From the outside, billing a customer is a straightforward transaction right? Invoice the customer. Receive payment. Repeat. Not so fast. Billing is just one element of how a business engages with a customer and in order to have a true, 360 view of an account, its important to understand their needs and goals from a payment perspective and to be fully integrated with other touch-point data systems like CRM so all information can seamlessly connect.
Analyst Scott Pezza from Blue Hill Research puts it perfectly:
Having accurate and accessible information about each customer allows businesses not only to bill properly, but to maintain and grow revenue by extending those opportunities strategically.
Scott recently took a closer look at billing processes and the importance of integrating CRM and financials through one of our FinancialForce Accounting customers, a data recovery software firm. The organization was using Salesforce CRM for sales and Quickbooks for financials, which often resulted in inaccurate reporting, impaired contract renewal visibility and inconsistent customer interactions. Realizing this was a major issue that needed to be addressed, they opted to integrate both systems by selecting a full-service cloud ERP software solution.
Following a formal RFP stage, the firm selected FinancialForce Accounting over NetSuite, and in no time, the company was able to “tie contract and invoice creation directly to their existing opportunity workflow” and because all data lives on the Salesforce1 Platform, they have achieved more accurate customer tracking and contract expiration visibility and employees are now equipped with instant, up-to-date customer information, among other improvements.
Through speaking with this firm and hearing their story, which can be read in full in the Blue Hill Research report, Scott uncovered several lessons for those looking to make smarter billing decisions and begin integrating various system records:
- Detail integration requirements when evaluating potential solutions, particularly in areas where you need information entered into one system to be immediately accessible on another.
- Recognize the possibility of missed opportunities due to data visibility issues.
- Appreciate the impact of accurate billing data and understand where errors can be introduced.
For more information, the entire report can be accessed here.