Originally Published as part of the International Digital Services Centre November Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/I2j3r
With a distinguished career in Financial Operations, including working as Google’s EMEA Revenue Operations and Global Process Manager, Paul Geoghegan has joined the IDSC team to help our clients implement new cost-effective Revenue Generation and collection strategies in their own enterprises.
I sat down with him to talk about what his role involves and why it is critical to the survival and development of businesses today.
“It all comes down to methodology”
Head of Global Revenue Operations at the IDSC, Paul’s role centres on optimising a businesses Revenue Generation and collections processes. “It all comes down to methodology, my role includes refining the ways companies interact with their customers, and making sure that the companies receive their payments”.
To optimise the payments and collections process, Paul works closely with companies providing a focused consultancy and creating a unique collections strategy tailored to the individual needs of each business. Current processes are identified and, in close partnership with the key stakeholders across the organisation, Paul builds and directs a refined, efficient and cost-effective revenue model. The partnership approach is essential, as all strands of the organisation must be committed to the final strategy, from legal through marketing and sales to finance and production. The priorities will always be company reputation and revenue generation, then customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. This ensures that payments are efficiently received, and that billing procedure standards and customer satisfaction remain at a high level.
Paul acutely understands that no one company is the same. Each enterprise demands a unique type of strategy and collections process. Both SME’s and Multinationals will always require a watertight methodology.
“Recently I have been working with a small company dealing with a telecom giant”. Paul’s experience working at both ends of the spectrum has left Paul with essential knowledge in business relations between smaller and larger companies. “It allows me to help smaller companies navigate their way through the minefields that appear when dealing with business giants”.
The company in question was engaged in a contractual arrangement where due to its size, the larger company had a legal upper-hand. Paul’s expertise from working with larger companies allowed him to figure out what he describes as “which areas were flexible and which were inflexible”. His work with larger companies educated him in the “tricks of the trade” to help the smaller company to negotiate the best deal available.
For businesses, the importance of efficient revenue operations is about being pre-emptive. If you get the process right from the start, you will avoid the inevitable pitfalls that may appear further down the line.
“Over 90% of start-up companies fail within the first year to 18 months, simply because they just cannot collect enough cash to get them through this period.”
The problem is not uncommon: “Two out of three companies have cash difficulties, and with Irish start ups, it is more likely three out of four”.
If you are delivering your service and not receiving all of your financial returns, then you are not getting the maximum potential out of your company. “The focus is about how to release that cash” says Paul.
The potential payoff from reviewing and optimising revenue operations and collection processes is significant. “Whilst I was working at Google I we asked the question in relation to many of our acquisitions: “Why are we not collecting 50% of what we build?””. Paul’s expertise in refining their revenue operations increased Google’s collected revenue from about half to over 95%. This not only reduced losses and increased cash flow, but more importantly, helped ease relations to allow revenue growth and further build the reputation of the organisation.
“This is where methodology comes into play.”
The Psychology behind payment evasion
Paul advocates a holistic approach to understanding the underlying reasons behind payment evasion.
He focuses on turning the traditional collection process from simply chasing up those who had not paid on time to a service that discovered why people were not paying. This revolutionary approach to the payments and collections process engenders great success. Collected revenue increases as does customer satisfaction.
“We really understand what it is that is hurting the business, and can give real time feedback. It is hard to get this kind of feedback from any survey, we get valuable feedback on product, on billing, on marketing and on sales techniques, because people simply won’t pay if they don’t like what they are getting.”
Paul maintains that directly linked to revenue operations is the importance of customer satisfaction. Payments are left outstanding for a number of reasons, one of which could be customer dissatisfaction with the current payment procedure. “Providing customer service that clarifies why money has not been paid will allow you to build a strategy counteracting this and simultaneously improve the quality of the billing system,” he says.
“People don’t just hold back money, they do it for so many different reasons. Sometimes the billing isn’t correct, sometimes they don’t understand the product, the contract or the basis of charges, or sometimes the data just isn’t correct.”
Paul maintains that the payment platform infrastructure should regularly be checked and analysed from a user perspective. The client payment experience should be closely monitored. To illustrate, Paul referenced a previous project, where a relatively small percentage of credit card transactions were not being completed. This had initially been disregarded as an acceptable credit card loss level, but when dealt with, it provided an additional source of revenue which was tapped. The problem was not always with the customer failing to pay, It actually was sometimes caused by technological faults or customer confusion in the payment process. “Through reducing the difficulties involved with credit card transactions, and recovering a large set of disgruntled customers, I was able to increase the company’s generated revenue by over 100million, at almost no extra cost” he says.
Times have changed
Paul strongly advocates CFO’s to reassess their existing payment platforms and to analyse the ways in which customers relate to them. Social Media and payment platforms should ultimately come under the umbrella of revenue operations. Accounting departments should no longer be seen working in isolation from rest of the business and departments should not be working alone in silos.
The leveraging of new technologies can connect all departmental sectors in a business so that they all work collectively under one integrated system and that none are left working within a vacuum.
Global Digital Revolution
“In a digital world it is always global, it has to be Global Revenue Operations.”
The digital revolution has transformed revenue operations from a national to an international experience necessitating financial relations on a global scale.
Paul’s experience working in the global market has allowed him to become accustomed to the international sourcing of money.“ The core difference in the digital revolution is the global nature of it. You are dealing with different people in every country of the world, and have to be aware of it and the differences.”
“Revenue operations is one of the many complexities that businesses must navigate in today’s globalised, digital world. The IDSC facilitates enterprises scaling internationally through digital transformation and assists them overcome the unprecedented challenges that digital presents to traditional business processes.’ Paul maintains that all enterprises should begin to reevaluate their existing practices and reassess if they exploiting all potentials that the digital world offers.
‘Revenue operations must play an integral part in a businesses digital transformation strategy…’
The IDSC provides expertise and operations management, handling such vital areas whilst allowing you to keep focus on your business’s development.