How do you influence the C-Suite to get more resources?
This is an interesting question, because new resources can mean quite a few things. I will look at this question through the lens of RevOps securing more budget for additional headcount and/or technology.
The short version: The story for RevOps resources needs to be told through the lens of growing the business. If your story does not tie to measurable business outcomes, chances are your ask will have little to no traction.
Very few people within an organization would doubt the performance, and need for a staffed revops team, coupled with a well designed and implemented GTM tech stack. That said, we are not the only team within a company looking to secure more budget to staff up and bring in the tools needed to support our stakeholders. Even then, the most effective story still might not work. The needs of the business and the decision making of the C-Suite may necessitate those funds be used elsewhere/
Whenever I make the case for resouces I first decide which business outcome am I most clearly aligned to for this specific ask. That is very important, you cannot paint every ask for budget with the same brush.
- "Offensive" Play: This resource is used to unlock revenue, through enabling us to do something we were not able to do before.
- "Defensive" Play: This resource is used to protect revenue, usually through risk mitigation.
Regardless of play type, the execution is nearly the same. Interestingly, this mirrors many of the other insight driven tactics I use for other needs of the business.
- Tell your audience what they need to know, be up front what you resource you are asking for. Do not bury the lead.
- Why is this resource important? Keep it short, and specifically call out what business impact this resource is driving, make it measurable.
- Clearly state the alternatives, there is always alternatives even if you do not like them. It is important to include this as it frames the context of the problem and the opportunity cost of moving forward or not.
Offensive/Unlock Revenue Example:
Hiring a new RevOps analyst dedicated to supporting the Business Development team.
In this scenario, we try to convey what we can do with an additional resource that we could not viably tackle before.
Let's say that we currently have 2 full time analysts on the team, one dedicated to supporting the Account Management and Customer Success teams, and the other dedicated to supporting Business Development and the New Business Account Executives. As the organization grew, the operational needs of the BDRs have grown substantially. What was once easily supported by a single analyst, is not so anymore. The BDR team wants to move to monthly blitzes, which requires weekly dedicated time for list building, contact sourcing, and technical support for 10+ BDRs.
You as a RevOps leader want to hire an additional analyst dedicated to the BDR team. A short deck works here, and make sure you partner with your stakeholder to put this together. In this case, partnering with the leader of your business development team is critical.
- State up front the role you are looking to create, and the estimated cost. We want to create a position within the RevOps team for a new Sales Operations Analyst, dedicated to supporting Business Development, with a target start date of [Start_Date]. We expect the OTE of this role to be [X].
- Pick 1-2 initiatives that they will be supporting and provide a measurable impact. It does not hurt to work with FP&A on this, as they can provide some insight into how this can positively impact your CAC. With a dedicated resource, we can pivot to monthly outbound blitzes against our target account list. Current capacity does not support our ability to do this any more than once per quarter. Our sales activity data supports that moving to a monthly program can increase our SQOs by 22%, by increasing our account coverage. Based on our current sales velocity this will result in $[X] more bookings in Q2.
- End your summary slide with a clear statement of the alternatives. In order to support this type of program with existing resources, we would need to deprioritize X, Y and Z to free up capacity on the existing team. This is not ideal as those directly support [insert key initiatives and the business metrics tied to them.] Alternatively, we maintain the current BDR prospecting cadence with minimal operational improvements, resulting in the current [X] meetings set per month.
- Include some supporting slides with additional details.
- Make sure your GTM stakeholder can provide some support and insight into the roadblocks they are experiencing and how they believe this role can be a game changer.
- Build a concise and clear role and responsibilities 1-pager. When this analyst is fully ramped, what are they doing? This is going to be your job description.
Defensive/Protect Revenue Example: Purchasing a calendaring tool for the sales team to assist in scheduling new meetings with prospects and customers.
In this scenario, we have identified an operational inefficiency. We want to fix it, because of the revenue risk it poses. Inefficiencies alone are not compelling unless it specifically impacts revenue performance.
- Again, state up what you are asking for, and how much it will cost. We want to purchase [Calendaring_Tool] for our New Business teams. We estimate this to cost $[X,000] per year for approximately [Y] licenses.
- Pick a metric tied to the operational efficiency and pull it through to the revenue impact. Our current appointment setting approach is highly manual, and is only available within a rep's personal calendar. Our Discovery Meeting attendance rate is below target benchmarks at 55%, the gap primarily due to a high volume of no shows. We estimate this is resulting in a loss of [X] new SQOs per month, and based on our current sales velocity, that's a loss of [$Z] bookings per quarter. We estimate implementing this tool with its automated meeting reminders would result in conservative [A%] reduction of no shows, resulting in an increase of [X] completed meetings, [Y] new opportunities and [$Z] in new bookings per quarter.
- Explore the alternatives, how would you build this in house? How long would it take? Would it work? If left unattended do you expect this problem to get worse? What would be the impact on pipeline, and revenue for these other options?
As I said before, there is no guarantee that these will work. But, from my experience you better your odds of success with this approach.
Influencing C-suite to get more resources requires a strategic approach and effective communication. Here are a few items which you should consider:
Will these additional resources help with achieving your organisation's current goals? Show how your resource request aligns with the company's strategic objectives.
Make it clear how the extra resources will help the organization (eg, driving more cost savings, enabling incremental revenue growth, or unlocking higher efficiency).
Present your case in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner.
Show that you're not alone in this - Share endorsements or support from key stakeholders.
Be open to negotiation and compromise (such as a phased implementation for additional resources).
Acknowledge potential risks or challenges associated with the resource allocation and provide clear plans for mitigating them. This demonstrates that you've thoroughly considered the implications.
Choose the right moment to present your request. Make sure the organization is ready to allocate resources.
Sometimes, it takes time to convince the C-Suite. Be patient, but also be ready to adapt.
In my experience, the most successful way to convince leadership for more HC is by adopting one or more of the following best practices when submitting the ask:
Show how the request will directly/indirectly improve the bottom line
Quantify the impact of the incremental HC
Demonstrate how the HC will positively impact your department or company's OKRs or priorities
Improve the bottom line - you can frame most requests in terms of how it can either grow the top line or reduce savings. If your department is tasked with ways of growing revenue, model out how much incremental revenue the HC will drive in year 1, year 2 or whatever investment ROI timeframe your team uses. Similarly, if the HC will result in outsized savings (a penny saved is a penny earned), model out how much in savings the company can expect from the additional HC.
Quantify the impact - do your best to model out the dollar impact (incremental revenue and/or cost savings) of the HC request. Having a quantified impact helps leadership better compare and stack rank the HC requests against that of others
Find a balance between accuracy and complexity, and avoid over engineering the model
Find sound assumptions to base your model upon
Partner with your friends in Finance to review your model and test its assumptions
Align with company OKRs - you will gain more interest and favor from HC decision makers if you can show how your HC ask will help leadership meet or exceed their KPIs and OKRs. For example if the company OKR is focused on:
Reducing turnaround time for qualifying leads - show how the additional HC will decrease the backlog of leads, improve conversion rates through improved vetting of qualified leads, and/or drive more revenue through more conversions per month
Improving customer satisfaction within the renewals team - show how HC can conduct more activities per month that directly/indirectly lead to CSAT scores, which in turn lead to x pts in renewal rates or y months in increased subscription tenure, which in turn drives z dollars per customer per year
Additional Best Practices
Ideally have a committee, like a center of excellence, that meets regularly to review HC requests. This COE should have representation from a diverse set of stakeholders and functions to help ensure fair and regular review of HC requests.
Develop and use a standardized template for submitting HC requests. This helps expedite HC reviews by ensuring that the necessary info is needed and structured in a consistent fashion for easier review of HC requests
As noted above, loop in your friends in Finance to help test your HC modeling requests, and consider including them in your HC request COE to help evaluate the ROI and merits of the HC requests