RevOps: When Data Doesn't Have All the Answers

October 23, 2023
Karthikeyan Krishnamurthy
Lazy Sales Reps is a myth

In Revenue Operations (RevOps), there's a common belief: "Let data drive decisions." But is data always the definitive answer? Let's challenge this perspective and explore why sometimes the human angle and intuition might be just as valuable.

1. Humans Are More Than Data Points

Metrics such as Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Lifetime Value (LTV), and Churn Rate are vital. However, they don't capture the entire essence of human behavior. For instance, a sudden drop in product usage might be attributed to a feature change, but in-depth customer conversations could reveal it's more about a shift in user priorities or external market factors.

2. Historical Data Can't Predict the Unprecedented

Data often looks to the past to predict the future. But what happens when unprecedented events occur? For instance, few could have predicted the global shifts in consumer behavior brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. While data from previous years would have been largely irrelevant, teams that trusted human insights and adapted quickly fared better.

3. Over-reliance on Data Can Stifle Innovation

If companies only relied on existing data to drive decisions, many innovations would never see the light of day. Take Apple's iPhone, for example. Before its launch, data from conventional mobile phones might not have indicated a substantial market for such a device. But a combination of vision, understanding of human desires, and gut feeling led to one of the most revolutionary product launches in history.

4. Data Might Indicate 'What' but Not 'Why'

Data can show that sales have dropped or that website engagement has increased. But understanding the 'why' behind these shifts often requires human insight. For instance, a dip in sales after a website redesign might not be due to the design itself but perhaps because of deeper issues like brand perception or market saturation.

5. Emotional Intelligence and Empathy Can't Be Quantified

While data can offer quantitative insights, qualitative factors like emotions, perceptions, and feelings play a crucial role in decision-making. A customer feedback form might indicate dissatisfaction, but direct conversations can unearth deeper emotional motivations or apprehensions which no metric can capture.

6. Gut Calls Are Built on Subconscious Experience

While 'gut feeling' might seem like an unscientific approach, it's often a culmination of years of experience, understanding, and observation. It's a subconscious assimilation of numerous data points that might not be immediately quantifiable.

For example, a sales head might intuitively feel that a particular sales strategy might not work in a new market, not because of explicit data, but because of subtle cultural or behavioral observations.


While data is a powerful tool in the RevOps toolkit, it's not the only one. A balanced approach that values human insights, intuition, and experience, alongside hard metrics, is often the key to well-rounded decision-making. In the end, RevOps is about optimizing revenue, and sometimes, the human element provides insights that raw data simply can't.

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