Why You Should Rethink Sales and Finance Workflows In a Virtual World
Organizations need to focus on aligning Sales and Finance teams
In the last few months, there’s been a seismic shift in how everyone lives and works. The almost instant disruption has tested standard processes and workflows across all industries and job functions. One of the most critical ones tested is the agreement process, specifically how Sales acquire a signed contract and payment details and then transmit vital information to the Finance department in a suddenly virtual world.
This disjointed process is amplified in organizations that relied on a lot of physical and paper-based processes. While a seller can still jump on a video call with Finance, the real break is happening when you do have the opportunity to convert a business agreement with a prospect. In what may have been a sign this, fax, countersign, fax back world only weeks ago, has become a disjointed process today, and businesses are struggling. The reason for this is in part because the prospect, in most cases, doesn’t have the tools in place to finalize that agreement in their virtual offices – thus slowing the process.
Adding more complexity to this is the need for as much information to flow through to the Finance team at the point of agreement closure and getting this information has become a challenge. Additionally, Finance is experiencing more pressure to collect payment and recognize the revenue as soon as possible. In a world of quarantine, getting checks cut, accessing the bank, and lockboxes now is a much more difficult task for those not able to get payment information digitally.
Now consider the following trend, in a study released by flexjobs earlier this year, from 2005-2017 they observed a 159% increase in remote work. So, the work from home trend was already in full swing before March of this year in a significant way. And once the world slowly begins to reopen there should be some expectation that a lot of organizations will see that that business can still operate with a remote workforce.
So, what may appear to be a temporary workflow issue should be looked at as a potential new normal in the way organizations should expect to work with prospects. Even if this percentage remains low, the data supports the need to consider making changes to digitize these workflows either way. On the agreement side, the Electronic Signature and Records Association reports that organizations can see an 83% improvement in getting agreement approvals, and an 86% savings in document costs by switching to a digital model. Also, in a study by Levvel Research (formerly Payment Advisors), it shows that while 49% of businesses still pay their expenses with paper checks, 74% of businesses have had check payments targeted for fraud. An alternative like eChecks or the Automated Clearing House (ACH) should be considered when accepting payment.
By looking at their contract workflows, organizations can begin taking steps to cut costs and reduce fraud risks. While many areas in an organization get a lot of press and focus, Sales, and Finance alignment during the contract hand-off is critical and should receive more attention.
Check out the webinar to learn how your organization can better align Sales and Finance in a virtual work environment.