Moneyball and Revenue Operations (RevOps)? At first glance, these concepts may seem to have little in common, but they actually are extremely similar.
The Moneyball strategy — made famous by the former General Manager of the Oakland Athletics (A’s) — uses data that’s often overlooked by others to identify and make small changes that, all together, lead to enormous success. Likewise, RevOps is the Moneyball strategy of leading SaaS organizations.
Organizations leading the way in SaaS growth and scalability recognize the importance of data and rely on smart, data-driven decisions instead of gut feel and intuition — much like the Moneyball strategy.
Read on to learn about the strategy and how you can leverage it for your RevOps team.
What’s the story behind the strategy?
If you are just hearing about Moneyball, let’s start with the basics.
The concept was popularized by the 2011 film “Moneyball” with Brad Pitt & Jonah Hill, which tells the true story of Billy Beane, General Manager of the A’s. While most scouts in Major League Baseball relied on gut feel and intuition to build high-performing baseball teams, Beane took a new approach to build a team, later coined “Moneyball.”
Beane had a problem — his team had lost their star players and needed to rebuild quickly with a limited budget.
Beane was up against the traditional method of scouting new players. With limited analytics for advanced player data, scouts typically relied solely on what they saw when watching a game. Sure, there were stats available on batting average, earned run average (ERA), and the like, but scouting was largely based on individual player ability and growth potential.
In a fateful twist of events, Beane meets a young Yale economics graduate who introduces a radical new idea: Find players who were undervalued by other organizations by relying on non-traditional statistical measurements, such as on-base percentage (OBP).
Instead of focusing just on individual players, the strategy aimed to build the best collective team based largely on collective data and analytics, NOT traditional scouting.
Spoiler alert: not only did this more analytical approach work, Beane used it to lead the A’s from one of the worst-performing franchises in baseball to an appearance in the World Series and many successful seasons.
Since the birth of Moneyball, many teams across several sports have tried to copy this success to build high-performing organizations. Some have even called it “the future of baseball.”
Ok, so how does this apply to RevOps?
RevOps is focused on optimizing go-to-market teams. While it manages many responsibilities, it prioritizes using insights and analytics to optimize key metrics.
Like on-base percentage was a critical metric for Beane, RevOps professionals can use metrics such as sales pipeline velocity, annual recurring revenue (ARR), and lifetime value (LTV) to build a scalable strategy and achieve the organization’s goals.
Instead of focusing on individual players (projects or functions), RevOps builds the best collective team (total revenue process). RevOps is all about how to get the most out of every single player, not relying on one to carry the team.
Ready to apply the Moneyball strategy to your RevOps team? Keep these three critical things in mind:
Breakaway from the traditional mold.
Moneyball was a critical turning point for baseball, bringing a refreshing take on how to build a successful franchise. Beane revolutionized the way to build a team by identifying undervalued assets and trading for players who were passed over by others.
RevOps, too, is different. It breaks away from the traditional mold of siloed sales, marketing, and customer success teams. Under RevOps, they’re unified, with common goals, systems, and processes to maximize results.
In a siloed world, strategies are often implemented department by department. But RevOps breaks away to change how SaaS organizations build and scale their companies, creating a customer-centric, adaptable organization.
This has enabled RevOps to become increasingly strategic and vital to the success of SaaS companies as they scale. By understanding that it solves problems across all facets of operations, from inside sales to marketing automation tools and more, organizations can realize gains in efficiency and agility — key components of any successful business.
Focus on building the entire team.
Before Moneyball, baseball franchises focused on key stats on an individual-by-individual basis. Which first basemen should we sign to the team based on X, Y, and Z? Which relief pitcher should we draft based on A, B, C? How much money do we have left to offer our ideal catcher?
The A’s took a more holistic approach to build a team. They focused on what they could control — the data — rather than relying solely on their scouts’ gut feel. They built a team with players that complemented each other, not competed with each other.
For RevOps teams, the same is true: success comes with the best team. While there are many ways to structure a RevOps team, what matters most is that the function is focused on the entire go-to-market organization.
Rather than segmenting the team and building strategies by function, RevOps teams work as a cohesive unit to optimize processes and growth across the organization.
Through the Moneyball approach, RevOps can build a team that is knowledgeable about how actions impact other departments in an organization. With this knowledge, they can make more informed decisions with data-driven support rather than gut feel.
Change isn’t easy.
When Beane first implemented his strategy, he was met with heavy criticism and skepticism. Management, the media, other teams, and even players weren’t bought in on the approach. However, when it DID work, others quickly adapted their own strategy.
But there’s a reason Moneyball is about the A’s and not other teams: change is not easy.
The same holds true for RevOps today. RevOps pushes organizations to critically examine their go-to-market strategies that previously relied on more traditional practices and make adjustments to optimize for success.
From implementing new systems and processes, responding to user requests, and solving critical business problems, RevOps professionals should constantly be making changes and improvements that have a wide-ranging impact on an organization. But this change can be hard, and RevOps teams will likely encounter challenges, even when executing their own changes and strategies.
That’s where Change Intelligence comes in, bringing RevOps clear visibility to implement changes with full knowledge of the downstream impacts. By having access to all of the data, RevOps professionals can make changes with clarity and confidence.
Much like Beane needed his own analytics and tools to intelligently build a team, RevOps teams need to understand how to effectively manage change. The key: With the right information at hand, ops leaders can confidently understand the impacts of their changes and build the best team possible.