If your company has a sales team, its leaders constantly ask themselves “what can we do to improve effectiveness and capture more business?” Highly effective sales teams drive more sales and revenue while building better customer relationships. A more effective sales team can help a company gain a larger market share and battle more effectively against competitors.
There are several ways to increase sales team effectiveness, including sales training and performance management programs, coaching, and ongoing lead generation and qualification. As a Finance leader, you have an opportunity to support sales team effectiveness by using a modern cloud-based financial-management platform to organize customer information, automate routine tasks, and access data and insights to inform the sales strategy.
In its recent report The Total Economic Impact™ of Sage Intacct, Forrester quantified the impact of Sage Intacct on sales team effectiveness. Let’s walk through the methodology it used to produce a real dollar figure.
Forrester interviewed four customers using Sage Intacct. For their study, Forrester aggregated the interviewees’ experiences and combined the results into a single composite organization, a technology services company, headquartered in North America with global operations. The composite generates $30 million in annual revenue, has 100 employees, and grows 20% annually via acquisitions during the three-year TEI analysis period.
The four interviewed organizations said that, prior to Sage Intacct, their accounting and financial systems were unconnected, complicated and challenging. The financial processes resided across multiple platforms, such as enterprise legacy systems, bookkeeping software, spreadsheets and other applications. These systems included Oracle NetSuite and QuickBooks.
Due to lack of system consolidation and automation, the organizations used protracted manual processes to bridge data gaps, often requiring additional labor to perform maintenance tasks, such as duplicating the data in prior legacy and third-party software solutions, or tracking contracts and invoices in individual spreadsheets.
After deploying Sage Intacct, the interviewees acquired visibility into their organizations’ financial performance and had confidence in their numbers due to the platform’s real-time data. They gained financial insights and the ability to parse the data, drill down on numbers, and isolate any issues with a particular number, which they could not do in their previous environments.
With this, Forrester calculated a $730,080 total three-year margin benefit gained due to improved sales team effectiveness, with a present value of $605,200. Let’s look at the details.
Evidence and Data
Sage Intacct’s out-of-the-box solution automatically synchronized with interviewees’ CRM solutions, providing their sales teams with greater visibility into their customers’ accounts and contract detail in real time. The CRM solutions included but were not limited to Salesforce.
This easy integration enabled the sales representatives to renew contracts within a reasonable timeframe before expiration and add extra licenses per contracted amount. Before Sage Intacct, interviewees needlessly replicated a customer profile in multiple systems, spending time to locate the contract or, worse, misquoting prices, which led to customer confusion and dissatisfaction.
Due to Sage Intacct’s automation and data accuracy, the sales team achieved significant time savings and focused on enhancing the customers’ experience. Furthermore, the organizations’ days sales outstanding (DSO) decreased from 112 days to 62 days.
Modeling and Assumptions
The composite organization has a total of 30 Sage Intacct licenses. In addition to five business users, 25 employees have user access.
- Twenty salespeople have employee access to Sage Intacct. The CEO and four VPs have business user access.
- Due to better integration of Sage Intacct with CRM systems, sales team members gain significant efficiencies. Sage Intacct empowers them with greater visibility into their customers’ accounts so that they can quote rates and add licenses to existing contracts faster and more accurately, saving them two hours per week.
- In addition, with the elimination of duplicate entry and the need to create multiple customer records from scratch, salespeople save an additional 2 hours per week. They refocus this time savings to build better relationships with customers and follow up on collection or payment issues.
Potential risks that can impact the benefit are:
- The size of the organization and number of sales team members.
- Sage Intacct’s level of integration with the CRM solution and added modules for increased functionality.
- Salary levels, depending on skills and geographical location.
To factor in these risks, Forrester adjusted this benefit downward by 10%, yielding a three-year risk-adjusted total present value of $605,200. The calculations assume a $65 hourly rate for a fully burdened salesperson and a sales team of 20.
In addition to the quantifiable benefits, there are other advantages to Finance and Sales when working on a common platform that’s integrated with the CRM. As Forrester noted, salespeople can see customers’ account statuses in their CRM solutions without having to access Sage Intacct directly. A CFO at an ERP consultancy said: “That whole process is automated. There’s no rekeying of information. Everything is done once at the source.”
When financials run in the cloud, the data is available in real-time to stakeholders wherever they are. Even more valuable is the ability to combine it with operational data and business metrics. Putting finance into a business context allows far more accurate monitoring of how the business is performing. Metrics can be as diverse as customer acquisition cost, dollar churn, or even tracking specific assets or projects.
A cloud-native financial system that’s designed to synchronize with other business functions can eliminate the need for workarounds and spreadsheets. Cloud-native systems connect easily and securely to other applications, especially customer-facing systems such as CRM and ecommerce. These automated connections bring data directly into the financial system for end-to-end processing, manipulation and analysis. As a cloud-native system, Sage Intacct has the flexibility to run certain capabilities as built-in modules instead of requiring separate specialist systems.
The platform gives users roles-based access to information, so the sales team and others have the visibility they need to accel. Intelligently designed and deployed, it integrates with customer engagement platforms for a continuous data flow, so sales teams have real-time insights into the buyer’s journey and customer behavior. As well, a tight integration with configure-price-quote (CPQ) capabilities triggers automated workflows the moment an order is placed. Sage Intacct does all this and more.
Sage Intacct allows the Forrester composite company to design, customize and create bulk billing for customers according to their specifications, differentiating the composite from competitors and creating a market advantage. It receives payment faster via ACH, check and wire rather than processing hundreds of checks from the same account required in previous environments. Sage Intacct helps better determine an advantageous pricing strategy, separating new and existing customers by location and quoting them the best pricing without sacrificing business margins or goals.
If you’d like more information on The Total Economic Impact™ of Sage Intacct from Forrester, I invite you to follow this link where the analysts not only explore the impact of improved sales team effectiveness, but also examine the impacts of:
- More accurate customer billing
- Automation and integration
- Increased accounting team productivity and reporting compliance
- Increased finance team efficiency and auditability
These benefits add up to $2.1 million and a return on investment of 441%. I’m willing to wager that’s one of the best ROIs you’ll find anywhere.
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