A Q&A with Rui Fonseca, Davanti’s Quote to Cash Practice Lead
Tell us about your role with Davanti.
I’m a Senior Business Manager, leading Davanti’s Quote to Cash practice. We partner with our customers to streamline and optimise their quote to cash journeys, ultimately helping them to build stronger and more mature relationships with their customers.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from Portugal and moved to New Zealand two and a half years ago to join Davanti (Paul Whittaker and Gareth Reason did a great job of getting me over here!).
My 25-year career in the CRM space, working for both implementation partners and various product vendors, has taken me and my family around the globe.
We left Portugal in 2010, spent a number of years in Dubai and then London, and we’re now really happy to call New Zealand home. It has been amazing to share this journey with my family and to experience so many different cultures and ways of living throughout my two daughters’ childhoods.
What’s your mission in life?
Professionally I’ve been really lucky to be able to do what I enjoy. I get real fulfilment from helping companies to innovate and being able to enable them bringing different capabilities to the table. It’s a really exciting and motivating space to be in.
Davanti is all about helping customers get closer to their customers. How does your role help enable this?
For me and my team, that’s absolutely what we do. Our focus is on partnering with our customers to automate and optimise their processes across the Quote to Cash journey. In doing this, our customers are ultimately creating a better experience for their customers across the many business touch points, and this helps them to nurture more rewarding longer-term customer relationships.
Tell us more about Quote to Cash and Salesforce CPQ (configure, price, quote).
Quote to Cash refers to the automation and integration of end to end business processes that span from Sales to Finance, focusing on:
- Allowing businesses to address complex deals with speed and accuracy, by enabling a scalable sales process with guided selling configuration tools, pricing governance and one click quote generation.
- Automating the customer lifecycle, streamlining the different commercial touch points from sales to billing, such as order and contract management, invoicing and payments, eliminating lengthy manual processes and minimising errors.
- Addressing internal efficiencies, eliminating the barriers between Sales and Finance, facilitating the hand-off to downstream operations with increased data accuracy given a unified data model across the whole quote to cash lifecycle.
In the last few years we’ve seen the Quote to Cash space grow incredibly in lots of ways – the technology capability, the market maturity and awareness and also the number of New Zealand organisations starting to really ramp up their Quote to Cash capabilities. In line with this, Davanti’s Quote to Cash capability has also grown – and is still growing – significantly. There is a lot of opportunity and exciting things happening, and it’s really rewarding to see so many of our customers leading in this space. At Salesforce Live last month, for example, it was amazing to see a number of our customers sharing their expertise and learnings with the wider community.
Why should organisations focus on improving their Quote to Cash journeys? What difference can it make for them?
As product and service-oriented organisations grow and scale, they’re constantly faced with new and different challenges – so they need to have a platform which is scalable and flexible enough to help them meet these challenges.
For example, you often see organisations diversifying their offerings with bundled solutions. One example here would be utilities companies moving away from selling only power or gas, expanding their offerings to include things like broadband and mobile. Doing this adds to complexity, and organisations need a platform that can support this, allowing them to quickly and easily adapt to keep up with constant changes.
What we often see is that as organisations evolve, they’ve gone with a “duct tape” approach, finding simple and quick ways to make things work. This may work for a while but, down the track, these short-term fixes usually mean organisations soon find themselves plugging holes, contributing to a more complex solution and a lot of technical debt. This debt continues to pile up and then a tipping point is reached where nothing more is possible.
That’s where a solution like Salesforce CPQ & Billing comes in – streamlining all these processes, unifying everything within a single platform and providing the capability needed to respond quickly and meet challenges. It allows organisations the flexibility and agility that they need to stay ahead.
There’s no one size fits all when considering a Quote to Cash solution. We’ve been privileged to work with lots of very diverse organisations on their Quote to Cash journeys – spanning environmental services, utilities, telecommunications and other industries. It’s all about the unique business problems and pain points that each are facing – for example, organisations might need to increase their speed to market, launch a new product to market or handle complex product offerings, bundling, tricky pricing models or even the ability to properly bill their customers.
Common to all industries, however, there’s an underlying need for compliance and governance. For example, from a pricing point of view, this could apply to how an organisation applies and manages discounts on deals.
Without configure, price, quote (CPQ) software, organisations are quite often handling these challenges through disconnected processes and systems. They’ll find themselves partly working within their CRM and then having to “swivel chair” across to another system to continue or hand over the process manually. With a Quote to Cash solution, everything is handled in one place and things become a lot less error-prone and siloed.