Salesforce CPQ and Billing – Unifying Sales and Finance with an Aligned Revenue Process
2019 is a very exciting year for Salesforce CPQ and Billing. The 2019 Winter and Spring releases have brought some amazing enhancements to the Product. Evergreen Subscription management, Multiple Billing Transactions, New Invoicing Options, and Enhanced Revenue Schedules are just some of the game-changing enhancements to the product so far this year. The number of clients who are live on the Billing platform has increased tenfold from the end of 2017 to 2018, and there is no slowing down this growth trend. The value proposition of an integrated Lead to Cash tool all on the Salesforce platform is too great to be ignored.
It was only a few years back that skepticism existed around Salesforce CPQ. Enterprise clients wondered if Salesforce’s newly purchased Steelbrick tool could compete with the likes of Oracle CPQ (formerly BigMachines) or Apttus. We all know how that story ends. Salesforce CPQ has cemented itself as a leader in CPQ technologies according to Gartner Magic Quadrant reports in 2018. It was in 2015, only a half a year before Salesforce purchased Steelbrick, that Steelbrick added InvoiceIT (now Salesforce Billing) to its product. Immediately, the integration between CPQ and Billing was put in place.
We are seeing the same evolutions in Salesforce Billing that we saw in CPQ, but the skeptics are in different departments today. Finance teams are not adopters of CPQ like Sales and Service teams. Revenue recognition out of Salesforce is a foreign idea. How do we break this barrier to guarantee that the Office of Finance sees the value proposition in Salesforce CPQ and Billing?
Most Sales Cloud and CPQ Solutions handle forecasted and booked revenue very well today. Finance teams can see projected recurring revenue versus one-time revenue. They can use a Revenue Scheduler to forecast month over month. This is all very helpful, but there is still going to be a delta between booked and billed revenue. Quite often this delta exists outside of Salesforce through fulfillment, usage, or billing systems. It’s nearly impossible for Finance teams to understand why their revenue “bucket” is “leaking”.
Enter Salesforce Billing. Billing allows you to generate invoices, open a payment gateway, and process credits. Billed and recognized revenue can now be tracked in Salesforce. Finance teams can finally see forecasted, booked, billed, and recognized revenue in one system. They can understand where credits are being applied or which clients aren’t meeting their expected usage amounts. This sort of insight leads to better revenue forecasting and decreases risk.
This isn’t a theoretical approach. The VP of Global Sales Operations at comScore wrote a fantastic blog, titled “Revenue in Salesforce! WHAT?” (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/revenue-salesforce-what-lee-wright/) about how his Finance team can now track revenue with Salesforce Billing month over month. And with sales incentives based on revenue, this month over month tracking give sales reps an understanding of how they’ll get paid. It’s an amazing success story.
When you want to unify Sales and Finance teams, focus on transparency between revenue targets and trends, let Salesforce CPQ and Billing do the heavy lifting, and conquer the “Leaky Bucket”.
Spaulding Ridge is a Certified Salesforce Partner with a growing team of Certified CPQ Specialists. Our background is in the Office of Finance. We have a vast set of offerings for CPQ, Billing, and ERP integrated solutions that can meet the needs of any business. Please reach out to Eric Jacobson, firstname.lastname@example.org, for tailored offering to meet your requirements.