Handling sales-to-cash processes can go a long way to understanding a company’s financial health and the overall trajectory of its growth.
But, because sales-to-cash is a compilation of many workflows across departments and people, it can often be difficult to diagnose issues that have led a company to experience unpredictable cash collection and revenue leakage.
In this post, we’re going to explore how to identify if you have a problem in your sales-to-cash workflows, considerations to make before investing in a technology solution, and specific features you should be looking for if that’s your path forward.
How to identify problems in your sales-to-cash workflow
Sometimes it's easy to tell that you have a problem. For instance, one of our customers could very clearly point to the glacially-slow process of managing invoicing and deferred revenue schedules with spreadsheets and say “that’s an issue.”
In that customer’s case invoicing and revenue recognition was manual, error-prone, not scalable, and it was taking too long to collect cash and close the books.
Diagnosing problems in your sales-to-cash workflow starts with considering the overall state of your systems.
Take time to do an audit and consider if you’re dealing with any of the following problems:
- Frequent billing errors due to data being entered incorrectly
- Laborious handoff points between Revenue and Finance or Accounting teams
- Missed renewal dates and lost revenue due to bad CRM data
- Duplication of manual data entry because of siloed software systems
- Customer data seems to get corrupted across an array of spreadsheets and systems
If you’re dealing with any combination of the above, it might be time to start building a business case for investing in a sales-to-cash workflow tool.
What to consider before investing in a new sales-to-cash workflow tool
I’m sure the last thing that Revenue Operations teams want to hear is that they need to add yet another application to their tech stack.
According to various studies, the average company owns licenses to 254 applications with individual departments using anywhere from 40 to 60 of those applications each. Unfortunately, those same studies show that average app engagement over 60 days was 45%. Less than half of the software licenses bought and paid-for by the average organization are getting utilized — but that doesn’t mean there are zero costs to managing them from an IT standpoint.
The first step of choosing a new sales-to-cash system doesn’t have a thing to do with technology. It has to do with identifying the problems that are coming up in your organization.
People tend to adopt technology at lower rates when that technology either isn’t solving a particular problem or is creating a new one entirely. That includes things like forcing people to go to four different applications to complete one task.
Taking time to understand what you’re looking to solve and the technology best equipped to solve it should be the first step in your journey.
What you should be looking for in a sales-to-cash workflow tool
Unfortunately, what many teams find themselves convincingly shepherded into doing by well-meaning salespeople is buying a product before understanding the problem they’re looking to solve. It’s only after they’ve implemented the solution that they realize that it adds inefficiencies elsewhere in the process they were looking to streamline.
As you’re searching for solutions to improve your sales-to-cash process, there are a few features that you should be looking for. Let’s dive into those here.
Integrates with your accounting system
Translating customer contracts into revenue and cash shouldn’t require a huge lift. Since Sales and Finance are going to need to be working from the same set of information, they shouldn’t be required to pass spreadsheets back and forth and manipulate data to get a complete picture of how the business is performing and to form an action plan based on where it is.
Built right into your CRM
You and the teams you support already rely heavily on the data that’s present in your CRM. It makes sense to rely on that as a single source of truth for pipeline and deal-related information. That way sales, marketing, customer success, or anyone with access to the platform can be looking at information in the same way. When employees are already familiar with a given software, it makes the system more likely to be adopted and requires less training for users to familiarize themselves with the UI and functionality.
Works with the same set of data
Nobody wants to be caught in front of their teammates, leadership, or much less in a company board meeting presenting the wrong numbers. Shifting the view of the entire organization from siloed information toward a steady stream of reliable revenue data avoids this issue entirely.
Why add automation into the sales-to-cash workflow?
Automating the parts of the sales-to-cash workflows most likely to cause issues down the line can have a significant impact on an organization's revenue processes across the board. It can eliminate the back-and-forth between various teams and smooth-out handoffs, plus a few other huge benefits.
If your sales reps are manually building contracts in a Word doc, your process is at risk of falling victim to costly mistakes. Instead, by building your contract from within the CRM you’re able to better institute controls to ensure you collect the right data. More accurate data allows your organization to make informed decisions, which leads to better business outcomes. Speaking of data entry, that leads us to our next benefit.
Your organization likely hired your Revenue team members for their particular specialty and skills. We doubt that skill was tedious data entry tasks. Automating tasks like data entry and analysis can help revenue operations professionals save time double-checking or cross-referencing data so everyone involved can focus on more strategic tasks.
Automating data handoffs between Sales and Finance allows for a far deeper understanding of customer behavior, sales patterns, and financial trends. Being able to quickly generate reports, analyze trends, and identify opportunities for growth can make regular reporting a pulse check rather than pulling teeth. The whole organization can then use this information to identify new revenue opportunities and optimize existing processes, ultimately leading back to revenue growth.
Everything in its Place — as it should be.
The overall sales-to-cash workflow is a complex process that involves a variety of different teams and moving parts. Issues that pop up are oftentimes dependent on the specific environment and resources at hand.
Ultimately, investing in a platform that centralizes information and automates this workflow can provide numerous improvements to not just RevOps but the business as a whole.
When looking for the right solution for you, keep in mind the necessity of integration with accounting tools, compatibility with existing CRMs, and scalability across teams. Place offers a complete sales-to-cash workflow solution built natively on Salesforce — supercharging the world’s #1 CRM to work more effectively for B2B SaaS companies around the world
Check out this short video for a preview of how Place can help your team efficiently manage and automate bookings, billings, and revenue processes from right within Salesforce.