New customer onboarding is a critically important component of the quote-to-cash process orchestration. For many organizations it can promote and increase customer satisfaction as well as reduce revenue risk and quote-to-revenue cycle time. New customer onboarding is triggered when the prospect becomes an actual customer by accepting a proposal or approving a quote.
New customer onboarding is often a very cross-functional process involving sales, customer service, logistics, finance/accounting teams and does not end until customer receives value from your organization. Value can be in the form of goods received, services provided, or going into production (for software, software-as-a-service scenarios). It is in the best interest of the whole organization to complete all onboarding activities properly and fully as soon as possible so that the new customer is satisfied. Your company’s cashflow, time-to-revenue and profitability depend on this fact.
New Customer Onboarding Process
In ZFlow, your organization can design new customer onboarding workflow to support how it should be done. An example of such a workflow is shown below.
Customer Master Data
Key to onboarding new customers is accurate master data about customers that can be used by different stakeholders in your organization to know more about the new customer, evaluate risk and prepare so that they can serve the customer well. There are different facets of customer master data depending upon the type of customer, business and industry.
Different parts of customer data are needed by different functions within your company and for different systems (CRM, Billing, ERP, Supply Chain..). For example, you accounting/finance department wants to make sure that the customer is creditworthy, appropriate payment terms are agreed upon and can bill the customer. You supply chain and logistics department wants to make sure that the information is sufficient to be able to ship and deliver products and services.
Customer Master in ERP Systems (SAP below)
General data section of Customer Master in SAP primary includes information about the customer that the whole company can use.
Company Code Data
Company code data in SAP customer master includes data relevant for Accounting/Finance.
Sales Area Data
Sales area section data of the customer master data in SAP primarily includes sales and distribution, pricing and logistics related information.
Customer Master Data in CRM Systems (Salesforce as an example below)
The account master (represents a customer or potential customer) in Salesforce, for example, looks substantially different from the customer master in SAP and is usually much simpler than the customer master in ERP/Finance solutions.
Flexible Customer Master Data Model in ZFlow
ZFlow’s customer master data model is a flexible customer master data model that supports multiple systems (CRM, ERP, Commerce, Supply Chain Planning etc.) and as a result will often have more information that what is needed for creating customer masters in a single system like SAP or Salesforce.
Right information at the right time from the right stakeholder
In light of the amount of cross-functional information that is needed to properly set up a new customer in the organization it is easier if appropriate stakeholders (sales rep, finance, sales operations, etc.) are asked to provide the right information at the right time in a simple manner as shown below.
Involving new customers in the workflow
In some cases it makes sense to have customer stakeholders be part of the workflow either to provide, review and/or approve information. ZFlow supports addition of customer stakeholders as part of the workflow easily. Below shows the customer representative role that will do the “Review by Customer” activity in the workflow.
The activity “Review by Customer” below is performed by Customer Representative.
Customer risk analysis is a key step in new customer onboarding process. Some of this can be automated in ZFlow by integrating with external data sources such as D&B, List checks, and others.
Creating Customer Master in ERP Systems (SAP, Oracle, Netsuite..) and updating in CRM (Salesforce, Dynamics..) Systems
Once the Customer creation is approved ZFlow creates the customer master using the SAP integration activity highlighted below “Create Customer Master”. ZFlow is the only workflow engine that can seamlessly incorporate people activities (preparation, approvals, reviews…) and system integration activities in a single workflow. In the workflow below the activity “Change Account Status in Salesforce” ZFlow updates the Account status in Salesforce within the same workflow
Other onboarding tasks and activities
Customer onboarding does not stop with creating master data in ERP systems and updating CRM account status. Many other tasks including customer service set up, providing customers access to self-service, and getting the solution integrated/implemented and ready for use by the customer are part of the onboarding process. It is only after completing all of these activities that you can rightfully say that the new customer is onboarded. It is in the best interest of the whole organization to complete all onboarding activities properly and fully as soon as possible so that customer is satisfied and can be billed. Your company’s cashflow, time-to-revenue and profitability depend on this fact.