Technology has permanently disrupted sales, with data-driven selling predicted to take over 60% of B2B sales organizations by 2025. However, as a larger, more established company, you may still be reluctant to embrace change, preferring to stick with systems you've already invested in. While it’s understandable to be cautious when making changes, staying competitive requires companies of all sizes to move past the status quo.
Despite legacy systems and complex organizational structures, it’s actually resistance to change that costs large companies. According to Gartner, the digital transformation journey is taking large enterprises at least twice as long and costing them twice as much as they anticipated due to cultural unreadiness.
Ed McQuiston, Chief Commercial Officer of Hyland (and 20-year company veteran), is in the midst of digital transformation. Hyland is overcoming the challenges many enterprise companies face in 2023 as they consolidate their existing technologies to better serve their customers and thrive in a volatile economy.
Sales process visibility has never been easier
CEOs and CROs can see where and how they’re losing revenue and what they need to fix by understanding the entire sales process, from lead capture and qualification to opportunity creation and forecasting. This level of transparency enables better decision-making and helps sales teams sell more effectively.
Before implementing a revenue platform, McQuiston shared he “couldn’t be convinced that there was one tool that could solve for that.” He recalls, “No matter how good our math was, we found that if a whale came in on the 31st, we felt like we were super-smart heroes, but if that deal came in on the first of the month, we were left feeling like we didn’t have a handle on the business, and I couldn’t be convinced about how a revenue tool would solve for something like that.”
Veteran sales professionals tend to underestimate revenue platforms' capabilities, discounting these tools as glorified math rather than understanding the accuracy and precision they actually provide. “I was a big resister to tools like Clari because we have multiple revenue streams within the same bookings,” said McQuiston.
Larger, more mature companies like Hyland that were once skeptical of digital transformation are seeing incredible results now that they’ve taken the plunge. Suddenly, Hyland has more visibility into its sales process, its data is more accurate, and its forecasts are more reliable. As a result, they can close more deals and drive more revenue.
While most sales leaders are trying to lighten the administrative burden on their teams, it’s hard to deny the need for more data-driven processes. “My roots are carrying a bag and selling. So, like any salesperson, I hated updating CRM, I hated forecasting, I hated all of the ‘ops’ process stuff. But whether you're private equity or a public company, that stuff matters,” said McQuiston.
Finally, call your number with confidence
Sales leaders are under constant pressure to provide their executive boards with realistic forecasts. Accurate revenue forecasting is essential for any business, yet it can take a lot of work to get it right. You must have clean, shared, up-to-date data to get a clear picture of your sales pipeline and future revenue. This can be challenging, especially as your business grows, headcount increases, and sales processes become more complex.
Luckily, AI-based forecasting within a Revenue Platform can help. By automating sales processes like deal risk assessment and pressure testing big deals, Revenue Platforms can provide more visibility into revenue results and sales pipeline health.
The future of revenue is data-driven
The days of "gut instinct" and "winging it" are long gone. Today, businesses need to be data-driven to make informed decisions about their sales strategy. You need a single source of truth that tracks all customer interactions and provides insights into what's working and what isn't so you can take action.
This data can then be used to make predictions about future revenue. In addition, you’ll be able to easily share data with stakeholders, which is essential for accelerating deal velocity. In short, if you want to predict revenue reliably, you need a platform built specifically for running revenue.
Analyze your revenue process to identify the right opportunities
Enterprise companies may resist digital transformation because they’ve already achieved a level of success. However, this comfort with the status quo can stunt a company’s long-term growth. Ultimately, revenue precision will allow your company to capitalize on the momentum.
To achieve revenue precision, sales leaders need to see in-depth analytics at scale, giving them a big-picture view of company health. However, disconnected and disjointed systems can make it difficult for revenue-critical employees to collaborate. This makes it nearly impossible to govern and control the overall revenue process.
McQuiston also noticed the need to unify systems within Hyland. “I think for our managers and our leaders, it's about having one source of truth: one place to go, one place to coach from, one place to sit down and have weekly forecast meetings. One place where we can say ‘we’re going to live here,’” he said.
Revenue precision means getting really detailed about your revenue process and ensuring that your data is clean, shared, and up-to-date. This level of detail allows you to track progress and identify areas of opportunity or potential risk. In addition, combining digital transformation tools like sales engagement and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms enables your team to focus on the deals with the highest likelihood of closing.
Revenue leaders need an accurate view of the business in real-time
CEOs must provide investors with an accurate view of business health, which becomes tricky in an economic downturn. Manually entering data into the CRM will not only take time away from selling but also results in errors that can adversely affect forecasts. Financial consequences compound when data quality is poor.
Searching for data from multiple sources was a bottleneck McQuiston was eager to fix. “At the end of the day, the board is only going to care about one conversation, and it’s going to be about how we’re finishing the month and how the rest of the year looks. And I’m expected to deliver that information with a great degree of accuracy,” McQuiston said.
“Too often, I’ve been in the hotel lobby in the morning trying to go over and triangulate data from different reports, spreadsheets, and BI tools. Until now, we haven’t had a single source of truth, and I don't think in 2022, at our size, that is acceptable anymore,” McQuiston added.
AI-driven revenue automation platforms provide much more detailed reports and faster read-outs than spreadsheets and average business intelligence tools. These metrics can provide insights into how buyers interact with sales reps, what content is most engaging, and where potential customers get stuck in the sales cycle.
Revenue precision benefits your customers, too
Long-standing, established companies are beginning to recognize the importance of capturing every conversation and highlighting key buying signals so that sales reps, managers, and executives can work together to improve the sales process.
When your team can see what is happening across your entire organization in real-time, they can take actions that make the customer journey smoother and faster.
Digital transformation not only makes McQuiston’s job easier, but creates a better customer experience that benefits Hyland’s bottom line.
“We’re a 30-year-old company, so the bulk of our customer base was on-premise. Now, we're in the ‘great migration’ to the cloud, shifting from a maintenance model to a SaaS model. One of our major priorities is the ‘lead to cash’ journey, which will require us to revamp how we onboard a customer, how we quote them, how they send orders to us, how we process those orders, invoices, etc. All of that will require us to be more predictive in our processes,” said McQuiston.
Digital transformation isn't just about updating internal processes; this shift transforms how you interact with your customers at every stage. The result? Greater alignment and execution that generates predictable revenue, quarter after quarter, year after year.
Looking for ways to improve your forecasts with a revenue platform? See Clari In Action!