The 5 Ways to Accelerate and Improve Sales and Finance Efficiency Through Automation – Register

The 5 Ways to Accelerate and Improve Sales and Finance Efficiency Through Automation – Register2020-09-17T17:51:23+00:00

The 5 Ways to Accelerate and Improve Sales and Finance Efficiency Through Automation

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Dave Witty Dave Witty Financial Systems
Kim Loughhead Kim Loughhead VP of Product Marketing

ZoomInfo is one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in the world. When they merged with, their sales order volumes literally doubled overnight. Their financial systems couldn’t keep up which began to slow both billing and sales cycles.

They needed to retool and automate and do it quickly before it negatively impacted revenue. Learn what they did, in what order, to get finance and sales teams working in unison and provide the fuel needed to support their explosive growth.

Watch this on-demand session, originally presented at SaaStr @Home, to learn how ZoomInfo accelerated their business and improved sales and finance efficiency with Celigo.

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Full Webinar Transcript
Hi, everyone, and welcome to our session. My name is Kim Loughhead. I am VP of Product Marketing here at Celigo. I have with me Dave Witty, who is director of Finance Systems at ZoomInfo. And Dave, why don’t you give us a little intro on what ZoomInfo does? Sure. Quite frankly, especially during COVID, ZoomInfo helps you focus on sales and marketing analytics. So before COVID, you had a sales team, essentially, that would be going into the office, taking clients out to fancy dinners, taking them to sporting events– not keeping them in the bullpen. ZoomInfo helps keep your employees in the bullpen, getting deals, processing sales– getting things done. Awesome. Thanks. So today, we’re going to talk about five ways to accelerate and improve sales and finance efficiency through automation. So for those of you who might not know Celigo, just a quick thing on us. So we’re an Integration Platform as a Service– short for iPaaS, and essentially, what that means is we enable companies to integrate their SaaS tech stocks. We also enable other SaaS companies to automate the onboarding of their own customers to their own SaaS platform. So we are an integration platform. We basically allow people to integrate anything to anything. And what we’re going to talk about today is what ZoomInfo does. So I’m going to set the stage a little bit, and then I’m going to hand it off to Dave, and he’s going to walk through exactly what they did to solve one of the key challenges that they had when they merged with So in February, DiscoverOrg acquired ZoomInfo in a very short amount of time. The amount of orders that they were processing per month increased upwards of 350%. So when you talk about hyper-growth, this is a pretty good definition of it. And prior to that, everything from an order-to-cash process was pretty manual. So people were re-keying orders from one system into another. And when they hit this mass acceleration with the acquisition of ZoomInfo, they ended up hiring six FTEs to basically just manage this new order volume. And the problem only was going to get worse. They’re a company that is, as I say, hyper-growth. So you’re looking at at least a 40% growth rate. So what was a somewhat manageable problem would very quickly become a massive problem. And on top of that, they were already seeing impacts to the day to day activity. So their data integrity was going down. So the quality of the data that was being entered into their financial systems was lower, obviously, because you have six people doing data entry, and whenever you add manual data entry, you are opening the door to data integrity issues. And that was then reflected in an increase in the time to close their books. So it was an immediate problem that was impacting their ability to recognize revenue. And then, it was obviously recognized as a problem that was only going to increase given their hyper-growth rate. So there was clearly an issue that needed to be resolved. And thankfully for ZoomInfo, they had Dave. And Dave has an expert in these situations where he really understands what needs to happen to automate in order to cash flow and do it in the right order. And that’s really what we want to share with you today is what does that order. What are the steps? And what is that order? So I’m going to ask Dave to talk about the step number one. Yeah. Thank you for the very kind introduction, Kim. ZoomInfo’s order to cash process to other SAS-based organizations here at Sester. Our CFO and founder, Henry Schuck, will also be presenting the keynote for this virtual conference. He’ll be emphasizing the challenges of running one of the fastest-growing SAS-based organizations in the world. The first organization to go for an IPO during COVID which turned out to be one of the top tech IPOs in 10 years. So his presentation is from zero to 400 million 10 mistakes that CEO at ZoomInfo made on his journey to IPO. So I’m kind of going to leverage off that since my arrival ZoomInfo. We have grown from 90 million to 400 million in about two years. That high growth would have been extremely challenging for this organization if we hadn’t been proactive in building a scalable, automated, SOX-compliant as well as cost-effective fintech stack using NetSuite as the foundation. Our accounting team would have been completely bogged down with transaction processing. And they really wouldn’t have been able to support our insane growth or push for IPO without this scalable automation. So today I’m pleased to walk everyone here through the exciting story of ZoomInfo. I’m going to walk you through at a high-level how ZoomInfo built it’s completely automated order to cash process that was able to support the insane growth of this company. And I’m going to walk you through the tools and processes we used to successfully competencies. So step one, there’s leases showing us is really to automate the sales force opportunities to NetSuite sales orders as Kim was explaining earlier in 2019 Discoverorg acquired ZoomInfo. A company literally doubled in size in one day. And our transactional processing went up at least five times. We have a major challenge ahead of us. We needed to automate this process and automate it quickly. Our financial close is going downhill quick so we needed a solution with an incredible time to value to get us back up to speed. And the expectation of a five-day close. So for us Celigo was the first choice mainly because of the time to value. Why was this successful for us? We didn’t have to hire staff to manage the implementation of or management of the process. Quite simply I didn’t have to bring in developers and wait from to develop this process once implementation started. We had our opportunity to sales order processing fully automated in two weeks so that really exceeded our expectations of this time of value. We were able to transition these six temporary employees that we had hired to help us with transactional processing since this implementation less than a year ago. We have automated the processing of almost 30,000 sales order transactions. So imagine the time it takes to process 30,000 transactions especially considering the fact that they’re not streaming in during the month. We all know salespeople make all their deals close to the end of the month. So that’s not an added 2,000 transaction coming in, streaming in during the month. It usually all comes in high volume at one time. So at an average time of 10 minutes to process, that’s literally saving us almost two and a half years of data entry and less than a year. So until this day– so it goes really met our needs the product is scaled with us to 30,000 sales orders. It’s helped us fully automate this process. And it’s been extremely reliable with 100% uptime so far. We easily see it scaling with us and as we grow at an insanely high rate. So next step in our order to cash process is to automate billing. We’ve actually had this done for four years and did this during the implementation of NetSuite. We used out-of-the-box NetSuite functionality to completely automate our billing process, right? So we used the standard NetSuite functionality which is called Invoice Sales Order. What we did is create a NetSuite workflow very quickly and easily that uses NetSuite’s standard email templates to email our invoices to every single customer. So why this has been successful for us– our SLA for closing deals and billing a customer is almost real-time. We’re able to build our bill our customers quickly which leads to faster cash collection. We essentially have no delay in billing thanks to Celigo and NetSuite and the integration between the two. When we were a $90 million organization, we had one person managing this process. We are now closing in on 500 million, and we still have one person managing this process. This is the same person that also manages our sales order process– one person. As we have rapidly scaled NetSuite has been able to keep up with us with standard out-of-the-box functionality, no customizations. So again, NetSuite and Celigo allow us to scale significantly without bogging down our accounting department with unneeded data processing. To this day we have automated 140,000 customer invoices in NetSuite using their out-of-the-box functionality. All right. Next step. Step 3, automated collections. We implemented and SuiteSync, and it’s been very successful for us. What it’s done is it allowed us to add a payment link quite simply on every customer invoice. Right, it allows the customer to click on that link and takes them to a personalized customer portal with no logins, no passwords. This allows our customers to pay by either credit card or bank trust transfer on their own customized portal. Once the customer pays, the payment transaction is automated and created directly in NetSuite in real time. Once a credit card transaction clears, the process also automates the creation of a bank deposit record. So these are two transactions that are now completely fully automated, saving our AR collection’s team a ton of time. It’s also giving us real-time visibility into cash collections. So we also use NetSuite’s out-of-the-box statement and dunning processes which allow us to quickly remind customers when they have an overdue payment. Once we implemented it straight into this process, we had the biggest cash collection day we’ve ever had, and this was during COVID. Quite simply, it’s just putting that straight link on our statements and dunning notifications goes directly to a customer. It reminds them they’re overdue. They can quickly click on that link, make a payment, and we have visibility real-time into that payment. The reasons why that was also successful– first, it allows us to collect cash quickly. It gives us real-time visibility into NetSuite when that cash is collected. In one year, it’s automated over 10,000 payment transactions which also significantly reduces our data entry. Again, this gives our accounts receivable team more time to focus on what they do, collecting overdue payments, instead of being bogged down with manual data entry. It also helps our AR team collect cash when working with a customer that has an overdue payment. They are able to just directly send them that link and get them to pay immediately, instead of waiting 10 days for them to cut a check or process a wire transfer or process ACH. Our AR team loves it, and our customers seem to love it as well since it’s a significant part of our payments in NetSuite. Okay. Step 4. Our next and final step is to integrate payments and payout reconciliation. So after a strike was implemented, and was successful, we really wanted to focus on automating payment creation, and cash application, and NetSuite for the rest of our payments. So it’s going to be wire transfers, ACH, and checks that go to our bank via lock-box. The final– sorry. So currently we have about four thousand five hundred payments each month. Each month they go out to our banks’ lock-box. These are currently being manually entered. The final phase of cash application process, we’ll be automating the rest of these transactions. I’ve implemented Sali GO’s cash application manager twice in the past, so we’re pretty confident this tool is going to be successful once fully implemented. Once this is done, we’ll completely automate all of our payment transactions, and just really allow us to have complete visibility in our cash application way ahead of time. So one of the final steps, stage five, is to push all this data back to our sales team. To integrate our financials with Salesforce to give sales, and to give our sales people financial intelligence. The challenge for this– our sales team was in constant contact with our accounts receivable team; try to understand where our customers stand with their accounts. We’re able to quickly use Sali GO’s pre-built flows to push NetSuite account status, and opportunity financial status back upstream. We’re able to create these flows in less than 30 minutes, providing our sales and accounting management team with full visibility and account financial status. I didn’t need a developer on my team. I didn’t need to hire a consultant. I literally was able to go into a pre-built slow, click a couple of buttons, hit go, and it was live in 30 minutes and working. So, again, extreme kind of value with Sali GO. So that is the end of our cash application process. Thanks, Dave, for that overview and, hopefully, people found that useful. So maybe one other thing you can, kind of, give us some sort of general tips. I mean, you’ve been in the industry for a while, not to divulge your age or anything, but I think you have some additional value added, or free advice that you can give the audience. Yeah, absolutely. As it states here, keep it simple. The easier it is, the faster you have time to value, the less money you pay. Can you go to the next line? That’s–. But that was the last one. Yeah. Let’s–. Keeping it simple, essentially, means don’t over complicate your business processes. If you over complicate your business processes you need to customize your software. If you can keep it simple, you can use out of the box functionality, right? Once you start customizing your software every time NetSuite updates twice a year, you’re not going to be sleeping at night during that process, right? It’s gonna break, right? Also your process isn’t going to be able to scale quickly, right? If you have a business process that NetSuite, Sali Go, or Stripe can’t automate quickly, it’s probably not a software issue. It’s a process issue, and I would recommend looking into potentially modifying that process. That’s what we did heavily at Zoom In, so we created very simplified business processes that have allowed us to use very quick, easy to use software integrations at a very low cost. Awesome. Thanks, Dave. So if you have any questions, please use the Q and A panel to ask them. So one question that we had was you mentioned a few times that you had somebody that was building these integrations can you kind of describe the profile of that person? I mean are they technical or are they non-technical? And then how many people do you have now working in building the integrations? For finance specifically? Well, really you can start there and then [crosstalk]– Our entire fintech stack is made up of about 16 different applications and we have two people managing this for a $500 million organization. Using out of the box third party NetSuite integrations that have a managed bundle requires no maintenance. It’s almost like when you buy an iPhone. When you buy an application for an iPhone, Apple ensures that the code is stable and working. So every time you have an upgrade you know the software package is going to work. Got you. So we have a couple of questions. Do you manage subscription billings? Yes, we do. We use a merchant e-solutions product for subscription billings for autopay clients. That integration with NetSuite allows you to store the credit card that is PCI/DSS compliant and auto processes the bill when they’re due based off a sales order. Cool. So another question. My boss wants to review all contracts for foreclose. The review is manual even small ones. Any ideas how I can baby step her into trusting automation? Yeah. Absolutely. I’ll let you know what we did. We actually have a button that needs to be pushed and have an accounting review process before it comes into NetSuite. So having a one-person accounting review that looks at every contract just makes sure all the data is aligned and then first SOX compliant process they actually have to click an approved button in Salesforce that then pushes the opportunity directly into NetSuite giving us complete trust in the integrity of our data in that suite coming down from Salesforce. Cool. And then one last question. In your opinion, what size company is NetSuite a more appropriate option than a Quickbooks? I would say there is more to that conversation. It’s really going to be how complicated your business is. How many customers you have. What is your transaction volume processing? What are the requirements? I’ve seen anywhere from 2 million to 50 million before people outgrow Quickbooks. Okay. I think we have time for a couple more here. Any alternative subscription services that keep blind financial data? Sorry. I’m not sure what that means. What exactly is blind financial data? Maybe Olivia if you could add a little bit more to that and we’ll go onto the next one. Do you ever need to pull a sales and account management rep into passed due collections and what is your notification automation look like there? That’s actually the last automation we turned on with Celigo literally took me 30 minutes. We push all our account financial data. The status of the account. Is it overdue? Is there a balance? How far overdue? How many payments they made? We pushed that back to the account and also the opportunity back in Salesforce to give our sales team complete visibility if they’re going through a renewal or an upsell just to make sure that the customer is not in collections. We also flag collections data and we put our collection status back up into Salesforce as well to give them full visibility into that process. Got you. All right. I think last one. Go back to Olivia. So a little bit more data. So what she meant there was keep personal financial data hidden from our accounting team to ensure privacy. So do you have a subscription service that enables that to happen where–? So we have no personal identifiable information on our customers in the system except for their tax ID which is okay. Your real concern that NetSuite solves for you out of the box is PCI compliance for credit card. So once a credit card is entered into NetSuite it’s masked and no one in accounting can get access to that. Awesome. Thank you. We have one question that I don’t think we’re going to have time to get to but we’ll get the questions from the session here and make sure to answer through email. I want to thank everybody for the time here today. If you want more information please check out or Thank you very much. Thanks, Kim. Thank you both and thank you everyone for dropping in your questions. As a reminder, this session will be available on-demand at a later date and we will see everyone at the next session. Thank you.-