Most businesses still struggle to achieve such a symbiotic relationship, as revealed in a McKinsey survey. Nearly 80 percent of the senior executives surveyed in this study said that effective coordination across product, functional, and geographic lines was crucial for growth. Yet only a quarter of respondents described their organisations as “effective” at sharing knowledge across boundaries.
So, how can sales and finance teams learn to collaborate and what do they need to help them get started?
1- A focus on training
All operational employees should also be encouraged to work together with a shared goal. Proper training can also promote and instil a beneficial cash culture within a company, enabling all employees to learn about corporate finance and to have a greater understanding of what they do effects the work of the company’s cashflow position.
The finance department should also look at how they manage working capital, to bring it into line with sales and marketing targets.
2- The right platform
In reality, it is often when people see the benefits for themselves that they buy in to what you are trying to achieve. Having the right platform in place will allow you to inform all stakeholders in a business about best practice as well as promote the finance department’s crucial tasks and responsibilities. This, in turn, will promote a positive cash culture across the business.
In addition to providing a secure record of all employee actions, the right technology can provide a cross-disciplinary uniform approach. This can include dashboards, indicators, and alerts that highlight common objectives – all with the goal of providing a rapid return on investment by helping your business to achieve its goals.
3 – Measuring customer payment performance
Customer payment performance can be assessed and automatically shared by finance departments, giving everyone an up to date and real time balance of their customers’ accounts enriched with information such as disputes and payment commitments.
Reports on customer payment behaviour can be produced to provide an important appreciation of the various grounds for disputes and delays; highlighting where attention should be focused. Using this insight promptly identifies risks and informs on where immediate action should be taken.
It is also important to consider how data can be used to improve work – a business can improve its risk outlook by collaborating with the sales department to assess, prevent and reduce customer risk. The finance department needs to manage their cash generation projects by ensuring that each step of the pre-defined plan is implemented correctly.
There really is no reason, in this day and age, why a divide should exist between the sales and finance departments. In fact, quite the opposite: there is every reason for the two sides to cooperate. Modern technology and training can give visibility and a comprehensive understanding of customer financial relationships to all sides of the business, and, ultimately, allow collaboration to take place and cash flow to improve.