Beyond the Podcast: The Whole Truth About Al*gnment

“I find it slightly offensive when people talk about revenue operations and they talk about it as alignment, because your operators, in revenue operations, are working for the customer. Your Marketing team is working for the customer. Your Customer Success and Sales teams are also working for the customer.” -Jason Reichl, CEO, Go Nimbly  

If you caught May 6th’s episode of the SaaStr Podcast, you will have heard our CEO, Jason Reichl, say some interesting things about alignment. The quote above is one such example. Not so long ago, the conversation happening around revenue operations was much less widely spread; more of an echo chamber, really, with a select few voices shouting into the void and hearing the same messaging shouted back. 
During that time, alignment came to be understood as the core purpose of revenue operations. It seemed like a concise way to explain what was (and is) a much more complex idea; a complete organizational transformation that first and foremost improves the experience you are able to deliver to your customers. 
Of course, alignment has a role. As Jason mentions in the podcast, though, it is more of an inevitable symptom of a successful RevOps implementation than it is the goal. As you make the necessary changes to your ops teams, turning them into a single unit that is just as revenue-generating as your Go To Market teams, alignment will happen naturally. After all, when your RevOps and GTM teams are working towards the same metric (revenue), they are, by definition, aligned. 
So, why do we now think of alignment as a “dirty” word? Allow us to offer up a metaphor: the first time you hear a song you love, you’re happy to listen to it on repeat for a while. Then, eventually, you evolve past it. It becomes overplayed, overused, and you associate it in your mind with various car commercials. For us, the word “alignment” is kinda like that. It has, along the way, come to mean something beyond just cross-functional collaboration. When many people talk about wanting alignment now, what they are really saying is that they want revenue operations to be a magic pill that makes their job easier. 
And, well, no. 
The reason cross-functional collaboration is important is not because it makes anyone’s job easier—although, hey, it’s a bonus. Rather, it’s important because it allows you to be better for your customers. Being able to work across teams without the friction caused by silos means you will be able to do more, faster. It means you can make sure that relevant data is shared efficiently, so that customers won’t be asked the same question again and again. It means that instead of focusing on roadblocks and fights over resources, your teams can focus on improving things that might be causing churn. 
Long story short, we believe in alignment in its purest form, but not as a shortcut or an excuse. Becoming aligned is a step in the journey, not the finish line. 
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