Across B2B, organizations are often overreliant on org design to drive change. Revenue operations (RevOps) implementation discussions are filled with questions of centralization, decentralization, or centers of excellence. But structures are just one lever of change. Structure tells you nothing about which customers or stakeholders to support and prioritize, the offerings that you should provide, required capabilities, or the leadership and governance strategies required to drive success.

Poor Functional Design Creates Win/Lose Scenarios

Many organizations that I speak with lack a structured method for designing their operations functions, which can lead to ill-conceived structures that drive win/lose scenarios for internal partners and employees. Marketing, for example, may feel concerned that longer-term priorities may be placed at risk by the focus on short-term revenue. When one set of priorities is favored over others, the RevOps team struggles to realize its goal of true integration across the revenue ecosystem. It can ultimately impact the long-term sustainability of your RevOps strategy.

Take A More Strategic Approach By Building An Operating Model

High-performing revenue operations teams broaden their design approach beyond structure to develop a comprehensive operating model. But what is an operating model? Operating models are frequently conflated with org design, but an operating model is the bridge between your organization’s strategy and sustained execution. It’s a means to an end, delivering highly valued and adopted RevOps offerings by providing clarity and guidance to the business on how the function should operate.

What Are The Key Elements Of An Operating Model?

At B2B Summit EMEA in October, Forrester debuted a new model to help operations leaders take a more strategic approach to functional design. Forrester’s High-Performance Operating Model Framework For Revenue Operations helps operations leaders fit their design to the context and vision of the organization. The six layers of the framework enable operations leaders to articulate what good looks like:

  • Customers and stakeholders are the focal point of design. RevOps empowers external customer value by supporting internal stakeholders with technology, insights, and processes across corporate, regional, function, frontline, and business units. Operations leaders must decide who to prioritize among these stakeholders and their unique requirements.
  • Stakeholder value drives RevOps offerings. Revenue operations leaders must seek to build, maintain, and promote a set of offerings that create value by meeting internal stakeholder needs and expectations. Consider your stakeholders’ experience of working with you and your team. Ensure that, just like external customers, your internal partners also have a great experience in leveraging your RevOps offerings — from analytics through to technology and planning, as well as interacting with your team.
  • Capabilities enable value transfer to stakeholders. Understand and develop the maturity of the function’s capabilities and the underlying assets that include talent competencies, data, processes, technologies, applications, and intellectual property.
  • Structures are designed around maximizing stakeholder value. Rather than focusing on empire building, create adaptable structures that optimize how they deliver capabilities and offerings to enable stakeholder value. Consider each aspect of structure, including reporting lines, operating units, locations, and the scope and definition of work.
  • Leadership and governance promote direction, performance, and behavior. While structure is important, without governance and leadership, the operating model will become dysfunctional. Consider leadership and governance at each stage of the design process so that direction, management, culture, experience, and performance are embedded in the operating model design.
  • Operating principles provide the guardrails for your functional design. Operating principles establish your organization’s agreed-upon approach to balancing strategic and stakeholder priorities. Principles serve as guardrails and rallying points that force trade-offs and build consensus among key stakeholders in design and operation decisions.

If you’d like to understand more about operating models and how to apply them to design and operate your function, schedule a guidance session with me or my colleague Laura Cross to learn more.