“Proposal optimization is all about using intelligence around the real time and historic data with regards to customers’ buying behavior and business optimization strategies,” says Koti Reddy, CTO, Conga, in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: What challenges in revenue management and proposal optimization can be mitigated by technology stacks?
Koti Reddy: Revenue operations (RevOps) is the most critical business process for every organization. However, it’s rather complex – there are often many teams, processes and systems involved – many of which remain siloed or disconnected, resulting in serious operational complexity, inefficiencies and revenue leakage. Successful revenue operations involve the alignment of all these teams, processes, and systems throughout the RevOps life cycle and ensures that businesses can in fact, maximize revenue yield at every opportunity, creating a truly connected customer experience.
Moving forward, RevOps needs to be far more automated, integrated and intelligent, especially if organizations are looking to have more predictable revenue growth. At Conga, we see revenue lifecycle as four key quadrants, ‘Propose and Quote’, ‘Negotiate and Execute’, ‘Manage and Fulfil’ and finally, ‘Renew and Expand’. Within each quadrant there are five key process steps or spokes in the wheel. Each step needs to be considered carefully and connected to all the other processes in the quadrant, and each quadrant needs to be connected to each other. Further, we see the opportunity to leverage the latest innovations in AI and bring them to this domain to solve many of today’s complex problems that are solved inefficiently and sub-optimally with human expertise.
Naturally, organizations encounter a number of problems throughout each stage of the RevOps journey. Most companies consider each stage in isolation. Instead, they must be thought through holistically. As a result, they are neither addressing their real business challenges, nor identifying the pain points or bottlenecks across the operations cycle. It is crucial to ensure you select the right product, the right price for the right customer at the right time, through the right channel. Yet, so many organizations get this wrong. Proposal optimization is all about using intelligence around the real time and historic data with regards to customers’ buying behavior and business optimization strategies.
ET Bureau: Ill-managed contracts can expose organizations to significant risk and loss. Hence, what steps do you suggest they should take to develop solutions that will provide better visibility, control and increase their efficiency?
Koti Reddy: Here, we are moving to the second quadrant of the RevOps lifecycle: how organizations can create, manage, negotiate and execute contracts or agreements successfully. Many companies refer to this as contract lifecycle management and refer to a CLM solution.
Being able to manage these vital documents end-to-end and establishing visibility across the entire contract lifecycle can be very challenging (and expensive) for organizations. Most business leaders simply do not have the visibility or insight for that matter, so much data remains siloed or misplaced.
When Covid-19 struck the world, many department heads were asking themselves, ‘Do we have any contracts that do not have a force majeure clause?’ ‘Does the clause cover pandemic?’. More broadly speaking business stakeholders often raise questions about the liability, obligations and risks associated with their contracts. Organizations struggle to answer these critical questions as the information required to answer them are often buried in papers and legacy systems that require domain expertise, legal knowledge and technical know-how to extract and process which is beyond the capabilities of most organizations
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To start with, companies need to create visibility on all contracts. Creating a central repository for all legacy and new contracts is key.
Second, companies should create a clause library which is made up of a selection of pre-approved clauses that can be used and trusted in the building of contracts for many teams across the organization. Having a well-designed library of clauses and set contract document templates, which can be generated by any team automatically within the system, can greatly reduce the time it takes to build and manage contracts. Third, as companies expand their business and enter into new contracts with third parties they will need tools to audit third party contracts, assess and quantify the risks and automate the managing of redlining, negotiation with internal and external stakeholders to support their business processes. Finally, businesses need tools and intelligence to manage approval, signature, amendment processes to manage the life cycle of contracts.
ET Bureau: Efficient Invoice management can ensure a robust revenue line. How does Conga help in that?
Koti Reddy: We are now touching upon the third quadrant of the RevOps Life Cycle– ‘Manage and Fulfil’. Once an order has been placed and contracts have been signed, orders must be delivered, obligations met, invoices generated, revenue recognized and hopefully contracts renewed.
As I mentioned previously, this is a lifecycle and, for complete accuracy, data must move seamlessly from one department to the next. At Conga, we always ensure that the right product, pricing and contract terms, including payment terms, special conditions are sent to all departments to ensure their processes are aligned.
ET Bureau: With many organizations not able to spend extra time, money, and labour on slow processes, what initiatives should they take to develop a streamlined workflow management solution?
Koti Reddy: We developed our own industry leading transformation, or RevOps, framework. This framework is an assessment that allows us to understand exactly where customers are in their transformation journey. It enables organizations to focus on their business outcomes and ensure they buy and implement technology that enables speed to value and drives real business outcomes. The framework is made up of five key steps and helps organizations focus on:
- Building the system of record (SOR) – empowering organisations to get their data in a condition where it is visible, accurate and understood by all teams across all four quadrants
- Digitalizing all documents – document templates are accessible within the system, ensuring all documents that are sent to customers are accurate, on brand and instant
- Process automation – streamlining all workflows automating approvals and signature, speeding up the sales cycle and improving the overall employee experience
- Integration – connecting all processes and systems across the RevOps life cycle
- Intelligence – taking organisations to the truly intelligent where data and insights drive the decisions
Koti Reddy is a technical leader with 20 years of experience in managing enterprise and SaaS product development. He leads a multi-continental team of 300 highly skilled engineers to implement world-class, scalable designs. Before taking on the role of CTO, Koti served as Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Conga, leading Conga’s business growth. Prior to joining Conga, Koti was SVP of CallidusCloud and took charge of all product development and cloud operations.