Opportunity management is a systematic approach to model a sales process to pursue opportunities in the context of a sales channel’s preferred philosophy, methodology or strategy. A sales process, or set of phases/steps, is defined to capture and track progress in following up on leads and closing sales. Sales pipeline management capabilities provide an aggregated view of all opportunities by sales stage or potential close date. By automating the opportunity management process, it enables salespeople to create and submit forecasts from their active opportunities, or sales management to draw from forecasts, without involving salespeople, by analyzing sales activity progress.
Sales analytics solutions encompass business intelligence technologies to support sales organizations in identifying, modeling and understanding the root causes of sales trends and outcomes. New sales analytics tools have emerged that create actionable metrics that enable sales management to take action on the data being presented. Sales analytics systems provide functionality that supports the discovery and diagnostic exercises that enable the manipulation of parameters, measures, dimensions or figures as part of an analytics or planning exercise. Typically, interfaces, fields, models and features are tailored to reflect sales terminology, responsibilities (e.g., pipeline analysis), and discovery and optimization processes (such as deal analysis or territory balancing).
Graphical interfaces have become easier to use, and the presentation of the information has been converted to endless options of graphs, charts and diagrams.
Solutions vary in technical sophistication, from embedding simple, ad hoc querying capabilities in dashboards, to supporting more complex multidimensional analyses, to providing data mining models that improve visibility.
RECURRING REVENUE MANAGEMENT
The business of managing renewal revenue or recurring revenue has created a new market for SaaS technology companies. While the CRM systems assist in managing accounts, contacts and new opportunities, companies must also capitalize on every customer-recurring opportunity to meet and exceed revenue targets. Revenue from customer relationships represents a frequently undervalued asset that, when properly managed, can provide an annuity stream and platform for growth.
Recurring revenue management companies utilize operational data from existing systems (e.g., CRM and ERP analytics) to provide qualitative benchmarking of their clients’ key service consumption and adoption metrics. They also conduct performance analyses by contract size, customer segment, product group, service level, distributor or reseller throughout the customer life cycle. Some vendors also provide customer success management capabilities.
Renewal or recurring revenue is not reserved only for technology companies or SaaS models, although numerous startups have emerged to manage the billing aspects of SaaS. The concept of managing accounts that buy products consistently every month and have to manage the business is a complex challenge for many companies. There are many CRM and partner relationship management tools for managing and attaining new business. However, a new market has emerged where vendors focus on renewal or recurring revenue. Companies lose business consistently due to the lack of attention to their customers and shifts in buying patterns.
CONFIGURE, PRICE AND QUOTE (CPQ)
Configure, price and quote (CPQ) application suites provide an integrated software feature set that supports sales configuration, pricing and quote/proposal generation activities. CPQ application suites improve the guidance, governance and efficiencies of selling unique combinations of products and/or services for different sales situations, while reducing the nonselling work and selling cycle times, as well as improving overall sales effectiveness. These applications are designed to be deployed directly to salespeople, as well as for usage by indirect channels (partners) and customers in self-serve environments. CPQ application suites support needs assessments, guided selling, and solution and negotiated sales processes.
Emerging capabilities include product and pricing data management, proposal generation, deeper analytics and knowledge management (KM), contract management, sales order management, and revenue management capabilities.
Proposal generation systems are sales and business development tools that automate the creation of documents for presenting value propositions, business justifications, product details, deal components, terms and conditions, and/or pricing of a company‘s product line tailored to a specific sales situation. The purpose of the generated deliverables is to satisfy outstanding points raised by prospects or clients, and to help salespeople close transactions. This category can be divided into
Supporting selling personnel directly by generating standard sales proposals, drawing upon largely boilerplate content
Providing support to sales and subject matter experts for generating responses to RFPs and participating in formal bidding processes
Advanced tools should provide templates, content administration and collaborative capabilities (to manage projects), as well as workflow for versioning, approval and publication processes, to improve the scaling of proposal resources. Users may desire support for FAQ knowledge bases, marketing collateral repositories and integrations to contract management systems for standard legallanguage to facilitate formal responses to RFPs, as well as to enforce communication discipline and governance over deals.
PRICE OPTIMIZATION & MANAGEMENT
Price optimization and management (PO&M) is based on a set of analytics, SFA and sales effectiveness tools that enable companies to analyze, optimize and execute more-effective pricing strategies, and to maximize both margin and revenue. The three core functional areas of PO&M include price analytics, price optimization and price execution. These three functional capabilities enable companies to implement and improve closed-loop pricing processes that quantify the size and scope of the pricing challenge; provide guidance to maximize margins, revenue and profits; and enable pricing governance and oversight of sales processes and direct/indirect sales channels. PO&M adoption is concentrated in industries that sell high-volume products and that rely on price as one of the key differentiators of the product. Major industry segments include airlines and travel, chemicals, consumer goods, energy, financial services, food and beverage, high tech, life sciences, manufacturing, telecommunications, and wholesale.
Integration with SFA, sales effectiveness applications, CPQ tools, and tablet or mobile devices is a growing priority as companies focus on making PO&M capability a more integral part of the customer experience.
SALES ORDER MANAGEMENT
Sales order management is a critical application for opportunity-to-cash processes. These applications enable sales and business partners to manage sales orders, reduce administrative sales workload, increase solution/order accuracy, improve the quality of deliverables to clients and prospects, and, through analytics, provide valuable insights into customers’ buying patterns.
The applications enable numerous functions, including inventory availability and available-to-promise information, load and delivery management and bulk stock management, user-defined information, recurring order and order template processing, customer and item preference profiles, comprehensive order and line status tracking, flexible pricing, and discounting, which support promotions, contracts and allowances. OMS-centric SFA vendors provide configuration and customization tools that enable users to create “good enough” order management capabilities, eliminating the need for a third-party vendor. ERP suite vendors often provide more breadth of functionality to cover multiple functional areas.
SALES CONTRACT MANAGEMENT
Sales contract management systems (also referred to as sell-side contract management) support the creation and/or assembly of binding legal documents and any associated content, such as statements of work (SOWs) and addenda. These systems usually help sales support organizations oversee and assist sales teams in exploiting suitable contract content in the closing phases of sales cycles (when a deal goes to contract and negotiations). Such systems focus on ensuring compliance with corporate standard terms and conditions, managing proposed changes, and exercising revision control during negotiations.
Baseline functionality includes online document repositories (for boilerplate templates and executed agreements), clause libraries, search functionality (full text), authoring and editing tools, version control, approval workflow, and administrative features for managing executed contracts and monitoring the expiration of agreements.
Functionality may also extend support for project workspace, contract pricing, contract profitability impact analytics, e-signature capabilities and renewals, and invoice compliance and terms management. Organizations are focusing on contract compliance and renewals as they transform to subscription-based engagements.
Sales contract management remains a fragmented, niche market. Vendors active in this space tend to cater to specific industries and departmental priorities, or provide add-ons to third-party business applications or content management systems.
Subscription management enables the business processes that support the sales, contractual, fulfillment, financial management and billing functionality required by companies that are selling products and services on a recurring basis. Examples of products that are sold in a recurring revenue model include software, media, gaming and music services, as well as business services, such as maintenance and technical support. In addition, subscription management can be used to support the sale of physical products in an automated replenishment model in which products are shipped periodically or when a specific inventory level is reached.
Subscription management supports a variety of recurring business models, such as monthly or annual usage, metered usage, or one-time usage. Leading subscription management services provide for integration with digital commerce or sales applications, and with back-end financial management and billing systems. Depending on specific industry requirements, additional functionality can include real-time metering and rating, mediation, allowance management, payments, multitier pricing, multiple revenue streams per customer, service and product bundling, usage caps, and entitlements. Vendors in this segment provide subscription management platforms, either stand-alone or as an integrated function as part of a broader digital commerce platform.
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