Why professional service businesses integrate NetSuite and Salesforce

Many Sikich professional services clients have found it beneficial to integrate NetSuite and Salesforce. They already use two excellent software systems that serve their business well, and they can achieve even better outcomes from their technologies when they integrate the two. Sikich maintains thriving NetSuite and Salesforce practices, so we can consult on and perform such integration projects efficiently, with a single point of accountability for clients. Given that Salesforce and NetSuite are just two important elements of our technology portfolio, we can also draw on other solutions when that makes sense for businesses.

Some professional services firms are so satisfied with Salesforce and NetSuite that they have not yet given much thought to the potential benefits of an integration. However, they, too, might benefit from the process efficiencies and productivity improvements integrating these leading CRM and ERP systems can make possible.

Understanding what might make users’ lives easier

We should take a closer look at how people in a professional services company typically work with Salesforce CRM and NetSuite ERP. As you think about the possible business case for an integration, you might also take an inventory of how your teams interact with the solutions.

At home in either Salesforce or NetSuite

Generally, different groups of technology users rely on the two software systems when they run separately. For example, finance managers, HR, and some executives likely spend much of their time in NetSuite. Information about finance, business and workforce performance, production, and corporate initiatives is most important for them.

Marketing, sales, and services teams and their executives are probably more at home in Salesforce, where they review data and activities that touch on the relationships of prospects and customers with the company, marketing and sales campaigns, the business performance of sales, marketing, and services, and professional workforce development within these three areas.

At least some individuals in these two user groups may wish they had easy access to information from both NetSuite and Salesforce, because they are aware that they never have a complete view of business conditions unless they ask for additional input or assistance.

Using both, but unable to work efficiently

A third cohort already has access to both NetSuite and Salesforce. The people in this group may be often asked to provide execs with reporting that draws on financials in both systems. If they are in IT, they may be required to manage data models and sync data. Some finance managers may have to gather sales and marketing costs or expected contract revenue in Salesforce and process the information further in NetSuite. In turn, sales and marketing executives may review financial or production-related data from NetSuite to gain a better foundation as they manage their teams and campaigns.

Probably, everybody in this group at least sometimes wishes that Salesforce and NetSuite were integrated, because it’s not efficient for them to navigate multiple software environments and repeatedly enter the same data, or look for closely related information by using disparate search and display tools. In the course of their work, these technology users may also have to resolve discrepancies and data entry errors between Salesforce and NetSuite.

Minimizing unproductive time

By integrating Salesforce and NetSuite, you can achieve the best outcomes from the strengths of each solution. Salesforce has always been action-oriented and distraction-free for business people who value its intuitive, streamlined user experience, because it enables them to engage with their customers in the same way. NetSuite is an excellent resource for data and capabilities related to sales orders, products, and everything that’s not immediately customer-directed. After completing an integration project, you can maintain the integrity and simplicity of each solution instead of trying to move it toward tasks that it was not designed for. Over time, that may also enable your organization to elevate the quality and consistency of data and make information easier to protect and manage.

Integrating Salesforce CRM and NetSuite ERP can generate immediate improvements in efficiency and visibility. Practically overnight, you free up employee time that used to be spent on distracting multi-system navigation and error-prone, redundant data entry and lookup. NetSuite and Salesforce users can stay logged in to either system and still get to all the data they need to see. When data flows are configured to reflect how your professional services business works, information entered just once can appear where it needs to be seen and reported. Team members can use their skills and time more productively to serve clients and help the business move forward.

How an integration could help your business groups

Following an integration, data evidence can augment or replace intuitive judgment, conversational input from other people, or structured, maybe often dated, reporting for many business roles. Almost everybody who used to depend on either Salesforce or NetSuite will find it easier to answer important questions, understand how well the business is doing, and see what actions and decisions make the most sense for them.

Gaining a 360-degree view

Executives and managers can gain complete visibility of their organization’s clients, business performance, workforce trends, and other conditions. With reports and dashboards that span Salesforce and NetSuite, they can see how well the business is performing, correlating current with historical data to understand the company’s journey. They can review revenue generation and sales trends for all accounts, and focus on customer segments or individual customers to understand them better. They can plan service delivery, revenue, and workforce development in context to drive performance goals or improve recruiting and training.

Better context for managing the business

Finance managers who are used to working with NetSuite data may now have an upstream view of campaigns, conversions, bookings, and contracts that allows them to forecast financial results and trends sooner and more accurately. That, in turn, puts them in a better position for ensuring the organization’s financial health and viability. Services managers who mostly operate in Salesforce may get a better understanding of customer accounts and revenue in the context of costs and other business conditions.

Easing common customer interactions

Contact center workers and other customer-facing employees may find it easier to answer some customer questions following a Salesforce and NetSuite integration. For instance, when a customer inquires regarding billing or payment processing, they can access and communicate the right information without asking for somebody else’s assistance or request the customer to wait for their follow-up.

Accelerating CQP and other processes

Working with Sikich to achieve your ERP and CRM integration, you can realize other beneficial changes in addition to making life easier for many roles in your organization. You can automate many common processes that reach across Salesforce and NetSuite, replacing cumbersome manual handoffs. For instance, a service order in Salesforce could trigger an invoicing task in NetSuite, which, in turn, sends a confirmation to the Salesforce customer record once that step has been completed. For some of our clients, the most tangible benefits of an ERP/CRM integration and process automation are prompter invoicing and faster receipt of customer payments.

Many professional services Sikich clients have automated and accelerated their configure, price, quote (CPQ) workflows to provide more accurate and comprehensive quotes and proposals more rapidly to clients. Once client engagements are underway, process automations bridging Salesforce and NetSuite can also make it easier to add new services or fine-tune financials.

Ultimately, customers benefit

When a Salesforce and NetSuite integration results in faster, simpler business processes and efficient team interactions, your customers also stand to benefit. For a start, by eliminating technology-related distractions and inefficiencies, you allow employees to dedicate more attention to their interactions with customers.

In the wake of an integration, customers can receive more helpful, higher-quality information in a single exchange or conversation. Approved quotes and proposals reach them sooner. They do business with happier employees who can be productive in a less fragmented, compartmentalized manner than they used to. Over time, your Salesforce and NetSuite integration may help the organization become more competitive and drive better customer satisfaction and retention.

Taking the next step

Sikich knows how to help you realize the best outcomes from deploying and integrating Salesforce and NetSuite. As Salesforce and NetSuite partners with many technical certifications, we have a successful track record of more than 15 years helping professional services firms and other organizations take advantage of these two software systems to serve customers and empower employees.

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