Revenue Functions Staffing-Know the Difference Between Operations and Enablement

4 Aug 19

Understand the cross-functional areas of an organization that come together and form Revenue Enablement and Revenue Operations. These functions restore a unified view of the customer by ensuring sales, marketing, and customer success work together. The foundational element is having a Chief Revenue Officer.

What does 1% mean to you? Does it mean the top wealthiest tier of individuals in the world? Does it mean you are an incredibly high or dismally low performer at something? Or does it bring to mind a particular dairy product? Well, if you are a frequent reader of SBI blogs, you might know where this is headed. Only 1% of organizations have Revenue Operations, and Revenue Enablement (RE) functions. Most of you fall in the 99%, which means you are likely out of line with the SBI Emerging Best Practice of Revenue Enablement.

For those of you hazy on what these functions are in the first place, there is a refresher below. The question then becomes: who comprises these functions? As a Chief Revenue Officer, you need to be able to answer this. This tool will assist you in laying your future (or current) Revenue Operations and Revenue Enablement function.

Let’s refresh ourselves on Revenue Enablement

Revenue Enablement takes the principles of sales enablement and expands it to every inch of the organization.

Your organization may not be ready for this function. Companies with annual revenues <$150M likely do not have a Chief Revenue Officer, i.e., CRO. A CRO is necessary for an org to have RE.  Also, Revenue Enablement typically works best in B2B companies that have optimized Customer Success groups.

Where Do Revenue Enablement and Revenue Operations Sit?

Before we answer the question of who belongs in the RE function and how we should staff it, we need to briefly review where it sits in the organization.  Revenue Enablement sits under the Revenue Operations group and below, of course, the CRO. This structure helps revenue-leading companies to drive holistic strategy, improve customer hand-offs, and optimize the customer experience. Revenue Operations and Revenue Enablement are the evolution of Sales Operations and Sales Enablement.

Revenue Operations is the link that connects Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success across the customer lifecycle. Through this connection, internal silos are destroyed while alignment, focus, and simplicity are increased. Revenue Operations drives efficiency across the customer lifecycle and keeps all teams focused on revenue growth.

What Question Must a CRO Consider When Setting up These Functions?

Revenue Operations and Revenue Enablement are expected to address every corner of the company in its support of Revenue. It is on an equal playing field to Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success. As a CRO, you don’t have time to run the function entirely on your own. Who is expected to run the day-to-day? This is one of many questions to consider when setting up the function.

A CRO must consider the following questions when setting up Revenue Operations and Revenue Enablement

  • Who runs the function?
  • Does Learning and Development fit in?
  • What compromises Revenue Operations?
  • Is a deal desk incorporated?
  • What about legal and admin?
  • What’s different between Sales Enablement and Revenue Enablement?

Who Comprises Revenue Operations and Revenue Enablement?

A revenue Chief of Staff (COS) runs Revenue Operations and Revenue Enablement. The following structure outlines how cross-functional sections of the organization come together and sit in Revenue Operations and Revenue Enablement. There are multiple people in each of these functions that answer to the COS.

Revenue Operations:

  • Systems and Data
  • Forecasting
  • Compensation
  • Deal Desk – tied to pricing (only in a B2B Salesforce, where the CRO owns)
  • Strategy
  • CPQ

Revenue Enablement:

  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Training
  • Enablement Tools
  • Process/People
  • Onboarding
  • Offboarding

What to Avoid

Many companies see their business through 3 distinct lenses:

  1. Sales
  2. Marketing
  3. Customer Success

These three lenses are often in contention with one another internally. Whether these companies like it or not, the customer sees this in the form of 3 different Go-to-markets. We have seen this narrative so many times. These three functions act as different companies. Revenue enablement and operations restore a unified view of the customer by ensuring these groups work together. Again, download this tool to understand who and what compromises Revenue Enablement and Revenue Operations.


We are committed to helping more companies strive towards unforgettable growth by publishing insightful content regularly. Here are more blog posts we think you might be interested in.