By Kendra Ellis

It is no secret that sales and marketing teams have been working through their siloed efforts for years. Service level agreements (SLAs) have been a discussion on the table in hopes to mitigate the disconnect. In more recent years, the growing elephant in the room is the operations silo of the entire organization. 

Individuals purchase their favorite apps or tools, maintain spreadsheets, and build their own processes. Every department wants the same thing—to do things faster, better, and more efficiently—but is struggling to do that in a way that includes everyone and every point of the business. 

If you’re reading this article, you are likely aware of this fact and looking to implement software to help your teams connect all points together while keeping or improving data quality. Whether you have a revenue operations team or team members appointed to revenue operations, HubSpot Operations Hub is a great option to accomplish these goals. 

Not familiar with revenue operations, or RevOps? Here are several articles that can shed some light for you!

There is always a “but.” Although HubSpot Operations Hub is a great platform, there are still challenges you will face when centralizing operations in HubSpot’s customer relationship management (CRM) system. Similar to our article “Why CRM Implementations Fail,” the challenges are very similar in this scenario. 

1. Understanding the Problem Areas

If you do not currently have a revenue operations team, the first thing to do is understand which person from each department is best suited to sit at the table. They will need to come prepared to clearly articulate areas of concern. This could take certain teams time to complete this information-gathering process—many people know there are data quality issues, but pinpointing where may be currently unknown. 

If you know most of your data quality issues reside in your CRM and not in your enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, customer service tools, billing, or other business applications, check out these two articles. They can get you started in data cleansing prior to implementing a revenue operations software, to keep the data clean and connecting effectively.

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2. Including Everyone’s Why

From the C-suite to the individual contributor, it is a good idea for everyone at the table to understand why. No, I’m not suggesting that you survey all of your employees, but understanding each department’s level of frustration and specifically why they care about this new initiative will make the teams work better together from the beginning. 

You might be surprised. Everyone may share the same frustrations, which can make you think change will be welcomed when it comes to implementation. The truth is that implementing change can be the number one reason projects fail. There are three main reasons people hate change—lack (or perceived lack) of reward, fear of the unknown, and loss of status or visibility in the organization. Although this article is related to sales teams, overall the tips can be applied to this initiative.

If everyone understands the why and is on the same page from the beginning, it will minimize the change challenge. Once the RevOps team understands the problems and understands or has crafted the why, a solid RevOps strategy needs to be created.

3. Creating a RevOps Strategy

Now that you have the right people sitting at the table, you’ve identified any areas of concern, and everyone knows the why, it is time to start creating the plan of implementation. Each application or software will need its own individual plan within the overall organization plan. I’ve been a part of organizations in the past where it helped lighten the overwhelming feeling to name the project (i.e., “Project Everest”). 

It will help if you have very detail-oriented people within each micro-plan team. Thinking of every possible detail will take longer, yes, but overall it will give the project a much higher success rate. Once the micro teams have created their plans, reconvene as a group to solidify the organizational plan. 

When you regroup, there are two crucial steps I would advise taking to minimize the failure rate of the project and implementation. 

  • Have each micro team present their plans to the group. This will help each of the other teams understand the complexity that the group is working through. Commonalities from group to group can be identified at that point (which is needed), and others outside of their world will be able to see gaps that could be crucial to success. 
  • Decide on an order of operations for implementation. Unless you have team members solely dedicated to this project, completing their typical workload and a project of this magnitude is unrealistic (unless you want it to take years to complete). In addition to the implementation, there will likely be employees all over the organization that will need to adapt their ways of working to this new way. Throwing everything at them all at once will be incredibly overwhelming and give a much greater chance of resistance. 

Pro Tip: Double or potentially triple your timeline (pending complexity and dedicated team members). I’ve never seen a full-scale operations project hit a timeline. Due to no one’s fault, these are complex situations and things arise you never see coming. 

Once you’ve created a solid plan, timeline, and have the approval of the stakeholders, I would advise holding an all-company meeting, if a regular meeting isn’t already held. This can be a great opportunity to create transparency, build trust, and begin understanding why the organization needs this change. 

4. Using a Tool That Scales

While I am a firm believer in the saying “too many hands in the cookie jar,” there are several positive outcomes that can be achieved by pitching to the project leadership group which tool to implement, to support your revenue operations. 

Any tool you select can bring a number of benefits and, equally, its own set of challenges. The two biggest attributes I always look for in software are:

  • How is the user experience (knowing I need to cater more to my change resisters and non-tech-savvy users)? 
  • Will this tool scale as my business grows?

At SmartBug®, we aim to be experts on the HubSpot platform. In my 15+ year career, I have experienced several CRM, ERP, content management systems (CMS), and other revenue operations platforms (HubSpot, Macola, Oracle, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, Drupal, WordPress, SalesForce, Excel spreadsheets, custom applications, and the list goes on). I am biased based on my experience. I believe HubSpot is the business that will be scaling its solutions for you and is the leader in the industry. 

At the end of the day, your team needs to be the decision maker for the overall greater good of the organization. This is a large responsibility, not to be taken lightly. These tools can be pricey (HubSpot’s Operational Hub starts free and scales in cost, from $50 per month to a top tier at $800 per month), take many man-hours to implement, and require adoption by all to be successful long-term. 

There are so many reasons I could give you as to why selecting HubSpot Operations Hub is the best option, but that topic is for another article. I hope this was helpful insight from a person who spent many years in your shoes.

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Kendra Ellis

About the author

Kendra Ellis As a Strategist of Inbound Marketing Kendra will oversee all activities required to help clients meet their goals and objectives. Kendra is a marketing veteran with both B2B and B2C experience. In her career, Kendra spent more than 10 years as an in-house marketing leader for organizations ranging from $3M to $300M in revenue. Kendra lives in Iowa City with her husband Sean, step-son Jordan and Chiffon Maddie. Read more articles by Kendra Ellis.

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