An efficient, growing company usually features a healthy relationship between Sales and Finance. It will thrive on inter-departmental communication and cooperation, in contrast to many organizations where such a relationship is not the norm. After all, the Sales department is focused on enlarging the customer base, which can be at odds with the Finance department’s focus on profitability and the careful husbanding of financial assets. New software solutions, such as Acumatica Cloud ERP, make it easier to align the strategies and operations of Sales and Finance.
“Why Can’t We Be Friends?”
Finance looks at achieving profitability. Putting so much weight on the bottom line is not especially well aligned with Sales’ need to invest time and money converting a lead into a bona fide client. If the two departments are in disagreement because of lack of leadership or unnecessary internal competition, the possibility of collaboration drops off to the detriment of the overall business.
A dialogue is needed to achieve a profitable collaboration between Sales and Finance managers and company leaders. The goal should be to define common strategies that benefit both sides of the conversation. There is a solution. It takes work, and sometimes faith in the organizational process for everyone to end up agreeing on tactics and strategy where both Sales and Finance are “winners” and satisfied team players.
The Right ERP and CRM Cloud Software Can Make a Difference
As a prospective collaboration between Sales and Finance comes into view, the challenge is to make it happen in reality. Software can make a difference in this situation. Traditionally, solutions for customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) have run separately, with integrations between anywhere from thin to nonexistent. This is starting to change. A new generation of cloud ERP solutions enable relatively straightforward and full integration between ERP and CRM. As the systems come together, so too can the stakeholders in their respective departments. They can work together to define processes and measure results.
Plan: Measure Twice Cut Once
When it is time to integrate ERP and CRM cloud software, Sales teams may harbor old habits and feel the pressure to land clients in spite of spending parameters. They are working so hard to build quality relationships and get the “yes.” Increased marketing budgets and expenditures do not bode well if there is no clear agreement or support from Finance.
At the same time, Finance has a need to be heard and respected. Finance might not want to spend in the present, even if future profits appear to be on their way. The Finance team may come into the conversation with preconceived notions because they are not in the field. In order to understand Sales, both parties need to be clear regarding what they need and how they anticipate the best ways to function.
How do Sales and Finance agree upon reasonable expenditures and built-in processes that allow for mutually-agreed-upon exceptions that will not create a “battle of the budgets”? Plan, plan and plan. The entire organization will suffer if Sales and Finance don’t become allies. Counterintuitive, yes. However, this new level of inter-departmental friendship can finally initiate a new normal for a best-case scenario to grow the company.
Look at the Variables and Prepare for the Unknown
A mutually beneficial partnership can give both critical departments ownership by developing realistic revenue models. With the right tools and integrations, Sales and Finance can collaborate. They can work on projects with the same profitable goals. Once an integrated ERP-CRM system is implemented, management will have a clear view of the Sales team and its management of leads, follow-up and conversion. The Finance team will appreciate the budget planning and unifying efforts that result in profits and partnership. The two departments can jointly review data for budget requests, expenditures, customer behavior and credit, inventory, accounts payable and receivable, sales, marketing and finance. The data is all in the same place.
To learn more about how software can put Sales and Finance on the same page, contact us for a demo and discussion.