualified leads (SQLs) and sales opportunities than marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and new website visitors. This is good news for the entire organization.

Make sure this single goal is broadcast across all three teams on a regular basis. Goal-setting should be based on lead flow, not arbitrary numbers senior leaders set. Even if the CEO wants to see 10% revenue growth month over month, if you don’t have the rest of the pipeline to support that growth, you’ll never hit it.

Sit down with the revenue team and look at the numbers. Can we improve lead flow? Can we reduce the sales cycle? Can we increase the close rate? Can pipeline velocity be accelerated? Once the revenue team starts working on these issues, revenue growth will follow.

Download Tip Sheet: 6 Strategies To Generate Revenue In 2021 From Your Current CustomersA Single Technology Platform

It’s going to be virtually impossible to run a single team with a single goal if you don’t have a single piece of technology to automate as much of the process as possible.

Too many complex touches are inside your prospect and customer experience to do everything manually. These touches need to be personalized, timed correctly, triggered based on customer and prospect behavior, and measured.

Instead of hiring an army of sales and marketing people, consider using a technology platform that handles all the automation, tracking, reporting and optimization.

There are a few examples of platforms like this, but HubSpot is probably the most innovative and progressive when it comes to a single revenue team with a single revenue goal.

The Marketing Hub makes the prospect experience remarkable. The Sales Hub helps the sales reps continue that experience, while the Service Hub ensures that customers stay customers for a long time. That closed-loop customer life cycle, when optimized, fuels fast revenue growth.

A Single Directive From Leadership

When Cortez landed in the new world, he burned his boats so his crew wouldn’t have the option of returning to Spain. He knew the temptation to return to the old ways would be a strong pull.

You’re going to have a similar situation. People will want to go back to the way you used to do it. That was easier, it was more comfortable and everyone knew what to do. Don’t give in.

Moving to a revenue operation and a revenue team with a companywide focus on revenue is going to take perseverance and a significant amount of change.

It’s going to take time, money, energy and focus from people up and down your organization, but it’s going to primarily fall on the CEO to lead your company out of the dark ages and into the future.

You are going to have to stick to your guns. You might have to bring in some outside resources. You might have to make changes. Some people won’t want to change; those people should go, no matter how long they’ve been with you. Some people will see your vision and step up to help; reward them with opportunity and lean on them to help pull everyone else along.

This will take all of your leadership skills, but it will transform your company and drive your growth.

A Single Prospect/Customer Experience

I saved the best for last. To make your revenue operations and revenue team work, you have to create a single, remarkable prospect and customer experience.

To do this, you’ll have to map out every single touch point where your prospect or customer comes in contact with your company. Some examples of these touch points might include when:

  • Someone refers you
  • Someone reads a review of your company online
  • Someone gets a bill in the mail
  • Anyone on your team emails a prospect or customer
  • Any automated notifications go out, including shipping notifications from your shipper
  • Someone lands on your website
  • Someone downloads or signs up for anything on your website
  • Someone connects with you on social media
  • Someone sees an ad on social, Google or anywhere you put ads

This is just a partial list. Your list might be 100 items long, and you have to document every single one.

Not to make this even more complicated, but it is, so you also should be looking at these buyer journeys by role. The CFO is going to need different touches than the CEO or VP of HR. You might have to look at buyer journeys by industry. Your manufacturing customers might need different touches than your professional services customers.

If you want to get wildly progressive, you could look at these buyer journeys based on pain or challenges facing your customers and create journey touches aligned with their specific issues.

All of this personalization takes a laser-focused effort. To deliver that effort, you need a single leader and a single team with the same goals using a single platform and executing a beautifully architected experience for each prospect and customer.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this depending on your company, this might require a significant set of changes. If you’re reading this, hopefully you’ve been reading a lot of what we write over the years, and you’ve already made some of the changes necessary to move toward this vision. If that’s the case, taking your company the rest of the way might go better than you expect.

Yesterday, making these changes was optional. Companies could exist and be somewhat successful using the old sales and marketing approach.

Today, you’re going to quickly find your competition installing revenue teams. You’re going to find new companies coming into your space that are growing much faster than yours because of their approach to revenue generation.

This move is no longer optional. It’s mandatory for your survival.

Once you unlock the revenue growth opportunities buried in your prospects and customers right now, your company won’t just survive, it will thrive. You’ll realize the level of growth you always expected but could never deliver.

It’s right there in front of you. Be bold enough to reach out and make these changes today.

Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.