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Benchmarking in B2B SaaS - Beyond the Numbers

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Scott Sutton

Revenue Operations

Benchmarks go far beyond the “numbers” and “metrics”

Benchmarking is a discipline that enables organizations to identify processes and best practices that companies inside and outside of your industry to become best in class in a specific discipline.

Scott Sutton is the VP, Revenue Operations at ZoomInfo and shares his experiences in building the Revenue Operations function.

Scott’s initial career experience was in the automotive industry and provided a solid foundation for his transition into B2B SaaS.

Operations have traditionally been a second order of priority in the B2B SaaS industry.  When Scott joined ZoomInfo, he highlighted that they were already a very “data-driven” company, but he was able to bring his deep and broad operational process skills developed at Daimler.

Scott quickly learned that process analysis methods, like queue theory, were highly transferable to the customer acquisition processes at ZoomInfo.   The revenue process is at the core of everything that Revenue Operations has responsibility.  Using a project + process thinking framework, every challenge can be isolated, analyzed, and resolved across the company.  Individual contributors, such as sales development or Customer Success Managers are key sources of process feedback and input.  By “walking the floor”, the RevOps team remains aligned to understand their experience in executing the processes they design and refine.

Two years ago, ZoomInfo deployed product managers for each function within sales.  They are the primary resource responsible for shadowing resources in that function and identifying process improvement opportunities for the function and processes.

The Performance Management Framework builds upon the concepts of the AOR framework.  Activity metrics are readily available to the front line every day.  ZoomInfo conducts weekly forecasting, customer experience, pipeline growth including daily pacing which directly feeds into the monthly operating review.

How important are activity metrics to the framework?  Activity matters, even though individuals can be an exception to the activity supply chain, having activity goals are critical to forecasting the level of inputs required to deliver outcomes as measured by pipeline and revenue.

“Activity Score” is a unique measurement that ZoomInfo uses. The algorithm weights every type of communication measured by engagement level, and then is cross-referenced by the target market. The input signals are continuously evolving, so the Activity Score is dynamic and will reset based upon a longer than normal lack of signals.  The activity score normalizes for each target market segment and automatically scales up or down based upon market segment.

Benchmarking goes far beyond the numbers, but best-in-class companies can learn from other industries that have best practices in a process that you have targeted for improvement.  One example was how best-in-class companies improve internal system administration. With 20+ sales tech developers, he wanted to benchmark how world-class companies managed software development and administration, and how they could improve based upon classic software development benchmarks.

ZoomInfo measures RevOps impacts company metrics, by focusing on metrics such as ACV per rep or how much investment is allocated to new versus expansion revenue. Another example is CLTV to CAC Ratio, as it helps inform how to balance the “land and expand” model by evaluating initial contract value versus Customer Lifetime Value after multiple years of up-sells and cross-sells.

If you are responsible for Revenue Operations or have a responsibility on how to use data generated from multiple market-facing technologies, Scott’s experience and insights make for a highly informative discussion.

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