A healthy quote-to-cash (Q2C) process has long been considered the gold standard when it comes to managing your revenue operations—but that doesn’t make it perfect.
It fails to account for what happens before a customer or prospect receives a quote. And it doesn’t consider what transpires after they pay your business, meaning, it doesn’t consider their experience as a paying customer.
To help your organization excel at each stage of the customer lifecycle, from lead generation to customer retention, you can turn to lead to revenue (LTR)—otherwise known as lead to revenue management (L2RM).
Michelle Wickman, the Head of Customer Success and Systems COE at TCV, a private equity firm focused on growth-stage technology companies, helps explain what distinguishes lead to revenue from quote to cash
“Lead to revenue comes in 2 parts. There’s the customer acquisition process, where you want to identify demand and convert it. And there’s the customer retention component, which focuses on delivering customers value so that you can retain their business and increase your chances of cross-selling/upselling them successfully.”
Let’s further explore how lead to revenue works and review some best practices for implementing it.
How Lead to Revenue Works
For any given account, you can break the process down into 6 steps:
1. Identify leads that match your ideal customer profile. They’ll likely arrive from a combination of sources—like a lead gen campaign and a demo request page.
2. Go through the traditional sales cycle. Generally speaking, this involves activities like showing demos, identifying the right product/service, developing quotes, negotiating pricing, redlining the agreement—up until you arrive at a fully-executed contract.
3. Translate the contract into your order management tool. From there, you can fulfill the sale and, assuming the order management system is integrated with your other systems, disseminate its information across your other systems.
4. Bill the customer against the contract.
5. Collect the payment and recognize the revenue. This involves keeping the appropriate contracting rules top of mind and following ASC 606.
6. Onboard the customer and (hopefully) keep their business for years to come. This last step includes everything you do during the customer’s time with your business. This covers revenue activities like managing the client’s renewal and negotiating any upsell and cross-sell purchases.
Best Practices for Implementing Lead to Revenue
Now that you know how lead to revenue works, let’s review some tips and tricks that can help you put it to use at your organization:
- Review your current lead-to-revenue process and compare it to its ideal state.
This involves reviewing both your business processes and your technology and asking yourself questions around each.
For instance: How far along is your infrastructure? Are your processes standardized? And are you able to implement best practices throughout?
The better you can answer these questions, the more detailed your roadmap can be for improving your lead-to-revenue workflow.
- Integrate your systems and automate the workflows across your lead-to-revenue process.
This offers countless benefits. It allows your team to avoid performing a significant amount of manual work; it lowers the chances of human error, as data can move between systems seamlessly; and it enables each team to stay informed and perform at their best.
For example, once a prospect converts into a customer, your customer success managers can get alerted in real time via your organization’s business communications platform (e.g. Slack), and they can receive all of the information they need about the customer through the platforms they’re already using.
- Partner with an organization that can help you optimize your lead-to-revenue process.
Building out and continuously improving your LTR process can be a challenging, if not impossible, task when done independently. To help you identify areas of improvement and your ideal LTR process, you can partner with an organization that’s helped countless businesses tackle this very area.
Pandu Swamy, an Enterprise Architect at StreamForce Solutions—an organization that helps enterprise businesses automate processes like lead to revenue—, explains how you can partner with his organization to transform your lead-to-revenue process:
“StreamForce provides a solution to accelerate the lead-to-revenue implementation on your CRM platform. The framework comes with prebuilt assets and processes that provide templates/reusable functions to connect enterprise business systems in Marketing, Sales, CSM, Customer Support, Professional Services and ERP/Finance departments. With the help of platforms like Workato, this broad range of integrations can help your customer-facing teams access a 360 degree view of the customer data for making well informed decisions to onboard, retain, upsell, and cross-sell your services/products.”
Learn more about StreamForce Solutions’ end-to-end package for lead to revenue (powered by Workato) by speaking with one of their experts.