It’s no secret that the coronavirus crisis is having a dramatic impact on businesses around the world, many of which are fighting just to stay alive. With sales revenues plummeting across nearly every industry, many businesses are left with more cash outflows than inflows and are struggling to keep costs to a minimum in an effort to remain viable until the crisis ends.
But too often, organizations have sales teams and finance teams that operate separately in siloes. While finance teams need to run “what-if” scenarios to plan for a range of outcomes, sales teams need to be able to quickly identify the deals they should focus on to maximize short term revenue to help with the current crisis.
Without aligning finance and sales leadership to balance expenses with revenue in the short term, companies are at risk of sustaining potentially catastrophic damage and possibly even insolvency. That’s why enterprise leaders are increasingly recognizing how critical it is for their finance and sales teams to work together and looking for ways to maximize revenue immediately using their existing systems and data.
COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the unprepared
Sales and finance teams typically have fundamentally different priorities. Sales teams are tasked with closing as many deals as possible and bringing in the revenue that supports the overall business while finance teams are more focused on maximizing the company’s profitability. But with the coronavirus pandemic, sales and finance now must work together toward a common and more focused goal: bringing in short-term revenue and optimizing cash flow by minimizing costs.
Unfortunately, many organizations aren’t in a position to swiftly align their sales and finance teams to pursue this new goal. Their data lives in different systems, processes and workflows differ, and most of the work — forecasts, budgets, and account plans — has traditionally been shared only after individual components are complete rather than a more coordinated, collaborative effort.
As a result, finance teams end up using unreliable assumptions based on whatever sales data they can find to generate these forecasts and cost analyses. Previously, the reports were usually accurate enough to provide usable forecasts. But in today’s crisis business environment dominated by extreme volatility, unpredictability, and overnight changes these assumptions are no longer reliable and the onus on sales to adapt is unsustainable.
At the same time, sales teams have a firsthand look at the impact COVID-19 is having on revenue — watching pipeline deals vanish and sales cycles extending for weeks or months. Yet, they’re unable to easily and reliably share those insights and intelligence with their finance colleagues, making cost management and revenue forecasting less transparent, less efficient, and far less effective.
Instead, sales and finance leaders should look to the greatest source of customer data and actionable intelligence to quickly sync their strategies to navigate their company going forward: their Salesforce CRM.
Salesforce: The great uniter of sales and finance
Salesforce is the CRM of choice for nearly 20% of the world’s leading businesses. The richly featured and extensible platform gives sales teams all the tools and information they need to succeed. But it’s also a valuable tool for bringing your finance and sales teams together and closely collaborating to improve forecasting, account planning, and cost management.
As the center of your customer universe, Salesforce is home to tons of valuable data — for both sales and finance teams. Still, deals are changing rapidly and the data needs to be updated quickly as market conditions and customer needs evolve. Sales representatives need to act quickly to communicate and update deal expectations within the CRM to keep it relevant and timely for the finance department.
In turn, finance teams need to understand the impact prospective deals in the pipeline will have on revenue and cash flows and update forecasts accordingly to help sales determine the shortest path to meeting revenue goals and bottom line needs.
ForecastEra Revenue Navigator automates cumbersome forecasting typically done in spreadsheets and with offline tools through Salesforce, freeing your sales and finance teams to spend more time working together to navigate troubled waters. The solution features an array of helpful tools like:
- Automated real-time forecasts that change when the data does
- Robust what-if scenarios to help you plan for virtually any possibility
- Gap analysis to highlight key accounts or sales areas that aren’t living up to forecast expectations
- Deep-dive performance insights to understand revenue performance and causes of variance
- Dynamic sales playbooks to help you confidently target opportunities to your meet revenue goals
Accurate forecasting and quickly pivoting sales strategies is the key to winning even amid today’s crisis. When finance produces detailed forecasts based on the latest, most updated data, sales can zero in on deals that will maximize revenues right now, when they’re needed most over long-term opportunities.
Schedule a free personalized demo to learn more about how ForecastEra solutions can help your business thrive even during hard times.