Collaborate Across Teams Via AR Automation to Foster Stronger Customer Relationships

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Guest Post by Molly Yu

More than anything, business is about building relationships. In order to have a successful company, you have to constantly build your customer relationships. That’s a message often expressed by the sales and customer experience teams. So, it might surprise you to learn that someone like me from the finance team is saying it. After all, the sales team deals with people and the finance team deals with numbers. But as a 20-year accounting veteran, the controller at Planful, and a definite numbers person, I’m also a firm believer that everyone in the company plays a vital role in building customer relationships, including the finance team. And I’ve seen firsthand how today’s most advanced automated AR tools foster the cross-functional collaboration needed to build strong, long-term customer relationships.

What Role Does the Finance Team Play in the Customer Journey?

Maybe the finance team tends to get left out of the customer experience equation because we’re the last step in the customer’s journey that goes from being a prospect or a return customer placing an order, to the implementation or fulfillment of that order, and finally to invoicing and collecting payment for it. It’s also true that on a micro-level, finance’s goal with any customer invoice is simply to make sure the company gets paid. However, on the more important macro level, the AR team’s goal is improving the bottom line, which it can do in three key ways:

  • Create a smooth and frictionless invoicing experience that helps ensure the customer becomes a repeat one, which minimizes customer acquisition costs.
  • Use efficient processes and systems that facilitate the most cost- and time-efficient invoice creation, delivery, and collection.
  • Establish quality long-term relationships with our happy paying customers to consistently deliver tangible results

How Does AR Automation Foster Customer Relationship Building?

By using an automated AR and collections management platform that syncs up with our CRM system, my team at Planful spends less time on repetitive AR tasks, such as manually attaching invoices to emails or checking that invoices are going to the correct email addresses. Instead, we spend more time working with the sales, customer success, and implementation teams to build up each customer relationship. The cross-functional nature of the automated AR dashboard allows everyone to see the customer’s history, current status, and any other circumstances at play, such as the pandemic. Then, we can make invoicing and dunning decisions based on that information. For example, we can collaborate by:

  • Classifying an extremely loyal or profitable customer as requiring high-touch attention
  • Marking high-dollar, good-paying customers for easier dunning campaigns
  • Creating personalized dunning campaigns for each customer
  • Allowing sales to easily proofread and approve dunning notices
  • Changing the sender of an invoice or dunning email to a more senior level person
  • Asking our implementation team to inquire about outstanding invoices at the next client meeting

It’s a True Team Effort

The sales team is responsible for bringing in new orders and the implementation team delivers Planful’s cloud software, but the AR team helps reinforce our company’s customer-centric message by consulting and collaborating with those teams when it comes to invoicing and collecting from our customers. Learn more of Molly Yu’s thoughts on AR automation and cross-functional collaboration by listening to Tesorio’s recent webinar How Great CFOs Empower Leading AR Teams and how leading AR teams make CFOs look great.