How Can Finance and Sales Teams Collaborate To Positively Impact Your Company’s Bottomline?

What you’ll learn


  • Why inter-team collaboration is crucial
  • How to prepare for inter-team collaboration
  • The advantages that team collaboration & visibility brings in for finance and Sales

Introduction

Small and mid-sized companies are the backbone of any economy. “They make up 99.7% of US employer firms and 64% of net new private-sector jobs”. These SMEs however, are confronted with bottlenecks that hinder their transition to the next phase of business growth.

99.7% of US employer firms and 64% of net new private-sector jobs

Typical challenges include limited access to finance insight, lack of databases, low R&D expenditure, underdeveloped sales channels, and more importantly, absence of coordination between various departments. In this article, we will focus on how lack of coordination between finance and sales teams can affect the organization’s goals and what can be done to boost cooperation between these two spheres. The benefits from such team visibility will also be given due importance.

Why and How To Improve Cross-Functional Collaboration

When your teams lack visibility into each other’s work and data, it will affect both long term and short-term goals of your business. Let’s start by looking at some of the ways non-aligned teams would impact the organization’s overall strategy:

  • Company’s Bottom-Line:

Non-collaboration in the workplace severely disrupts an organization’s profitability. Let us take the example of the finance team not sharing key intel to sales on clients whose invoices are due for more than 3 months. Now your sales field agent without the intel would continue to receive sales orders from that client, whereas your AR team would have restricted the client’s credit extension. This situation often hits business profitability as such customers are unable to pay long overdue invoices.

  • Better Vigilance:

When there is no coordination between your finance and business development teams, inter-departmental vigilance is almost non-existent.

This often leads to both customer disputes and internal forgery and data manipulation. But better team visibility leads to improved internal monitoring. For example your AR team can check your sales team’s delivery checklists, customer review documentations and sales agreements to negate any invoice disputes.

  • Customer Relations:

A good example of this kind of impact could be where a customer has made payment committed to your sales teams. However, your finance team is pestering customers by sending relentless payment reminders. Often, this can lead to a bad customer experience and disrupt the client’s cordial relationship with your business.

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Here are some tips that will help you improve overall visibility and collaboration:

How to Improve Collaboration and Visibility

  • Make Payment Terms clear and easy to understand:

When your sales team is closing a deal with the customer, it is essential to rope in finance teams too. This way, everyone has visibility into the payment terms and agreements. This makes communication with customers seamless and helps the finance team leverage the right information to accelerate collections.

  • Leverage Client Rapport:

Your sales team has likely built strong relationships with key client accounts based on years of effective interaction. When the credit collection team finds it hard to get pending invoices paid, the sales team can lend a helping hand to AR teams by taking up the late payment issue with the client

  •  Share AR Metrics About Delinquent Customers:

Sales teams can make smarter decisions about offering extended credit during order renewals if your AR team updates them with key intel such as late payment history. You can also provide details like customer credit score, customer behavior analysis, or client trends in a centralized repository for easy access.

  • Mutually Create A Win-Win Policy:

If two departments have to function as a unified group, they must have common goals and key performance areas. For example, a sale will be counted as a ‘sale’ for sales representatives if the client clears their invoices for a quarter or a credit collection personnel gets a bonus if the sales upsells to existing customers by acting upon finance insights and analytics.

  • Hold Monthly Meetings:

Once a month, your organization’s decision makers must call an all hands on deck meeting to create effective strategies, share intelligence, and showcase each team’s final insights. This not only improves team building and appreciation but will also lead to discussion of risky accounts, problem customers, common hurdles and action plans.

 

Benefits Of  Collaboration and Visibility

  • Quicker Customer Onboarding:

When your teams collaborate better, customers onboarding processes work  seamlessly and quicker too.. Collaborative teams are more likely to agree on matters like client onboarding policy, customer renewal policy, credit extension, and share common customer credit score for better decision-making.

  • Unified Data Platform for Centralized Access:

Centralized data access on vital customer insight is extremely important to reap the aggregated benefits of collaboration and visibility. This will remove the manual insight sharing which is prone to prejudices, biases, and manual errors. A central repository would enable easy and timely access to data silos.

  • Forecasting Reporting and Analytics:

 When various teams share their insights, it enables better sales forecast and credit eligibility for customers. Simultaneously, it unites all teams under one unified super-team and results in a win-win scenario. For example, the customer success team increases their client visits to address invoice issues for the AR team.

  • Joint Monitoring:

One crucial aspect of any back-office function such as Accounts Receivable (AR) is monitoring client’s accounts. But front-end teams like sales and BDRs teams can help finance by monitoring customer activities in terms of credit limits and extension, usage, and invoice payments for improving remittance collection and cash inflow.

  • DSO Interpretation and Cash Flow Improvement:

To improve the cash inflow, most AR teams must track and Interpret daily sales outstanding (DSO) to internal teams and clients. The job becomes easy if all the functions in an organization get involved with a common goal to make their firm a cash-positive organization.

  • In A Nutshell:

Today, aligning your teams for better visibility and collaboration is not just a good-to-have but a must-have.  When you can motivate your teams to work together, your business will benefit from better cash flow, positive customer experiences, cost savings, and improved productivity. One of the ways to enable this is by automating certain difficult aspects like accounts receivables and offering a central repository of customer information for all concerned teams.

Please share your inputs on the topic of inter-team collaboration with us here.


References:
4 Easy Steps To Get Sales And Account Receivable Working Together As A Team
A Winning Combination: Collaborative Teamwork Equals Teamwork and Collaboration

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HighRadius Integrated Receivables Software Platform is the world’s only end-to-end accounts receivable software platform to lower DSO and bad-debt, automate cash posting, speed-up collections, and dispute resolution, and improve team productivity. It leverages RivanaTM Artificial Intelligence for Accounts Receivable to convert receivables faster and more effectively by using machine learning for accurate decision making across both credit and receivable processes and also enables suppliers to digitally connect with buyers via the radiusOneTM network, closing the loop from the supplier accounts receivable process to the buyer accounts payable process. Integrated Receivables have been divided into 6 distinct applications: Credit Software, EIPP Software, Cash Application Software, Deductions Software, Collections Software, and ERP Payment Gateway – covering the entire gamut of credit-to-cash.