A 21st Century Model To Generate More Revenues, Returns and Value From Your Commercial Data, Technology and Talent Assets

For decades, the sales and marketing technology stack has been a universe of technology assets revolving around a central system of record of sales – namely CRM.  After 30 years the return on selling assets – people, data, technology, and content – still falls below managers’ expectations, and even further below their potential to create firm value by any financially valid measure. Deploying 21st century innovations in a 20th century management framework has resulted in Return on Assets, Return on Investment, sales productivity, and performance that are unsatisfactory to sales and marketing leaders – and undecipherable to CEOs and CFOs in most cases.

We’ve reached the point where the proliferation of sales and marketing technology tools and the growing complexity of the growth technology stack have made the traditional approaches most organizations use to manage and measure these assets untenable.  The number of tools in the modern selling system has multiplied to include thousands of solutions, apps and platforms. The fragmented and tactical management of these expensive growth assets makes it very difficult to stitch together technology and data in ways that create value.

Equally important is the reality that no single tool is going to solve every problem completely. In practical application, it takes three or more steps to move to turn translate data into insights and then actions that create value. It takes many steps to collect, transform, and deploy information or content from one system to the person or place it can create value. For example, the process of organizing, managing, recommending, and intelligently deploying sales content to a salesperson at the moment they need it takes at least three steps and likely spans many systems. The same applies to the rapidly growing stockpiles of data about customers. Capturing, aggregating, analyzing, and deploying insights based on customer interaction data is a multi-step journey. That’s why the best revenue enablement platforms like revenue.io now span three or four established technology categories and almost defy description. As evidence, every solution we identified in our Revenue Enablement 100 analysis of the top 100 technologies enabling the 21st Century Commercial Model connects at least two parts of the ecosystem to create value. A third of them effectively connect three or more parts. 90% of them are powered by Artificial Intelligence..

This dynamic diminishes the usefulness of conventional technology marketing, analyst research, catalogs, benchmarks, and evaluations. It also explains why the technology portfolios of most organizations are littered with tools that are duplicative, difficult to use, or disconnected from the other parts of the system.

To effectively manage this complicated data and technology ecosystem, business leaders are going to have to reimagine their commercial technology portfolios with value creation as the goal. They’ll be forced to look across technology silos and islands and take a broader view of how data, content, and technology assets are supporting sales and creating new revenues. We propose a new framework – the Revenue Operating SystemSM – designed to help business leaders unlock the potential of their large investments in sales and marketing technology and advanced analytics to accelerate revenues, increase profits and create firm value. This simple but comprehensive model provides a leadership roadmap to rationally reconfigure their sales and marketing portfolios from the “top down” to ensure they deliver value and directly support revenue and profit generation.


The smartest way to generate better growth returns with limited investment is to find ways to better connect the growth technology portfolio and the customer data you already have to the five ways they can create value. They include: delivering better channel performance, resource allocation, people management, measurements, and “product channel readiness.” The most successful growth leaders are taking a “top down” approach to managing their sales and marketing technology portfolio by knitting together these technologies into ecosystems – or federations – that have the greatest potential to create value and higher returns on their technology, content and data assets. These include “connecting the dots” across their tech stacks to enable digital selling platforms, integrate learning and development into a closed-loop process, and using AI to provision algorithmic resource allocation, decision-making, and measurement models.

The Revenue Operating SystemSM framework outlines the three keys to improving the utilization and return on legacy large investments in sales support and digital marketing infrastructure and the content and data they generate. These include:

1.Monetizing revenue engagement and seller activity data from first party systems and third-party data sources at scale and in real time

2. Better leveraging commercial assets that support sellers, including CRM, enablement, engagement, content management, and readiness systems

3. Improving the return on customer facing technology by using signals and customer intelligence from the digital marketing infrastructure to inform actions by sales and customer success teams.

Advanced analytics and AI lie at the center of the framework to create an “Engagement Data Hub” that collects and converts customer, sales, product, and transaction data  into commercial insights that inform actions and decisions to create value and growth in six ways.

The Revenue Operations SystemTM explicitly outlines these six specific ways growth leaders can deploy sales and marketing technologies to create value.

  1. Revenue Intelligence: Managing and measuring the financial return on growth investments
  2. Revenue Enhancement: Better packaging, pricing, and personalizing communications, campaigns and offerings
  3. Resource Optimization: Optimally allocating people, time, and selling effort
  4. Channel Optimization: Improving the engagement, productivity, cadence, and coverage of selling channels
  5. Customer intelligence:  Leveraging customer data to optimize campaigns, recommendations, answers and seller priorities
  6. Talent  Development: Integrating learning and development to better ramp, develop and retain top talent

This will help them prioritize efforts to connect the dots across their technology portfolios in ways they generate revenues, profits (EBIDTA) and firm value.

>> Read the full brief

You can learn more about the Revenue Operating SystemSM, and ways your organization can accelerate growth and transform selling by reading the entire the 21st Century Commercial Model study.