For a variety of reasons, finance and sales departments often have strained or antagonistic relationships. Some attribute it to the differences between their stereotypical personalities: “Sales is reckless and out of control. Finance always wants to spoil the party and put controls on everything.” This sometimes creates a divide between departments culturally and personally. The split is often exacerbated by systems that are not connected as well. Reconciling differences between CRM and accounting systems can easily ignite the rivalry especially when customer orders and bills or sales commissions are involved.
And if you are a professional services organization, your services team can get caught in the middle. Sales sets unrealistic expectations and timescales, and accounting is breathing down their neck for expense reports and billings. Here again, divided or siloed systems for CRM, PSA and Accounting can compound the problem.
Customers see the divide too. When an issue arises like an incorrect bill, it can generate a flurry of emails and conference calls to debate where the issue arose, and which system is correct, sometimes ensnaring the customer in the process. Personalities aside, this is an unproductive use of everyone’s time. Not to mention the impact on cash flow as customer payments are held up.
Today, companies are operating leaner, with virtual teams and remote employees working from home. Walking down the hall to straighten out a billing problem is not always an option. Customer acquisition, customer satisfaction and cash generation are too important to be caught up in internal politics in today’s economy. Companies need everyone in their company pulling in the same direction, regardless of where they sit in the organization.
FinancialForce.com bridges the finance, sales and services gap, and gets everyone on the same page. We facilitate this in a number of ways:
Firstly, FinancialForce Accounting and PSA are delivered from Salesforce Platform, the same platform as Salesforce CRM. This allows users to share a common language, common processes and a common data set. For instance, sales orders and invoices are created directly from Salesforce opportunities or quotes, eliminating manual re-keying and any data discrepancies, so sales capacity isn’t consumed by administration errors, fixing billing mistakes and arguing with Finance. Likewise, service projects are created directly from Salesforce opportunities in a simple and seamless process.
Secondly, financial and project information can be made available to sales teams from inside Salesforce CRM. This means the sales personnel can help with collections and be aware of credit issues before making new sales to unworthy clients. Conversely, collection agents can be aware of outstanding opportunities or sensitive project situations while making collection calls.
Thirdly, FinancialForce.com leverages Chatter, a social networking tool available on Salesforce Platform to initiate real-time collaboration around customer issues. For instance, our Chatterbox application can issue alerts when customer payments are past due. The alert automatically creates a Chatter stream, an online conversation about the situation that links in sales, service and accounting teams. This allows collections agents to leverage those in the company with influential ties with the customer, to help collect past due accounts. Late payment alerts can also serve as an early warning system, bringing a potential service or customer satisfaction issue to your team’s attention.