Revenue Operators are capable of a lot, thanks to the end-to-end visibility they have from engaging with multiple other functions.
But are you truly making use of RevOps? Clearly, there’s untapped potential.
And, if you strike once, you’re very likely to hit gold.
One core RevOps mandate I’ve previously covered is the sales teams’ need for RevOps assistance in following legal and finance guidelines. Legal and finance teams are responsible for ensuring that the business done by the company is compliant with legal requirements and the practices are auditable in the future.
What’s RevOps got to do with all this compliance stuff, you ask?
You’d be surprised.
As someone in a RevOps role, being involved in the sales revenue process like quota setup, attainments tracking, and forecasting gives context on the various risks deals might face before closing a deal. Simply documenting these risks and coming up with workarounds will help improve business predictability.
How to Streamline the Post-Close Process
- Discounting Frameworks
- Payment Terms
- Quoting Standards
- Exception Approval Workflows
- Contract Management Systems
1. Discounting Framework
SaaS businesses are notorious for discounting. Even customers know it by now. If your product is not self-serve, you can say goodbye to closing medium-to-large accounts without any discounts.
In some cases, the difference between the list price and final sale price is so stark that it can shock businesses that are used to paying standard prices for software. With more reps in action, it is strongly advised to put a proper discounting policy so they know how much they can discount.
Without this policy, unnecessary delays in the processes might occur.
How to Streamline a Discounting Framework
- Start with creating a simple discounting policy as per deal size. “Deal size” here refers to the number of licenses or instances based on the nature of your SaaS business.
- Add criteria to this policy based on various dimensions like the region, product, and the channel through which customers are acquired.
- If you have a large enough sales team, you can discount levels based on sales seniority (individual contributors, sales leads, and managers).
A simple policy can empower your sales teams with enough context to operate within the defined discounting levels. It also prevents delays that might come from sales teams having to get approvals from finance and operations.
2. Payment Terms
Companies have payment policies that change based on their region, the currency they have to make the payment in, and the payment mode itself.
Even though your company might have 30-day due payment terms, many of your big customers may not be okay with such a strict term.
You need to empower your sales teams with clarity on the acceptable payment terms based on deal size, region, and channel.
In particular, if you’re bringing in business through a vendor or a third-party partner, there will be multiple delays due to multiple companies and payment terms being involved.
How to Streamline Payment Terms
- Work with your finance and leadership team to arrive at maximum allowable payment terms for your firm. To determine when an exception can be made, create a minimum deal size cap or logo indexes like Fortune 500 as criteria.
- Use the above information to develop the proper payment terms based on region and the currency you are operating with.
- Ensure you put up a proper approval process for anything beyond the standard payment terms so that your finance team is aware of the risk during collections for that particular account.
A lot of deals get stuck before closing due to one party not agreeing to the payment terms. If your sales team knows where they can draw the line, it makes the process a lot easier for both the customer and your firm.
3. Quoting Standards
In a company’s early stage, it might have been okay to experiment with your quotes. But, as the product and business processes mature, it is vital to put a proper price quote template in place. This way, all sales teams provide the same set of templates easily consumed by a billing or reporting tool. You should also be able to use the data to keep track of your bookings and expected revenue.
Without this, teams will develop their own quotes in spreadsheets and documents, making it very difficult for you to keep track of that information.
How to Streamline Quoting Standards:
- Consider your product nature and your pricing models to put up a detailed quote template. Based on your business nature, this might cover the plan name, number of licenses, addons or customizations, payment terms, discounts offered less the price and implementation of services charge.
- Eventually, when you start looking at the CPQ software, this information will help you quickly put your processes into the system. It also prevents your reps from sending unauthorized quotes to the customer without your knowledge.
Sending unauthorized quotes with commitments that are not a standard part of your business will come back to haunt you in the future.
One example I can think of is where a customer purchases additional licenses with the hope that if they don’t use them, they might get them refunded back.
Even though this might be okay in some scenarios, if it is not part of your company policy, then your sales reps have no business including this without the contract being vetted by your finance team.
4. Exception Approval Workflows
Even though you might have a lot of policies in place, there will be periods in which a lot of exceptions have to be made. This is especially true when talking about big deals or a very important logo for your company.
In such cases, if you don’t plan in advance, you might end up being completely clueless as to who gets to veto these exceptions.
It is good to create a proper approval process so that the legal and finance team agree on taking a call on exceptions in advance. You can also outline what kind of exceptions can be approved by various seniority levels of the leaders like directors, VPs and CXOs.
How to Streamline Exception Approvals:
- Document common scenarios where an exception might have to be made like discount rates, payment terms, service level agreements, or waiving implementation fees or scenarios in which the default policy may not be enough for important customers and prospects.
- Create a matrix based on the kind of exception level and who gets to approve said exception. Align this with your finance, legal, and leadership teams so everyone is clear on what is acceptable and what is not.
This will ensure that common deal lag is avoided and both the sales and operations team understand where the deal might be stuck and who needs to be approached for a go-ahead.
5. Contract Management System
Your customer agreements are only good if you know what exactly you sign with the customer. In your early stages, many contracts might just be sitting with the sales rep in their inbox. If a sales rep leaves, there is a huge risk of losing important documents that outline the relationship between your business and the customer.
Create a proper contract management system so that all your important policies or documents like NDAs, SLAs, and signed service order forms are kept in one place.
How to Streamline Contract Management Systems:
- In the early stages, you might as well create a proper cloud folder storage where all sales reps are required to store the documents.
- Eventually, as your company’s skills scale, you can adopt a proper contract management system that stores all information regarding the contract in a single place for future references.
I have personally faced numerous issues with customers where the SLA promised by the reps was not met, and we didn’t have the documentation.
Please DON’T take this process lightly.
Asking the customer for documents might be a simpler solution, but what trust would the customer have left when they find out that you don’t even have the contract?
RevOps can use these five deal closing processes to prevent sales representatives from wasting time fighting internal policies and delays from the legal and finance team.
This article was written by Adithya Krishnaswamy, head of RevOps and Growth at Everstage, a Sales Commissions automation platform. Before that, he was part of Freshworks for five years, where he headed their RevOps efforts for Global Partnerships and the Rest of the World markets.