While we exit Q2 and look toward our plans for 2021, we often start with customer reactions to what we built or drove in the new year. We assess how we were able to meet the needs of our buyers and what steps we took to create a better customer experience.
While remaining buyer-focused is imperative, especially as more and more buyers spend the majority of their time on digital channels, it is also important to assess how you’re supporting the backbone of your customer-facing efforts – your growth operations organization.
What does growth operations mean at your organization?
Evaluating your effectiveness and agility as an internal team starts by understanding your own maturity as a growth operations organization. Growth operations is often synonymous with revenue operations or integrated ops. At the core, you need to evaluate how your operations functions are aligning and working together to support your buyer experience. We suggest first identifying whether you operate in a more coordinated or centralized model. Both models enable more of a collaborative growth-focused backbone:
- Coordinated growth operations model: This structure assumes operations are embedded in each functional area and focuses more on cross-functional alignment across your key operational groups such as sales operations, marketing operations, partner operations, and customer success operations.
- Centralized growth operations model: While this framework requires internal reorganization, it stems from an organization’s ability to designate a growth operations leader that oversees a centralized growth operations team who collaborate with their key stakeholders across departments like marketing, sales, partners / biz dev, and customer success.
As you evaluate where you’re at today, we recommend considering some key criteria to define what model you use and your maturity as a unified function:
- What role does operations play in business outcome definition and discussions? For instance, are operations goals tied to business OKRs or do they operate separately – similar to “order takers”?
- How do you coordinate cross-functional collaboration or project management? For instance, are projects siloed by operational function or do you work in “pods” or a similar collaborative team structure to get work done?
- Have you centralized project management and/or enablement? For instance, are your operational colleagues cross-trained or is work and education siloed to their specific role and focus area?
How can you mature within your growth operations model?
How did you answer the initial questions outlined above? Do you see your organization already aligning work across functions or are departments (and their related operational support) still operating separately? If you find you’re starting from more siloed operational functions, start by assessing alignment across 3 key areas:
- Data – What details does your function prioritize to achieve the ideal customer experience? Is this aligned cross-functionally and how can operations support each other to ensure clean, complete, and prioritized data profiles?
- Technology – Are tools shared across operational functions? How are you centralizing rules of engagement and ensuring technology is not only maintained but utilized to its full potential across functions?
- KPIs – How are you measuring operational success as a function? Or even cross-functionally? The sooner operational functions have unified KPIs based on business outcomes, the easier it is to unify initiatives and prioritize based off a coordinated or centralized growth operations model.
How can you accelerate efforts in either growth operations model?
Whether you consider yourself more coordinated or centralized, assessing these 3 key areas allows you to communicate optimal points for cross-functional collaboration and illustrate the importance of either growth operations model.
As you kick off these conversations, you’ll want to also understand what additional success factors will impact your ability to optimize either model type.
Key actions to accelerate your growth in either Growth Operations model:
- Moving toward further coordination requires buy-in across leadership for each functional team. Illustrate the benefits based off of the 3 key areas listed above to build a business case and encourage leadership to further align efforts.
- Creating a steering committee and meeting cadence to align or merge projects across functions. Setting up a recurring schedule to facilitate and drive collaboration across teams is an easy way to look for quick wins as a cross-functional group. Ensure you appoint a lead for each project and collaborators from each team to ensure efforts are communicated across operations functions and progress is not siloed to one group.
- Building a hub for process documentation. Cross-functional visibility and knowledge sharing is a quick way to align functions across all levels. Establish a shared knowledge base of critical connection points, system documentation, and processes to start to unify your efforts based on your audience instead of building it by function.
As you identify other quick wins for cross-functional coordination, you’ll begin to assess the value of moving further toward a Centralized Growth Operations model. This model builds on these acceleration points and is built upon a need for a centralized team because of the shared initiatives, systems, data, etc. At the core of a Centralized Growth Operations model is a strategy built by a leader who understands not only how to build a connected plan to support all functions, but can better tie the efforts of your growth operations team to business outcomes.
What’s next for your organization?
Growth Operations is an opportunity for operational teams to show the value of what they do and further align their efforts to what matter most – business outcomes driven from buyer experiences. We recently spoke with Palen Schwab, VP of RevOps at Lacework, to understand what value he and his team are driving with a more centralized growth operations function – listen to the video and read the recap to apply some of these lessons to your own operational assessment.
As you assess these initial areas for your teams, understand that either model can fit into your needs. At the core of both, you’re assessing the power of cross-functional collaboration across all facets of your work. We will continue to see this unification as organizations mature across their data, technology, and process needs.