The complexity involved for sales teams to grow revenue in emerging companies has increased significantly in recent years.
One survey of sales reps around the globe found that nearly 50% believed their jobs had become more challenging when compared to their pre-pandemic jobs. They’re not alone either. This sentiment is echoed by Marketing and Customer Success teams as well, meaning the entire Revenue team finds their jobs more complicated than ever before.
“Gone are the days of a traditional, linear sales outcome,” Alyssa Merwyn wrote for HBR. “The rise of larger buying committees, higher stakes for customer retention, and more decision-maker turnover…is driving longer deal cycles, lower win rates, a weaker pipeline, and frustrated sellers and buyers.”
And when Revenue teams are dealing with difficulties, so too are the Revenue Operations (RevOps) teams supporting them.
In this blog, we’re going to give an overview of how RevOps professionals can grow to be more strategic contributors by spotting and fixing inefficiencies within the sales-to-cash workflow.
RevOps: More than sales admins
RevOps teams play a crucial role for organizations in supporting revenue growth.
They have to be curious listeners, investigators, technologists, and builders who help streamline processes and remove roadblocks to growing revenue from the teams they support.
Believe it or not, it has only been in the last few years that Revenue Operations as a concept has begun to take hold. Prior to that, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success teams in SaaS were mostly managing their own tech stacks, data, and reporting in ways that didn’t quite work in concert.
The results even in a few short years have been clear. Breaking down silos between the various functions of the Revenue team has been shown to increase alignment and productivity once a RevOps practice has been properly established.
Still, many organizations treat RevOps as a more specialized offshoot of IT or administrative teams, and that needs to change. After all, the systems under RevOps’ purview touch nearly every part of the revenue generation process. That includes architecting lead data flow, managing systems like the CRM for customer bookings information and support requests, and gaining importance recently, helping verify and coordinate revenue recognition and billing with Finance and Accounting teams.
In order to shed this image, RevOps leaders must move from acting as tactical support to informing more strategic initiatives. What that means is building a much heavier focus on the first part of their title, “revenue.”
What this has to translate to is becoming experts in what happens after a new sales opportunity has been won by their team, and that means understanding the sales-to-cash workflow.
Understanding the sales-to-cash workflow
The data RevOps is responsible for stewarding through the entire process doesn’t just stop at the Customer Success team. Booking information, contract info, and more are handed off to the accounting and finance team for billing and revenue recognition and affect important company-wide metrics and financial data like cash flow projections and P&L statements.
Should this data be incorrect from the start, it can come back to haunt both the RevOps teams.
That underlines the importance of understanding the sales-to-cash workflow, sometimes referred to as “order-to-cash,” or “quote-to-cash.” This process encompasses managing a customer contract from a won deal through implementation and support, invoicing, payment collection, revenue recognition, and contract renewal.
Because RevOps can often be the bridge between Revenue teams and Finance, they are in an optimal position to establish proper data collection and hygiene throughout sales, support, and renewals that leads to accurate invoicing, revenue recognition, and revenue metrics down the road.
RevOps is perfectly positioned to diagnose issues
In times of economic downturn or unforeseen market shifts, companies must prioritize maximizing their revenue streams. With a staggering 78% of B2B companies struggling to achieve consistent revenue growth, addressing revenue leakage becomes crucial.
For instance, if a customer’s contract signature is pushed out by a week or into a new month or quarter, it can cause huge implications for billing, cash collection, and booking, and revenue recognition dates. Identifying and fixing issues and inefficiencies in the sales-to-cash workflow can mitigate the risk of this happening.
Efficient data management by RevOps plays a key role in this process. By ensuring all stakeholders have access to accurate information, RevOps helps facilitate the software getting into customers’ environments more swiftly, invoices are sent out and paid faster, and that the overall sales-to-cash process is optimized.
This not only safeguards the company's revenue streams but also contributes to its long-term financial stability and resilience in the face of market volatility.
Identifying issues in your sales-to-cash workflow
There are so many moving parts and team members involved in the entire workflow that it can be hard to spot individual issues.
Despite this, there are certain telltale signs that your workflow may need a deeper audit. These may include:
- 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
As you can see, many challenges in the sales-to-cash workflow boil down to one of three issues: bad data, insufficient communication, and poor processes.
Knowing what to look for and what to do is a much more complex problem, but one well worth fixing.
RevOps can become an integral part of any organization’s success by helping drive revenue growth while also increasing efficiency across all departments involved in the sales-to-cash process
For a deeper dive into this topic, download our eBook, Mastering Sales-to-Cash: The Complete Guide for RevOps.