Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Joe Alphonse, Product Marketing Manager at Revitas.
Today’s business landscape is fraught with obstacles. Organizations large and small face shifting market demand; rising global competition; evolving distribution channels, logistics, and routes to market; growing product commoditization; and changing business models and product propositions across global market segments.
Success in this highly competitive environment does not come easy, and for that reason, organizations are turning inward to reassess their current processes and procedures to ensure their company is firing at maximum efficiency. This inward exploration evaluates the all-encompassing process of building and fulfilling demand -- known as campaign-to-cash. This process is one of the most crucial to business growth, and yet few companies actively manage it to optimize revenue. With greater pressure for growing the bottom line and more narrow opportunities for doing so, campaign-to-cash must become the foundation on which success is built.
Campaign-to-cash is a simple concept, and one that I bet your organization is using even if you might not know it by name. It starts at the beginning of the sales cycle where companies begin to garner demand. This includes processes such as market planning, pricing management, channel strategy development, incentive management, and incentive monitoring.
The second phase of the campaign-to-cash process transitions beyond building demand and into fulfilling demand. In this phase, companies focus on filling quotes, opportunity management, CPQ, contracting, invoicing, post-deal validation, and analysis.
While building and fulfilling demand stand as the two main pillars of the campaign-to-cash cycle, numerous sub-processes intersect and overlap, creating a complex web of procedures that can affect revenue. These sub-processes, which include contract lifecycle management and incentive management, are often overlooked and written off as standard steps in business flow, but in reality, they have a concrete effect on organizations -- negatively when unmanaged and positively when managed correctly. Therefore, organizations should be looking for opportunity to optimize these processes, shorten sales cycles, and boost returns.
For example, companies are often inundated with large volumes of high-value partner agreements. These agreements are vital in growing business, yet organizations are often unable to effectively manage the swelling number of contracts. Many companies rely on homegrown management applications that provide limited scalability and are cumbersome to operate and costly to maintain. These systems also tend to lack integration with existing enterprise applications, and for those reasons, lose companies money over time.
Instead of settling for an ineffective agreement management system, companies should seek to optimize this process by implementing a global, automated contract management system that integrates smoothly with existing business processes. This type of solution automates workflows, improves win rates, ensures compliance, increases contract visibility, and alleviates staff from managing complex and time-intensive solutions. Optimizing a company’s contract management system, just a small portion of the campaign-to-cash process, can have a huge influence throughout an organization and in turn save revenue.
Similarly, companies should re-examine their incentive management systems. Many businesses rely on incentives as a way to boost partner sales and increase total revenue, yet they don’t capture every penny. While incentives are an effective means to increase sales numbers, companies typically rely on error-prone spreadsheets to manage these promotions’ accruals, which can cause overpayments or duplicate payments that weigh on the bottom line. By implementing an automated rebate and accrual management system that efficiently analyzes promotional metrics, companies can begin to develop high-impact incentives that can improve total channel revenue, and reduce partner turnover.
But don’t just stop with agreements or incentives. The campaign-to-cash process includes planning markets, managing prices, creating incentives, creating opportunities or quotes, developing valid configurations and prices, submitting contracts, negotiating terms, making payments, validating transactions, and performing analysis. By assessing each sub-process and optimizing even just a few, any company can save exorbitant amounts of revenue year in and year out.
Now’s the time to start ignoring the chaos enveloping the business landscape and take an inward look at your company’s campaign-to-cash processes. Evaluate current procedures and identify weak points that could be affecting revenue. Then implement solutions that will optimize and simplify each process. But be aware, not all solution providers are created equal, and many will claim that their solution can optimize all processes from start to finish. No single solution can manage the entire process. Instead, look for providers that can integrate with other systems within your environment to achieve the greatest benefits for your organization.
Joe Alphonse is Product Marketing Manager at Revitas. He has experience in innovative technology solutions and services in multiple industries, including enterprise software and business information.