30 Apr The guide to Salesforce Billing: #2 How to collect payments
by Pramod Patil
No one likes a headache. And when you have to deal with the biggest headache of them all—billing—it’s worth it to find a long-term solution that not only makes your life easier but also takes care of your bottom line. Salesforce Billing fits the bill (pun intended). The invoice scheduler and payment scheduler allow your billing process to run automatically and require only a little setup. Let’s talk about how those schedulers work and some best practices to keep them running at full capacity.
As we discussed in part one of this series, Salesforce Billing gives you the capability to invoice any activated order manually. This means you always know what you’re due. But what if you need to create invoices in bulk?
For example, let’s say you have 50,000 orders sitting in a huge digital pile, just waiting for you to invoice them. Ugh. Fortunately, Salesforce Billing makes 50,000 seem a lot smaller because it can categorize and create invoices based on product frequency. How? The product carries all the information necessary for billing, and the order carries Products as Order Products. The invoice scheduler then looks at all the active orders, including when they need to be billed and if specific orders need to be picked up individually or if all orders should be picked up on a specific date.
With all that information built in, the scheduler can create invoices without any input from you. What a relief!
Next up: payment scheduling. There are four gateways supported by Salesforce: AuthorizeDotNet, CyberSource, Payeezy, and PayFlowPro. When one of these gateways is in place, payment scheduler can charge the client’s credit card or take money from their bank accounts with automated clearing house (ACH) on a subscribed basis.
To get the payment scheduler started, you just need to make sure payment methods are in place for the client account, and the client has authorized you to charge their credit card or bank account. As long as a payment method is present and active, the scheduler can do its thing.
When the appropriate gateway and payment method is in place, you’re good to go! Payment scheduler will collect the money, apply the payment, and update the invoice for you.
As long as you have a complete and correct order, invoice scheduler will automate invoice creation, even when it creates thousands of invoices at once. The process is almost hands-off for you and entirely hands-off for your customer. As long as you’ve put in the schedule and set it up, you can focus on other things and let Salesforce Billing run.
But that doesn’t mean that you’ll never have to think about it again. Here are a couple of tips for making sure the billing process continues to run smoothly.
Keep things consistent and standardized. From quote to order to invoice, the billing process is seamless, using the same data model all the way through. In Salesforce, once you have an active order in place, you can’t really change anything. You’d have to make an amendment on the contract. Clients like this feature—they want to make sure no one can manipulate the process. So do your part to keep things consistent and standardized. Controls are already in place in the system; just make sure you have your own controls in place.
Keep CPQ data updated and healthy. Salesforce billing uses CPQ data, so keeping that data updated and healthy is key. If you need to make any changes to the data, make the changes upstream before an order is created.
Look at billing requirements when designing CPQ. When you’re implementing Salesforce CPQ, it’s important to be aware of the billing requirements. So, for example, if you want the ability to uplift pricing on a three-year contract, you probably need to implement the MDQ. If you don’t implement the MDQ early on, it’ll be very tricky to raise the price when orders are already active in Billing.
Enlist a team member who understands billing and CPQ. Billing and CPQ go hand in hand, and that’s why you need to look at both early in the process. To help make sure everything is set up correctly, enlist the help of a billing expert. They’ll understand how to hand-shape and design CPQ to work seamlessly with Billing.
Having the ability to create invoices and collect payment automatically is a game-changer—for you and your customers. It puts the “cash” in quote-to-cash! By fully utilizing the invoice scheduler and payment scheduler and following our bonus tips, you’ll enjoy watching your bottom line increase without lifting a finger.
In the next part of this series, we’ll talk about usage-based billing. Have a specific question? Send a message to a Simplus Billing expert!
Pramod is a Senior Consultant here at Simplus. He is a seasoned, analytical, and results-oriented professional with extensive experience in business analysis, solution architecture, and project management. Pramod is equipped with proven expertise in functional as well as technical areas, including quote-to-cash.