There are thousands of options on the market today for business management software. Many, if not most, of these options were developed to solve challenges related to a niche focus such as a specific business area or industry. But a key problem has persisted for those organizations that don’t look at the big picture and consider how these apps integrate with a core technology to become part of the complete business technology solution.
Several years ago, Nuvem partnered with Salesforce, which at the time, was starting to gain significant market share with the vision it had to become a fully integrated, comprehensive, cloud-based business solution. In the Nuvem world, and in Salesforce speak, we call this “Lead-to-Cash.”
Today’s leading sales and marketing directors are seeking an “all-in-one” solution for their business apps. They understand the complexities and pain that goes with systems that aren’t integrated and the data silos that are created when different departments each have their own preferred technology.
Data and application silos create process inefficiencies all the way from lead generation to revenue management and have a definitive impact on the customer experience.
Salesforce is the best platform on the market today offering an ecosystem in which to build a fully integrated system to run your entire business whether it’s all Salesforce technology or Salesforce connected to ERPs through its API.
Salesforce has the capability to create workflows between teams; each data point is standardized, each process is mapped end-to-end and each user enjoys a central login.
Lead-to-cash and the new customer journey
The new customer journey requires businesses to transform their people, process and technology from lead-to-cash. They expect a delightful experience from the first time they give you their information on a website form to the moment they send final payment for your goods or services. That requires an end-to-end solution that is fully integrated, not only with your data, but also your processes.
But this type of transformation doesn’t come without pain. If you’re looking to align your business with the new customer journey, your processes and technology roadmap may very well need to be different than they were even a year ago.
The time is now to start building your Lead-to-Cash roadmap
Building a roadmap, or strategy, for lead-to-cash business transformation takes careful consideration, the right partner and a commitment by your people to ongoing innovation.
Long gone are the days when it took years to roll out even one new system. But, it still takes time, not only to build the right requirements for your lead-to-cash strategy, but also to deploy a fully optimized solution.
7 key business areas to consider
There are 7 key business areas as part of a lead-to-cash solution that are core to the type of transformation that improves your revenue growth and profitability. Keep in mind, we have tried to simplify this, and there are many more areas to consider.
1. Lead Generation
Leads come from many sources today, including your website. Building a website that converts visitors into Leads through landing pages is a crucial starting point in a customer’s journey. Even Leads that you gather offline such as through trade shows or referrals will likely research your brand through your website so it must be optimized and aligned to their needs.
Your website content management system (CMS), as well as other add-on tools such as Opt-In Monster, must be considered as part of your technology roadmap. Make sure the tools you use connect seamlessly to your marketing automation system outlined in step 2.
2. Marketing Automation
So you have Leads. Now what? Not all Leads are ready to buy from you right away. In fact, there could be significant time that passes from when a Lead first engages with you to the time they are ready to buy your product or service. That requires lead nurturing through a marketing automation system.
When optimized, marketing automation systems should enable your sales team to focus on the best opportunities at the right time with features such as activity insights and lead scoring. They should also create a delightful path for your prospect who receives the right content at the right time to help solve their challenges.
3. Sales Management
Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities and Campaigns must be managed in accordance with your unique processes and with standard processes set forth by the technology.
Your sales CRM is your central database that connects all teams and puts the customer first in your business processes. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that yourCRM be optimized and able to speak to other systems through standardized data and end-to-end process workflows
4. Configure Price Quote
Many businesses today are still managing price books in Excel but this is difficult to maintain and not easily accessible to the people who need it and when they need it. This bogs down the process and creates an opportunity for your competitors to swoop in and provide faster turnaround on quotes.
You need a cloud-based CPQ system, and preferably one that is native to Salesforce such as Steelbrick CPQ, to streamline this process and make sure you stay ahead of the competition.
5. Order Fulfillment
Managing your orders accurately and on time has never been more important, especially if you are in a competitive industry.
There are many advantages to building your operational processes into Salesforce, including workflows. Depending on your requirements, there are many good options in the AppExchange or you can use a leading ERP to provide the needed functionality. If it is a non-Salesforce ERP, that would requireintegration using the Salesforce API.
6. Customer Service
Making it easy to do business with you involves a responsive customer service team who can also identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Customer service also must work closely with account managers on Cases that may involve an upcoming renewal or order cancellation.
Your service team must have access to the same standard data as your Sales team, and the Salesforce Service Cloud enables this well. For less complex service environments, you can also use the Cases tool standard to the Sales Cloud. You can also consider partner or customer Communities implementation, which act as an extension to your Sales Cloud environment, and provide self-service capabilities.
7. Revenue Management
You could be doing all of the items above flawlessly but if you have a process that makes it hard to collect payment from your customers, that’s a big problem.
Again, there are many great options in the Salesforce AppExchange for handling your accounting and invoicing processes. Alternatively, you can use a leading ERP If these don’t fit your requirements, or you can develop a custom ERP to provide the needed functionality. If it is a non-Salesforce ERP, that would require integration using the Salesforce API.
Need help building your cloud technology strategy from lead-to-cash? Contact us today for a free strategy session.