Scalable, repeatable revenue generation is the goal of any business.
None are more vital to this overall process than the activities of the Revenue and Finance teams.
While the former is focused on identifying, acquiring, and keeping new customers, the latter is making sure that the financial health of the company is on track and said customers actually pay.
Increasing alignment between the two departments can effectively streamline decision-making, information sharing, and eventually maximize efficiency in revenue growth.
However, keeping these two functions aligned can be a challenge. They can often have competing priorities, a misunderstanding of what the other’s role is, and tracking entirely different metrics.
Revenue Operations is perfectly positioned to tackle each of these challenges and in this post, we’ll show you how.
Understand Challenges for Revenue and Finance teams
Revenue teams and Finance teams have a tendency to see each other as something other than a colleague or team member.
“When sales sees finance approaching, they see roadblocks--like burdensome approvals--stopping them from getting deals done,” the Salesforce Cloud team told Forbes, ”When finance looks at sales, they see a lack of regard for the bottom line, a team trying anything and everything to close a deal, no matter how unprofitable the terms may be.”
The best place to start bridging the gap between Revenue and Finance is making sure each understands what the other’s role looks like. RevOps likely already has a deep understanding by virtue of their position supporting the Revenue team. That said, it’s likely that Finance may be a new territory for RevOps professionals.
By getting more involved on the Finance side of the business, RevOps teams can not only expand their knowledge of how a company’s systems interact but better establish clear communication between various groups.
The rewards of doing so mean a far better ability to collaborate across departments. When Revenue teams are aware of the obstacles faced by their Finance colleagues, RevOps can help adjust processes to mitigate the risk of this problem occurring farther upstream. This collaboration not only leads to more efficient workflows but also fosters a positive company culture where employees feel valued and heard.
Establish Clear Communication Channels
Imagine if the only time you heard from a colleague was when something went wrong. It would most certainly shape your opinion of them and immediately put you on guard if their name pops up in your inbox.
This is the situation that most Revenue and Finance teams find themselves in. They might only communicate when there is a dispute about budget, what “the numbers” actually are, or confusion over a contract.
One of the best ways to improve the relationship between these two teams is to foster more frequent and positive collaboration. Both of these teams are part of the same workflow and as such, the work of one party influences another. For instance, information entered into the CRM by Sales will likely make its way onto the contract and eventually be needed for the revenue schedule established by the finance team.
RevOps must ensure that every part of this process, referred to as sales-to-cash, is buttoned up tight. By ensuring information is entered properly at every step of the way, RevOps can make the handoff between Revenue and Finance quick, transparent, and painless.
Getting both teams on the same page goes further than just one big handoff. Having the right systems and tools in place to share information openly and collaborate consistently is just important.
This might include Slack, Microsoft Teams, or other messaging platforms for real-time communication or regular cross-departmental meetings to share updates and discuss challenges.
More frequent communications increase the chances that both teams can help identify opportunities for improvement and innovation. Sometimes having a fresh set of eyes can mean all the difference to finding unique solutions to a problem which ultimately leads to better products, services, and customer experiences.
Likewise, having a single source of truth can ensure that there’s never a doubt as to who has the right numbers which we’ll dive into next.
Align Goals and Metrics
Another major challenge for these teams is how they’re tracking the financial health of the business. For example, let’s say the Revenue team is talking about bookings goals while the Finance team is talking about cash flow and recognized revenue. While both might be talking about the correct information, there will be a discrepancy around how this information can guide future activities.
RevOps can help facilitate both teams getting on the same page regarding which goals and KPIs are shared and how they can work towards them. Both teams should regularly review these goals and adjust over time so that activities are aligned with the organization's evolving needs.
Example metrics might include having a consistent place both teams can refer to for metrics like revenue growth, customer lifetime value (LTV), customer acquisition costs (CAC), and more. Need a refresher on the terms? Check out our Little Black Book of SaaS for a quick reference.
Data-driven decision-making should be the goal but if data is siloed or in multiple different systems, RevOps should step in to offer suggestions of how to untie the knot.
Implement technology that reduces manual work
There’s a tendency for companies or RevOps teams to hope they can throw a piece of technology at a problem and hope it goes away.
It’s only after lines of communication are open and teams are aligned on what they’re working on that technology can enter the picture. Technology is only going to take you a short way if your teams can’t agree on anything.
As RevOps teams are optimizing processes, they should:
- Establish a single source of truth for data to avoid discrepancies and misinterpretations.
- Monitor and analyze data to identify areas for improvement and optimization.
- Ensure both teams have access to relevant data and analytics tools.
- Encourage data-driven discussions and decision-making in meetings and communications.
This point is important enough that it bears repeating: don’t skip the “softer” communication aspects as you’re looking to improve collaboration between Revenue and Finance
Once communication is established, you should explore a roadmap for establishing your CRM as a single source of truth for customer information across the organization. With every place that you require team members to update, you’re increasing the chances that the information won’t make it in there, gets out of sync between systems, or, most commonly, is simply entered incorrectly.
Bridging the gap between finance and revenue teams is essential for maximizing efficiency and driving business growth.
Because of RevOps' position between these two functions, they are optimally placed to help improve communication and ensure that data is entered, processed, and analyzed in the same manner no matter who is looking at it.
For RevOps professionals looking to take a place of more strategic leadership within their organization, they should learn how to identify and fix inefficiencies in their company’s sales-to-cash workflow.
Get everything you need to know in our digital guide, Mastering Sales-to-Cash: The Complete Guide for RevOps!