Beyond the Annual Revenue Plan: RevOps Experts Discuss Ongoing Management

In February 2024, Revcast’s chief revenue operations officer Jeff Serlin joined a panel discussion “Year-End Planning is Done, NowWhat RevOps?” alongside  other experts CliffSimon, CRO at Carabiner Group and Hannah Hanrahan, Director of RevOps at Atrius. The panel, moderated by webinar host RevOps Co-Op, delivered their best advice on putting your annual revenue capacity plan into action.

Below is a transcript excerpt from the event, or you can view the full webinar playback on YouTube.

RevOps Co-Op Moderator:

“You all have been through the planning cycle at a variety of different companies over the course of many, many years. You get through all the work and all the effort that goes into planning, and... you have got to then start executing because obviously, a plan will not take care of itself. How do figure out where you should get started when it comes to the annual plan or the quarterly plan that you've created? And what are some of the things that you kind of consider in terms of acting on first?”

Jeff Serlin, Revcast:

“I think there's two big areas. The first is distilling the company priorities into your priorities, into the sales priorities, into the segment priorities, into whatever aligns against your strategies for the upcoming year and creating a roadmap of the activities to execute. And you need to start them right away, so that you get them finished, where you can start getting value from them as soon as possible.

“The second thing that you have to do is start measuring against the plan. And people typically get into the year and they're looking at I think more execution, operational focus, KPIs like win rates, and those sorts of things, which are great, because you have to hit your number. But they're not necessarily looking at the more strategic KPIs that you've hopefully developed, to make sure that you're tracking to the fundamental elements, or the foundational elements of the plan. And that includes everything against capacity, not just pipeline and not just sales, execution metrics. For example, if one of your strategies is to build out, you know, a channel partner to generate revenue, or channel business to generate revenue, or do more PLG, tracking regularly to the metrics that will define the success and those as well.

"So it's executing against to align priorities to the strategy and then it's measuring against the foundational elements of the plan and the success criteria, success KPIs key initiatives that are going to help you make your year.”

Hannah Hanrahan, Atrius:

“So the way we work on it, we have a corporate aligned plan and map that is a pretty good deck of just here's where our strategy and vision are, here's the key workstreams or initiatives, and then here's the workstreams that line into those. And we'll generally assign owners and this is across the business, right... There might be timelines and things that are larger projects or priorities within the company that I tie into, and so I know that I need to also map some of what we're doing to that as well.

“But today, I take that priority, I put a strategy deck together, and I put initiatives in terms of like what are the actual things that we're going to do to accomplish this throughout the year. And I like to align those to quarterly goals too. And so the things that my team is focused on tie in to what I know the company is focused on. And we map that really specifically to what we're working on every quarter. And that also ties in to our roadmap, which we'll talk about later.

“I think there's also, to Jeff's point, there's a data-driven piece of this of understanding and keeping a good eye on what your metrics are throughout the year, and where you're excelling and where you're not. Because sometimes that might change where you start to focus. And you might need to veer a little bit into ensuring one of those metrics has some counter measures in place, and that you're putting projects to excel in that area. So it's iterative, right? It's like we put a plan in place, we start executing against it. And we're constantly keeping an eye on it month to month to understand how we're doing and what we're going to do next.”

RevOps Co-Op Moderator:

“What are companies focused on this year as it relates to executing on their plan? What are some of the things that are top of mind, are a lot of folks looking at things like revenue retention? Are they still trying to kind of grow at all costs? Like what are some of those specifics that people are looking to execute on as they get started in 2024?”

Cliff Simon, Carabiner Group:

“Yeah, so we've had the pleasure of, I'd say over the last three months now, helping either deliver the plan or have a very heavy hand in creating the plan from everything in the range of pre-seed pre-revenue all the way through Series A. So getting to see lots of different shapes and flavors of this. Out of that, the recurring through-line that we're seeing is tech stack consolidation. How do we actually measure the level of effectiveness of the tools that we're using today?... The other thing you mentioned was, is it growth at all costs? It's not anymore, right. Everyone is going for profitability, everyone's trying to get to a level of efficiency.

“But to Hannah and Jeff's points, what they need to be able to do in order to drive that is accurate data. So there's a lot of data cleanup going on right now, both from a policies and processes perspective, to make sure that those things are still aligned to the way the customer is buying today and to any new go-to-market motions that have arisen over the last year.As well, making sure that they're driving the adoption of those processes, it doesn't do any good to have something that's perfectly mapped to what your customer wants to do but if no one's actually going through and adhering to those processes, then your data is crap anyway.

“The other thing that's like really coming to the fore more and more, is the level of lack of enablement, specifically for frontline managers who were fantastic salespeople, but got put into a sales leadership role. And that's really causing this knock-on effect, down the org.”

Hannah Hanrahan, Atrius:

“Absolutely, your insights are only as good as the data that you're pulling. And so there’s a constant eye on data hygiene forecasting. We had quite a bit of focus there, actually, internally on our side, early in the year. And, and then I would say, on enablement, I'm also seeing that as an area that I'm diving more into and supporting the team and the sales ops and making sure that we do have good enablement and onboarding of our sales team.

“As far as tools, we did not over-invest in tools over the past years. And so we have the benefit of being in a spot where we're evaluating, you know, what are the tools that we need to help enable the process? Or how do we use the tools that we do have in a more effective or productive way?... I think there's a constant tools evaluation... and just understanding where the gap is to plug in something now.”

RevOps Co-Op Moderator:

“The I think one of the big, one of the big pieces of this also is we talked a little bit about is measuring your progress against your plan, right? The whole reason why we put together any sort of plan is because it'll help us accomplish certain outcomes that we want to drive towards. Well, you need to obviously track your progress against those outcomes, or the plan that you want to drive to understand. Are you executing as you would expect? Are you ahead? Are you behind? What are those things that you can do along the way, then to influence or try to drive things towards the outcomes that you're looking to drive?

“Jeff, I'm curious to hear from you on this, because obviously, the Revcast product that you guys are building is all around this notion of putting your plans together on the sales efficiency, productivity side and be able to able to measure against those. So what are some of the things, either like best practices or ways that people can approach the measurement aspect, as they kind of go along, being able to just like, appropriately monitor and track how they're performing against their plans? How frequently should people be measuring and comparing? Is it daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, something else? And then how do you evaluate the progress to kind of determine where to focus in terms of what levers to pull to maybe drive towards the changes you want?”

Jeff Serlin, Revcast:

“Great question. That the challenge, which was already brought up by both Cliff and Hannah, is typically a data issue. You create a plan, you have a ton of assumptions in there, and they're really those elements that drive your success. And some of them, it's easy to measure -- closed revenue, how much pipeline you're creating, or building win rates. But some of them are much more difficult. And when they're difficult, you tend to not collect them at all, or you do it maybe once a quarter in a QBR and look back. And by that time, you're not getting any early signals as to things that may be off, and it's far too late to correct them.

“One example is the proportion of reps that are ramping versus ramped, that very much drives the quality of the street quota that you have, the attainment of that street quota, and your ability to get to your plan. And that's often left out of any measures. It's left out of forecast calls, therefore, you have a big blind spot into your forecasts and into the quality of the street quota that you have. So you have to take your plan, and you have to start building your data governance, the data element, the sources of this data, how you're going to collect it, where you're going to collect it, how you're going to make sure it's accurate, so that you can do these.

“At a minimum, it should be on a weekly basis, you collect manager judgment, on the same weekly basis you might look at win rates and how much pipeline you created... so that you understand the risk and getting to your number. Or that we are performing well, so that you can get some opportunity out of it as well.

“And it's incredibly difficult and time consuming to do in a spreadsheet and manually. One of the reasons we did build Revcast is to automate a lot of visibility to these metrics that are often ignored throughout the year, except at certain times of the year, because they're just too difficult to get.

“And once you're starting to collect all these metrics around the plan, you have to be very agile in thinking about your execution going forward. It might be reprioritizing things on a roadmap, we're really struggling in this area, let's pull that forward, let's push something out. But also in your ability to adjust the plan if you're not performing well in a segment, but you have a plan to hire a couple more reps in that segment, maybe you shouldn't. Maybe you should switch and move those layers to a segment that's performing and recalibrate the plan a little bit.

“You're not changing the number, but you're just changing how you get there. And the only way you can make those decisions is by looking at all of these metrics and all of the KPIs against those assumptions used to build your plan as frequently as possible. So think about carving out time if you're in rev ops of enabling that and automating that and making that easy and using third parties where appropriate.”

RevOps Co-Op Moderator:

“Being able to measure frequently, because again, that's the only way that you'll be able to get, let's just call it, like real-time access into how you're performing, right? If you wait until the end of a quarter, or even the end of a month to measure against how you've done... to ultimately realize that you're like, way off track already, like your quarter’s 33% of the way done. What are you going to be able to do in the last eight weeks to actually be able to like to influence that outcome, right? So you’ve got to be able to measure frequently, which also means that to your point, automate and use technology, like where you can to be able to help you help you do that, so that you can get the insights that you need.”

Cliff Simon, Carabiner Group:

“There’s so many tools out nowadays, and it's hard to always pick the right one for your organization, right? I think what matters most is getting the data and getting a process in place, testing it manually, first, and then going into buying a tool and automation.

“I'm a big fan of just doing all this on a weekly cadence, right, trying to stay ahead of conversion rates, pipeline, and looking for the early indicators. And doing that by rep.... There's also no such thing as an average rep, you know, an average rep doesn't need 3x pipeline coverage. Susie needs 2X pipeline coverage, because she's a beast. And Johnny needs 5X pipeline coverage because he's not great at closing.”


In the rest of the presentation...

The speakers continue on to discuss:

-- The frequency of reviewing their actuals against their plan

-- Assessing the maturity of their own processes

-- Ability to centralize data and reporting from and for revenue and sales leaders

-- How RevOps thinks about their managing their own“roadmap” connected to company strategy and goals


Watch the Full Webinar Video

Drive revenue performance by getting planning and forecasting right.

Discover the value of Revcast for your sales org today.
Get a demo