Aligning Sales & Finance: The Real Advantages of Technology Integration

By Michael Johnson

Many growing companies are challenged with finding new ways to optimize processes and drive business efficiencies across their organizations. One important area of consideration that often gets overlooked: improving your finance and sales alignment by integrating your systems.

As companies mature, they typically leverage an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system like Oracle or NetSuite for core business and finance processes, and a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics for sales operations. Regardless of your business systems, integrating your ERP and CRM can significantly impact your sales efficiency, customer experience and cash collections.

Increase visibility into key operations

Your sales and finance teams may inherently have differing priorities or goals. While sales is eager to close deals, finance is focused on getting cash in the door through collections. If your ERP and CRM systems aren’t integrated, your teams might be missing visibility into critical information and data that could impact your business. For example, if an existing customer has outstanding invoices, you wouldn’t want the sales team to accept a new order from them. Therefore, it’s important for the sales team to have visibility into the ERP account data to avoid this situation.

Building on this scenario, if the sales team has easy access to the finance-related account data within their CRM, you’re creating a virtual accounts payable team – a huge benefit for finance and the entire organization. Sharing of collections and order statuses between systems and across departments can significantly impact collections and your cash flow, as well as increase sales productivity. An ERP and CRM integration greatly reduces the “whirlwind” of obtaining the information necessary for invoice generation.

Having a single, accurate source of truth is vital to both creating sales forecasts and the ability to bridge the gap between what finance knows and sales knows. Integration provides the ability for a finance department to model their revenue forecasts based on sales leads captured within the CRM system. Rather than using rep-based predictions, closure rates can be predicted by the administrative components of the system. This allows finance to use an analytical source to forecast revenue rather than relying on these predictions to come from the sales team.

Gain a 360-degree view of customers

Finally, by integrating your ERP and CRM systems, you’re taking a strategic step towards creating the 360-degree view of the customer. Best in class organizations leverage technology to aggregate finance, sales, marketing and support data to create a holistic view of the customer. With data aggregated in one location, your team members have visibility into the complete customer lifecycle, thus enabling increased efficiencies and alignment across the business.

Bringing it together

As you look for new opportunities to drive efficiencies, you will quickly discover that integrating your ERP and CRM is a critical step to further align your finance and sales teams while maximizing your technology. Need tips for a successful integration? Download “Built to Last: The Ultimate Guide to ERP-CRM Integration.” Developed by veterans of many systems integrations, this guide shares lessons, tips and real-world scenarios.

About Bridgepoint

Bridgepoint Consulting is a Texas-based leader in delivering and integrating ERP and CRM solutions including NetSuite and Salesforce. Our large team of certified professionals has expertise across all enterprise systems – including ERP, CRM, CMS and BI/data warehousing. If you have any questions or need help integrating a system, contact us. Learn more about our comprehensive services and areas of expertise here.

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About Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson leads Bridgepoint Consulting’s Technology Consulting practice, which helps organizations leverage technology to drive transformation. The practice specializes in designing and implementing innovative solutions that allow organizations to grow and scale efficiently.  He has 30 years of experience with integrated business solutions, including as managing director at KPMG Consulting, where he oversaw the planning and implementation of HR and finance business solutions for a range of organizations.

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