Empowering revenue operations for the future with data, analytics, and AI
As organizations of all kinds shift to usage-based models, subscriptions, and other new billing models, Revenue Operations (RevOps) has become a critical function for modern businesses. As a strategic bridge between sales, marketing, and customer success teams, RevOps enables healthy growth, profitability, and so much more.
While most organizations have only begun to build their RevOps capabilities, it is important to recognize that technology – and AI, in particular – will play an outsized role in helping transform and optimize these processes. To shed light on this crucial opportunity, Globant recently brought together various experts in the field for a panel discussion, Reinventing RevOps with AI: Empowering Revenue Operations for the Future.
In this post, we recap some of the key points and takeaways from our panelists, Jagan Reddy, CEO of RightRev, John Banks, Head of Product for Continuous, and Ken Ringdahl, CTO of Kantata, as well as moderator Micah Gerger, Salesforce Revenue Cloud Distinguished Architect for Globant. Read on to learn what these RevOps leaders say about how AI can transform the function and the best practices they believe companies should follow as they build and mature this critical function.
4 ways technology and AI will change RevOps
Improving revenue forecasting and management for usage-based models
Adopting new revenue models has ushered in many new challenges for companies – forecasting chief among them. Given the variability of these new billing models, it has become exponentially more difficult for companies to forecast demand and effectively manage accounts accurately.
According to our panelists, advanced AI models can significantly reduce the time it takes to conduct this activity while increasing accuracy. These models can gather and analyze a tremendous amount of data, at both the micro and macro level, to produce meaningful insights that help companies better understand behavior patterns and, by extension, how they can adapt operations to meet demand or adjust their billing strategy to accommodate customer usage.
“The real value of using AI in this way is that it enables companies to align the entire business around the usage-based billing models and tie that together with forecasting,” says John Banks, Head of Product for Continuous. “It makes the whole business focused on the actual use of the product, as opposed to the initial sale, which drives a fundamental change in how businesses think about consumption.”
Strengthening the customer experience
Another critical point of discussion focused on how companies can leverage AI tools to create a stronger, more personalized experience. For example, organizations have begun to use generative AI tools to enable conversational, data-driven interactions across the entire lifecycle – from sales and prospecting to billing and collections to service and support.
Companies can also use AI tools to analyze key metrics to better understand how a product is used and how that rate influences other factors, such as customer retention and satisfaction.
“The days of talking about the consumption model, the SaaS model, shelfware software, long-term licensing – all of that is gone,” says Ken Ringdahl, CTO of Kantata. “All that matters is that customers engage with and use the product and continue to renew. AI plays a significant role in changing the user experience – and enhancing it – so that customers get more value out of the product, are more satisfied with it, and more loyal to it.”
Driving upsell and cross-sell opportunities
As companies increasingly rely on subscriptions and variable billing models, data and AI will be critical in identifying ways to effectively cross- and up-sell customers on relevant products and services.
The maturity of these models goes far beyond basic product recommendations in that they can be used to predict specific customer needs and match them with a relevant product. The tools can also help agents understand the rationale for offering that product and its value and help them craft customized messages or scripts to guide future interactions.
“Traditionally, companies relied on their data science team to collect data from many different sources and do all the analysis to come up with ideas for how to better serve the customer,” says Jagan Reddy, CEO of RightRev. “But now, with the evolution of AI and ML and the computing speed, companies can collect and process data in seconds. It’s revolutionizing decision-making for the team.”
This is critical given that the success of a subscription model rests, in part, on the ability of the organization to continuously adapt to meet consumers’ changing needs, as well as align with their behaviors and preferences.
Making people more effective and efficient
Finally, as in many other use cases, AI can be used to enhance people’s productivity by automating routine and mundane tasks. This helps the organization improve efficiency and enables people to focus on higher-value work, more complex tasks, or creative aspects of their role – which, for many employees, is a key part of job satisfaction and engagement.
“AI might replace some jobs,” admits Ken. “But, more realistically, the bigger impact of AI is that it will enhance how people work. It will increase productivity and efficiency, free people from mundane tasks, and allow them to move on to more substantive work.”
He gives the example of an AI tool automating the lead qualification process, enabling the sales agent to prioritize their activity and focus on accounts that are more likely to be converted.
3 best practices companies need to keep in mind as they strengthen their RevOps function through data, tech, and AI
- AI is an enhancement tool for employees – not a replacement for humans. While AI provides companies with a tremendous opportunity to increase efficiency and improve performance through automation, it is not a substitute for human employees. Further, the company’s ability to adopt and scale the use of this technology depends on the willingness of people to use these tools and to be excited about how they can augment and adapt their existing day-to-day work. For that reason, companies should consider education opportunities and traditional change management activities to help people understand how this technology will be used, why it is being used, and how it will change the way they work.
- Focus on the safe, secure, and responsible use of AI. In many ways, the regulatory landscape is still catching up with AI, especially regarding generative AI tools introduced over the past year. Without specific regulations and standards in some areas, it is incumbent on organizations to ensure they are using this technology in a safe, secure, and responsible way. To that end, companies should establish clear policies to protect sensitive information and constantly reevaluate processes to ensure the company operates with integrity.
- Early adopters have a considerable advantage. As seen with so many past technology trends, like the shift to cloud, social media, mobile, and others – early adopters of AI technology are likely to gain a competitive advantage. While some companies are hesitant to invest, given how quickly the technology is still evolving, waiting to embrace AI may result in missed opportunities and falling behind in the market. Getting started now, even through experimentation, is one way to ensure your company is ahead of the curve.
- Take an ecosystem approach. Salesforce is often the cornerstone of every RevOps function – as it should be. The platform has robust, built-in data and AI capabilities that can help drive efficiency and personalization across the customer experience. At the same time, many data layers and different systems enable a high-performing RevOps function. Even if the capability is grounded in Salesforce, companies should tap the rich data from other sources to enable more precision, accuracy, and nuance in decision-making.
Take the next step in your RevOps journey with Globant’s Salesforce Studio
AI will have an enormous impact on the future of RevOps. This is why our panelists felt it was so important for companies to take a proactive approach to AI adoption in revenue operations, ensuring that it aligns with long-term business goals, maintains data security, and leverages AI to enhance human capabilities and creativity.
Given the complex and changing nature of the RevOps landscape, Globant offers a comprehensive set of services available through our Salesforce Studio, Data & AI Studio, and Enterprise Studio Network. We tap the power of these Studios, as well as our dedicated RevOps and Revenue Cloud experts to create cross-functional teams to help companies leverage new and advanced technologies to reinvent their RevOps function and fuel healthy, profitable growth.
If you have questions about how to leverage technology, including AI, within your RevOps function, Globant can help. Contact our Salesforce Revenue Cloud team to schedule a consultation and determine how your business can begin using data, analytics, and AI to drive performance, efficiency, growth, and customer satisfaction across the revenue lifecycle.