Mastering Sales-to-Cash: The Complete Guide for RevOps

The complexity involved for sales teams to grow revenue in emerging companies has increased significantly in recent years. In this Ebook, we provide an overview of how RevOps professionals can grow to be more strategic contributors by understanding, spotting, and fixing inefficiencies within sales-to-cash workflows.
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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 ebook, 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.

To do that, we will explore:

  • An overview of the stages of the sales-to-cash workflow
  • The impact of fixing billing issues before they happen
  • Identifying problems in your workflow
  • Fixing issues within your overall workflow
  • Reducing error rates with automated processes
  • What features a sales-to-cash workflow tool requires

RevOps & Sales-to-Cash 

Even in its brief history, the role and functions of Revenue Operations teams have changed immensely. 

Even so, there are a few certainties: 

Being in RevOps is not just being a technologist or solely an operational process manager. It’s not just about being a system admin. And it’s not just Sales Ops + Marketing Ops = RevOps.

Today’s RevOps teams are efficiency experts. 

As RevOps.io put it, “Revenue Operations aims to drive growth throughout the customer life cycle by creating operational efficiency and making all teams accountable for a single metric – revenue.”

The activities that RevOps helps support on the GTM side don’t end once a deal has been booked — your team needs to understand how that the data quality they push downstream to Finance and Accounting can eventually come back to haunt both the teams they support as well as them.

The Sales-to-Cash process is like a roller coaster

Think of the overall sales-to-cash process like a roller coaster. 

It goes up that first big climb then, as it goes down on the other side of the hill is carried through that momentum and goes through a (hopefully unending) series of vertical loops like this:

In B2B SaaS terms: RevOps wants to support the teams that get the prospect to the top of that first hill (the sale) and then build enough momentum on the way down (customer experience) in order to continue looping again and again and again (renewals).

The traditional direction of Revenue Operations has had teams fully focused on the pre-sale activities, but it’s time for a newer, more broad direction.

Shifting the focus for RevOps teams

If there’s one thing that organizations striving for efficiency can’t have, it’s silos.

Essentially, that’s why RevOps was formed. 

It exists as a function to connect all of the revenue generating teams, activities, and processes under one umbrella. 

That way, we avoid the worst case scenarios:

  • Marketing thinking their job is done as soon as they pass the lead to Sales
  • Sales thinking their job is done as soon as it’s marked closed-won
  • Customer Success thinking their job is done once that renewal is signed

As most Revenue Operations teams know, they need to help maximize the efforts of all of these teams and make their processes as efficient as possible. 

That means understanding what happens after that deal is closed and how that affects their teams in the long run.

The main problem facing RevOps teams today

The pivotal point for RevOps is at the peak of the hill on the roller coaster, where everything can go completely wrong. 

Today, most Revenue Operations practitioners come from either a Sales Ops or Marketing Ops background or a mix favoring one of the two. The unintended result is a narrower focus on pre-sale activities. 

Let’s use an example.

Let’s say there aren’t the correct controls in place for sales opportunity creation in Salesforce. When that opp is (hopefully) closed-won, that information is likely automatically passed over to the contract and the Finance teams. 

Should that information be wrong and the customer is billed incorrectly, that will not only break trust in your organization but very likely will make the customer angry. 

The fallout could be anything from fewer upsell opportunities, a reduction in the number of licenses they own, or customer churn.When those invoicing and revenue issues go awry, the teams that you support will be under fire and therefore RevOps will be under fire. 

The time has come to expand RevOps’ scope to include the sales-to-cash workflow. 

Shifting the focus to sales-to-cash workflows

By focusing on the overall sales-to-cash workflow, RevOps can support two key activities: reducing revenue leakage and identifying product white space. 

Revenue leakage refers to the loss of potential revenue that can occur at any point in the process where income from customers is not properly captured, based upon the terms of signed customer agreements. 

It is so critical for Revenue Operations teams to maintain consistent diligence in closing the gaps that can cause revenue leakage, including pricing errors, invoicing mistakes, inaccurate contracts, or poor data hygiene.

At the same time, having accurate data in your CRM can help identify where there are cross-sell or upsell opportunities that haven’t yet been capitalized upon (AKA product white space). 

RevOps is in the ideal position to understand what products, features, and functionality are being used by customers (or not), and what additional products could be added to the customer’s agreement to boost their satisfaction and retain them as long-term customers.

Both of these activities can help reduce friction for the revenue-generating teams and create more value for your customers and your organization.

What is the 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 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 all teams involved 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.

Where should RevOps begin?

Obviously this process is not a “one-and-done” sort of thing. 

Revenue Operations teams should never expect perfection, but instead should be aiming to continuously improve the overall sales-to-cash workflow and identify new areas ripe for optimization. 

With their knowledge of efficiency and growth, RevOps is best equipped identify areas of revenue leakage and product whitespace in order to enable the teams they support to capitalize and generate more revenue. 

This is not only beneficial to a company’s financial health, but also provides a better experience for customers, leading to stronger retention and expansion revenue figures. 

The 5 Parts of Sales-to-Cash

The sales-to-cash workflow can be broken down into the five parts. Following processes necessary after a won-deal, the other four steps include invoicing, general ledger, payment processing, as well as ongoing reporting and analysis. 


Everyone loves it when Sales finally closes that deal.

Whether it’s the ring of a gong, cheering from an entire company, or the sound of a Slack or Teams notification for a company-wide announcement with a flood of emoji-filled celebration messages, there’s not a SaaS organization in the world that doesn’t get excited about a closed-won deal.

In reality, the work is only getting revved-up for RevOps. The period of time immediately following a customer’s signature on the dotted line is crucial for RevOps to ensure that all the data is in the right place to support revenue reporting, renewal forecasting and preparation, onboarding the customer, and more.

5 activities RevOps needs to do for closed-won

  1. Validate and Update Deal Information in Your CRM

Having the appropriate contract details from the start can save more than just time down the line for business intelligence, forecasting, or pipeline management. Once a deal has been marked as closed-won in Salesforce, RevOps should have systems and processes in place to verify that all the information about the customer’s pricing and payment terms, contract dates, and product license numbers are accurate and up to date. 

  1. Get the right information to the right people

Having a single source of truth, such as a CRM like Salesforce, allows for greater visibility between all stakeholders. Once the right people have confirmed that the appropriate data is correct, RevOps can better communicate with the Accounting team how and when the customer should be billed and how revenue should be scheduled and recognized in the accounting system. This ensures that everyone along the chain – from Sales to Accounting – is able to properly manage subscription bookings, billing, and revenue recognition.

  1. Plan and Execute Cross-Selling and Upselling Strategies

Cross-selling and upselling, also known as account expansion, can help you increase customer lifetime value and prevent churn. RevOps teams should use their CRM, Salesforce or otherwise, to manage this. RevOps should set up reports and automations that can alert Customer Success or Account Managers for cross-sell or upsell opportunities within their book of business.

  1. Monitor Customer Health Scores and Scalability

RevOps teams should be monitoring customer health through some sort of health score to assess overall satisfaction, engagement, and likelihood to renew or upgrade. Using a Red, Amber, or Green (or RAG) Status report gives teams a quick visual insight into the current health of an account at any given time. Red is equivalent to “in trouble,” amber equivalent to “cautiously moving forward,” and green equivalent to “proceed as normal.” Tracking these sentiments will help predict customer retention and identify where to invest resources to improve the customer experience.

  1. Analyze and Share Post-Sales Data Insights

RevOps must make it simple for the right people to analyze post-sales data regularly. This data can help your company understand which strategies are working, which ones need adjustment, and which ones should be scrapped. Once you have this data, make it as easy as possible for teams within the company to share it confidently. 


Timely and accurate invoicing ensures that the customer receives an accurate invoice and foster 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. 

General Ledger

Whether you are 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 used to identify areas of improvement, assess the company's financial health, and identify potential areas of savings. Additionally, it can be used to track changes in customer invoicing over time, or analyze sales trends by product. When invoices are generated properly and the revenue schedule is built accurately, it can allow for more accurate forecasting as the amounts are applied to the general ledger at the appropriate time and in the correct amounts.

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. 

Payment Processing

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 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.

Effective Contracts

Every organization wants to be data-driven. But when 91% of data in CRM systems is predicted to be untrustworthy, it’s like attempting to navigate the globe in 2023 with a map from 1850. 

Revenue Operations shouldn’t be spending all their time policing whether or not people are putting data into systems correctly. Instead, they should focus on establishing controls that make it efficient and easy to capture and leverage data that the organization needs to grow. 

That means capturing all of the information the Revenue team needs in order to successfully get the right customer information into the correct location so it can be used downstream in the customer journey by the rest of the company. 

An example of capturing the right information might include requiring the Sales team to record the customer service start date in a specific Salesforce field, allowing the customer success team to identify an accurate customer subscription renewal date. At the same time, that customer record should include everything that the Finance, Billing and Accounting teams need to create a revenue and billing schedule and follow it closely.

And all of this data starts with the customer’s signed agreement, or the contract.

How the contract affects the sales-to-cash workflow downstream

Contracts are essential to improving the Sales-to-Cash workflow because they contain vital information that serves both the Revenue teams as well as the Finance and Accounting teams.

This includes:

  • Payment terms - Is the customer expected to pay upon receiving their invoice, or have you extended them net terms? If so, is it net 30? 45?
  • Billing frequency - Are they being billed  monthly, quarterly, annually?
  • Amounts - How much are they being billed on each invoice, and for which products?
  • Date of signing - What date was the agreement signed?
  • Renewal provisions - What are the terms of the renewal?
  • Subscription start date - When does the customer get access to the product?
  • Subscription end date - Does the contract outline when service is expected to terminate?

RevOps should ensure this information is collected in a centralized location such as Salesforce, which can then be pushed downstream into the accounting system. In return, this prevents teams from wasting time looking for information or, worse, using incorrect information. Bad information of that nature can lead to revenue leakage, unbilled revenue, and an overall inadequate customer experience.

Ideally, information should be pulled directly from the customer agreement so it can then flow into setting up billing schedules.  The company can then bill the customer on-time and for the right amounts which feeds various metrics and analytics the teams will track as well as support long-term revenue growth and company stability.

Helping finance and accounting work more efficiently

Finance and accounting teams need certain information in order to calculate, analyze, and report on SaaS metrics that are crucial to track and leverage across the company. This most certainly includes bookings, billings, and revenue numbers, among others. 

These teams also need customer contract information in order to create an accurate deferred revenue schedule. This schedule represents revenue that has been earned but cannot be recognized until certain conditions have been fulfilled (eg. successful delivery of your software product in a certain month).

If the data that’s been captured from customer contract details is trustworthy, these teams can comfortably rely on automation in order to generate the right metrics and analytics in an efficient manner, freeing up their time to focus on more strategic activities.

Identifying opportunities for revenue growth 

Trustworthy and accurate contract data can help support Revenue teams as they look to grow sales. One method is through pricing optimization. 

By analyzing contract data, Revenue teams can better understand the types of customers and the specific price points they buy across all product lines. They can then adjust pricing strategies or construct proposals to prospects with similar characteristics to increase the likelihood those companies will buy in the future. 

Furthermore, as the customer gets closer to renewal, by having all of the products accurately outlined in the most relevant records, Sales and Customer Success teams can easily uncover product white space so they can identify and pursue cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

If all the information captured from the contract is correct and is then passed between and handled by people and systems responsible for each related function, RevOps is doing its part to minimize revenue leakage. That means ensuring the service start date occurs as it is reflected on the contract so that service delivery aligns with forecasted dates and amounts of revenue recognition. 

Increasing company stability and operability

Revenue growth is important, but isn’t the same as what a company can spend. 

That’s because revenue is not cash. 

Revenue is an accounting term that follows a specific set of rules outlined in ASC 606. Understanding what revenue actually is versus bookings or billings can help RevOps see the larger picture of the overall financial health of their organization. That’s because SaaS companies who are selling an annual subscription to their product don’t recognize the entire contract value all at once. 

For instance, accounting teams will record one year's worth of revenue broken up into monthly amounts.  As each month passes and service is delivered successfully, the accountants can then recognize that month's revenue.

Cash, on the other hand, is the actual amount of money in the bank that a company has on hand at a specific point in time. As customers are billed successfully and on time according to their agreements, that will continue to increase cash. Then, so long as expenses are controlled and the customers are continuing to be billed on time, the strength of your cash position increases. From there, the company and individual teams can actually fund operational activities, whether that’s expanding your tech stack or increasing headcount.

By understanding how much cash a company has incoming and available at a point in time, you can better understand profitability. Strengthening your organization’s cash position is vital if the goal is to either become profitable or remain profitable. On the other hand, it can be like a falling row of dominoes when the cash collection doesn’t go as planned, since cash flow and cash flow predictions are based on the billing and collections schedule.

Profitability becomes increasingly important when venture capital isn’t an immediately available option, especially in times of economic uncertainty. Instead, the organization needs to focus on reducing revenue leakage and capturing revenue that is already owed so that your cash flow becomes more predictable and the stability of your organization is that much more assured. 

As an added bonus, if you can illustrate that cash flow into your organization is predictable and stable, it will make it easier to be more attractive to VC funding even when funding has dried up.

How RevOps bridges the gap between revenue and finance

Revenue Operations teams are the custodians of vital data for the sustainability and growth of the organization.

By properly managing controls around all systems of records under their purview, RevOps teams can help support more accurate data, identify areas of growth, improve processes, and create a sustainable pace for success. 

It’s important to make sure you have the right tools in place to integrate and automate the processes of contract management and customer billing, and that you have a deep understanding of the financial terms involved in the customer lifecycle.

Identifying Issues in Your Sales-to-Cash Workflow

Inefficiency can cost companies 20% to 30% of its revenue every year (IDC). 

Some of those losses can be chalked up to employee time being wasted through bloated, overwrought processes. Others might be deeper-seated signs that you’ve got a revenue leakage issue in your sales-to-cash workflow which, while fixable, can easily go unnoticed. 

When asked about these sorts of issues, ops writer, Lucy Mazalon observed, “The phrase ‘one step forward, two steps back’ comes to mind.  If revenue leakage is an issue, your organization could take one step forward (“closed won” opportunity), but two steps back (ultimately losing revenue).”

  1. Frequent billing errors

Half of invoices generated in the US become past due. 61% of late invoice payments are because the invoice wasn’t correct in the first place. The causes of billing or invoicing improperly are wide ranging but the effect is usually the same: lack of confidence in the cash collection schedule. 

If the customer (understandably) does not pay until the discrepancy is fixed, there will likely be a similar delay on the payment side of the equation. Even though payment might eventually be collected, it might not add up to as much cash in a given time frame as had been projected, which can make for a weaker cash position.

What potential causes might be:

In a lot of cases, this issue comes down to having a poor link between the Revenue team activities (contract signed, deal won, etc) and the Billing team acting upon that information. One Place customer was dealing with this exact issue. Their go-to-market strategy revolved around selling enterprise licenses with additional license added-on throughout the year. 

There were countless instances where the customer’s additional license purchases were recorded in one system but did not get passed over properly from the Revenue team to the billing team so they could update the billing schedule. While their booked revenue data looked fantastic when displayed in Salesforce, it was a far different story when the Accounting team went to reconcile cash receipts and noticed big discrepancies.

What you can do:

The struggle this customer had was that nobody could spot the  discrepancy in the cash they were contracted to collect vs. what they were actually collecting. 

The reason this customer purchased Place’s Revenue & Billing product was to automate those handoffs so that there weren’t so many manual points of failure in their process. 

Their team members were no longer required to go into one system, physically look at a contract, and enter its data into another system. Reducing billing errors means integrating and automating your systems where data is handled to manage the handoff without human intervention. 

  1. Missed renewal dates and lost revenue

Similar to the cascading effects of invoice errors and the resulting revenue leakage, when teams and systems are misaligned on customer renewal dates and amounts, it can cause a lot of unnecessary chaos.

Should a signature be delayed on a renewal, financial reporting, including profit and loss (P&L) statements can be affected. The Finance team can only recognize revenue according to very specific accounting rules known as GAAP. If a signature is pushed-off a week or into a new month or quarter, it can cause huge implications for billing and cash collection. 

Likewise, customers might refuse to pay their last bill even if they wanted to renew as they might try withholding payment as leverage for negotiating the new contract.

What potential causes might be:

Renewals are a hotbed of controversy for B2B SaaS companies. There are nearly as many ways to handle renewals as there are SaaS companies. There are differences for exactly when the opportunity should be created, whether each contract amendment should have its own opportunity or if it should be grouped within a single record, and the list goes on. This lack of standardization leaves it up to a CS manager or other team members to manually create an opportunity and pull-in the correct information, which is not ideal.

What you can do:

Renewal opportunities are their own process to worry about so we’re not going to spend too much time on this piece. As far as the sales-to-cash workflow is concerned, identifying issues in that process is a great opportunity to standardize what your company believes is the proper way to construct an opportunity record in your CRM. 

That way, instead of a CS manager or team member having to create the opportunity manually, it can be automatically created at a predefined time interval before the contract ends, ideally alerting the proper team member. Standardizing your renewal process has the added benefit of making your pipeline forecast more robust because all renewals are opened at the same time increment after the deal is signed.

For a deeper dive into everything renewal-related, check out our RevOps Guide to Winning More Valuable Renewals.

  1. Poor handoffs between Revenue and Finance/Accounting 

It’s one thing to have a system not integrated and automated to pass information along. It’s another thing entirely if people don’t know where to look, when, and what to do with the information they find. The former is a technology problem. The latter is a process problem. It won’t matter if you have the best technology available for a particular workflow—if your process isn’t dialed in, you’re going to still have problems.

What potential causes might be:

Potential handoff issues usually come down to one of three things: Lack of communication, information silos, or manual processes. When information is not flowing between teams either because of system limitations or poor collaboration, it increases the likelihood that the teams will have miscommunications or misunderstandings due to lack of context. Likewise, manual data entry and reconciliation are time-consuming and error-prone, leading to delays and errors in reporting.

What you can do:

The crucial first step toward tackling handoff issues is to map out the process from start to finish. This map should identify any roadblocks or bottlenecks that can slow down the handoff process. Once identified, integrating and automating handoffs can help streamline the process, reduce errors, and improve accuracy.

It's also critical to reduce the number of information repositories, ensuring that data is stored in a centralized location that both teams can access. This can help reduce the likelihood of miscommunications and ensure that both teams are on the same page.

  1. Duplication of manual data entry because of siloed software systems

There’s a rule in manufacturing referred to as the 1/10/100 rule. The concept, in short, is that prevention of incorrect data is cheaper than correcting it and far cheaper than dealing with the ensuing error. Each manual step you have in any process introduces one more chance for a mistake. 

What this looks like:

Contact information for customers is one data point that is often required to be made in multiple different places. This can be made especially difficult if subscription management is in a completely different database from other account information. In those cases, if it changes in one system it needs to change across others, which requires someone to be alerted in the first place.

What potential causes might be:

One Place customer was struggling with a poor connection between their Salesforce instance and Stripe. While they were invoicing out of Stripe, Salesforce was where they stored data related to customer information, contracts, and account information. They also had to maintain two different instances of their price book as they could not sync them between systems. Whenever a particular SKU changed price or was discontinued, it had to be updated in both systems. Otherwise they’d run the risk of discrepancies between the systems.

What you can do:

There’s little to be done other than identifying those instances and exploring options for reducing data entry as much as possible. One example is to leverage API integrations between systems that allow those, or to use automation software that can set up workflows that update data across systems. This will help reduce errors, inefficiencies, and reduced productivity from entering data in multiple systems.

  1. Customer data seems to get corrupted across an array of spreadsheets and systems

We’re not telling you anything you don’t know, but as powerful as spreadsheets are as a tool, they’re also inherently insecure. It’s extremely difficult to control who has access to which version, when, or even what the most up to date version is. 

Consolidating multiple different versions by different stakeholders makes these problems even more pronounced. Even with cloud-based applications like Google Sheets, you still only have a limited insight into rolling back changes, it's too hard to control access, and they lack the full extent of the data analysis tools available in Excel.

What potential causes might be:

The more complex the system you’re trying to coordinate by using only spreadsheets, the easier it is for everything to fail with one incorrect cell reference or formula. Something as important as customer billing schedules can be exceedingly complex. 

Ensuring everything is done correctly requires a high attention to detail. Overall, Revenue teams aren’t as focused on the details because their job doesn’t depend on getting accounting data correct, and oftentimes rarely will. A Revenue team’s job is to win business, build relationships, and support customers. Finance teams, on the other hand, have GAAP rules to concern themselves with that clearly outline when revenue can be recognized from a taxation, reporting, and legal perspective. 

What you can do:

The best game plan is to move away from spreadsheets as much as possible. Avoid manual work, simplify, and get the right solution/technology to start chipping away at the manual work.

Then, for those processes that must remain in spreadsheet format for one reason or another, build a clear culture around how your team handles spreadsheets. The more explicit and clear your process, the less likely it is for an error to occur. It’s hard to eliminate all of them, but reducing this is a huge initiative and needs to be done. 

Fix your sales-to-cash workflow with a single platform

Ultimately, many issues in the sales-to-cash workflow come down to a combination of three things: bad data, insufficient communication, and poor processes. 

Identifying which of these you’re dealing with is like trying to decipher a puzzle, as there are so many moving parts and team members involved in the overall workflow. 

Handling sales-to-cash processes can go a long way to understanding a company’s financial health and the overall trajectory of its growth. Moreover, investing in a platform that centralizes information and automates information workflows can improve efficiency and help reduce revenue leakage.

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.

What to consider before investing in a new sales-to-cash workflow tool

Most Revenue Operations teams would say the last thing want to hear is that they need to add yet another application to their tech stack.

After all, tech sprawl is a major problem for organizations, often leading to. 

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.

Improved Accuracy: 

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.

Increased Efficiency: 

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. 

Deeper Insights:
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.

Meet Place

The 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.

To find out how Place can help you create a more efficient sales-to-cash workflow, schedule a demo with us today.

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Built on the Salesforce Platform, Place unifies SaaS go-to-market and finance teams, systems, and processes to drive stronger cash flow and increase customer retention.