How ZoomInfo Boosted their Cash Flow by Speeding Up Order Processingwith Automation – Register2020-05-28T20:17:04+00:00

How ZoomInfo Boosted their Cash Flow by Speeding Up Order Processing with Automation

Watch Now

Dave Witty Dave Witty Director of Financial Systems
Kim Loughead Kim Loughead Head of Product Marketing

In these challenging times, having disparate applications in place across the organization is a challenge. When these applications are not connected, they slow down business processes, create errors and drives a lack of visibility, resulting in reduced cash inflows and increased DSO (Days Sales Outstanding).

ZoomInfo is a growing SaaS company that until recently had issues with their financial systems keeping up with their growth - and the change in the marketplace. As their sales order volumes were increasing, their billing cycles were getting longer. They needed to find a way to scale their financial systems quickly and automate as much as possible between their CRM, Salesforce and ERP/Accounting system.

In this on-demand webinar, Dave Witty, Director of Financial Systems at ZoomInfo, discusses in detail how ZoomInfo automated all order-to-cash processes by connecting these applications together, improving his cash flow, efficiency, and setting Zoominfo to best handle these trying times. We cover:

  • Common Challenges of High Growth SaaS Companies
  • The ZoomInfo tech stack
  • The ZoomInfo journey to fully automated their Order-to-Cash processes
  • Moving to an Integration Platform
  • Celigo’s iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service)
  • And more!


Watch Today!

Full Webinar Transcript
good morning, good afternoon, everybody. My name is Kim Loughead, I’m Head of Product Marketing here at Celigo. And with me today I have Dave Whitty who’s Director of Financial Systems at ZoomInfo.

We have a information-packed session for you today where Dave is going to sort of talk about how SAS companies can automate their order to cash flow in order to help accelerate visibility and cash flow. Dave’s done some pretty innovative things over at ZoomInfo. It’s innovated his entire order cash process and is going to share some of his approach and some of the key integration that he implemented in order to achieve his goals. So it should be a exciting session. A couple of housekeeping items. So we are recording the session. You will get a copy of the recording after we’re done. There’s a quick Q and A panel in the, go to webinar, sidebar, that you can enter your questions and we’ll get to those questions at the end of the session. We should have plenty of time at the end to get to any of your questions. So with that, we’re going to kind of start off with a quick intro of Celigo and ZoomInfo and then we’ll get into the heart of it. So, for those of you who are not familiar with Celigo, we are a Integration Platform-as-a-Service, otherwise known as an iPaaS, and essentially what that does is we just enable you to connect your SAS systems with other SAS systems or SAS systems with on-prem systems, and we automate the integration and the flow of data between those two systems. So we’ve been around for a while. We have around 3,000 customers, we’re a global company, we don’t serve any particular vertical so we can serve any type of company. We do have a focus within SAS and the software, so we have a lot of solutions that service that market, and we are well known for our Zendesk, Salesforce, NetSuite, Acumatica, and Slack Integrations, so we serve those markets pretty heavily. A little about the platform itself that you’re going to hear a little bit more about how Dave is using it. So what an Integration Platform-as-a-Service is, is a full integration platform. So we have a UI that allows you to build integrations between applications one-to-many, many-to-many, one-to-one, and in that, we have a UI that is pretty tech-savvy friendly. So if you are a tech-savvy business user you could build integrations using our platform. If you’re a developer we have all of the bells and whistles that you would want along with error managements. We have hundreds of different templates that you can use to get started quickly. And then we have what we call integration apps for our NetSuite customers, and you’ll hear a little bit more about those from Dave as well. So with that, I’m going to pass it over to Dave to introduce ZoomInfo and get us started.

Hello, everybody. My name’s Dave Whitty, I’ve been managing financial and accounting systems for over 20 years and lately, my specialty is going into SAS based organizations backed by private equity and implementing completely automated, scalable, fintech stacks for extremely high growth organizations like DiscoverOrg, ZoomInfo. So, what is ZoomInfo? Basically, we’re able to provide a 360-degree view, company’s customer base by using software information and insights to give our users a competitive edge, right? We enable real impact by and life into the sales floor, boosting morale, reducing turnover, driving the sales and marketing pipeline, and helping companies grow significantly, right? It’s all using actual data intelligence. Okay, next slide. So we can run through all these. Essentially, I’ll just sum up these slides. What is ZoomInfo? Do we help you sell? We allow you to target market your customers. We allow Celigo, who wants to target market their salesforce connector to go into the Portland metro area and find every single person that’s using Salesforce and Netsuite and target market them with their Netsuite to Salesforce connector, which is actually how I found out about this product. They used my software to target market me for their software which I acquired. All right, so let’s go to the next slide. Give you a little bit overview of my role at what used to be Discover World which now is ZoomInfo. I was hired two years ago when the organization was at $90 million. I was recruited to implement fully automated scalable FinTech stack for what I was told was the fastest-growing Saas-based company in the world.
Fast forward two years, we are now almost a $500 million a year organization in two years. When they said high growth, they meant it, so. First, I went in and build an order to cash process, fully automated billing, fully automated the application of payments using stripe, and we had no integration to Salesforce and NetSuite. I didn’t see the need. So Discover World was processing about 500 contracts a month, right? We had one person manually entering that data into NetSuite. No need for automation, in my opinion. Well, I was drastically wrong. February 1st, 2019, Discover World acquired our second largest competitor, ZoomInfo. In one day, our entire company doubled. The amount of employees doubled, but the transactional value increased by 350%. They were selling 2,000 contracts a month. We were selling 500 contracts a month. My order cash process is now in some serious trouble, right? Not only that. We have a 40% growth rate, so. In December 2019, we’re processing 3,200 sales orders a month manually in NetSuite. So when we did the migration [inaudible] six temps to do all this data entry. Our financial close process went into the crapper. Our private equity group, Carlyle, is annoyed that we’re not getting them financials quickly. Our board of directors is upset. We have a team of six data entry specialists who are frantically manually entering sailors in NetSuite.
At the end of the day, our data integrity is going downhill quickly because of the stress on this data entry, right? Faster is not always better. So I now have a problem that I need to solve. Let’s go to the next slide. Okay. So now on the software selection process, right, so when I go through the software selection process, I always look at the three vendors. I’ve done Dell Boomi before. I know it’s a large scale implementation that is very expensive, and I need to hire a team of developers to custom-build it. I know it’s going to take three, six months, so I know it’s a low time to value, right? So I need something scalable. I need something automated. I need something maintenance-free. I need something that’s Sox-compliant. If you’ve been watching the news on Zoom Info, you’ll know why. I need something that’s cost-effective that I can manage myself. Here comes an email from Celigo at the right time, using Zoom Informations product to target market me on their Salesforce collector. I immediately do a demo. I’d worked with Celigo before, familiar from the NetSuite conventions. Didn’t know they had this integration to acquire it very quickly. Go to implementation very quickly. So I think let’s go to the next slide okay. So what did Celigo do for us? Well, first the time to value is two weeks. They have at out of the box plug and play integration between NetSuite and Salesforce. We had two sessions with their team to get this integration up and running, right? It allowed me to fully automate the creation of Salesforce opportunities to NetSuite sales orders within two weeks. So that’s extremely high time to value. I was able to eliminate the six full-time temps that I had doing manual data entry, right? And it saved us– so far it’s automated about 41,000 sales orders. That’s over 775 days of data entry. It’s increased our data integrity. Our data integrity is now at 99%. We don’t have billing errors anymore. We are now pushing data back up into our Salesforce instance as well, so we have an upstream and a downstream. I was able to turn that on literally in an hour using their out of the box plug and play flows, and that essentially gets our customer collections data back up into Salesforce to allow our renewals team to make intelligent decisions on whether they should renew a customer. We have some that don’t pay, so it now gives the team that visibility that we need to collect cash from those customers before we do a renewal, and that’s increased our– it’s increased our cash collections significantly. [So?] I think that’s about it.
Well thanks, Dave. That was a great overview. So maybe we can dig a little bit deeper on some of these things. So when you were talking originally when you sort of joined [zooming?] the info, and you didn’t really feel like there was a need to do the Salesforce NetSuite integration. I mean, how were you doing that at the time? Is that just manual data entry, or is [someone?]–
Yeah. So when we were on the [Discoverer?] we had one person going to Salesforce, looking at the contract, and then going into NetSuite, and manually doing the data entry. I actually sat back and did a video recording to test how much time it was taking, and it was taking about an average 12 to 15 minutes per order to get that data into NetSuite.
Got you. So that’s why that transaction volume growth of 40% year-over-year worried you so much?
Yeah. Our immediate 350% growth of transactional volume put us in a really tough place fairly quickly.
That’s just so if you sort of had to do it again and knew that this tsunami of growth was coming your way– I mean, beyond Salsesforce, NetSuite, are there other things that you would have done to maybe prepare for that scale, or do you think there was just nothing that you–
I wasn’t familiar with your product. I had done Dell Boomi implementations between Salesforce and NetSuite. I knew how much that cost me, and the return on investment for going down that path was not worth it for the cost of one full-time employee. That changed rapidly when we now had six people doing data entry. The cost to our organization went up significantly, so I could have justified the cost with another system, but getting it implemented and turned on in two weeks would not been a possibility, and they’re not the most cost-effective systems. On top of that, what I really like about Celigo is it’s maintenance free. You guys have a relationship with NetSuite and a managed bundle which means I don’t have to worry about it. You have a relationship with Salesforce and a managed package which I don’t have to worry about. It takes all the stress of maintenance and downtime off of my plate, and puts it on the vendor. I don’t have to worry about having one developer managing custom integration. I have Celigo who has a team of developers that they are managing.
Yup. Yeah. That’s right. We have a whole– we have a a whole team of it is sort of adding functionality to that integration all the time. So, maybe we can dig a little bit deeper on kind of your– obviously, you did a relatively rapid evaluation given where you were at with the pressure of the additional orders coming in and needing to solve the problem quickly. But maybe, if we could take a step back from there and think about– just put your IT hat on and sort of what would be your typical evaluation criteria minus the pressure of having to get something in very quickly? Is there some recommendations you would have for the group here on how to evaluate different solutions? The key criteria that you look at and then obviously cost is part of it but besides cost.
Cost is always number one. Number two, the key features I look at are Return On Investment and then time to value. Many times, I’ve gone down the road of hearing software where the sales team makes a lot of promises and it doesn’t meet those promises. So, you really need to vet to make sure that you are talking to other customers who have been successful at implementing this software at their organizations. I actually use Zoom Info’s product to do that. I can go target all of the NetSuite users in the Portland area and just start finding them on LinkedIn and reaching out to see if they’ve used [inaudible] to see if they’ve used other third-party integrations that I’ve managed. So, again, Return On Investment, as you said, cost and the key thing that I do with NetSuite is I kind of look at NetSuite like an iPhone, right? You buy the base model, and then you buy third party applications and integrations that NetSuite has already vetted. And then you, just like you do with your own lifestyle, you buy apps that will increase your lifestyle, I buy apps that will automate and help my business process and scale.
Got you. And I know that, again, beyond SalesForce and NetSuite, that you have quite an extensive tech stack there. So, you mentioned Stripe, that you have an integration there. Were there any other sort of key integrations that you implemented to sort of get to your goal because I know this, as I said, the SalesForce and NetSuite one was sort of the last pillar. But there were clearly other things that you did ahead of that. So, maybe dig into that a little bit.
I can. We actually have a pretty cool thin tech stack. We are almost a $500 million organization and I am pretty much able to single-handedly manage that specifically because we ensure that we do integrations that have a managed bundle in NetSuite. So, that means low maintenance for me and more time to focus on strategic mission. So, Stripe is a big one. That helped our order to cash [process?]. Essentially, what Stripe does is we have automation in NetSuite that fully automates billing, right? So, once [inaudible] pushes the sales order down into NetSuite, we have a process every day that invoices off that sales order automatically. No employees managing that. Sends the invoice to the customer with a link to Stripe. If they click on that link, Stripe has an integration with NetSuite that will seamlessly bring the payment into NetSuite to do the transaction creation. It will attach that invoice directly– attach that payment directly to the invoice, and if they pay with credit card, will also create the bank deposit transaction three days later when it clears the bank. The last piece that I’m missing on that is any manual checks or anything coming through ACH wire or lockbox. And actually, I don’t think Lisa, you know this, but I just purchased your cash application manager with [inaudible] that I implemented at my last company to finalize the remainder of cash application. So, once that’s complete, we’ll have a 100% fully automated order to cash process using standard out-of-the-box functionality in NetSuite.
That’s awesome. So if you were having, well, a dream at this point of having a beer with your buddy, and he was sort of telling you about all of these issues that he’s having with closing his books and recognizing revenue, what advice would you give him about where to start? What was your biggest bang for the buck on getting these integrations in place? And then sort of how you lay out kind of a roadmap for somebody?
Well, that’s a good question. So I actually have a team of other people that I’ve connected with at other large organizations like [Luke?] or [Octave Box?]. So I like to bounce ideas off people. Always check your network. Always check with people that are in these positions and managing these type of processes. And just the key for me is [inaudible] that someone has a specific integration with NetSuite. And NetSuite seems to have a relationship with everybody right now.
Yes, they do. Their sales are accelerating considerably. So when you talk about this specific integration or just looking at the key business stats here and when we’ve chatted before, you’ve talked specifically about how this has helped you accelerate cash flow and closing the books faster. So can you go into that a little bit more?
Yeah, so if you have six data entry temps entering sales orders and it’s taking them weeks to get that in, right, you’re not invoicing. You’re not getting the invoice out to the customer. So it’s taking the customer a longer time to pay you, right? So if you can fully integrate something so you don’t need to wait on individuals to manually do data entry, we can literally– once we close a deal on Salesforce, we can have the customer invoiced within an hour instead of weeks, which increases our cash collections and decreases our DSO significantly. Speed is key.
Yeah. No, for sure, especially in this market. So, again, sort of going back to that advice sort of perspective, is there a particular–? where did you start when you started thinking about how am I going to innovate this whole process? Where did you start? What was the first sort of process that you tackled?
Automating order to cash for cash collection is key. That’s where we started. The key that I started was actually what can you leverage out of the box in NetSuite, right? So the first thing we automated was billing, right? So we’re not waiting on people to manually generate invoices and manually send them to our customers. We can generate them almost immediately using NetSuite functionality. The second is always cash collections. You can sell as many deals as you want, if you’re not getting that cash in the door, you have some issues. So we use a lot of automation in NetSuite to do that as well. [inaudible] out of the box [inaudible] and out of the box statements just [overly?] communicate to our customers when their bills are due. Again, Stripe automation is key for us. I think they’re pretty new on the market, but I’m not here to market, Stripe. Yeah, NetSuite [inaudible] is a really great place to start. We can really connect with other customers and see what’s on the market and see what’s successful.
Okay. No, that’s great advice. So you mentioned CAM. And for the folks on the phone that don’t know what that means, it’s Cash Application Manager. It’s another [inaudible] product that essentially allows you to get your bank deposit files [inside?] to NetSuite and then automatically apply them again as cash deposits and then see where your discrepancies are. So it’s sort of the last mile of the– or the cash processes how I would describe it. So tell me a little bit about– I know you’ve just acquired it, you haven’t implemented it yet. But sort of more your thought process on like why does it make sense now to automate that last mile process?
Absolutely. So I actually have implemented twice in two other organizations. So currently I have several people on our AR collections team that are processing several hundred payments a day. They are manually going into NetSuite, they’re creating the transaction. And sometimes it’s a nightmare to try and figure out what invoice to apply that to, right? So [inaudible] tool base automates that process and it automates the creation of the payment and it automates the application of that. So instead of having a list of millions of dollars of bonafide payments sitting on our account which causes some major issues for collections and billing, we don’t want to go after our customers asking them why they paid us when they have because we haven’t applied the cash quick enough. That’s not a good way to build a relationship with a customer. So using that tool [inaudible] was really the last piece of the puzzle to just fully automate everything.
Great. So we each have a question from the audience here. So do you take the Stripe processing fees or put it on your customers? What are the best practices, objections you’ve seen there?
That is a great question. So what we actually do with Stripe is we pay the fees ourselves. You have options with them now. With Stripe’s integration, you can actually set thresholds because they connect, they have in reach with cloud as well. So when you synchronize the Netlink to the customer, they can decide whether they pay you as an ACH or credit card, right? In the past, we let anyone pay with a credit card. We don’t really want to be taking S1.7 million payments in paying those $60,000 fees. So we are able to implement a threshold of $10,000. We don’t allow credit card payments under $10,000. Or in the times of COVID, we have removed that restriction to just make sure we give our customers all potential and possibilities to keep access to our product which at these times is really helping people stay afloat during these COVID times.
Cool. So again if you have any questions, please enter them in the question box. We’re happy to fill as many questions as we can. So I mean I know getting this all automated and done so quickly has elevated your cloud in [inaudible]. So kind of what’s next for you on the horizon as you’re thinking about like, “How do I go to even the next level to help automate some things within the organization?”
Well, to be completely honest, the cash application is the last thing to automate. I don’t know what else there is to automate. We pretty much automated all. Our thought process right is just staying ahead of the game with COVID. Making sure that we can support the business. Making sure we can support our employees. Luckily, all the software we had implemented is all in the cloud. So it allowed us to turn literally turn all of our employees into work at home policy immediately without really any issues. Yeah. Just trying to get through these times and keep the business going.
Yeah. Well, I hear you guys are doing pretty awesome.
Our product is right for organizations. Our sales our actually up so lucky for us, I guess.
Yes. Yes, indeed. So sort of last question unless there’s– oh, there’s another question just coming in here. So can you please share a bit more about the upstream information that was sent to your renewal team? Is that a part of the downstream Salesforce-NetSuite integration?
Yes. Absolutely. So we do a few upstream types of communication. One is we take all the summary on the account level– on the customer level in NetSuite and push it up to the account level. So we show the amount of the overdue balance. We show the total balance, and overdue is anything over 90 days. And then we have a field that’s days outstanding. So we’ll show our sales team that this customer has an overdue balance of $200,000, and it’s 265 days overdue, which gives them sales intelligence that you don’t want to sell a deal to someone who isn’t paying you. You don’t want to give your product away for free. A lot of that was actually happening until we did this integration to provide our sales team intelligence into the accounting and finance system. We actually turned something on yesterday. So my sales team wants to start– they want to see financial information and payment information by opportunity. So went into Slido and turned on a flow fairly quickly that is taking all the summary information on a NetSuite sales order and pushing that up directly to the opportunity. So the data we’re pushing is the amount of the sales order, the amount of estimated tax from the sales order, how much has been billed on that sales order already, how much is remaining to be billed, the next bill date, and how much has been paid as well as outstanding and overdue balance. So really, just the high-level financial data summarized directly into Salesforce, directly on that opportunity. So our integration from NetSuite to Salesforce, the two systems are completely aligned because of Slido now.
And is that the one that was turned on today?
Yeah, I literally turned it–
Or is that a different one?
I literally turned it on last night. It’s working great. The sales team is happy with it [laughter].
That’s good to hear. All right. Well, I think just wait. Give it a couple more minutes to see if there’s any additional questions, but any sort of parting thoughts for the audience? Any parting pieces of advice that you would give this group, your fellow financial systems directors?
Yeah. Simplify everything. Don’t overcomplicate processes. A lot of times you’ll go into a business, and they will have a process set up that doesn’t make much sense, and you will have to go into custom development. It will cost your business a tremendous amount of money and time. Seriously, just keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate processes. If you do that, you can use out-of-the-box functionality, and you can just go and buy products off the shelf, implement them within two weeks, and have everything set up and running within a week instead of having to hire developers and custom develop everything.
Awesome. Well, thanks for sharing your advice and your wisdom and your experience here with the group. We certainly appreciate your time and everybody else’s time on the call today. If there aren’t any more questions, we’re going to end the session a little bit early, but we hope you got some value out of it. And, again, we’ll be sending out the recording after the session is over, and have a great rest of your day. Thank you.
Thank you, Kim