Salesforce Billing, previously in limited release, is now available for everyone, allowing users to accelerate the quote-to-cash cycle and ensure a consistent and positive user and customer experience
October marked the one-year anniversary of the first enterprise deployment of Salesforce Billing. West Monroe was part of that exciting deployment on Oct. 3, 2016, when our client initiated a batch process – with the click of a “post invoices” button – generating more than 20,000 invoices representing millions of dollars in monthly billing. Automating this process reduced the time spent by the billing team on invoicing activities from days to hours. Our client was able to redeploy resources to revenue generating activities, reduce billing errors generated by manual intervention, reduce receivables days by enabling customers to view and pay invoices online in Salesforce Community, and lower operating costs by sun-setting an expensive Oracle billing system.
We were fortunate to lead the months-long business transformation that made this deployment possible, including the implementation of Salesforce Service Cloud, Salesforce Sales Cloud, and Salesforce CPQ that preceded it.
As we mark the release of Salesforce Billing 2.0 and reflect on the one-year anniversary of that first deployment, we want to share three lessons learned from that project. These lessons will help you reduce costs, deploy faster, improve user and customer satisfaction, and ultimately accelerate the quote-to-cash cycle.
Identify your system administrator for Salesforce Billing before you begin the implementation process. Why? This individual should be actively involved in configuration and testing to become intimately knowledgeable about the billing system. This is critical for several reasons: There are very few experts on Salesforce Billing since it is so new. Accordingly, there is little available documentation. And finally, the Salesforce CPQ and Billing functionality is more complex than standard Sales, Service, or Community Cloud functionality.
Salesforce CPQ and Billing administration requires more advanced knowledge of Salesforce configuration – think calculus versus algebra – as well as learning many complex, less-intuitive features unique to CPQ and Billing. Your administrator should be a full-time member of the implementation team from project kickoff through deployment. Look for expertise in Salesforce CPQ functionality, as much of the Billing functionality will be driven by your CPQ configuration.
Following the go-live of Salesforce Billing, your system administrator should be dedicated full time to supporting the Salesforce CPQ and Billing functionality. Given the mission-critical role of billing to your business, as well as its impact on customer experience, investing in this role can actually lower your ongoing system costs. On the one hand, you can avoid the cost of outsourcing system administration to your Salesforce Billing implementation partner. On the other hand, you can create a more consistent experience for both internal users and customers. In other words, it pays to begin with this end in mind.
Together, the following steps can help you keep it “clean” by minimizing the number of billing errors once you launch the system. In turn, this helps reduce costs and the potential damaging impact of poor customer experiences.
There are a number of native features and readily available enhancements/add-ons that can help your organization accelerate payments and improve the experience for your sales team and customers. The key to doing so is to simplify and streamline business processes beforehand so that you can execute them easily within Salesforce and avoid complex customization.
In the inaugural Salesforce Billing deployment project, we utilized both native features and custom functionality to accelerate quote-to-order, order-to-invoice, and invoice-to-payment processes.
Native functionality used for acceleration:
Custom functionality used for acceleration:
While Salesforce Billing is still very new, our initial experience demonstrated it can dramatically accelerate the quote-to-cash cycle – particularly when applying the lessons described above.
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