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The powerful alliance of design thinking and RevOps

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This article originates from Lorena’s talk at the Revenue Marketing Summit in San Francisco, 2023. 

Catch up on this presentation, and others, using our OnDemand service. For more exclusive content, visit your membership dashboard.

Embarking on the convergence of design thinking and revenue operations has been a journey of discovery, innovation, and strategic evolution for me. It's a path less traveled, blending the empathetic, human-centered approach of design thinking with the data-driven, efficiency-focused principles of revenue operations. 

I’m Lorena Morales, Director of Global Digital Marketing Revenue Operations at JLL. My adventure has been about breaking down silos, fostering collaboration, and driving growth in ways that deeply resonate with customers' needs and pain points

This article is a reflection of my experiences and insights into melding these two powerful disciplines to create a synergistic effect that not only propels companies forward but also ensures they remain deeply connected to their customer base. 

Understanding revenue operations and design thinking

Many might think that to excel in the burgeoning field of revenue operations, one needs to be deeply embedded in systems and technicalities. However, my trajectory tells a different story. 

Coming from a traditional marketing background, I've risen to a leadership role in revenue operations, not because I fit the conventional mold, but because I was among the pioneers who ventured into revenue operations as a distinct discipline about six years ago. 

At that time, offering revenue operations as a service was a novel concept, and even today, its definition remains somewhat nebulous. Does it involve acting as a fractional Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), mastering Salesforce architecture, repairing systems, or managing tool stacks

The answer is all of the above. Revenue operations, in essence, is a customer-centric methodology. It's about aligning every aspect of a business to focus on the needs and journey of the customer. If it lacks this customer-centric approach, it cannot be considered true revenue operations.


Then, what is design thinking, and how does it relate? At its core, design thinking is a human-centered methodology. Notice the common thread here? Both revenue operations and design thinking prioritize a centric approach — customer-centric for revenue operations and human-centered for design thinking. 

The distinction lies in design thinking's focus on three critical questions: Is the solution or product desirable? Is it viable? And is it feasible? These questions aim to ensure that we're not just making assumptions but are genuinely meeting the needs of our customers. 

A product must be desirable, fulfilling a genuine customer need; viable, indicating that it can sustain itself in the market for years to come; and feasible, meaning it is practically achievable. If a concept doesn't meet these criteria, it doesn't align with the principles of design thinking.

Design thinking

This intersection of focusing on the human element, whether we call it customer-centricity in revenue operations or human-centered design in design thinking, forms the foundation of my approach. By integrating these methodologies, we can create strategies that are not only innovative and sustainable but also deeply rooted in addressing real human needs and challenges.

Written by:

Lorena Morales

Lorena Morales

Director of Revenue Operations at JLL.

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The powerful alliance of design thinking and RevOps