Technology & Innovation

Enhancing integration to bridge the gap between sales and accounting

Over the past 20 years, CRM systems have evolved from a computerized Rolodex (yes, remember when there was such a thing?) to a fully integrated system. No longer are users, typically salespeople, seeking to just track contact information; they are demanding more data in the system to provide better insight on customer behavior.

CRM systems fail for many reasons: lack of upper-management support, lack of budget, and/or incorrect expectations. In my 18 years of experience, I have seen failures not only because of these reasons, but because of the perceived lack of value by the end users. It is the users who ultimately make or break the implementation and it is the users who must make an implementation a success.

So, how does your organization get users to buy in and use the system as management has requested?  The system has to provide value to the user– to be one that the users WANT to use and GET needed information from, as opposed to one they HAVE TO use and must PROVIDE information to.

So how do you add value?

In my experience, there is an excess of conversation between the back office and the sales team. There are countless different scenarios that occur daily, but for now let’s dive into a few:

Scenario 1: Salesperson needs a report from accounting

Salesperson calls the accounting department: “Hi Judy, this is John from sales…can you tell me how much ABC Company has purchased?”

Judy either stops what she is doing and runs a report to get back to John with the answer (causing a delay or decline in her productivity) or is unable to immediately stop what she is doing (causing a delay or decline in John’s productivity.)

Now, picture a system where John can easily access and instantly get that information for himself. The above interaction would not need to take place.

Dummy data from Sage CRM

Illustrative dummy/example data from Sage CRM

Scenario 2: Salesperson needs overarching view of YTD sales and account statuses

Let’s use a hypothetical situation to illustrate how the your staff can gain more value from their CRM.  Imagine it is the winter of 2020, and a pandemic strikes. Everyone is sent home to work. Now what? How do we efficiently get data to the staff?

That first example was at a customer level. Think further about how valuable it would be your salesperson or customer support rep to have a report or dashboard that would display all of their customers, and see at a glance which of them are down for the year.

This would give them immediate, informed access to their customers who are not buying, allowing them to be more effective at managing the customer relationship than they could without this information.

Salespeople are inherently judged by how much their customers are buying. Therefore, displaying sales data that is quick and easy to understand will add value to the system, allowing them to be proactive instead of reactive in their sales efforts.

Dummy data from Sage CRM

Illustrative dummy/example data from Sage CRM

Scenario 3: Salesperson needs customer purchase history

Salesperson calls accounting: “Hi Judy, this is John from Sales, can you tell me the last time ABC Company purchased item XYZ, how many they bought, and what price they paid?”

Judy stops what she is doing, runs a report, and gets back to the John with the answer. Or does she? Again, a break in productivity and efficiency for either Judy or John.

Once more, imagine a system in which a Judy can easily obtain and view the information.  The above cross-department interaction would not be necessary.

Take this one step further and assume that the customer calls the salesperson asking the same question about their own purchasing history. Would we prefer the salesperson to tell the customer they’ll get back to them, or be able to use the CRM system to retrieve the information while on the phone with the customer?

Screenshot from Sage CRM

Illustrative dummy/example data from Sage CRM

These are only a handful of scenarios; there are others, such as displaying AR Aging Information and Past Due Amounts. But what they have in common is that they supply the specific information and details that salespeople will be able to use to their advantage, which will absolutely add value to the CRM system, and thereby drive user adoption.

With the right integration, users will rely on the CRM system as a necessary tool to be more successful at their job.  By bridging the gap between sales and accounting you will add value to the salesperson.  By Adding value, you will have better user adoption and a successful CRM Implementation.

This article is a part of our Sage CRM series. Sage CRM extends Sage 50Sage 100 and Sage 300 with CRM capability for sales, marketing and customer service functions in thousands of business’ around the globe.