5 years ago, we made the strategic decision to run our entire business on the Salesforce® platform. Since then, we have been building all of our business applications — sales, marketing, operations, and recruiting — on the platform. Now, as companies around the world face the uncertainties of COVID-19, it’s this decision and the data that it provides that has enabled us to navigate them with certainty.
When making this decision we looked at where our business was, and more importantly, where we wanted it to go. While a global pandemic was not something we expected, scaling our business in a way that could adapt to change and pivot quickly definitely was.
Centralizing our business applications within the Salesforce platform has provided us with the ability to easily access our sales and financial data, model potential scenarios, and quickly identify our areas of risk during the COVID-19 crisis.
As with any crisis plan, our first action was to determine areas of risk. To do so, we asked ourselves three questions:
Since these areas were already actively tracked in Salesforce, we were able to create and run scenarios as to where we thought these numbers would be in the coming months.
In doing so, we needed to change some of our underlying assumptions about how we previously forecasted our sales, revenue, and cash collection.
Are we bringing in enough new work each month?
Within Sales Cloud, we are able to track leads, opportunities, and win rates to project our sales. So, before COVID-19, our 60 to 90-day forecasts have been fairly accurate. But given the uncertainty of the situation, we’ve made some conservative assumptions around close dates and close rates. This has provided us with a much more realistic view of where our sales might land in the next few months.
Are we generating enough revenue each month?
Through several Salesforce apps and one custom object, we are able to manage project staffing and time tracking to project revenue. Using this data, combined with our Sales forecast models and a few assumptions around client fallout rates, we were able to model our revenue projections. These revenue models create a more realistic view of the coming months and allow for more accurate contingency planning.
Are we collecting cash on time from our Customers?
About two years ago, we tackled a pretty big project — reworking our Accounts Receivable (AR) process. Building this into Salesforce enabled critical AR automation and provided real-time visibility into our invoice data. This has allowed us to reduce our average AR days by about 50% and has given us the ability to stay on top of those even more so during this period. So, as we looked at how collection rates might be affected, we increased that rate to account for the uncertainty of the situation.
During that time, one of the best pieces of advice I got from another CEO was to model two scenarios and no more. The thinking goes that it’s tough to manage more than two scenarios and maintain them in a crisis situation. With that in mind, we leveraged our data to model “good” and “bad” scenarios that could arise as it pertained to each of our three areas in question.
Ultimately, the decision to build our applications within Salesforce has given us more than a centralized platform for our business. It has provided us with the ability to access critical data, quickly model scenarios, and create a plan to navigate our business through the COVID-19 crisis.
Furthermore, this data has enabled us to provide our people with what they need most — trust, empowerment, and hope. Trust in our ability to create a plan for the business, empowerment of our people to make decisions and lead others, and hope that has pulled us together while pushing us forward — building a future for Torrent that’s greater than the present.