Dear Prospect

During this crisis I will continue to serve my prospects by calling them.

I am calling you… because your livelihood depends on it


I will not stop.

I believe that I can help you.

I believe that my company can serve you.

I know you’ve got problems and pains in your current operations.

But I’m not blind or deaf, I know what’s going on.

I know people are scared.

I know your team is trying to figure things out.

I know that it’s not business as usual.

But I will not stop.

I will not stop calling you.

I will not stop emailing you.

I will not stop attempting to connect with you.

we’ve still got to do the work

Because when we get through this global incident, and we go back to our places of business will see that our real, longer-term problems still exist.

And that nothing has changed, accept the passage of time.

We’ve probably also learned how to balance our family and work lives a bit better.

But in the long term, we’ve still got to do the work.

We still need to make widgets, we still need to grow and process food, we still need services that make our lives more effective and easier.

because I still believe in the human spirit

So here’s what I will do:

  1. I will be respectful of your time.
  2. I will tell you how I can help you alleviate, mitigate or improve your current situation.
  3. I will be a human and ask about you, your families and your colleagues with genuine interest.
  4. And I will ask for a meeting, even if that meeting is in a few weeks or months

So when we eventually speak, all I ask is:

  1. Please be courteous.
  2. Please be honest.

And if I can’t help you, then I’d be happy to find someone who can or leave you to your own business.

because nothing can resist a human will

But I will not Stop.

Because our economy and way of life depends on it.

Thank you

Where have all the Sales Leaders Gone?

3 Crucial roles you need from your Sales Leaders even if you don’t have one.

Put me in Coach. Coach, where are you?

Over the last several weeks, I’ve held discussions with founders, CMOs and business operators about enhancing their revenue operations teams and one thing has struck me as very odd.  There is no real sales leadership resident to the current business. 

I mean none: no managers, no trainers, no recruiters, no leaders.

Now to be fair, in many of these organizations, there are less than twenty team members and thus the CEO or COO acts the revenue and sales leader.  Unfortunately, these CEOs and COOs appear to be delegating crucial sales management and leadership roles like recruiting, training, and retention to others in the organization who have little or no experience in any of these tasks.

As a result, the sales leader (ie. CEO, Founder, CMO, COO etc.) never really get the performance that they’re seeking from their sales team and they’re routinely disappointed. And welcome to churnsville… insert salesperson 1, 2 and 3 out comes sales person 1, 2 and 3….

So you might be asking yourself: why are they acting as the sales leader in the first place?

It seems that in Startup land and other smaller organizations that the hiring of sales leadership is considered a luxury.  So instead we get sales leaders who are either inexperienced and learning on the job or those that are filling the role of player-coaches.

For small businesses and start-ups sales leadership is treated as a luxury so there is no sales leadership

What’s a Player-Coach?

Let me explain.

Up until the “modern era” of most professional sports, it was common for there to be one seasoned or more experienced player who was near the end of their career to be on the team as an active player that would also act as an assistant or full coach.  For example, the most recent player-coach on a professional team occurred when the Chicago Cubs signed Manny Ramirez, a hall of fame player, to their Triple-A affiliate in Iowa to both play and mentor some of the “big club’s” younger players – a la Kevin Costner’s “Crash Davis” in the 1988 classic Bull Durham.  While in Iowa, Manny got the chance to continue to play baseball as his passion and also help out the Cubs organization.

Sounds like a great idea, no?  You get an All-Star caliber player who’ll help some of the younger experienced members of your team, put some numbers on the board – and all for a price that’s usually below the cost of both (a coach and a leader).

Let’s examine what’s happened to the player-coach role in professional sports over the last generation. 

The last player-coach in professional sports before Manny was Craig Berube who served as a player-coach for the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms in the 2003-04 season. And before Craig, Pete Rose worked as a player-coach for his hometown Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1986.  So Craig was 10 years before Manny and almost 20 years after Pete.  BTW, the last reported NFL player-coach was when Dan Reeves suited up for the Dallas Cowboys in the late 1960s.

In professional sports the role of the coach has become so extensive and all-encompassing that coaches can no longer play the game and keep coaching at the highest level. Craig Berube understood this and that’s the main reason he quit playing midway through the 2004 AHL season so that he could focus on being behind be bench instead of on the ice. 

Sean McVay, the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Rams was just shy of 31 years of age when he lead his team to Superbowl 53 this past February. While he might have been the youngest coach to do so, there is plenty of precedent for the venerable NFL hiring coaches that are just a few years older than many of their players. In fact, John Gruden, Bill Cowher, Don Shula, Al Davis, John Madden, Mike Tomlin and many others all started their head coaching careers in their early 30s.

To date, there are no more player-coaches in professional sports.

Revenue Operations needs Sales Leaders

While leadership is needed throughout your revenue operations team, it’s most appropriate for the sales operations team. 

In order for sales leaders to be most effective and operating a high velocity sales attack they should not be selling to prospects or managing accounts, they should be teaching and training others to do so.

If you’re asking your senior sales professionals to “help out” or “mentor” the younger professionals then you’re doing both groups a disservice.

What you need is a professional sales leader.

As goes the leader, so goes the sales organization

Mike Weinberg, Sales Management Simplified

But you’ll tell me that your small business or start-up can’t afford one.

The good news is that you can rent sales leadership. 

There are plenty of experienced sales leadership professionals who are prepared to act as consultants and coaches to your team.  They’ll charge you a modest retainer or fee to gain access to their experience and skils, run events and keep your team accountable to their mission.  They might even have organizations that focus on helping sales teams grow and become exceptional (for example Jeb Blount runs and Grant Cardone runs

Three Crucial Roles for your Sales Leader

Just so that you know what to expect from you sales leader, here’s the 3 crucial tasks of Sales Leadership:


For a variety of reasons, sales personnel are constantly changing roles;  a sales leader needs to understand the nature of the talent market at all times.  By having an active and robust candidate pipeline, the sales leader is going to have clarity on the market for sales talent.  If you’re handing this task off to HR or anyone else, then you’re likely not going to achieve the results you’re seeking from the team members you receive.

Culture & Accountability

The sales leader is the primary influencer in the creation and maintenance of the culture of the sales team.  This starts with setting objectives for activities, outcomes and behaviours and continues with recruiting the right people into the right positions.    In addition, sales leaders will make their team accountable for their results through the use of team and individual coaching.


Through one-to-one and team meetings, sales leaders should be interacting with ales team members almost daily.  These weekly or bi-weekly meetings should focus on reviewing activities, results and challenges that your team and members face with the intention of creating incremental improvements. 

General team meetings should focus on learning about elements of the sales process, market and product and celebrating all victories (large and small). Individual meetings should focus on removing obstacles to growth, encouraging hearts and, sometimes, providing the team member with a good nudge.  

The result of this coaching is incremental growth that’s both immediate and extensive.  As in sailing, a small course corrections can be as effective as full breakdown and analysis of an impending opportunity or process. 

If a sales leader is not coaching their team every day, then they’re quickly sliding off into irrelevance.  And the market will punish irrelevance with stagnant results.

Channel your Inner Sales Leader

So if your small organization is not ready to rent or hire a sales leader, are you doomed?  No, sales leaders are not born, they’re made. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that you, your CEO, Founder or another leader can take over this role, but to truly drive revenues to new heights, they’ll need to dedicate sales leadership as their primary responsibility, and they’ll have to read and study a lot. 

To this end, I’ve got a number of great resources in the books section of my site that I’m constantly updating here.

3 Ideas to Create more Sales in less time plus a Bonus!

I’ve recently been asked to guest post for the Outfield App’s Closer’s Coffee blog so this posting is an extension of an article I posted last week.  I was recently told that this article has the second highest ranking article in the site’s history to date.  You can find that article  here.

Whether you’re a field or inside sales person managing your time is crucial to managing your success. In fact, time management is one of the key elements in addition to attitude which will have an impact on your ability to maximize your results and your enjoyment in your sales career.

This post is inspired by a book I recently completed that was authored by Jill Konrath called  “More Sales, Less Time”.  You should get a copy or listen to it on Audible.

Here’s three ideas that can help you squeeze more productivity out of your work week and create definitive long lasting results in your sales career.


In today’s crazy busy world it’s easy to be distracted from the tasks that you need to complete in order to be successful. The easiest way to remove these distractions from your life and your work life is to turn them off. That’s easier said than done, so you need to know where to start and when to start in order to be successful.

Let’s start with your smartphone. It’s easy enough to turn your phone notifications from standard to vibrate, or vibrate to silence, but what’s harder to do is to turn your phone notifications off completely. As with everything, start slowly and build to the point where you don’t need to be using your phone. The easiest way to start is to set your phone on silent during your key working hours and then take regular breaks to check your phone. Ideally, your phone should be in a drawer during your key work time blocks so you won’t be tempted to check it, but Silent mode is a good start.  If your mobile phone is your key connectivity tool where prospects can reach you then turn off all notifications except for phone calls (as other communication methods need not be checked until you have time).

On your desktop, turn off all notifications.  That’s as simple as going into your Chrome browser, reviewing the notifications panel and deleting all the notifications. This way while you’re focused on your work you won’t be distracted by those annoying notification pop-ups that that are constantly during pinging you during your work day. I mean really do you need to know at your aunt just sent you an email or Facebook message? How is that going to help you achieve your quota or move the needle I’m getting to your next bonus level?

Also on your desktop you probably have 6, 8, 9 tabs open in your browser, of which half do not relate to your being a productive in the field. Remove those tabs from your startup function in your browser so that you don’t see them and are not tempted to click on them and see get sucked down the black hole of your personal email, ESPN, the Bleacher Report, CNN or any other type of distracting site.

Okay so now your phone is on silent and the notifications on your desktop are off, so most of the distractions from your work day or gone, except one – your smartphone. It’s probably sitting right next to you when you’re sitting at your desk and it’s tempting to check it when you got a free moment, just to see what’s going on. Break yourself from this habit by using a reporting app which tells you how many times you look at your phone or how many times you open an app. I’ve been using the Space app with tremendous success. The Space App tells me how much time I’m spending on my phone how often I’ve unlocked it and I have the ability to throttle up or Throttle Down those usage as necessary.


Throughout your work and personal day there are three types of activities that we do. Those that will help us achieve our objectives, those that support our objectives and something in between. In the sales business that means there are money days (activities where we’re making money or actively trying to make money), days where we’re doing activities that support money days, and transition days which are between money days and support days.

Objectively, every day in sales should be a money day. Realistically, we can only have 60 to 70% of our time focused on money day activities as we will always need to have transition and administrative tasks days to support our ongoing money day activities. So how do we move to this place we’re 60 to 70% of our work week is focused on money day activities?

First, we make a list of what we consider to be our money day activities.  For inside and outside sales professionals, money day activities likely relate to anything that moves a Prospect forward in the sales cycle or generates Revenue or you and your company.  For an individual producer, a money day activity could include prospecting calls, pre call planning, prospect and customer meetings.

Any other activity or task not on this initial money day list is not a money day activity. For example, entering data into your CRM, preparing presentations for prospects are not money day activities.  They are, however important, administrative tasks that need to be completed in order for you to be able to have more money day activities, so these are good examples of transition activities.

Administrative tasks such as completing expense reports, internal memos to team members, customer service matters and any internal team building or activities are administrative tasks and not activities that will generate revenue for you or your company or your team.

For sales managers and leaders, money day activities include coaching individual producers, completing one on one weekly and monthly reviews with producers, recruiting and sourcing new candidates for your team.

So to increase your productivity, list all of the items and tasks that you do every week every month, and then classify them into the three categories money days, transition days and administration days.  Designate 2 out of 5 days a week to be your money days, one day to be administration day and 2 transition days. Now that you’ve got your schedule and you know which tasks are to be completed on which days, you’re ready to start focusing on those activities that make you money.

Over the ensuing 90 days, transition your daily activity type such that you’ve moved to 3 money days a week instead of 2 with 1 transition and administration day each. If you’re successful and moving to this schedule then you’ll find you’re doing 60 to 70% of your weekly schedule on money day activities that generate revenue for you and your company.


Ever notice how the day before you go on vacation you seem to be able to get everything done that you needed to get done that’s been hanging over for you for the past few weeks? This is a demonstration of the power of time blocking.

Time blocking is the most powerful weapon that you have in your sales arsenal. It creates the ability for you to focus on one or two activities during the block of time, more importantly it communicates to your fellow co-workers that during your time lock you are only focused on that activity and accept no other distractions.

I was re-introduced to time blocking by Mike Weinberg in his book, New Sales Simplified, but realized that I’ve been using time blocking for over 20 years and didn’t really fully understand or appreciate the value until a few years ago. Instead of giving yourself all day to make your prospecting calls do it in 30 minutes or an hour. You’ll be amazed at the results (somehow it will all get done).

The length and duration of your time block will depend on your ability to focus on one activity for a specific period of time and the number of different activities you need to complete each day. So if you’re a field sales rep, going out into the field and meeting customers and prospects on your money Day activities are imperative, so time block these meetings in a specific period and get them done in that time period. If you’re an outbound SDR and you need to make 60 calls a day, break the call sessions into two 30 call sessions and complete them within a reasonable time.

You can create time blocks for all kinds of activities.  Use time blocks to help you with activities such as completing expense reports, filing field activity reports, building prospect presentations quotes, account basic research or pre call planning. Once you Unleash the Power of time blocking you’ll come to appreciate and understand how effective it is in compressing the amount of work that you have into the time that you have available.  With time blocking you’ll have more time for your work more time for your family and more time for yourself.


Because you’re reading this blog post, here an idea I didn’t share in the Closer’s Coffee Article:

I read a blog post several months ago about how to create daily focus in your activities.  Instead of building a long list of activities to do each day, create two lists.  The first list, I call the Core list, should contain 3 or 4 items that you need to get done that day in order to move the needle.  The second list, called FTA (short for Feed the Animals), is all the other things you’d like to get done today once you’ve completed the Core  list.

The key to this approach is to only focus on the High Impact Activities (HIAs) on the Core list until they’re done.  No excuses, no distractions, no useless chit-chat.

I started using this approach several months ago by first writing down my top 3 Core list and then a bunch of FTAs on a scratch pad, but I’ve since migrated to separate notebook so that I can keep track of my progress over time.  I rarely get through all three items on the Core list, but since I’m almost always focused on getting them done, I feel like I’m making forward progress without distractions and guess what? Those FTAs rarely get done and there is little or no impact on my results.

Turn your Time into Money

If you can turn off the distracting notifications, identify your key activities that make that move the revenue needle with Theme days and the Core list, and block your time to execute on those activities.  Then the sky is the limit as you’ll become personally and professionally so productive that people will wonder how you did it all in such a short period of time.

Blair Carey is a Revenue Leader and passionate about using data to help companies meet their mission and purpose. He is the creator the new site where CROs can collaborate on anything they’re thinking about.  You can follow him here or find him on his LinkedIn profile here.

Is your Rockstar VP of Sales ready to be a Revenue Leader?

We’ve seen this before.

Some company has raised a decent size series A or B round ($5 to $15 million) and are now going to scale growth by driving sales revenues.

This time they’re serious. There is a press release about a new dedicated sales office in their key market (usually New York or London) and are hiring a new sales team starting with a Rockstar VP of Sales (who may or may not have been recommended by one of their investors).

Now this Rockstar, is a top producer at another company that’s operating at scale and achieving exponential or hypergrowth, and the thinking is that since he or she has been along for the rocket ride since the early beginnings, they probably know a thing or two about scaling for growth.

So your Rockstar is a sure hire, right?  Maybe not.

Why your Rockstar will work out

Hopefully, in addition to being a top performer in a company that’s running at scale, they’ll have learned some hard won lessons.  In this crucial role (Sales Leader) you need an individual that can conceive, develop and execute processes that fit your market, product and culture.

If they’ve been in a sales organization for a while, then it’s likely that they’ve held multiple Revenue Operations roles such as Business Analyst, Sales Development Rep, Demand Generator, or Account Executive.  If they have held multiple positions then they appreciate and understand what it takes to fill each of these roles and how they fit into the ability to generate revenues.

If they’ve not held multiple roles, but have been in an organization where the primary processes relating to hand offs between groups, cadence matching and planning has occurred then they’re like to transfer some of this knowledge to their current role.  If they’ve been part of these process discussions then they’re even more likely to transfer these ideas to your organization.

If they’ve worked in multiple channels such as SMB, Enterprise of Private Label, then they’ll have a good understanding of which of the 6 paths to revenue (see my previous post) will provide the company the quickest path to long term sustainable revenue growth.

Of course, if you’ve nailed the product-market fit and your industry is white hot, then none of this really matters.  But you need a different kind of sales leader, one who can navigate the blue ocean as best as  possible and extend your run until you’re competitors notice and start to capture your market share.  In this case, you’ll need someone who can manage the pace as well as iterate the processes so as to defend your territory.

If your Rockstar has held multiple sales, marketing and revenue operations roles in a variety of geographic and target markets and you’ve got decent product-market fit, get ready to ride the rocket.

If your Rockstar has been in any of these situations or experiences, then you’re likely well positioned.

Why your Rockstar won’t work out

Most top producers are just that, top producers.  They understand how to excel in the processes and systems provided by their managers and market.  They follow best practices and processes that they’ve learned from previous workplaces and will implement those that worked for them in the past.  This sounds great, but might not work for your personnel, market or culture.

Your new hire likely hasn’t learned to be a sales manager, let alone a Sales Leader, and as such has no idea how to manage other sales team members and their needs (and there are plenty).  And despite them wanting to be team players and part of the executive decision making team, they’ll quickly become demotivated when the find themselves in a series of endless inter-company meetings without doing much to drive the revenue needle (which is why you hired them in the first place).  They want to be a team player, but in their heart, they can’t be, so they’ll slowly start to rebel by focusing on those tasks they know and love (i.e. interacting with prospects, customers and team members) and act apathetically for all the others.

In addition, it’s likely that the founders (especially if this is their first time) and Board will have compressed expectations as to when material revenues from their new “sales efforts” will bear fruit.  An unrealistic quota that hangs over the head of this Sales Leader makes it even harder to focus on the short and medium term tasks that need to be executed so as to realize long term sustainable revenue growth.

It’s also entirely likely that this new Rockstar doesn’t have the same level of support at your operation that they had in their old place.  Maybe Rockstar qualified and closed deals from leads provided by demand generation, then sales operations handled the order paperwork and sales enablement executed the customer onboarding.  Maybe you intend to build these teams or functions in the near future, but without them, it’s possible that your Rockstar has no idea how to build sustainable pipeline and revenues.

Expectations Matter:  If you expect too much from your Rockstar and provide too little support, you’re setting them up for failure

This is akin to sending a sniper out to battle with no logistics and field support.  If your Rockstar doesn’t know how to build these teams, processes and systems, you’ve only got a great sales person, not got an RO professional or Sales Leader.  They’ll need time and coaching to learn these processes and systems and really inculcate them into your culture.  If you’re not providing this support then you’ll find out quickly (within a year) that the Rockstar’s not a good fit for your culture or that you’re not really ready for an true Rockstar of Revenue.

How can you make this work?

In  North American Football, most pundits agree that the Quarterback is the most important position on the team.  He’s the leader and in most cases, the playmaker.  You’ve just hired what you think is your new Quarterback, but you’re concerned about his or her ability to execute, so now what?

Like all good managers, build the team together with your new Quarterback.  Let him or her have a material say in who gets hired for what role and when.  Let them own, not just the RO processes, bu the recruitment, hiring and onboarding of the team.

Prepare the sequence of teams you need and know what plays need to be run at what time.  So build demand generation before customer success, content before outbound or combine sales development and sales together.  Do a deep dive on the business and market analysis and plan out your initial and subsequent tactics and figure it out together.

You’ll need training and enablement tools and processes to ensure that these learned behaviors stick with your team and are part of your culture.  You’ll need constant reinforcement through compensation and incentive plans.  You’ll need a “tone from the top” that’s aligned with your strategy.

You’ll also need to provide the tools and weapons necessary to build the game plan to win in the market. This doesn’t mean that you need to be a spendthrift as it’s important to mind the pennies when you’re a scrappy startup and thereafter (in most cases you’re playing with OPM), but when you’re really trying to scale, sometimes simplicity and speed win out over cost.  I have plenty of examples of companies that could have improved their productivity dramatically for a modest increase in cash cost reaping multiples of revenues.

Give your Quarterback all that they need in order to be successful.  If they’re the right hire, they’ll tell you the tools and processes they need and they’ll also tell you what’s bunk.  Set them up for success don’t stand in their way.

Ok, So we’ve already done this and it’s going the wrong way.. now what?

What’s going badly?  As Peter Drucker has famously stated, “What gets Measured gets Managed” so make sure that what you’re measuring is something that you can manage.

Revenues not on plan? Well you can’t manage revenues, but you can manage the number of outbound calls or contacts made to prospects or the volume and quality of your demand generation leads.

Customer Acquisition Cost too high? Well, you can’t manage this number, but you can manage the amount you spend on advertising, prospect incentives or affiliate commissions.

Start with a root cause analysis.  One of my favourite root cause analysis methods is the “5 Whys”.  Ask Why 5 times until you get to what you think is the real underlying cause of your problem. And if you’re still not happy, ask Why until you get to where you think you need to be.

Does your Revenue Operations team have the processes and systems in place to be successful?  Has the market shifted in the last few months and so your message needs to be retooled?  Do you need to change something amongst your leadership or team?   Examine all of it.

If you’re not happy with the results of the activities you can manage then complete your root cause analysis, admit your mistakes, fix them and rebuild.  This can be painful, but just like ripping the band-aid off, it’s only temporary and you can move on.  The optimization process is plan, execute, review, rebuild and then plan again.

Blair Carey is passionate about using data to help companies meet their mission and purpose. He is the creator of where CROs can collaborate on anything they’re thinking about.  You can follow him here or find him on his LinkedIn profile here.

It’s time to get serious about Revenue Operations

This is a 5 minute read.

Recently, I’ve seen a few articles, whitepapers and blog posts about the nature of Revenue Operations and the newly created executive role called the ‘Chief Revenue Officer’ or CRO.

I’m writing post to describe the framework from which I view the future of this emerging business unit. I intended to dig deep into my thoughts and research on the matter and will be sharing them with you over the next few months in the form of a weekly post.

While the role appears to be “new” it is in fact a mash-up of a bunch of functional responsibilities within organizations over the last two generations. That being said, the availability of sales, marketing, customer success and accounting data that, when combined, create an entire picture of an organization’s revenue cycle is completely new.

Revenue Operations. Really?

Despite what we read every day about successful capital raises, acquisitions or exits by start-up companies, Revenues are the life blood of the organization.  If companies cannot turn their ideas into revenues (that hit their bank account), then they’ll eventually die a slow, painful and ugly death.  The deal sheets and databases are littered with the carcasses of dead startups that were successful in achieve product market-fit, but failed to convert this to an ongoing business case.

In most corporations, traditional business functions (Marketing, Sales, HR, Accounting) are slotted into separate department Silos.  Inter-departmental communication only occurs between the most senior of the corporate leadership and it becomes the CEO’s role to align these functional teams around a common mission and purpose.

In reality, most CEOs spend most of their time fighting fires or attempting to mitigate internal and external matters and have little time to align their functional departments (which could be one or two people). So the coordinating job never really gets done.

In my view, any function that touches revenue is part of the Revenue Operations attack.

The Revenue Levers for any enterprise are found in Marketing, Sales, Customer Service/Success, and Accounting.  Each is, in some way or form, responsible for Revenue being converted into bank deposits.  To drive Revenue, your team needs to apply focus to the salient tasks, jobs and processes in each of these four levers.

This is a dramatically different thinking from the Sales-heavy method that has been predominant in the previous decades.  A company doesn’t need to just hire a “Rockstar” VP of Sales to drive revenue or a killer marketing campaign; they need a team of specialists with a highly skilled leader to focus on driving sustainable revenue.

Friction exists without a Revenue Operations Conductor

The existence of friction in any part of your business slows the ability to convert prospects and opportunities into deposits in your bank account.  I call the speed at which a prospective client converts into cash Revenue Velocity and the rate of change in speed Revenue Acceleration (I’ll discuss each in more detail in a future post).

In some cases, friction provides for checks and balance.  But from my experience, friction is created when you haven’t fully formulated what is required to make it easy for prospects to do business with you.

In today’s multi-channel, multi-media business environment, your prospects and customers are bombarded by messaging to entice them to allocate their budgets elsewhere, so if you make it hard to do business with your company (eg. friction), you can expect that someone who’s more been  frictionless  will be taking that customer’s budget from you (despite your hard work).

Processes, technology and people are the reason why friction continues to exist.  If you can’t convert new prospects into cash, you likely have misaligned processes, poor technology solutions or personnel challenges.

The purpose of a Revenue Operations team is to reduce the friction in your business and to increase Revenue Velocity and Acceleration.  So if you care about the amount and speed of which your bank account gets filled then you’ll care about Revenue Operations.

The Revenue Operations Business Levers

A lever is defined as “a rigid bar that pivots about one point and that is used to move an object at a second point by a force applied at a third” (

For Revenue Operations, the levers that are used to influence and build Revenues are the following:

  1. Marketing Operations
  2. Sales Operations
  3. Customer Success and Service Operations

While these appear to be straightforward, I’ll spend much of the next few months developing each of these in later posts, but in order to introduce the topics, I’ll summarize each below.

Marketing Operations

These tools, processes and programs will accurately describe and position your market offering, attract prospective customers to inquire and complete a purchase.  In general, marketing operations include market strategy and business analysis, demand generation, and message/brand management.

In describing your go to market strategy as warfare, marketing operations does the work that takes place before going to the market (Strategic battle preparations) and then iterates while you’re in the firefight (Tactical battle preparations).

Functionally, you’ll find brand and market analysts, graphic and web designers, strategists, writers and product specialists that will support Sales Operations.

Sales Operations

These tools, process and programs are used by your frontline team that interface directly with prospective customers.  This includes playbooks, scripts, cadences, dashboards and methods that your sales team will use in order to find, educate and convert prospects into first time customers.

Functionally, you’ll have business analysts, researchers, sales development reps, account executives, key account executives and data scientists in your Sales Operations team.

Customer Success and Service Operations

These are the tools, processes and programs that are used by your team with your new and existing customers.  Customer Success and Service relates directly to creating sustainable revenue.  Moreover, as the majority of the Customer Acquisition Costs are borne by the initial acquisition, the Customer Success team has the ability to create the most profitable Revenues in your Revenue Mix.  As such, the functional focus of these operations are on customer enablement, satisfaction and retention.

Functionally, you’ll have inside Customer Service Reps, Technical leaders, Onboarding Trainers and Product Support team members in your Customer Success team.

Data Drives Revenue Operations

During my time as an active investor in companies, I often heard that from the founders that they intended to hire a “Rockstar” VP of Sales to kickstart their nw market sales efforts.  Often these statements were met with skepticism because our investment committee felt that the hiring of one individual would not be the catalyst to launch an entire enterprise forward.  Rather it was a series of hires and execution of a business plan that would likely move the mountain.

The primary difference between how sales, marketing and customer service were run a decade ago and today is the availability of data.

In the same way that the marketing leader can determine which marketing campaigns are the most impact in developing business, today’s sales leader can pull statistical data from their Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) or sales enablement system and easily understand the challenges that the sales team is having in their sales process.  Thus the prevalence of data creates a mosaic of insight that allows thoughtful and caring executives to move the business forward.

Unfortunately this abundance of data has left some leaders unclear of their focus.  It seems to me that the main challenge amongst today’s Sales, Marketing and Success leaders is that they are either measuring the wrong metrics or don’t know which measurements are meaningful to driving their revenues so they’re measuring everything.  Thus this ocean of data has created situation where leaders are drowning and they don’t even know how to catch the life preserver.

One way to ensure that data becomes a servant to the leader is to use a systematic approach.  For many, the scientific method of creating hypotheses, developing and executing tests for these hypotheses provides comfort to manage the reams of data that result from standard operations.  For others, the scientific approach seems cold and unkind and is inconsiderate of the human relations and reactions involved in a real person to person activity like sales.

Who will coordinate all of these efforts and manage this data?: the CRO

Today’s Chief Revenue Officer is more than just the Rockstar salesperson who closes big deals and inspires other to do the same.  Today’s CRO understands how to use data to advance the company’s interests via a coordinated attack from Sales, Marketing and Customer Success Operations.  The CRO is the master strategist who launches the campaigns and battle plans to drive the Revenue Attack.

In addition, the CRO is the internal leader who relentlessly reduces organization friction.  As a result, the CRO makes it easy for prospects to work with and buy from their organization at every step in the customer acquisition and success process.

In smaller companies (less than 30 employees), the CEO acts as the CRO, but as the business grows in either complexity or scope, someone must be tasked with the role of coordinating the go to market attack.

Today’s CRO

A quick search on LinkedIn Sales Navigator for the terms CRO or Chief Revenue Officer results in 17,996 names.  Drill down a bit by selecting for companies with more than 50 employees and seniority (Director, VP, CXO) and you find that throughout the globe there are 3,566 names.

What do most of these senior CROs have in common?  They’ve been in their role for less than 5 years (most less than 2 years) and that they’ve acquired experience in all forms of sales transactions and teams (SMB, Enterprise, Licensing, etc.) and they’ve got an analytical background (either Engineering, Economics or Finance).

Why is this?

As a CRO you need a combination of the social sciences of psychology and behavioural economics and the deep analytical framework to appreciate the power of data.  They are essentially a “people-person” who loves to spend time looking at puzzles in  numbers and figuring out what’s really going on.

In summary

There’s a lot to unpack here and I intend to do so over the ensuing few months.  I hope that you’ll join me on the journey through your comments, please follow me here and you’ll get all of my latest thoughts and ideas.

Blair Carey is passionate about using data to help companies meet their mission and purpose. He is the creator the new site where CROs can collaborate on anything they’re thinking about.  You can follow him here or find him on his LinkedIn profile here.