Salesforce CPQ and NetSuite can be a powerful team when it comes to streamlining the process of transforming opportunities into fulfilled orders… for the most part. The truth is that most subscription-based companies need a more sophisticated integration solution to ensure the flow of information from Salesforce into NetSuite, and there are plenty of less sophisticated solutions available. Companies with subscription products or services are often challenged to find a ready-made solution that connects the quotes and orders in Salesforce with the orders fulfilled, billed and revenue recognized in NetSuite. That’s because subscriptions often complicate the relatively straightforward sales transaction process with a wide range of variables.
To simplify these complexities, many companies search for an integration solution that automates data synchronization across systems. The trick is finding an integration platform that truly allows these processes to occur across Salesforce CPQ and NetSuite as designed, without compromising too much in order to keep them in sync.
Subscription sales variables
Companies new to subscription sales may not recognize the tremendous undertaking it can be to manage all of the options. Think of it this way: For a basic sales transaction, your sales team may identify a sales opportunity in Salesforce and send out a quote. Once the customer approves and orders that quote, NetSuite ERP tracks order placement, fulfillment, invoicing and payment. IT professionals might naturally think of this simple flow as a “one-to-one” relationship between these transactions.
Subscriptions, on the other hand, create what an IT pro considers to be a “one-to-many” relationship. Any given subscription may have their own unique conditions around when billing is performed, variable contract start and end dates, adjustable payment terms, flexible payment methods, not to mention credits or overage fees that may also need to be applied along the way… It’s a lot of scenarios and related data to track and synchronize across disparate systems. And when subscriptions are provided for configurable product bundles, so that every single product quoted carries a slightly different SKU and/or price, then the transactions may begin to take on a “many-to-many” level of complexity.
For small businesses, it may make sense to be hands-on for each of these steps, utilizing people to make judgment calls at each step. But if you’ve got thousands of subscriptions to manage, the risks of not automating the flow of data begins to mount.
The risks of a poor Salesforce-NetSuite integration
The effective flow of information between Salesforce CPQ and NetSuite ERP is absolutely critical for business process alignment. When companies try to manually track subscription changes across these separate systems, it becomes all too easy to send out the wrong amount on an invoice or miss an upcoming renewal before its end date. It’s not unusual for a growing subscription-based company to face million-dollar monthly invoicing gaps as a result of trying to manually bridge gaps like these. As the errors add up, customers become more likely to lose faith and switch to other subscription service or product competitors.
In addition, company owners manually managing these processes find that they can’t effectively scale up their business by just hiring more people. As subscription volumes grow, so too does the demand for staff who can process orders and track subscription changes. Until you have an automated, scalable solution in place for synchronizing the flow of information across systems, you won’t see very much increase in profits you expect, despite hard earned sales growth.
The right time to invest in a Salesforce-NetSuite integration
If you’re not sure if your business could benefit from investing in a Salesforce-NetSuite integration, consider the following questions:
- Do you currently or plan to use Salesforce CPQ to configure products, price orders, and generate orders? And do you currently or plan to use NetSuite ERP to manage your financials?
Many companies first invest in a CRM solution as they grow before discovering the value of a best-in-class ERP solution like NetSuite. If your company is already using two easily configurable platform solutions, it doesn’t make good financial sense to rely on manual entry and updates between the two, or even building a custom integration solution when proven options are available. If you already made the switch from manual Excel processes to the ease of an automated ERP financials solution, why go back to manual processes all over again?
- How many customer invoices do you issue per month today? How do you see this changing?
If you’re managing a small handful of invoices each month, then you likely can handle changes to subscriptions as the need arises. If you aren’t worried, you probably have a “rock star” on your team who handles this. But if you’re ready to scale up your offerings, then it’s hard to hire an entire team of “rock stars” and it is best to put processes and systems in place for automating the flow of data. Automated subscription billing and renewals help increase customer retention and sustain recurring revenue even as they reduce demands for labor.
- Are there any products or services you bundle upfront with the recurring subscription? Are there any one-time usage or overage charges billed once the subscription is active?
Selling a singular subscription product or service can be complicated enough, but it gets even harder when you have bundled inventory products, professional services projects, or consumption based charges along with your subscription offerings. These “multi-element” subscription offerings are difficult to accurately quote, given many potential variations to position with different market verticals and customer levels. Even after quoting, they may create the need to keep the fulfillment, billing and revenue recognition of each element in sync between them.
Salesforce CPQ makes selling and quoting these much easier and faster. NetSuite with 360 Subscription Billing and Advanced Revenue Management makes even the most complex order fulfillment, billing and revenue recognition scenarios something you can actually scale with.
- Do you allow upsells, downsells, or price changes during the subscription? Are there any add-on or cross-sold recurring charges to be consolidated for invoicing together?
If there’s a great deal of potential for fluidity during subscription contract terms, it’s important to have mechanisms in place for tracking changes and synchronizing billing, proration, and revenue data between Salesforce CPQ and NetSuite. Even a single amendment to a subscription can introduce complexity to keeping your sales and billing processes in sync. As you add the potential for more price changes, billing term changes, product changes and more, this complexity grows exponentially. A Salesforce CPQ-NetSuite integration will drastically reduce the risk of these being out of sync over time.
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then you may benefit from the Salesforce CPQ-NetSuite integration provided by 360 Subscription Billing. This platform allows companies to simply install an integration and align business processes rather than build and maintain a custom integration.
Ready to learn more? Contact 360 Cloud Solutions today.