Lead-to-Ledger Transformation: Watch How to Automate Revenue Operations for Rapid Scale-up

Part of the TVH Group, GemOne is a global scale-up that uses IoT solutions to help customers unleash the full potential of their fleet. The company has expanded rapidly, with big ambitions for further growth.

Following a series of mergers and acquisitions, however, the company was grappling with a mix of processes, impacting sales, fulfilment and wider revenue management. It was hampering operational efficiency, as well as making it more difficult to deliver a smooth, consistent experience to customers. This mish-mash of systems threatened to hold back GemOne’s growth plans.

Putting Salesforce to work alongside FinancialForce ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), GemOne was able to build a fully automated solution covering everything from lead management through to billing: i.e. true ‘Lead-to-Ledger’ transformation. As an implementation partner, PhiX was able to ensure successful, rapid project delivery, as well as helping GemOne to extract maximum value from the Salesforce ecosystem.

GemOne’s CEO Patrick Smets and COO, Lynn Van Der Laan linked up with Jamie Trigg of Salesforce and Justin Wheatley, Director of Lead to Ledger at PhiX Technologies to discuss the project.

For any business seeking to optimise finance processes to keep pace with organisational change, the webinar (available here) provides an interesting first-hand perspective. Here are some key insights…

Beware false economies

Best-in-class process automation software should not be seen as something only for mature enterprises. In fact, when a young business is embarking on its first ventures into new markets – perhaps involving M&A activity – this is precisely when scalability and flexibility are needed most…

“I know Salesforce is not the cheapest solution, but if you think ‘We’re only a scale-up and don’t need a super-big complex system, let’s start with a cheap one and we’ll grow together…’ in a few years, you’ll be looking at extra costs. It’s really important if you intend to grow fast, you are set up with the right technology. Otherwise, in a few years, you’ll need to change”.

Patrick Smets, CEO GemOne

Salesforce Webinar: Lead-to-Ledger Process Automated with Salesforce Revenue Cloud

Anticipating tomorrow’s challenges today

One of the most important parts of any great implementation partner’s role is encouraging the business to think not just about optimisation of existing processes, but also about the challenges that might arise in the future. For example, a seemingly minor disconnect between two separate revenue processes might not seem significant at this stage but could become a major issue as the company scales up. Equally, on the technical side, a ‘make do’ solution may only be storing up problems for the future…

“As a partner you should guide the customer towards best practice, trying to get the best out of the platform without building in technical debt. Fix minor problems today that could become massive problems in the future.”

Justin Wheatley, Director of Lead-to-Ledger

Embracing a greenfield attitude

For maximum value from the project, Lead-to-Ledger transformation should not be a case of new tech sitting on top of old processes. Instead, this is a prime opportunity to question the value and efficacy of ways of working, right across the business. Justin likened this particular project to a greenfield: GemOne was refreshingly open to remodelling and replacing whatever processes could benefit from optimisation. From sales through to finance, this attitude can help you to drive efficiency and free up valuable resources.

“We wanted a partner that really understands what we do – and thinks with us. I really believe that this whole process should make GemOne better. We should not start from what we have today and then try to build a system around it. I wanted to ask ‘What does the easiest and most straightforward process look like?’, and then we will change our processes internally”.

Patrick Smets, CEO, GemOne

Realising the benefits

For GemOne, the chosen solution comprised Salesforce Sales Cloud CRM for lead/customer management, Salesforce CPQ and Billing to streamline quote and invoicing processes, and FinancialForce ERP, which enables the company to draw key resource planning insights from across all revenue processes.

“What you get is end-to-end visibility from lead stage to cash. We have a full view of what orders are coming in, an overview of inventory. It means we can pull reports and analyse things across all flows. Having that visibility in one single system allows everybody to move faster, reduces workload, reduces time and effort and human error.”

Lynn Van Der Laan, COO, GemOne

“Beyond the back office, salespeople can now see when something has shipped, they get the tracking number automatically, clients get visibility on what’s happening, salespeople can see stock levels, so it’s creating transparency across the whole company.”

Patrick Smets, CEO, GemOne

WATCH: Are your processes aligned with your ambitions?

With PhiX’s expertise on hand, it took just 90 days for GemOne to achieve an international lead-to-ledger rollout. Get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Transforming Contract Management: Watch This Customer’s Tips for Success…

Business growth is not without risk. More customers means more contracts to juggle, more obligations to meet and deadlines to keep track of. Unless your processes can scale up with the business, there is a very real risk of sleepwalking into mis-approvals, missed billings and a host of other negative impacts.

This was the challenge faced by Fiorenza Provenzano, International Legal Counsel for life sciences software & consulting specialists, N-SIDE. She recognised the potential benefits of CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) technology for streamlining processes and managing complex obligations. However, for a legal professional with no prior experience in software implementation, taking the lead on a whole new system was a daunting prospect.

Following a successful implementation, Provenzano linked up with Ash Finnegan, Digital Transformation Officer of Conga CLM, as well as PhiX’s Director of Lead-to-Ledger, Justin Wheatley, to explain what went right.

The webinar (available here) is a must-watch for any business seeking to overhaul contract management. As a taster, and based on N-SIDE’s real-life experiences, here are some essential tips for success.

Define the ‘as is’

“I need to see what’s happening today, to understand what needs to change”

For N-SIDE, contracts were scattered across multiple locations, with key information contained in various Excel files. The company was looking for more efficient ways to create and manage those contracts throughout their lifecycle. It also needed clearer visibility to minimise the risk of obligations not being met.

What exactly could they do better? To understand this, map out your current contract lifecycle. Define each of the steps (e.g. creation, negotiation, approval, fulfilment, closure) and the processes, people and distinct tasks involved in each.

From here, you can identify the type of shortfalls and inefficiencies that might be addressed with the right technology. For N-SIDE, contract authoring was one such area: Provenzano realised that a single hub for commonly used clauses could streamline the creation process significantly.

Define organisational requirements

“Bring people on the journey. They’ll see things you don’t see”.

What are your organisation’s criteria for a new CLM system? To determine this, get key stakeholders around the table. People from sales, customer accounts, service delivery and finance can all offer valuable input on what features should be included.

Contract processes typically straddle multiple departments. A great CLM solution will help you automate and manage tasks involving various areas of the business. Rather than presenting the business with new tech out of the blue, if you get relevant parties involved from across the business, it also helps ensure successful adoption later on.

Conga Webinar: Commercial Operations Evolved

Choice of technology

“Stay focused on the business outcomes and don’t get lost in the features”.

Technology can be noisy. When weighing up providers, it is easy to be swayed by an impressive-sounding spec list, and lose sight of the capabilities you actually need.

Provenzano avoided this by being absolutely clear on her buying criteria. For N-SIDE, must-have requirements included the ability to integrate third-party documents into the system (rather than just those based on the company’s own templates). It’s one of the reasons why the company chose the Gartner-recommended Conga CLM solution. With its Intelligent Discovery add-on, it means that contracts can be seamlessly imported into the CLM repository, regardless of format or source.

The value of implementation expertise

“I felt like they were part of my business”.

N-SIDE’s choice of PhiX Technologies as an implementation partner was a natural one. The company has over ten years experience in simplifying complex billing, contract and other financial requirements. More specific to the project in hand, PhiX is also a member of Conga’s select network of recommended commercial operations transformation experts.

For any implementation partner, inside-out knowledge of the software should be a given. But a great partner offers much more than this. Provenzano describes how PhiX quickly became an extension of the N-SIDE team, getting to grips with the customer’s way of working, ensuring set-up was tailored to the company’s requirements, ironing out any difficulties and helping to ensure swift, successful user adoption.

WATCH: Laying the foundations for a successful CLM implementation

Thanks to clear goals, the right choice of technology and implementation support that was fully aligned with what the business was trying to achieve, N-SIDE was able to reap the full benefits of its new CLM system.

Why Finance is Fit to Lead the Way for Transformation


With growing threats in today’s economy and increasing regulatory expectations, businesses are looking to finance leaders to support decision-making.


Covid-19 has reshaped the way businesses think about planning.

With expectations for faster forecasts and insights mounting, transformation projects that improve planning, scenario modeling and forecasting need to be prioritised as business-critical rather than nice to have. Having these insights will strengthen internal business partnerships as well as support business strategy conversations.

Despite the apparent shift to more forward-looking tasks in the finance function, the coronavirus has forced a large majority of CFOs to put off or change their plans for innovation projects. According to a Grant Thornton CFO Survey in May of this year, eight out of 10 surveyed finance executives had delayed or reshaped innovation projects. The remaining two out of 10 reported that the crisis had accelerated their transformation projects.

Why business agility is more important than ever


As the country faces further lockdowns, there is an increased focus on agility.

Business agility is the ability of an organisation to: Adapt quickly to market changes – internally and externally. Respond rapidly and flexibly to customer demands. Adapt and lead change productively and cost-effectively without compromising quality.

It is difficult to respond rapidly and plan for various scenarios without access to real-time data.  Legacy systems and broken data models impact business agility and can become a roadblock to change if not addressed. 

Forward-looking businesses are adapting their operating model to the new world of work, what this looks like we don’t fully know but being able to drive performance improvements, test and measure effectively and accurately across the business is key to survival.

Why the hesitancy to get started with Finance Transformation?


The current pandemic is forcing organisations to respond and adapt rapidly to become digital-first. Pushing quicker, strategic decisions and increasing business appetite to introduce new technologies and ways of working. Incredibly, Microsoft has seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in just two months, according to CEO Satya Nadella (Source: Microsoft) demonstrating where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Despite finance leaders understanding the need to improve their business operations, not all companies have experience in introducing process change or even know where to start. Lack of expertise, hesitancy from cost constraints, reluctance to move out of comfort zones and lack of company-wide buy-in are often obstacles in successfully introducing change in a business.

After all, it’s not just about finding the right technology solution and a way of implementing it; the world has shifted and reimagining your business operations with fresh eyes is required. Having a skilled task force to help you deliver on your objectives can help you move out of stuck quickly and effectively.


Read more: Why Lead-to-Ledger Transformation is now a Strategic Priority

CPQ Project Planning: The Critical Path to Success

Nick, a Finance leader at a hi-tech firm, was regularly noticing wrong products on customer quotes. These products were being mis-sold and were including excessive discounting practices that were causing the company to lose money. They needed a way to guide their sales team to configure, price and quote more accurately to help increase profitability and customer satisfaction.

To optimise the guided selling capabilities of the sales team, the Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solution would need to guide them through the product or solution bundles based on the information they were getting from the customer in real-time. Giving the customer a better experience and making it easier for them to do business with the company.

A solution would need to fit seamlessly between the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programme and the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Thus bringing the data and processes together to speed up the quoting and proposal stage, enabling data to be visible across the business and quotes to be delivered in minutes rather than weeks.

Sales automation impacts the whole business

Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software automates the sales-to-close process. It helps improve the accuracy of quotes, assure compliance with discounting and margin policies, accelerate the internal deal review process, and provide customers with detailed quotes far quicker than manual processes allow. CPQ solutions connect finance, product, and sales departments, linking product information and pricing policies with sales processes to generate and manage proposals.

CPQ tools can increase revenue through guided selling suggestions for complementary services or products. Some tools manage the contract process as well.

There can be lots of factors and requests from different business departments to procure the right solution. Considerations have to include whether a vendor has a broad geographical reach to support multicurrency/language considerations and manage the complexity around multiple lines of business to support growth.

“Building out the business requirements can be an overwhelming process, but it is critical to the success of the CPQ project.”

Justin Wheatley, Director of Lead-to-Ledger at PhiX.

Rather than stalling your project due to lack of understanding and time constraints to gather these requirements, calling in external advice and support can keep the project moving and free up the team to continue with their day jobs.

PhiX understands the importance of expert advisory services at this stage to avoid unsuccessful project outcomes. Asking the right questions to get the desired result is vital. All our technical engineers have spent their careers fixing and re-engineering poorly implemented products and are on a mission to help companies get it right the first time, saving time and money and enabling future company growth.

If you are planning on preparing a CPQ project yourself internally, our Director of Lead-to-Ledger, Justin, shares some best practices for consideration:

Mapping a CPQ project for successful completion

  1. Assess, document and prioritise your business processes in detail

    Don’t assume that you are well informed!
    a) Identify manual steps, stakeholders and owners. b) Data needs and dependencies, access to the data and quality.

  2. Document the product catalogue

    Capture all product requirements and rules in detail. Your CPQ partner should be able to help and provide templates to provide structure and drive the level of detail required.

  3. Identify ways to cut-out unnecessary steps

    Review your ‘as-is state’ critically and remove any unnecessary processes or steps so you can map your ideal ‘future state’ which will deliver real value.

  4. Prepare your organisation for change

    Automating the sales process impacts a diverse user group within the organisation. It will most likely change or introduce new roles and responsibilities.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

When asked what makes the difference between a well-prepared project and one that is doomed for failure, Justin continues to share;

“Gaps in ‘identify manual steps, stakeholders and owners’ will manifest during the project and delay design and implementation. Detail will be missing, and it will be too late for decision-makers to make decisions on process changes. The solution could be compromised at this point, impacting scalability and maintainability.

Gaps in ‘data needs and dependencies’ will manifest in the late stages of the project, potentially impacting key project milestones.

Gaps in ‘document the product catalogue’ will manifest during User Acceptance Testing. When users start testing, and critical rules or dependencies are missing. It could bring significant changes to the solution design and cause a high-implementation effort. This will also mean delays on project milestones/go live and increased effort/costs.

If you fail to ‘prepare your organisation for change’ it will manifest in different ways:

  • Lack of readiness will compromise the solution approach, meaning increase in customisation, causing deviation from standard processes, which increase complexity, implementation costs and maintenance costs downstream
  • User adoption. Reluctance to use the new tool will compromise the project success in the long term and not meet your projected ROI”

Once you have a clear definition of the business objectives, i.e. what are the issues you want to fix, and what does success looks like? You can assign quantifiable goals to help you identify how success will be measured.

What would your final takeaway be for someone preparing for a CPQ implementation project? 

The project must be sponsored by the business and not just IT. CPQ tools are business tools.

A CPQ project will usually impact or require involvement from:

  • Marketing: branding on documents and templates
  • Product teams: definition of product catalogue, rules, dependencies and pricing strategy.
  • Sales: sales processes, forecasting, Opportunity management, etc
  • Legal: contracts and contract lifecycle management
  • IT: introduction of new IT systems and support with existing legacy systems
  • Finance: finance approvals, revenue rules, pricing rules

Ensure all teams impacted by the new CPQ Solution actively engage in the planning process, and you reach an explicit agreement on evaluating the possible CPQ solutions and selecting the most suitable implementation partner to work with.

PhiX Technologies are supporting companies to discover, assess and implement solutions to optimise their business workflows.

Our Advisory Services supports the exploratory stage of introducing a new solution; we work with your team across your business and tech stack for a successful CPQ project.

How to Speed up your Contract Cycle

The pressure is on the legal department as their workloads rise faster than their budgets. With less time on their side and an increasing strain on cross-department relationships due to lengthy review processes, there isn’t the time or money to work with slow contract cycles.

Manually drafting a high-volume of low-value contracts is an operational nightmare! Legal in-house teams and functional teams that rely on legal are crying out for a solution that will minimise admin tasks and speed up the contract process. Freeing up legal functions to be more strategic and focus on high-value tasks, reducing the reliance from the operational teams on expensive legal resources for contract creation.

Measuring financial impact

Poor contracting processes don’t just eat up lots of time; they cause direct loss of revenue too.

Research from IACCM calculated that companies with poor contracting processes lose, on average, 9.2% of their annual revenue due to contract value leakage related to non-standard contract terms that increase the risk and lead to revenue losses.

What’s 9% of your business annual revenue and can you afford to lose it?

Managing data for customer success

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that cloud-based access to contract data and the ability to analyse large volumes of data nearly instantly is immensely valuable, especially in a crisis. But reams of data doesn’t equal value. If not managed properly, it can add to the complexity and lack of efficiency. Thousands of templates and clauses to select from makes generating a proposal very specialised, especially when considering compliance obligations.

The good news is that contract management solutions are evolving from operational record-keeping systems used for legal auditing purposes into enterprise-level core systems for addressing business risks, costs and revenue maximisation.

The management of contract clauses and templates set with an intelligent rules engine enables businesses to respond quickly to market changes and adhere to regulations around the globe, both buy-side and sell-side. This saves time, reduces review cycles and minimises risk on non standard terms. By digitising contracts, you gain access to all customer contracts and enable the use of advanced analytics and AI.

“Where's the contract stored?”

A typical Fortune 1000 company has between 20,000 – 40,000 contracts according to Goldman Sachs. Ensuring they have access to them is a business necessity, but storing this data isn’t the only issue. Spreadsheets, emails and even paper are still being used in this high-value process. Which makes you question, if contracts are the lifeblood of all businesses, why is it 85% of companies are still using manual processes to manage them?

Is your organisation one of them?

Being able to store and search for all your contracts in a secure repository could be enough for some businesses and is certainly a good place to start if you’re looking to introduce a digital document transformation. “Where do we store them? Or ‘has this contract expired?’ becomes a thing of the past. Having a starting point could make way for further enhancements based on a strategic contract lifecycle roadmap.

With smart automation features available in content repositories, your contract management system can create, negotiate and report on inefficiencies as well as extract the intelligence to power your business forward. Being able to report on average turn-around time or deviations from standard contract clauses enables you to provide valuable insights back into the business to help manage cash flow and expected timelines.


Setting the sales team up for success

As a Sales leader, you will have experienced the impact and frustration of a slow contract cycle and the stress that comes with contract negotiations when key contract details aren’t available in Salesforce and other CRM systems.

But what components of a contract management solution will give you the greatest return on your investment? The following features are essential:

  • A contract repository. A virtual filing cabinet, where every contract is stored digitally. Also enabling all qualified users with access to contract content and terms.
  • Automated tracking of versions. As documents are passed through multiple hands and undergo numerous revisions, all redlines are tracked automatically and stored in your CRM.
  • A clause library. Containing pre-approved legal language and templates for contract creation and negotiations, so that sales teams can move through the entire sales contract cycle themselves.
  • A contract status dashboard. That permits users to quickly locate a contract and gain visibility into contract location and status.

Including these features into your contract software solution empowers your sales team to create, negotiate, and execute contracts, accelerating contract cycles and creating satisfied customers and sales reps. It also enables you the sales leader to maintain control and have visibility over the overall contract process. Mitigating risk and enforcing compliance through the use of templates and content that is pre-approved by your legal team. 

The result – faster contract velocity, improved cash flow and streamlined partner and supplier onboarding – enabling your organisation to adapt and scale. 

CPQ + CLM - the Dynamic Duo

If you already have Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software installed and are reading this thinking, what are the benefits of adding a contract lifecycle management solution (CLM)? The short answer is by integrating CPQ with CLM you will maximise your contract workflow, create efficiencies and unlock increased sales productivity.

Having a unified quoting and contract process saves the sales rep from duplicating work at the different stages as data is added once and pulled through the process. When you hold everything digitally, not only can you access it anywhere at any time, but the potential for human error reduces.

What happens when you add Billing to your process optimisation? Read: Supporting the CFO to create operational efficiency

If increasing customer satisfaction scores are a key performance indicator for your organisation or board, integrating CPQ and CLM systems improves the quotation and contract management processes. Syncing this data in one system avoids quotes going out wrong and having to be changed to reflect the latest contract terms.

And that’s not all – having a continually updated library of templates and clauses is a commercial weapon in contract negotiation. Enterprise data and advanced analytics help you optimise decision-making by creating strategies based on insights from previous negotiation cycles.


One centralised system for Sales, Legal and the Customer

If your contracts are generated faster, you’re going to be able to collect on them quicker. If they’re accurate, you’re going to have far fewer disputes. Meaning happy customers and an even happier C-Suite. Companies that are connecting the sales cycle to their contract process are not only closing more business faster but at a higher proposal amount. The benefits in summary are:

  • Shorter contract lifecycle times
  • Reduced revenue leakage
  • More deals closed
  • Increased visibility, compliance, security and control
  • Reduced risk
  • Reduced admin costs
  • More time on high-value tasks
  • Greater contract flexibility

When considering introducing a contract process optimisation project consider the impact on the businesses:

  • Top-line revenue
  • Overall costs to produce and execute a contract from a resource perspective
  • The level of business risk with non-compliance

Why not see if you can answer these five questions to begin to build your business case for change:

  1. What is the value of your business contracts?
  2. How many people are involved in generating a contract and agreeing it before sending it to the customer?
  3. Who is involved in this process?
  4. How long does it typically take your business to get new contracts drawn up, agreed and signed?
  5. What are the potential risks in terms of fines or supply chain failure that you need to monitor?

If you’d like help understanding your current process metrics and how they can be dramatically improved, get in touch with a member of the team.

PhiX has decades of experience in the full Software Development Lifecycle, specialising in Quote to Cash transformation and user-centric adoption. Designing, developing and implementing end-to-end processes for organisations to accelerate their Quote to Cash process is what we do. Our CPQ and CLM experts work across multiple industries to offer best-of-breed technology solutions with many quick-start options to get you up and running fast.


What is CPQ?

CPQ stands for Configure, Price and Quote

It’s an extension of your CRM that helps you sell faster by automating the sales process through to quoting.


Guiding sales reps to select the right product combinations based on client needs.


Assigning the price of the products automatically, controlling discounts and rules, therefore ensuring the most optimised pricing is applied.


Automatically creating a branded quote with all the information and emailing it to the customer.

Why consider CPQ?

If you’re using legacy systems that involve spreadsheets, waiting on pricing approvals or loss of revenue due to missed opportunities, then you can no longer afford to be complacent.

Companies looking to adopt a subscription model will run into multiple problems with traditional quote configurators. Businesses must put the right tools in place to be able to work effectively with this new model.

Managing configuration for customer success

Over the past few years, personalisation and curation have risen as significant consumer trends. With tiered pricing structures and tailored recommendations, subscription models can let consumers choose the level of service or products that meet their needs.

In an offline environment, reps in a hurry to complete a deal can easily forget about product bundles or add-ons like premier support which would improve the profitability of the deal and increase customer satisfaction. With product configuration rules, these rules are suggested at the time of quoting to ensure they don’t get missed.

For example, a car company pursuing subscription models would offer all-inclusive subscriptions, such as bundling roadside assistance, insurance and maintenance, all-in-one monthly payment, subsequently avoiding the need for the consumer to manage all the components through different vendors.

“Today’s customers demand more flexibility in how they buy and companies across all industries are responding by introducing new revenue models,” says Kylie Fuentes, Head of Product, Salesforce CPQ & Billing.

Configuration rules can be set for individual products, such as setting minimum or maximum quantities, exclusion or dependency rules and pricing rules, such as volume discounts or tiered pricing. Fixing these in advance and centrally will avoid lengthy approval processes and ensure every quote created is 100% error-free.

Quoting for a frictionless experience

Do you have different start dates or shipping locations? Salesforce CPQ has Advanced Order Management functionality to streamline and automate the order fulfilment process. In cloud software, you may have to quote license quantities with different start dates, which, as a result, can cause issues with Sales Ops who need to manage provisioning and Finance for revenue recognition.

“Quoting for subscription products means that your tool has to support the concept of time and be able to help add on and coterminous quotes to align with existing contracts,” says Annie Wright, PML for Salesforce CPQ & Billing “And unlike traditional software models, those contracts also need to go through renewals—a critical step in the customer lifecycle.”

Consequently, Salesforce CPQ is purpose-built to handle recurring relationships.

Sales reps can easily select products of multiple revenue types in a single quote. They can build-out different deal structures and apply a discount to a specific line in the quote. Even changing the quantities over different periods to accommodate the needs of the customer is possible. If the customer has a particular budget, CPQ can calculate the discounts to reach that amount and can run this across several departments to move quickly.

“Spending unnecessary time going back and forth on quotes can cause frustration with the buyer, and impact buyer confidence.”

This process improves the customer buying experience and accelerates the overall sales cycle. Therefore, enabling your sales reps to focus their time and energy on selling. Not trying to figure out correct product combinations!

All in all, if you’re looking to deliver the best experience for your customers, speed up your sales process, reduce manual errors and increase revenue, then CPQ can help. Talk to one of our CPQ specialists to get started.

The five benefits of CPQ

Before CPQ

  • Inaccurate pricing
  • Manual approval of discounts
  • Time wasted on inefficient processes
  • Inaccurate quotes
  • Lost revenue and inability to accurately forecast

After CPQ 

  • Accurate pricing
  • Automated approval of discounts
  • Streamlined process from sales and marketing
  • Accurate quotes
  • Increase in revenue and accurate forecasting

Supporting the CFO to Create Operational Efficiency

The new remote working landscape is pushing communication and technology capabilities to the edge. How are finance teams and auditors managing their processes remotely to achieve operational efficiency?

With all the usual challenges at year-end, and the next quarter looming, simply improving legacy systems isn’t enough. “Accruals, adjustments and internal transactions can throw up lots of queries that working in-person can expedite. If you have separate systems and haven’t got live data to hand, then any change can take several hours,” says Justin Wheatley, former RVP Financial Systems at NewVoiceMedia. 

We continue to hear from companies that CFOs with disparate systems and remote teams are making the best of it, trying to absolve the stress of their team, and mitigate the financial risk to the business that manipulated data and inaccurate reporting can cause. 

The value of a 360-degree view 

Companies with cloud solutions for Finance and tools for remote collaboration are reaping the benefits. Being able to see all your data in real-time will enable teams to close the month, quarter or year efficiently, with precision and accuracy.  

Keeping your ERP on an integrated, yet stand-alone platform is vital. It enables your finance team to update and access the financial information such as the general ledger and profit & loss account. But still display financial information to other objects, giving the business a 360-degree view of the customer account.  

“As a sales user, I don’t need to see the ledger or create journals, but I do want to see the financial return of an account. If outstanding payments are showing up and I’m speaking with the customer, Finance and Sales can work together to collect the money and close the deal,” says Will Davidson, VP, Sales at SalesTrip.

The customer journey 

The customer is at the centre of business. By having all your data on one platform, like Salesforce, you can get a 360-degree view on all the activity related to them. By tracking the customer journey from Lead to Ledger, you can focus on your top accounts and customers and jump in if any issues start to arise.  

Lead to Ledger includes Service team reports, i.e. is your customer raising cases, logging enhancements? Through to Finance, are their invoices outstanding? If one of your top accounts has had multiple issues with a product and is raising cases with Service, then Finance calls them to say your invoice is outstanding, you are likely to upset your key contacts. Having that 360-degree view of your customer would enable a Service Account Manager to add a ticket so Finance can see not to call until the resolution of any product issues. Keeping your customer happy and feeling supported, increasing loyalty and trust.  

Invest in your people and invest in systems that support your people.

There is a cost to design and implement a streamlined Lead to Ledger platform. But if you want to be head and shoulders above your competition, then you need a 360-degree view of your customer.  

By having everything on the Salesforce platform, you are empowering your employees to deliver the best possible service. The CFO, CTO and your CRO all have the most accurate information and a complete view of the customer. With disparate systems, additional resources are working unnecessarily. And you are still not achieving that full picture of the business!  

Creating a seamless process 

Customers want an enjoyable experience and a frictionless process. From the first touchpoint to becoming a customer, the end-to-end process should flow intuitively.  

CFOs who get the process right can shorten the close cycle. Improving forecasting and reporting, avoiding overly manual, error-prone processes. 

“When we were doing Billing at NewVoiceMedia, services were paid for annually in advance. We would raise the invoice, post it into the system, then spend days doing a journal to defer the revenue. Afterwhich, we’d start writing all that revenue back month-by-month. This is a huge process and would take about four people to action. When we systemised revenue recognition with Salesforce Billing, we could schedule this process and saved days on that close – just on that one process.” Justin Wheatley shares.  

“At the moment, companies are doing scenario planning more frequently. As a CFO,  you want to understand and prepare for the unknown impact on your revenue, costs and, most importantly, your cash flow. It is vital to be agile and have real-time data.” says Samantha Bodycomb, CFO at PhiX Technologies.  

Delivering operational efficiency for growth 

By transforming the Lead to Ledger process, you improve the customer experience and speed up processing. It also enables you to systemise manual tasks, reducing the need for junior finance roles, opening up the opportunity to scale the business in other areas such as R&D or Sales.  

“The return on investment is Finance goes from being an inputter of numbers to a real business partner. Giving value back to support sustainability and uncover growth opportunities.” says Samantha.   

Insights using real data is where you can add immense value; such as what is the company’s target market? Where should we be looking to gain the most sales? Which deals can be recognised as revenue? What percentage of discounts can we apply to particular products?  

How we can help 

We want the CFO to have accurate information at their fingertips. To be able to report how much cash is really in the bank? Or what type of deals are required to increase profitability right now? If the finance team is too busy crunching numbers, then this data is never released, and operating efficiency isn’t enabled. 

Some customers don’t become profitable until year two of their contract, with the right systems and accurate reporting; you can make that profitability come sooner. Having that information when you need it in real-time and all-in-one platform will help you to make informed decisions quickly.  

The good news is the technology is available to improve processes, overcome obstacles, and steer the business towards transformation success. We are supporting the finance leader to move away from traditional finance tasks. Empowering them to be a central and strategic business partner in these challenging and uncertain times. 


7 Key Business Challenges to Face during the Coronavirus Crisis

There’s no question that the coronavirus is a humanitarian tragedy, disrupting all our lives for the foreseeable future. Changing the way we work and highlighting the need to be effective, efficient and innovative in business. This blog gives leaders insights on how to leverage technology to support employee needs and customer demands.

The choice to work remotely has been a growing trend for several years; as of last week, it is a way of life for all. The internet, cloud computing and mobile phones have enabled and empowered workforces to remain connected across geographies — a literal lifesaver as we all stay indoors to avoid further contagion.

The challenge for most is how do we remain productive and keep our companies running smoothly and securely?

1- Leading with empathy

Many in the workforce won’t know if their jobs and families are safe, so focussing on what customers need may not be at the front of their minds. It is, therefore, critical to ensure you connect with your team members regularly and have a way to capture ongoing conversations and customer care issues.

Now is the time to be precise and clear in communicating your organisation’s plans, both internally and externally.

“Transparency is one of our key values”, says Luke Pigott, CEO at PhiX. “It was critical for us to be open with the team about how we planned to operate in the weeks ahead. Being transparent and open builds trust and cohesion. Enabling us to problem solve in the face of adversity.”

2 – Preparing for the pace of change

Whether a business experiences a surge or a lull in demand during the Coronavirus crisis, your IT systems and leaders need to prepare. If customer questions and concerns on orders are likely to increase, building capacity for self-service via chatbots, apps and email can help manage the frequently asked questions. Freeing up your customer service teams to handle more complex queries.

If you require more compassion in the circumstances, then virtual meetings or phone calls are needed, which is especially paramount in the B2B and education sector.

Individuals switching to virtual conferences or video is on the rise and enables a broader, more global audience than the classroom facilitates! One example is Joe Wicks PE Class, which reached nearly 1 million people this morning globally.

The need to adapt products to meet current demand is critical, as we have seen with Zara, the fast-fashion brand. Who announced that they would donate face masks and hospital gowns for Coronavirus patients and healthcare workers in Spain amid the shortage caused by the pandemic. The Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp has converted one of its factories to make face masks. Showing the ability to shift physical and digital resources in support of the global crisis. Perfume-makers, including Givenchy and Christian Dior, have switched production to make hand sanitisers.

3 – Is this the new normal?

Sandy Shen, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner, says, “Businesses that can shift technology capacity and investments to digital platforms will mitigate the impact of the outbreak and keep their companies running smoothly now and over the long term.”

No business processes are perfect, but when multiple issues arise, it delays projects and causes financial risk. Having a continuous process improvement plan to review operations will highlight bottlenecks. Ensuring you are proactively managing processes and methods.

It’s no good sticking plasters over the gaps in your workflow as we’re going to be in this for an unknown length of time.

Some changes may be incremental, a small change that can be applied to a process to make things run smoothly. Give your team a place to share these suggestions and review them regularly.

Breakthrough improvement projects are more significant changes that yield business-altering results; they can take longer to implement but will drive considerable returns. At PhiX, we help companies review their business processes to work through these projects to streamline their operations.

4 – Marketing in uncertain times

Getting the balance right between promotion and cost-cutting is a difficult one.

The rapid repositioning of the government strategy to manage the spread of the Coronavirus signals a change that dramatically alters all our lives. For businesses, the full impact is still unknown, and for many, the challenge will be surviving.

Costs, product lines, supply chain and headcount will be carefully examined as well as marketing spending and strategies. Marketing can appear to be an expense to cut in downturns. But when the economy starts to pick up again, the ones that will thrive are those that balance operational efficiency with strategic investment, with marketing being a key element.

Progressive companies stay closely connected to customer needs—a powerful filter through which to make investment decisions.

What new marketing strategies can you adopt to ensure your business survives the pandemic and becomes stronger?

"It's only when we get kicked down that we see what we are made of. It's easy to be positive when everything is going well, but the heart of all great endeavours is the ability to stagger back to our feet and keep moving forward, however grim it gets."

Bear Grylls

5 – Community makes us stronger

Being part of the solution involves supporting your community, whether it’s geographic or industry-specific. Together we are more robust and calling on others to help you is vital to short-term problem solving and long-term success.

Salesforce Chair and CEO Marc Benioff shared that to support the global response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; Salesforce is providing a COVID-19 Response Package. The pack offers free access to technology for emergency response teams, call centres, and care management teams for health systems affected by Coronavirus.

What action can you take to support your local or industry community to aid the fight against the virus?

6 – Resourcing for the short-term

Agile planning of your most valuable resource is critical at this time. Having a long-term plan will work as an overview to keep you focused but being able to plan, track and forecast your team’s time will keep you moving at speed. Precursive’s resource management product allows you to find the right people for projects, allocate work quicker and balance workloads for your team. They are also working closely with Salesforce to bring out a community-based product to support remote teams.

An example of this on a large scale is the U.K. government’s appeal on Tuesday for 250,000 “people in good health” to help its health service cope with the coronavirus outbreak. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said on the same day that 11,788 retired NHS staff had agreed to come back to work to help tackle the crisis.

PhiX offers our consultancy services to Salesforce.org clients to support healthcare and manufacturing organisations when they need it most. We will be strong enough to see this through by pulling together our best resources.

7 – Practical and social solutions for remote working

Did you know research shows a lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day?  So, check in on colleagues, friends, family and neighbours regularly.

If you are used to working from home, then there’s no change to your work set-up. But for many, adapting and learning to communicate virtually is a steep learning curve.

Practical solutions like Quip for collaboration, Google Hangout for team chats, and Zoom for video conferencing are rising as the winning solutions. For digital documents, e-signatures with Conga make contract management faster and more simplified. Salesforce Trailhead provides free learning resources on working remotely, as does LinkedIn Learning.

Quip combines documents and collaboration so that wherever we are, you can share and align ideas, update communications and stay in the loop with discussions. Quip Starter will be available for free to any Salesforce customer or non-profit organisation through September 30, 2020.

“Our ability to socialise has been degraded,”

Says Jonathan Corrie, CEO of Precursive who has introduced ‘Wine Wednesday’ with the team as a space to unwind with colleagues. “Whether it’s an alcoholic drink or not, the idea is to connect socially, just like you would in a wine bar or outside of the workplace. The team also has a daily nonsense call to chat, hang out with staff members, and share whatever is on their mind.”

With many approaching the end of their first week of social isolation, what have you learnt about your employee needs? About the needs of your community and your industry to cope with the current crisis? What issues have come up repeatedly or do you see as potential risks to your business workflow?

Get in touch if you need support with your Salesforce CPQ or Billing processes pre- or post-implementation. Or if you would like to learn more about the products that can help streamline remote working.


Top Financial Uncertainties Stem from Travel and Expenses

new survey of 500 senior finance professionals across the UK and US exposes the underlying issues faced by businesses when it comes to calculating the financial return of corporate travel and expense spend. Identified as the biggest variable cost to a company (26.8%), closely followed by people costs such as salaries (25.8%), the research also shows that 60% of companies aren’t able to link their business travel and expense spend to revenue data.

Commercial teams spending the most but ROI not visible

Though variable, uncontrollable costs can hamper business growth, with almost half of respondents revealing that they don’t understand the ROI of business travel and expense spend, therefore declaring it the most unpredictable cost (39%) rather than a positive visible revenue generator.

Furthermore, 70% of organisations lack the insight to forecast travel and expense spend accurately – and nearly half don’t have full visibility of the ROI it brings in. Despite 60% of those surveyed recognising that investment in business travel is essential to business growth. When you consider that commercial teams (sales, marketing and customer success) account for 80% of business travel and expense spend, finance leaders need a way to justify business travel as an enabler for growth.

The paradox of travel bans

The lack of ability to forecast underlines the 48% of respondents who reported that their company had implemented a company-wide travel ban. 73% think that travel bans would be a thing of the past if they could better forecast business travel and expense spend.

“It’s clear that many companies feel they don’t have the necessary handle on travel and expense spend, though this is through no fault of their own. To date, lack of acceptance on the use of siloed systems and processes, using disparate historical data that is unable to provide actionable insights. This is why travel bans are still happening, which in turn, actually restricts business growth by limiting commercial teams’ ability to close business,” said Manoj Ganapathy, Founder & CEO of SalesTrip.

“If organisations were able to better manage, track and forecast spend according to business activity or purpose, business leaders will be able to evidence travel as revenue-generating. In turn not only would travel bans become a thing of the past, but corporate travel would be widely considered as an enabler of business growth rather than a necessary evil,” concluded Ganapathy.

For the majority of organisations, expense tracking is also an admin-intensive process. 70% of finance teams spend more than one day per month, tracking business travel and expenses, and nearly half (43%) spend more than two days per month. Only 13% of mid-market companies (101-5000 employees) say that their finance teams could collate expense spend within 24 hours.

Finance leaders underserved by current technologies

When asked what organisations most wanted from their travel and expense system, survey respondents provided the following wish list: help with annual budgeting, insight into profitability per client, visibility of cost per sale, and calculation of ROI against spend.

The same research shows that 40% of organisations have seen a slowdown in their sales pipeline since Brexit, with a further 32% remaining static. In the run up to a potential Brexit, 62% foresee a need to cut back on company costs such as business travel, making the case for better visibility of spend more important than ever.

Why Quote to Cash is Only Half the Journey

Disruptive technology is pushing organisations to explore their business processes and design end-to-end solutions that will automate and accelerate the flow of data across teams.

Business silos, disconnected apps, incomplete data and a lack of priority from the leadership team to address these issues is no longer an option for fast-moving, high-growth businesses.

Consumers are looking to buy what they need at a click of a button and expectations are high for the business to keep up or lose market share. According to Salesforce research, “70 percent of customers say that they expect connected experiences in which their preferences are known across touchpoints.”


Working towards a user-centric approach

To meet consumer expectations and deliver an exceptional customer experience, all business units from marketing to sales through to fulfilment and billing must come together. Creating one platform, end-to-end, that delivers one source of truth across the organisation.

The Lead to Ledger process focuses on the customer journey, in the moments that matter, from Lead generation to the general Ledger. Mapping transaction costs such as travel expenses and resource planning into the sales journey to give a more accurate view for all business units. Thus enabling the CFO to have access to real-time data and contextual intelligence and feeding back into the sales teams to sell faster and smarter. Quote to Cash brings together Configuring, Pricing, Quoting and Billing to manage business costs as well as sales opportunities. Legacy revenue management systems simply won’t cut it!


Leads: AI and marketing working together

AI in mar-tech is streamlining efforts for the marketing department, automating repetitive tasks, and handling complex workflows to drive results. Freeing up marketers to focus on the part of the job that requires the most humanity – engaging and serving customers.

Ninety-one percent of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that offer relevant information and recommendations. 80% are more likely to purchase from a brand that personalises their customer experience, and 72% only engage with targeted marketing messages.


Connecting marketing to sales

Harnessing the power of AI to highlight high scoring leads that can be alerted to sales, enables more responsiveness to customers’ needs and interests, through the right messaging, on the most appropriate channel. Generating valuable insights for sales to close the deal faster and smarter.

Without a connected system, salespeople can spend days tracking down customer data, contacting them on a whim without fully understanding the buyer intent.

When you have multiple configurable products, a client base with varying complexities, and salespeople or accountancy departments who are working across numerous orders. As well as operating different systems at the same time, there’s a huge risk of revenue leakage, and relationships with clients can be challenging. With artificial intelligence and good quality contact information, the sales teams can spend more time engaging and targeting the right opportunities.

Understanding the customer through effective engagement enables the sales team to gather information to recommend the right solution, whether it’s a product or a service.


The true cost of sale

Product catalogues are getting more complex as customer demands increase. Sales reps are entrusted to know all the product specifications, limitations, special offers and ‘deals of the day’ to keep up with the different customisations. If they get it wrong, the business pays a hefty price, not only in potential loss of revenue but also in reputation.

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) allows all the products, options, discounts and prices to be loaded in one system ready for quotes to be configured, priced and sent to the customer in minutes.

In order to close a sale, a sales executive may want to offer a larger discount or bundle products together to increase the overall package. With a unified system, the sales person will know the limits, ensuring the deal is profitable and can be delivered as promised. It also identifies opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell and offer alternatives based on the customer needs.


Streamlined automation

Providing quotes at speed, with confidence on delivery and accuracy on pricing, gives the business a competitive advantage and boosts reputation. The lack of bureaucracy empowers employees and speeds up the process. If a deal size is larger than sign-off, notifications can be activated automatically to ensure all parties are kept informed.

By collecting the relevant data to this point enables a contract to be automatically created, with all line items present as agreed and sent to the client/customer online. The fulfilment team have also got the information they need to arrange delivery. One platform, one source of truth, throughout the journey. But what about the costs?|


Managing the bottom-line

Expense management and resource planning can have big cost centres and quite often, aren’t integrated prior to the contract creation. Resulting in revenue leakage, inaccurate reporting and miscalculated commission payments.

This isn’t the fault of the CFO, especially when working across legacy, disparate applications. CFO’s have large realms of data available to them as well as managing all the financial moving parts of the business. Wouldn’t it be powerful if they could put this data to best use to provide more accurate reports and insights?

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