Forrester made a bold prediction in 2019 at B2B Summit EMEA that by 2025, aligned revenue engine capabilities will deliver better buyer and customer experiences. Organizations that align would achieve the following functional business impacts:
- Marketing: higher campaign ROI, improved conversion rates, dissolved attribution arguments, better marketing impact and influence, fewer budget pressures
- Sales: more robust and accurate planning, higher performance visibility, highly targeted sales coverage, less reliance on sales-generated leads, higher and more consistent numbers, increased core selling time
- Customer success: lower churn, exploited cross-sell/upsell potential, higher customer adoption, proactive renewal management
Sounds great, right? But what do we mean by B2B revenue engine alignment?
A customer-obsessed organization requires an optimized revenue engine. Revenue engine alignment maximizes the buyer’s experience and therefore the commercial potential for the organization. It focuses its resources to deliver efficiency and value for the buyer, which in turn drives growth and an improved market position for the business. True revenue engine success means aligning sales, marketing, and product teams’ processes and systems.
Revenue engine alignment is an organizational and cultural transformation in which leaders must not only align on the strategy but must also connect and integrate operational plans. Operations leaders on behalf of the leadership team become the change agents for this shift by guiding the organization in the following ways:
Defining the revenue engine. The first step in driving revenue engine alignment is to establish the scope of the alignment initiative. You likely have many “revenue” terms floating around the organization. Start by gaining agreement and clarity regarding the differences among these terms.
- Revenue engine: The combination of people, processes, and systems that drives the conversion of prospects to customers and maximizes customer lifetime value.
- Revenue planning: The annual planning process that drives the cross-functional establishment of and commitment to shared revenue targets that cascade down to all segments, routes to market, and revenue engine functions. Revenue planning cuts across and fuels all annual functional plan development and enables aligned, in-year plan adjustments.
- Revenue operations: The strategic, operational, and organizational alignment of the operations resources within marketing, sales, and customer engagement that drive the revenue engine. Revenue operations can be implemented as a coalition of existing functional operations teams, or it can be a new function that unites those teams.
Setting direction through aligned revenue planning. During the first phase of the aligned revenue planning process, fiscal growth strategies are identified and prioritized, and initial revenue goals for the coming year are established and refined across go-to-market segments and route-to-market channels. Business alignment includes:
- Corporate strategy and goals.
- Routes to market.
Revenue operations serves as the change agent to drive functional interlock between sales, marketing, and product, functions that jointly create the revenue production plan that details the fiscal commitments and responsibilities for all revenue functions. These revenue commitments and other functional priorities can then be further segmented in each function’s Plan On A Page.
Executing readiness — the critical piece to lasting alignment, integration, and optimization. The revenue operations and enablement teams must resolve cross-functional risks and dependencies to achieve the revenue goals. When execution gaps are identified, revenue operations leaders across functions communicate with the executive team to fill the gaps or reprioritize as appropriate. The execution-readiness alignment steps are:
- Functional budgets, including personnel, programs, technology, and outsourced services.
- Technology inventory, business requirements, and implementation roadmaps.
- Data audits and insights needed to inform the functions and enable predictive and prescriptive actions to achieve revenue targets.
- Processes to support phases, stages, opportunity types, scoring, routing, and cross-functional service-level agreements.
- Enablement to ensure necessary skills, knowledge, and process expertise.
- Measurement across the revenue engine with shared KPIs.
- Governance and socialization to quickly adjust, reoptimize, and communicate changes to all revenue functions.
- Organizational design options to hire, reallocate, upskill, and retain needed talent.
How Forrester Can Help
Revenue engine alignment is Forrester’s specialty. Please schedule an inquiry or advisory session with me or one of my colleagues to see how to use this research to identify the best-fit solutions for your needs. I’ll walk you through our process steps and help tailor the research to your needs to help you with B2B revenue engine alignment success.