Avoiding death by a thousand cuts in RevOps
Recently on a sales call, someone in Sales Ops remarked that the frustration with her job was that it was “death by a thousand cuts.” Her average workweek consisted of a ton of little tasks, most of them repetitive. Then, there was the constant stream of fire drills, whether because something broke or because there were management requests that required immediate attention. After handling these tasks and interruptions, there was little time left, if any, to do anything substantial. After two years on the job, she felt that she hadn’t done anything to build her resume or advance her career besides just “putting in the time” in her area of specialization. She wanted to know how Openprise could help her get out of this rut of “death by a thousand cuts.”
Unfortunately, this is a familiar sentiment we hear, especially from Sales Ops. Marketing Ops seems to be a little better, but only by a little.
The good news is that there’s a way out of this rut. Many Openprise customers have done it. Before we talk about how Openprise can help with this, we must first understand what these “death by a thousand cuts” tasks are. They typically come in these categories:
- Handling manual operational tasks
- Servicing standard requests
- Debugging when things go wrong
- Responding to one-off requests
Let’s drill down to understand what each type of task is and how to reduce your burden.
Handling manual operational tasks in RevOps
Even with all the cool technologies we have in RevOps, there’s still too much manual work. These tasks are standard operating procedures, so they’re highly repetitive. Some typical examples:
- Cleaning, enriching, and loading lists into a CRM or marketing database. In a typical large organization, there can be five to 20 file loads every week.
- Using reports and SQL queries to find data governance issues and remediate them manually. For example, looking for inconsistencies between an order header and order line-item data or leads stuck in a “black hole” state in the funnel. RevOps often does this weekly.
- Identifying “unmarketable leads” and duplicate records for removal. This is often done quarterly.
Most of these tasks can be automated substantially, if not completely. No-code automation platforms like Openprise enable RevOps teams to automate, orchestrate, and integrate without knowing how to code or relying on IT for support. For example:
- A B2C customer buys four million leads a year from seven websites. Roughly 10,000 leads are submitted by the vendors multiple times a day. Openprise automates the entire list loading process, incorporating data cleansing, email validation, and enrichment, matching against historical archive and active leads in Marketo; arbitrated among duplicate submissions to determine which vendor gets credit and generated lead disposition reports.
- A B2B customer has over 20 weekly governance processes implemented using Salesforce reports and manual remediation. The company automated these processes with Openprise bots to remediate exceptions as soon as they occur—not only saving the Marketing Ops team about eight hours a week of manual work but cutting remediation time from one week to 15 minutes.
- A large multinational tech company uses Openprise to automatically flag any lead in Marketo considered “unmarketable” using requirements dictated by different regions to ensure compliance to global privacy regulations. In the last twelve months, the team flagged over 400,000 leads and removed them using an automated Openprise bot with a full audit trail and reporting. This saved the company money on licensing fees too.
Serving standard requests
RevOps often can’t give everyone access to systems like Marketo and Eloqua for security and process integrity reasons. The lack of an intuitive, purpose-specific user interface makes it impractical to invest in the training and support of non-power users. It’s simply cheaper and easier to ask those users to submit a request, and the Ops team does the work for them. Here are some common examples we’ve seen:
- When a Demand Gen team wants to generate a targeted list to support a campaign, it needs to file a ticket with the Marketing Ops team to build the list from systems like Marketo and Eloqua. Once the campaign is executed, the Ops team also has to fetch campaign performance metrics for the campaign owners.
- For large organizations with over 100 sales reps, change is the only constant. Sales reps come and go, territory assignments get tweaked, account assignment exceptions are granted, SDRs can’t receive new leads while out of office, you name it. Every one of these changes usually involves a ticket or an email that requires a Sales Ops cycle to service it.
- US companies have to comply with federal export controls restricting them from doing business with certain firms, individuals, and vessels. This burden often falls on the legal team, identifying and validating any suspect accounts and contacts in the CRM. Since most lawyers are not expert CRM users, Sales Ops serves as the go-between.
Self-service is the answer to repetitive tasks in RevOps
To put an end to this “death by a thousand cuts,” the key is to enable self-service. Give the business users who own the data, policies, and decisions the power to execute their tasks securely and intuitively. Using a no-code orchestration platform like Openprise, organizations can create custom, user-specific self-service solutions that require nearly no training and provide 100% security and process integrity for both internal and external users. Here are some examples:
- Using the App Factory feature, Marketing Ops can create custom list-building apps that expose a subset of the Marketo or Eloqua database with specific data fields to enable campaign teams to create their own segmentation and lists and automate the population of selected list members into the appropriate campaigns. You can customize different list-building apps to each team’s unique needs. For example, EMEA customer marketing teams only want to see customer contacts from EMEA accounts, possibly organized by regions and language, and meet specific privacy mandates.
- A B2B customer has a dedicated sales team for selling to US federal government agencies and the vast private sector entities that orbit them. To identify these agencies, organizations, and companies, the US federal sales team maintains a list of web domains. Ingesting Google Sheets data using Openprise, the Sales Ops team integrated account assignment and lead routing bots directly to this list of federal account domains, eliminating the need for Sales Ops to be the go-between and add delay.
- A large tech company’s legal team is responsible for ensuring compliance with federal export controls. Failing to find a commercial solution to make this process bearable for both lawyers and sales, the legal team resorted to building its own application. This customer is retiring that custom app and replacing it with an Openprise bot that automatically pulls down the latest government blacklist every week, identifies and scores matches against its accounts and contacts in Salesforce, and services the potential matches in a custom app that was built with Openprise App Factory, for the legal team to review, validate, and pass judgment. Sales Ops doesn’t have to write any code, and lawyers don’t have to log into Salesforce or maintain their own custom app. Everybody’s happy.
Debugging when things go wrong
This problem is so well known we don’t have to talk much about it. With the increased complexity and number of moving parts in a modern revenue tech stack, getting all these technologies to work together without something going wrong is a constant struggle. Add custom code and black-box algorithms to this cocktail, and debugging what’s broken and finding the root cause becomes a time sink—with no light at the end of the tunnel. As technical debt continues to mount, tech stack complexity is quickly becoming the bottleneck for scalable and manageable revenue operations for most medium to large organizations.
The only resolution here is to simplify, simplify, and simplify some more.
- Identify and remove overlapping, redundant, or obsolete technologies.
- Use more features from technologies you already have instead of buying more technologies and adding complexity just to get 10% more functionality.
- Make sure you properly model the actual cost and ROI before adding new technology, including any additional complexity and support requirements.
- Consider using an orchestration platform like Openprise to consolidate the functionality of multiple point solutions.
Responding to one-off requests
Fast-growing companies are often very good at asking questions, forming hypotheses, doing deliberate experimentation, collecting data from experiments, and adjusting execution accordingly. The best-performing organizations are usually ones that are great at spotting opportunities as they emerge and have enough agility to execute and take advantage of them. For the Ops team, this means one-off requests and fire drills as the company tries to keep up with a business environment that’s changing ever faster. The majority of these one-off requests have to do with data and analysis. To prevent these one-off requests from becoming time sinks, the RevOps team needs the ability to work with data efficiently and effectively, build automation that can speed up the task, and make the work product reusable to avoid future repetitive work.
Here’s a great example of how a RevOps team reacted to such one-off requests:
In 2020, the US federal government issued Payback Protection Program (PPP) loans to businesses impacted by COVID. One Openprise accounting firm customer realized that all companies receiving PPP loans would require additional tax and advising services to ensure tax and reporting compliance. They got their hands on the list of companies that received PPP loans to quickly launch a campaign to market PPP loan advising services to these companies in addition to the firm’s customer base. When the request came down from the top, the IT team responded with a three-week turnaround. The Marketing Ops team used Openprise data orchestration capabilities and completed the request within an hour—with reusable automation that can identify additional matches as updated lists become available.
The nature of RevOps jobs is multifaceted and dynamic. Dealing with fire drills, constant changes, and many stakeholders is essential to the job—and what makes the job interesting and rewarding. The factors that keep things interesting can also devolve into “death by a thousand cuts.” The great news is no-code RevOps platforms like Openprise can help Ops orchestrate data, automate processes, and integrate systems, all without knowing how to code or rely on IT for constant support. Take advantage of technologies like Openprise to automate repetitive tasks and free up your time to pursue more strategic work. It’s hard enough for companies to find talented RevOps people. It’s a damn shame to waste their talent or suffer churn due to repetitive manual work. It’s in the interest of both the employee and the employer to avoid “deaths by a thousand cuts.”
Ready to learn more about how to avoid tech debt and simplify RevOps? This article tells you how.