Sales-to-cash processes are broken in many subscription-based and recurring-revenue businesses. Why?
Because a lot of organizations still rely on disparate financial systems, siloed data, and manual invoicing processes.
Sales-to-cash refers to the steps required to process a customer’s order, including the initial sale, booking, billing, revenue recognition, accounting, and collecting cash. At companies that don’t embrace integrated revenue cycle management, teams commonly struggle with inefficient invoicing, inaccurate reconciliation, and imprecise auditing because there is no single source of truth to ensure data integrity and guide reporting.
According to Neil Schulmann, Director of Sales Operations at EliseAI, this single source of truth is essential to creating trust in your financials.
“[Before we had a single source of truth] we had seven different places you could go to get revenue information, and they were all slightly different from each other. It was difficult to determine what was the actual truth in the numbers.”
But there is a better way. Aligning sales and finance systems, applications, and processes inside Salesforce reduces errors, improves cash flow, and creates a single source of truth to drive analytics and business intelligence.
Bridging the Gap between Revenue and Finance
During our recent webinar, “Optimizing Sales-to-Cash & Alignment with Salesforce: Integrated Revenue Cycle Management,” Brandon Metcalf, founder and CEO of Place, sat down with Neil from EliseAI and Brian Pulsipher, VP of Finance at Continu.
Some of the main topics the trio discussed were how Salesforce helps them centralize data and keep revenue and finance in sync, which simplifies reporting and forecasting and allows them to manage the sales-to-cash lifecycle more accurately and effectively.
Brandon, who has been building solutions in the Salesforce ecosystem since 2009, was excited to dig deeper into how Continu and EliseAI are overcoming some of their challenges using Place to leverage the full value of their investment in Salesforce.
“I’ve seen customers and prospects look at Salesforce in two different ways,” Brandon said. “Either they’re going to pay to build customizations that make Salesforce work how they need it to work, or they’re going to buy a third-party product that integrates with Salesforce so they can complete certain things. My mindset is: ‘Why don’t you buy a product that’s actually inside Salesforce that solves your problem?’”
Let’s break down their conversation and look at both the financial and operational benefits of integrated revenue cycle management inside Salesforce.
How Integrated Revenue Cycle Management Helps Solve Sales-to-Cash Inefficiencies at Continu and EliseAI
Although Continu and EliseAI have very different revenue models, they both were able to overcome significant subscription management challenges with Place and Salesforce.
Continu increases transparency and improves data quality.
Continu is a learning management system (LMS) designed to keep the new generation of the workforce connected, mobile, and social.
The LMS marketplace is filled with legacy platforms from the 80s and 90s. About 10 years ago, Continu recognized a need in the industry for a horizontal, consolidated solution that integrated with 21st-century user interfaces (UIs) and offered modern reporting.
Today, Continu serves companies such as Snap, GoPro, and US Foods, providing training for their employees and customers, which requires robust revenue cycle management to support cross-sell and customer retention efforts.
Continu’s revenue model focuses on multi-year contracts paid annually. Historically, Continu relied on third-party subscription management platforms that integrated with Salesforce to manage these subscriptions. However, they struggled to find a solution with the reporting, customization, and invoicing capabilities they required.
The team realized that there was a systemic issue with their systems not talking to each other. So even if they fixed the data in the subscription management service, they still had trash data in Salesforce, impacting billing and reporting accuracy.
Eventually, the team decided to move away from point solutions and look at ecosystem-based solutions that create a single source of truth for data inside of Salesforce, like Place.
Switching to Place essentially requires Continu to validate datasets and enforce controls as soon as the data is entered into Salesforce. This allows Brian’s team to spend more time thinking strategically and less time handholding to make sure data is entered accurately.
According to Brian, leaning into the Salesforce ecosystem has significantly increased transparency and improved Continu’s contract and renewal management processes.
“Now, when my CEO is on calls with the investors, he has real-time data. He knows what his ARR (annual recurring revenue) is, what cash balances are. He can dive into all of that right on the dashboard. And my CSMs know who's delinquent, who's current, and what the terms of their contract and the renewals are.”
The Continu team no longer feels like their revenue cycle management is getting lost in translation. Alignment between finance and RevOps ensures billing, reminders, and reporting are accurate and accessible across the organization.
EliseAI takes control of contract complexity.
EliseAI is a conversational leasing assistant for multi-family apartment buildings. The company was founded in 2017, but as interest in AI has exploded over the past year, EliseAI’s growth has exploded along with it.
Initially, Neil thought the biggest impact of integrating revenue cycle management in Salesforce would be having a single source of truth for revenue data. However, EliseAI ended up benefiting far more from the renewal aspect.
EliseAI’s subscription model is more complex than most. The property tech business contracts with companies that manage multiple buildings across the country. EliseAI not only sells and contracts with the management company, but also with the sometimes thousands of individual buildings the management company oversees.
So although EliseAI might have 200 plus customer accounts, they are working with 8,000 buildings nationwide.
Salesforce helps EliseAI manage this complex environment using custom objects. Some customers are billed at the management company/account level, but most are billed at the building/custom object level, making it easier to get accurate data in and out of Salesforce.
“When we first started looking for a solution, if you had asked me when our customers renew, I could not have given you a single answer,” Neil said. “The renewal dates were all over the place, so you didn’t know how or when to bill the customers or what their contract terms were.”
By optimizing their sales-to-cash processes using Place inside Salesforce, EliseAI has gone from manually managing contracts and renewals using Google Docs, spreadsheets, and QuickBooks to centralized workflows that ensure they maximize their renewal opportunities and minimize missed revenue.
Simplify Subscription Management
In today’s complex business environments, it’s hard to find a subscription management solution that structures your workflows the way you need while also providing transparency and data clarity.
Place helps you leverage Salesforce’s full potential and bridge the gaps between finance and RevOps, keeping revenue cycle management in a single environment.
Watch the on-demand webinar, “Optimizing Sales-to-Cash & Alignment with Salesforce: Integrated Revenue Cycle Management,” to learn more about how Continu and EliseAI used Place to optimize their sales-to-cash processes inside of Salesforce.