From Smarketing to Growth Hacking - How Well Are You Aligned?

Since the inception of RevOps, we have disciples and advocates. Having the entire company working together and fostering growth, just makes sense. We have seen the “evolution,” where marketers thought they were cutting edge and implemented “smarketing,” or “sales-enablement." Where you exist on this spectrum will dictate your growth curve.


Bill Arnold

2/8/20245 min read

Rev Ops
Rev Ops

If you are around long enough, in any industry, that which is old becomes new again. Somebody will brush off a tried and true principal, slap on a new name, give it a cool logo, and now it becomes the next best thing everyone has to try. Such is the case with revenue operations (RevOps). A concept that had its start in the early 2000s has become the talk of the town.

Every agency is writing blog after blog about this new powerhouse concept that will revolutionize your business. Each agency, that just seemed to learn this concept, is now the only expertise that you need. Well, if you have just jumped on the bandwagon in the last couple of years, you are late for the party, but we welcome you anyway.

We have always prided ourselves in telling clients what they need to hear and not necessarily what they want to hear. One area that this seems to happen over and over again is in the area of other department’s role in the marketing and sales process. In our opinion, there should be one department, called Growth, and all those with specialties (marketing, sales, product, etc.) are just a subset of that organization.

Since the inception of RevOps, we have disciples and advocates. Having the entire company working together and fostering growth, just makes sense. Business growth cannot be assigned to one or two departments. It is a corporate initiative, where every individual has a role. We have seen the “evolution,” where marketers thought they were cutting edge and implemented “smarketing,” or “sales-enablement,” connecting the two obvious departments responsible for growth. However, other marketers who were either weaned on RevOps, or have used growth hacking, understood that true growth cannot be realized unless the entire organization is mobilized and fulfills its role in the sales process.

Long ago, we coined the term growth enablement to reflect the reality that every department has its own role and responsibility. The difference between RevOps and growth enablement is merely the scope of the initiative. While RevOps speaks to integration between Marketing, Sales, And Customer Support, growth enablement connects every department to the cause. We have implemented programs in organizations whose growth has gone stale. The RevOps program we installed awakened the entire organization, which saw growth increase by 350% in a 12-month period.

If you are an organization that needs to find a new path forward, but are reluctant to try the untested, the good news is that RevOps is a few decades old and is likely the answer to your stagnant growth.

Today, we are going to start a series on RevOps (growth enablement). We will start with the evolution, and then, tomorrow, share why it is absolutely necessary for you to have a program. We will share the process for implementation, and the risks and pitfalls you need to avoid. Finally, we will provide the best practices and proof of what is possible.

RevOps is Foundational but Basic

Revenue Operations (RevOps) – Is a strategic alignment of Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success teams to optimize revenue generation. Revenue Operations is a holistic approach that breaks down the silos between Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success departments. It involves integrating people, processes, and technology to align these functions towards a common goal: driving revenue growth. Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success teams have operated independently, often leading to miscommunication, misalignment, and missed opportunities. Revenue Operations aims to bridge these gaps by fostering collaboration, data-driven decision-making, and a shared focus on revenue outcomes.

Sadly, RevOps is not enough if you want to separate yourself from competitors. It actually is just the start of the story. Companies have gone through a series of awakenings, each of which incrementally bring departments together for better integration and cooperation.

Smarketing – This was one of the first iterations of cooperation that was sold to companies as the only way to grow. In essence, this was cleverly described as “marketing done smart.” It really was just about doing clever marketing that aligned with the Sales team's objectives. Hasn’t clever marketing always been a thing?

Sales Enablement – Is true integration between Marketing and Sales, where each department aligns to better address the needs and concerns of the prospect. In principle, this meant better communication to identify the attributes of the ideal customer. What was the message they needed to hear at each stage of the buyer’s journey? The type, format, and distribution of the content to attract and engage a prospect. In reality, it often just meant that marketing did some additional sales collateral and informed Sales as to what the prospect's pre-bottom-of-the-funnel activities were. There is nothing wrong with the concept of sales enablement, except it did not go far enough and often did not work.

One of the reasons that sales enablement devolves to its basic component is both the lack of training and the lack of corporate support. Sales enablement is not a new concept, as it was first discussed in 1999. The problem is that most companies who tried to integrate it were already having tension between Marketing and Sales.

Marketing would deliver “high-quality” sales qualified leads (SQLs), which did not result in a sale. The Sales department would claim the leads were not good, and the Marketing department would claim that Sales did not know how to sell water in a desert. Bringing the concept of “cooperation,” between two groups already in turmoil, just resulted in added tension and pointing of fingers. The first step needed to be educating the department heads as to the benefits of cooperation and adoption.

The companies often fail to educate and require cooperation. I have seen CEOs who have thought the tension between the groups was “healthy.” The best way to facilitate sales enablement is to put the departments under one roof. Hire a Chief Growth Officer and place both Marketing and Sales under their purview.

RevOps – is the next evolution in starting to align the company to support and cooperate with each other for the greater good. It brings Marketing, Sales, and Customer Support to work seamlessly on growing the company. While this is a good start, it still fails to recognize that other groups have a role to play as well.

Growth Enablement - It brings to the table Marketing, Sales, Support, Product Team, Operations, and Finance to align and remove interdepartmental barriers to growth. It embodies the full lifecycle, taking them from prospect to customer to brand advocate. It distinguishes itself from growth hacking simply by the degree of acceleration and emphasis.

Growth Hacking – Every person in the organization, from the janitor to the CEO, has only one focus, the growth of the company. If an action or activity does not foster growth, it is either optimized to do so or eliminated altogether. Growth hacking is all about finding the most effective way to grow your business through experimentation. You seek to continuously improve the performance of every aspect of your Marketing and Sales program. You are never satisfied, and if something is not contributing to growth, it is eliminated.

Growth hacking is marketing/sales on steroids. The entire organization is conscripted into being part of the growth team.


RevOps is a great entry point when you decide to up your game and seek real growth. The moral of this story is the more you can move through the marketing/sales alignment food chain, the faster you will obtain sustained growth. We would always prefer a company that will adopt growth hacking as its corporate strategy. We can understand when they are not willing to adopt such an aggressive posture. Never accept that your company cannot align itself to achieve accelerated growth.

Over the next few days, we will provide you with guidance to set up the RevOps that will work best for your organization.