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David Mills
By David Mills on May 20, 2020

Business Improvement in the Crisis - Virtualization and Revops

While there are many challenges that organizations are facing as a result of COVID-19, there are also opportunities to come out of the other side as a stronger business. Resilience as a business means reaching deep to rely upon existing and newly acquired competencies to move through a season of challenge. One important area is accelerating as a result: virtualization and Revops.

One set of competencies that your business may now be incorporating is virtualization. Virtualization has a specific meaning in IT, referring to the ability to spread computing functions across servers to improve the use and reduce the cost of resources. The virtual machines that result can be far more efficient for both operations and data storage. If you manage your own data and need to support a higher level of data transfer and storage, or if you are a customer of a SaaS product (software as a service) that uses this approach, it is virtualization that makes better and more effective systems possible.

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Virtualization has also been moving into management thinking since the 1990s and has been working its way into the organizational approach used by companies. It is changing how we build relationships with customers and understand the bottom-line value of intangible assets like customer experience and brand stories. Virtualization helps to build a bridge between the silos of marketing, sales and service. The shutdown has accelerated the practical requirement to collaborate across teams and is connecting teams across their traditional silos.

Marketing, sales and service all share the roles of educating, serving and building value with customers.

The ways that we're learning to serve customers and connect employees across departments and roles is a powerful new ability that will endure beyond the shutdown. Practically it means that not only are marketing, sales, customer service, and operations all using technology hosted on virtual machines, they function in a virtualized manner too. Customer experience, retention, upselling, and service are everyone's roles.

Virtualization requires new skills

Greater reliance upon systems that are made possible by virtualization also means adopting a new set of skills across all the roles in a company. Whether it is new sales skills enabled by ABM software (account-based marketing) or video communications, a shared CRM that allows marketing, sales, customer service, and operations to improve the speed of service and customer experience, or the use of on-boarding automation for customers or employees, the entire enterprise needs to focus in order to make virtual resources effective. Because of virtualization, tools, skills, and insights can all be shared across roles that used to be completely separate in most organizations. As a result, a new role and framework called Revenue Operations (Revops) has emerged.

Virtualization makes Revops possible

This combination of virtualized systems and the need for new skills to collaborate across roles or departments is an important part of the focus of the Revops approach that is being implemented by many companies. Revops views the entire operational side of the business (marketing, sales, customer service, and operations) as a unified system and fosters shared resources and insights that strengthen each element. The role of Revops is to accelerate growth and provide more predictable revenue by optimizing the processes that create the company’s top-line success. Revops is focused on efficiency and has the opportunity to improve the customer and employee experiences that result.

A simple example of this is the effective use of a shared customer relationship management system (CRM) by all of these operational departments. Tracking the marketing, sales, customer service, and ongoing operational interaction with the customer in a single virtualized system, shared by all of these teams, means that everyone can focus on ensuring efficiency and great customer experiences throughout the journey. This shared view, along with the revenue targets that it supports frames the Revops role.

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Opportunities to improve resulting from virtualization and Revops

While new cross-role and cross-department activity has been forced upon us during the shutdown and made possible by virtual resources, it presents a new opportunity for stronger companies.

  • Virtualization makes enterprise-level skills and tools available to large, medium, and small businesses.
  • While a greater reliance upon virtualized data and operating systems may already be occurring within your company, now is a good time to find the best options and greatest cost efficiencies.
  • Moving to new virtual platforms may now make even more business sense, given the IT demands that are increasing.
  • Like your data and systems, your teams need to move beyond silos and learn to share resources and insights to create more efficiency and better customer outcomes.
  • Tools like CRMs and business intelligence are now easier and less expensive to share across the organization, and allow multiple teams to share a single point of truth to improve outcomes (think CRM, tracking and reporting). The tools that have only been used by one role or department, have real utility when they are shared across roles.
  • It is vital to pay attention to the employee and customer impacts of your human and technology virtualization, to improve both sets of experiences.
  • Revops provides enablement across teams with new insights and collaboration skills that are a requirement if the value of this shift is to be realized.

Virtualization and Revops is a long-term opportunity that has accelerated during the shutdown. We should not waste the opportunity to build stronger organizations, serve customers more effectively and improve our resilience and bottom line.

Revops and the Story Approach

As you think about optimizing for revenue, breaking through silos across departments is critical. The different perspectives, goals and benchmarks of each department can keep them from working cohesively (of course, that's the purpose of Revops). 

Keys for making Revops work effectively:

1. A useful insight from StoryFunnel.co helps us see that stories are the glue that binds an organization together and my feeling is that having a solid internal and external thru-line story will only help scale your Revops.

2. It is vital that every department understands the unique buyer journey of your target audience. As a story, the buyer journey helps flip the internal perspective from being primarily focused only on the needs of the department or the company to a focus on the buyer at all stages of their engagement (before, during, and after the sale).

Talk with us about virtualized tools and enablement that can help all of your roles and departments become more effective.

what to do when your brand story seems invisible

Published by David Mills May 20, 2020
David Mills