It’s no secret that Revenue Operations teams are a vital cog in the GTM machine.
Data even backs this up. Various studies done within the last few years have found that a properly defined and aligned RevOps team can lead to a 21% increase in productivity and alignment across sales and marketing.
The trouble starts when you consider the sheer volume of responsibilities that Revenue Operations teams are balancing at any given time. From supporting marketing and sales reps throughout the pipeline generation process, to managing the systems tracking customers throughout their entire lifecycle, it can be a struggle to understand the entire process.
After RevOps is done with the heavy lifting enabling sales reps to win the deal there’s still more work to be done. In this blog, we’ll help you understand what the rest of the workflow looks like, and dig into each individual step along the way.
Let’s get started.
What is a Sales-to-Cash Workflow?
Sales-to-Cash, sometimes known as Order-to-Cash, is a way of understanding the overall process of following-through on a new or renewed contract with a customer. The complete process starts once an order is received and follows through the process of fulfillment, invoicing, and payment collection.
RevOps professionals serve as a key intermediary in this process, as they sit in between the Sales reps, Customer Success teams, and Finance. Data managed by the Revenue Operations team can ensure that customer orders are properly fulfilled, that payments are collected correctly, and that both teams’ processes are as efficient as possible.
Moreover, as they monitor and review customer orders, track payments, and support customers throughout the payment process, they can assist in maximizing potential revenue, which includes recognizing cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
Why is the Sales-to-Cash Process Important?
By monitoring and improving the Sales-to-Cash process, Revenue Operations can help SaaS companies ensure accuracy and maximize efficiency in their financial processes.
As a SaaS business expands and grows, presumably the customers will grow with it. By streamlining or even automating aspects of the Sales-to-Cash workflow, your organization can focus more on delivering high-caliber service, expanding key accounts, or ensuring that customer churn remains low. Each of these activities by themselves can contribute to increasing customer lifetime value (LTV) but by maximizing all of them, you can make a significant improvement to the overall efficiency of your organization.
Overview of the Sales-to-Cash Workflow
The Sales-to-Cash workflow can be broken down into five parts. Following the processes necessary after Sales has won a deal, or after Customer Success has won a renewal, the other four parts include invoicing, accounting, payment processing, as well as ongoing reporting and analysis.
Timely and accurate invoicing ensures that the customer receives an accurate invoice and fosters a higher likelihood that they will pay on-time, strengthening your company’s cash position. Typically, there are multiple systems in play throughout the invoicing process: one used by the revenue teams and systems used by the Finance/Accounting teams.
For this reason, many SaaS organizations have RevOps sit between the aforementioned teams to ensure that the systems are transferring information properly.
This again emphasizes why it is so important for RevOps to ensure that the correct data is in Salesforce. This includes verifying customer details, reviewing any applicable discounts or credits, and ensuring that accurate data eventually ends up on invoices. By taking this crucial step, RevOps ideally can automatically pull the right data from closed-won Salesforce opportunities and draft one-time, recurring, and/or usage-based invoices.
Whether you help run a SaaS organization or a brick-and-mortar retail store, the general ledger serves as the backbone of all Accounting and Finance operations. It holds detailed and transaction-level information, such as customer invoices, payments received, expenses incurred, and revenue earned.
This data is required for taxes, but is also used to identify areas of improvement, assess the company's financial health, and identify potential cost savings. Additionally, it can be used to track changes in customer invoicing and revenue over time and to analyze sales trends by product. When invoices are generated correctly and the revenue schedule is built accurately, it can allow for more accurate financial forecasting, as the amounts are applied with accuracy to the general ledger at the appropriate times.
For RevOps, this once again means ensuring data integrity is as high as possible. Furthermore, the team can be conducting regular reviews of the information to review any discrepancies or errors and make sure that they are corrected before they become a larger problem.
Not all SaaS companies process payments in the same way. A SaaS business can process payments in a variety of ways, depending on the organization’s preferences, requirements, and preferences of their customers.
Once the customer has received their invoice, they could potentially pay by credit card, Automated Clearing House (ACH), bank transfer, PayPal, or some other online payment method.
RevOps teams are in an ideal position to help Finance/Accounting teams streamline and optimize the way payment processing activities fit-in with the overall revenue tech stack. Through automation, they can work with Finance to ensure that all customer payments are properly tracked, with payment status displayed on the correct account records in the CRM. They can also set up automatic notifications when someone in accounts receivable has marked a payment as received. This would help keep customer success and account management teams more closely in-tune with their customers’ status.
Reporting and Analysis
Reporting overall isn’t a separate activity but one that is tied throughout every portion of the overall Sales-to-Cash Workflow. Through their expertise in revenue-related systems, RevOps is optimally positioned to monitor data trends and provide insights into areas needing improvement or optimization.
Reports, metrics, graphs, and dashboards created and maintained by the RevOps teams helps various functions in the organization keep tabs on revenue-related activities they might be a part of.
For instance, Finance can have a report that shows when new contracts are created, updated, or renewed so they can update billing and revenue schedules. That same data should be in reports and dashboards for Revenue teams so they can track progress towards their revenue-related goals or, should Sales reps they be paid commission when a customer settles their invoice, status on payment. Customer Success can understand the payment status for customers so they can understand their standing when it comes to the latest payments due and tailor their conversation accordingly.
Through automated reports and dashboards, they can also help provide insights to the rest of the organization around any trends or anomalies that could adversely affect a company's financial performance down the line.
Overviews are helpful for establishing a framework but actually maximizing the various aspects of your overall Sales-to-Cash workflow requires a more in-depth understanding.
That’s why over the next few weeks, we’re going to be digging into each aspect of this workflow. We’ll cover each one and explore why each is important to the overall process, how things can go wrong, and how best to optimize them. Be sure to check back next week when we’ll take a look at invoicing.
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To learn how RevOps teams use Place to improve Sales-to-Cash, check out this page.