This is a guest post by Ian Vacin, VP of Product and Marketing at Xero.
As a previous entrepreneur and small business owner, my primary focus was ultimately to get paid since everything revolved around having the money to hire and invest. Underlying that were the priorities to find customers, get new business, and retain the customers we did have – the relationships. At the time, my focus wasn’t on the financials but solely on my relationships. Unfortunately, I learned a valuable lesson that the two are intertwined and that you need to understand the context of the relationship prior to having a conversation with a new or existing customer.
Get the Full Picture
You see, the view of your best and worst customers might be skewed. You biggest order maker might be your latest payment maker. You might be essentially lending your capital to your customers if you don’t have a clear visibility into the workings of your relationships. At Xero, we found in aggregate, as shown in our invoicing guide, that payments were almost two weeks late on average. If you want to be paid within 30 days, you should set your payment terms to 13 days. Now take the fact that everyone pays you two weeks later than you expect and, if your biggest order taker pays even later than that, you may find yourself without the cash to operate.
It is an extreme example, but is shows the importance of your CRM solution working closely with your Accounting solution. When the phone rings and it is an existing customer, you want to know not only the details about who they are, but you also want to know how they transact with you. Do they owe you money? If so, how much? When was it due or when is it due? How much did they purchase from you last time? What was it? Maybe you can repeat the same order on the phone now. Maybe you should collect an overdue invoice prior to the next order being made. Maybe they paid you on-time (they are one of your better customers), and you should give them with a little extra, tender loving care. Knowing the full financial story to match with the story of your Social CRM relationship is critical for moving forward.
Join Our Free Webinar
With that being said, Xero and Batchbook are teaming up to offer a free webinar this Thursday, June 6th from 2 – 3 PM EDT to share helpful ideas about “Xero-ing In on Your Clients with Batchbook – Behind Every Invoice is a Relationship.” Batchbook’s CEO, Pamela O’Hara and myself, Xero’s VP of Marketing & Product (Ian Vacin) will be sharing a demo of the integration and discussing ideas about how to deepen relationships with your clients and why it’s important to do so.
Please take a moment to sign up for the free webinar. And bring your questions! We’d love to help your business become even more customer friendly with Batchbook’s Xero integration.