2019 has been the year of disruption. From the growth of the revenue operations model to the introduction of new technology solutions that enhance business leader’s abilities to make better decisions, changes are happening daily in the B2B world, and more are sure to come in 2020. There is no foretelling what will be the next big thing in 2020, but sales and marketing leaders can better prepare their teams for changes by turning their planning sessions from a rigid, statistical exercise to a dynamic practice by incorporating these assumptions into their 2020 planning.
1. Team alignment
One of the most impactful disruptions in 2020 for B2B organizations will be revenue operations (RevOps). The heart of revenue operations is the alignment of marketing, sales and customer success operations and their go-to-market teams around one single north-star goal: revenue. Compared to legacy organizational models that divide teams based on business functions with individual incentives, goals, and metrics, revenue operations organizes business functions and ensures that the go-to-market teams have a unified 360-degree view of the customer experience.
Revenue operations will continue to gain traction, making it a key assumption for sales and marketing leaders in planning for 2020. SiriusDecisions, whose research on the rise of revenue operations has become something of a cornerstone for the B2B industry’s transition, found in a recent study that “organizations that deployed revenue ops in some form grew revenue nearly three times faster than those that didn’t. Public companies with revenue ops also had 71% higher stock performance.” What these findings reveal is that “alignment is the key to building a revenue engine focused at once on customer needs and the organization’s growth goals.”
Keep in mind that RevOps is not eliminating or replacing any functions, so the key is to break down communication silos to foster alignment between operational functions. According to the SiriusDecisions research brief, Marketing Operations: Planning Assumptions 2020, “joint sales, marketing and customer success operational responsibilities, such as planning, processes, infrastructure, data and measurement, are ideal targets for aligning these functions.”
2. AI Influences
If you already have a tightly connected structure with open and free communication across systems, great! AI can help you react faster and more accurately to disruptions in the environment by continually learning from all the data distributed throughout the systems. If you’re still battling fragmented teams, AI can help solidify your revenue ops engine by providing real-time data, predicting future trends and helping the organization become more adaptable to changes.
For sales, AI gains visibility into real-time sales data and suggests and automates sales activities based on its analysis of such data. Current sales automation platforms are turning from a supporting tool for reps into a management tool for managers to track and monitor individual performance based on a uniform set of metrics. AI-powered guided selling systems, on the other hand, analyze the constant changes in customer behaviors and contexts and suggest the next best activities to move a customer down the funnel. They are sales’ private navigator throughout the customer lifecycle.
For managers, it means spending less time on managing performance metrics and more on actually coaching their reps and aligning sales processes with customer life cycles. According to the State of Conversion Intelligence Report, reps win more when their managers listen to more calls. In other words, the more time managers spend in-action with their reps, away from the monitor and all those numbers, the more successful their reps become. That can now be achieved with the help of AI assistants that improve pipeline visibility, reduce risk and coach sellers in the moment.
In a world where operational excellence no longer suffices, leveraging the power of AI to become an agile organization—responsive, adaptive and competitive—will eventually become a must-do for organizations to succeed in 2020 and beyond.
3. Agile Methods
With revenue operations, marketing, sales, and customer success need move as a pack instead of individual functions, making the elimination of cross-team friction a priority for any sales and marketing leaders. This is no easy feat given the natural tendency to silo. In order for go-to-market teams to achieve that, they need to be able to communicate freely and change their actions mid-course quickly. That’s why RevOps teams are turning to an agile method  , according to the SiriusDecisions research brief, which stresses collaboration, accountability, and transparency, allowing organizations to anticipate and embrace changes effectively.
A common practice for sales teams looking to apply agile methods is scrum. “Within agile, scrum is a project management system that drives teamwork, accountability and iterative progress toward clearly defined goals,” as defined in SiriusDecisions’ research brief, Sales Operations: Planning Assumptions 2020 . The scrum framework is built to enable continuous learning and adjustments to changing and fluctuating environments. If agile is a mindset, then scrum is the practice to start building an agile mentality into your organization’s daily activities.
The agile methodologies can be applied to both the planning processes for marketing and sales as well. Agility in planning will open up space for regular review and feedback collection. The result is value delivery in frequent increments to both customers and stakeholders.