Five ways to conquer today’s biggest business challenges
Cloud platforms, mobile devices, globalization, the consumerization of IT, the new services economy— every day a gear shifts, and business leaders are in the hot seat to drive us forward.
Succeeding in this new era will require novel thinking across the board: from product development to revenue creation to customer satisfaction. You will need access to data you may have previously ignored, and you’ll need to know how to act on that data. Ultimately, it will come down to rethinking technology systems and business processes to make sure they’re helping you work toward customer satisfaction and business growth.
Based on our experience working with business leaders across industries, here’s some strategic guidance to help you overcome your biggest business challenges.
1. Go beyond the single product or service
The everything-as-a-service (XaaS) economy is flourishing, with nearly 9 in 10 companies generating revenue from a services-based offering today as revealed in The State of Finance 2018 research study. The most successful business leaders feel at ease developing and pursuing new revenue streams, either by turning products into services, turning services into products, or repackaging existing products and services in creative ways. Imagine selling a car with a monthly general maintenance subscription or turning your own internal procurement tracking system into a service you sell to your customers. It’s your opportunity to deliver even more value to customers, and extend what used to be a single transaction into an ongoing relationship.
2. Focus on customer experience
As services and subscription renewals become more important, every business must become hyper-focused on customer experience. Your customers are only one unpleasant experience away from turning to the competition. To get serious about customer experience, you need visibility across every post-sales function, including onboarding, service delivery, support, and customer success. In addition, you need comprehensive views into the “whole account” with insight into customer behavior, service quality, and product quality so you can make the smartest decisions to meet customer needs. Truly customer-centric organizations connect back-office functions and data (ERP) to the front office (CRM) to produce one master customer record. That means every conversation, every transaction, every quote, every request, and every documented customer interaction can be found in one place. Not only does this empower customer-facing staff to provide immediate, high-quality support, but it also grants business leaders a wealth of data with which to develop strategic insight into things like product strategy, contracts, service delivery, and more.
3. Turn data into action
Don’t wait for the monthly close or a quarterly review to make game-changing decisions for your business. Speed-to-insight is critical in today’s fast-changing business environment. Use powerful analytics and BI tools to turn your actual financials, cash flow, service delivery projects, resources needed, and other data points into recommended actions. Instead of guessing, know in real-time when to capitalize on product upgrades or cross-sells, when to staff for upcoming projects, or which customers need proactive outreach to prevent them from churning.
4. Streamline the back office
Billing should not be an afterthought. If you want to easily add new services and revenue models, you will also need a billing system agile enough to support them. Manual, inflexible back-office processes only lead to slow billing cycles, costly mistakes, and frustrated customers. Your back office system should support everything from the opportunity all the way through to customer renewal and revenue recognition. Doing this on a single tech stack, as FinancialForce ERP does on the Salesforce platform, allows you to eliminate disparate systems and manual data hand-offs—the leading causes of revenue leakage.
5. Evaluate your current IT systems
Even if you’re armed with the right strategies and insights, you’ll need the right technology to support that approach. If you’re fundamentally changing how you sell, implement, monetize, account for, and serve your customers, then your current IT stack may fail to deliver. The bottom line is that modern businesses need modern ERP systems that unify data, handle any billing model, and empower you to quickly adapt to customer needs and market adjustments.
That’s what FinancialForce does. Native to the Salesforce platform, FinancialForce offers a modern ERP suite that helps organizations rapidly translate demand into new revenue models, run more predictable business operations, and increase customer lifetime value. Unlike other ERP applications, FinancialForce extends the value of your Salesforce applications (e.g. CRM, CPQ, and Einstein) by seamlessly unifying sellers, professional services teams, and traditionally back-office professionals. Running your business with customers at the center equips you with highly actionable and holistic insights at every step of the customer lifecycle, ultimately driving business growth.