Valpak, a Salesforce customer, wrote this article.
It’s clear revenue is the main reason why the stakes for any quote-to-cash transformation is so high. If you mess with revenue, your company could end up in trouble fast. Quote-to-cash is directly related to the lifeblood of your business. As such, it’s mission-critical, complicated, and requires total accuracy.
And if your company operates according to a franchise business model, this can get even more complicated. When it came to transforming the quote-to-cash process at my company Valpak, a North American direct marketing and coupon company, we couldn’t demand our franchise sales reps use new technology. Instead, we had to influence them to use it.
Here’s what we learned about getting stakeholder buy-in for a big quote-to-cash transformation.
Change your culture before changing your technology
Big technological transformations are not easy because they’re never only about technology. They’re about culture. With a quote-to-cash transformation, you’re fundamentally changing the way your sales reps work. You’re telling them it’s time to move from paper towards electronic contracts.
That’s why digital transformation starts with cultural transformation. You have to start by working with your people and aligning your stakeholders to help them understand the coming waves of change. To do this, identify the stakeholders you’ll need to help influence your company culture during your transformation.
Sales teams are perhaps the most significant stakeholders in any quote-to-cash project. Order processing teams, billing teams, and finance teams are also key stakeholders since quote-to-cash transformation will fundamentally alter the way your company deals with contracts, orders, money flow, invoicing, and billing. Your marketing team can also help you connect things and communicate changes across departments.
Ultimately, you should engage every team involved with quote-to-cash as early as possible. Don't assume everything will click into place and work right from the beginning.
Map out your end-to-end process with all stakeholders
To pull all of our stakeholders together at Valpak, we asked representatives from Salesforce CPQ to come in and spend a week with us and our major departments. We got around 50 people from sales, finance, and marketing in the room to map out our end-to-end quote-to-cash process and envision how technology could help us improve. When you start your quote-to-cash transformation by bringing in all of your stakeholders and building a practical road map, you set yourself up for success.
Rome doesn’t have to be built in a day, either. You can have different sessions and workshops for different departments and take a real deep dive into the ways new technology and tools can bring your quote-to-cash process to the next level.
If you want to implement new things faster, make sure you’ve got an agile enterprise environment where C-level executives and business teams work together hand-in-hand. This should be part of the cultural change your organization requires before you consider new technology.
Remember: your new quote-to-cash solution will be in the middle of every major process in your company, so you should have every major stakeholder in your company collaborating to make it successful.
Roll out your new project in phases — not all at once
When Valpak implemented a new quote-to-cash solution with Salesforce CPQ, it was a huge undertaking. The same should be true for just about any company out there. To help everyone handle the magnitude of the changes, we split the project rollout into three phases:
We converted the sales process from paper to digital and trained our teams on e-contracts and e-payments.
We integrated our quoting, billing, and payment systems on one, unified platform to create a seamless process across the entire buying experience — including renewals and amendments.
Next, we plan to connect the sales order data in Salesforce with our SAP order fulfillment system and state of the art manufacturing facility.
When you divide your big quote-to-cash transformation into smaller phases, it makes the whole thing more digestible and manageable. By giving each phase the attention it deserves, you can evolve CPQ and sales, billing, invoicing, cash, and fulfillment much more efficiently than if you tried to do it all at once.
Listen to user feedback and adjust accordingly
Our quote-to-cash transformation impacted about 800 salespeople. About half of them are reps employed by our franchise operators, which means we can’t mandate technology — we need to influence them. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we traveled to each of our markets and held hands-on training sessions with our teams.
This helped — but it’s not everything. We still had a fair amount of follow-up to help our users adjust to the new systems. We implemented a learning management system to help train everyone and made sure print and video learning resources were always available on our company intranet. We still hold live help sessions that sales reps can call in to, and we help them through the quoting process.
Our goal is for all of our sales reps to adopt Salesforce CPQ and enjoy using it as much as possible to advance the sales process. The key to doing that is listening to their feedback. That’s why we’re always open to their suggestions for improving the sales process — everything from lead management to quoting in CPQ to client management.
And now, our reps really see the value of CPQ. I hear them say things like “I can’t imagine my life without Salesforce!” and “Salesforce is my assistant.” It’s fully integrated into the sales process, and as a result, our sales process has never been better.
Take a deep dive into Valpak’s digital transformation journey.