To Get Started in RevOps, Map Out your Customer Journey

By: Megan Heinz  |  May 6, 2021

Even without a full-time revenue operations leader, you can begin your strategic operations journey by building your customer journey map.

Customer Journey, the first in our series highlighting how to get started with Revenue Operations.

Revenue Operations, or “RevOps”, is picking up speed as a must-have role for software companies. RevOps helps align all Go-to-Market (GTM) and customer-facing teams with the goal of increasing efficiencies, breaking down functional silos and improving revenue growth.

Because RevOps is a relatively new role within SaaS businesses, many leaders are exploring how to deploy this function in their own companies. A quick Google search will recommend some broadly defined next steps such as aligning teams, breaking down internal communication barriers and cleaning up your tech stack—all of which are key tasks that RevOps can help accomplish.

But, we often hear leaders ask how to take those high-level concepts and turn them into an actionable punch list, especially without a full-time hire onboard? Or, forget about next steps, what is the first step?

Although it may seem counterintuitive, the key to getting started in RevOps isn’t internal at all—it’s external and all about your customers. The foundation for RevOps is to create a full customer journey map—a visual story of your customers’ interactions with your brand—informed by the real experiences of your customers and prospects.

Why is a customer journey map the foundational step?

Your customers are the most important part of your business. So, it follows that you can’t have a RevOps strategy without first understanding your business from their point of view. Many companies fall short of their revenue potential due to churn or lack of sufficient expansion revenue. Often, this occurs either due to a mismatch between the customer journey and the GTM strategy, or from a disconnect between internal processes compared to the customers’ needs and expectations.

By creating a customer journey map, you can define these elements preemptively and thus, prevent them from becoming shortfalls.

Who should be involved?

To build a customer journey map, work with all GTM teams, including product and anyone who interacts with customers.

And don’t forget your most important constituent: the customer! Imagine someone writing a script about your life and never getting your perspective. A lot of the details would be missed. The same goes for your customer journey map. And before you enlist your happiest and most valuable customers for this project, keep in mind that you will gain an equally strong understanding of the customer journey from the customers who aren’t as happy. In fact, considering differing perspectives will help you spot friction points in your current customer journey and avoid confirmation bias. If you can, gather perspectives from customers who have left, as well. Their perspectives can be very insightful.

What should I focus on?

There are key points to consider when building your customer journey map. The key is to get started, even if you start with a light-weight draft.

The Complete Journey: Be sure to cover your entire customer journey from end to end. Start with pre-customer or prospect events and walk all the way through post-churn communications. Along the way, consider and include all potential paths a customer might take, as the journey likely isn’t the same for all customers.

You may not nail this the first time, so aim for creating a basic map to start with, and then iterate until you’ve been through every possible scenario (or close to it).

During this process, you may encounter overlap and redundancy across different functional teams, or spot gaps in your current process. In these situations, take note to address and improve.

Tip: JUST START – Don’t get overwhelmed by the scope. Get moving and then go back and fill in the details.

Expectations vs. Communications: When, how and from whom are you sending communications to your customers? What are they expecting to hear as compared with what is being communicated? How timely and consistent are the messages they’re receiving? This is one area where customer input is key.

Handoffs: Where does the customer get passed from one team to another? How many people are they interacting with and at which junctures? Think about every team they might interact with, including the handoff from marketing to sales, sales to onboarding and onboarding to customer success. These handoffs are often where customers feel the most pain, as they enter different stages of their journey and get passed from person to person.

Spoiler alert: these will likely be the areas of focus for your first RevOps projects, so don’t skip on the nitty gritty details.

View a sample Customer Journey template here. 

What’s Next?

Once you have your process documented from the eyes of the customers and have highlighted potential risk areas, friction points or opportunities, you can start to map each insight to your internal processes, people and technology and begin to resolve any issues.

This is the first in our five-part series highlighting how to get started with Revenue Operations. Be sure to check out the full series.

Meg is Vice President of Revenue Operations at Mainsail. She is responsible for helping Mainsail’s portfolio companies implement best practices and drive go-to-market efficiencies to support their growth, among other operational initiatives.
More by Megan Heinz
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