Futureproofing while in hypergrowth: What to look for in a RevOps software solution
You’re working on an undermanned Ops/IT team supporting a rapidly growing organization. As the organization prioritizes hiring more revenue-impacting positions in marketing and sales, your backlog of projects to do continues to grow. On top of that, your leadership team has decided on a new company-wide initiative that requires a meaningful change in your data and application landscape, and you’ve been tasked with finding a RevOps software solution to quickly realize this change. Now what?
This is a scenario that is all too familiar for people working in a hypergrowth environment. You have a data/application problem—like account duplication, updating lead scoring, complex financial calculation, and the like—that has been highly prioritized, and you need to find a solution QUICKLY. You don’t have the team or resources to build anything custom. So, you need to find an off-the-shelf RevOps software solution that will meet your needs.
As someone who’s been in this situation multiple times and made both good decisions and decisions I later regretted, I’d like to share some of the characteristics that I always look for when picking a RevOps software solution.
Flexibility: because change is the only constant
I’ve worked at and consulted for many growing organizations over the years, and they all share one characteristic: constant change. As a company grows, it changes both organizationally and strategically. The problems that you’re solving in three months will be QUITE different than the problems you’re solving today. If you buy a specific point solution for every one of these one-off issues you’ll quickly have a very bloated application landscape that’s impossible to manage. Furthermore, software salespeople love to point to ease of implementation (“just like flipping a switch”), but that doesn’t begin to account for all the necessary maintenance. You’ll often need to customize the solution, manage users, troubleshoot, and stay up to date with each new release and updated functionality. If you’re doing this for dozens of applications, you’ll need at least one to two full-time employees fully dedicated to off-the-shelf application maintenance.
You need a tech stack that can adapt to this rapidly evolving environment. When looking at a new RevOps software solution, I always try to look past the immediate pain and challenge the solution to provide additional value. There’s often a short-sightedness that plagues software purchase decisions focusing on HOW quickly you can go live for a single use case without considering the breadth and depth of the solution. There are times, of course, when you need a singular tool to solve a singular problem; but you should view this as an exception and justify accordingly.
Adaptability: will your RevOps software solution work with what you already have?
It’s especially important to make sure that software solutions are available where the users live and think. This is an obvious statement and most people would make sure that if their users are in Salesforce, they’ll need to purchase solutions that also work within Salesforce infrastructure. But, I’d like to take this a step further. In addition to thinking about your end users, consider where your data and logic owners live and make sure that you can also align with them.
Let me elaborate with an example: We had a lead and account routing project where we had to build complex logic to assign all our existing and net new leads and accounts to our sales team. The routing rules were well-defined, but constantly being adjusted as the sales team changed. Because we’d picked an adaptable RevOps software solution, the platform was able to use inputs from Salesforce (for the accounts/leads) and Excel (for the parameters of the routing rules), and build logic to map the accounts/leads based on the routing rules and export that mapped data back to Salesforce. It enabled us to offboard all the administrative maintenance of the rules to SalesOps—those who were closest to it—in the tool where they spend most of their time (Excel), which let our team focus on the more complex core functionality.
Safe and easy: a place for innovation
Business requirements change. Sometimes these changes are straightforward to implement, but often they’re more complex and require significant work to figure out the right solution path forward. It’s important to have a safe environment where you can experiment and work through all your hypotheses. It’s optimal to have an “innovation sandbox” where you can guess, test, and revise functionality that can deliver value to your business without the risk of impacting production data.
It’s easy to find applications out there that can provide a safe environment for development—especially if you’re willing to pay for a sandbox instance. However, this often comes with significant maintenance and administration costs. You have to worry about version management, deployment automation, and sandbox refreshes. That’s why it’s equally important to find safe development spaces that are easy to deploy.
The RevOps software solution revolution
When I was tasked with finding a data duplication tool at Mendix, I initially looked at a variety of tools that were built to solve that singular business issue. A member of my team had identified an application that could not only solve our duplication issue but had the potential to help solve a number of other backlog items as well. From my first demo, my mind immediately went to all the business value that I could capture as a result of this robust application. I was able to secure budget with this pitch alone. This application happened to be Openprise and it quickly up-leveled my team’s output. In understanding WHY we were able to maximize value, it became clear that it was all about the platform’s flexibility, adaptability, and safe space for experimentation. This is a learning that I’ve taken to all of my SaaS purchase decisions and continue to see success.
About Tony Tarantino
Tony Tarantino is Chief Architect at Hyperscayle LLC, a consultancy specializing in RevOps strategy, automation, and implementation. Previously he was Application Architect with Mendix, and a Systems Consultant with Accenture.