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Revenue Lifecycle Management FAQ Series: Kickoff and Question #1

Apr 15, 2024 | Admin, Latest News

Last month, Salesforce launched Revenue Lifecycle Management (RLM), a full overhaul of features and tighter integration of its various current products serving their customers’ Revenue Operations and Management needs (including CPQ, CLM, Revenue Cloud, and Subscription Management).

RLM has been built on and benefits from Salesforce’s native platform capabilities (such as Genie AI, enhanced workflow automations, intuitive code-free configuration, cross-cloud data sharing, etc.) and the use of the standard Object model. Intending to be an extensible enterprise-grade platform, Salesforce RLM also leans heavily into the use of APIs (business, metadata, tooling, etc.) and composable architecture, and positions itself as an exciting approach and solution for current and potential Salesforce RevOps customers.

There are a lot of questions, however, within the existing (and future) Salesforce partner and customer ecosystem about how this new product fits in or makes sense with their broader RevOps landscape; current or proposed investments into processes, people, and technology; and overall business strategic objectives and challenges.

Through this FAQ series, we’ll offer an unbiased explanation for these questions and provide background knowledge and expertise to inform your considerations of RLM. 


FAQ #1—What about my old stuff?


How will considering migrating to Salesforce RLM impact my existing investment of time, resources, and effort into legacy Salesforce revenue management tools?


Salesforce’s native Product Catalog and Price Book features have been around since its inception. Salesforce CPQ brought extended capabilities to these a decade ago, alongside an interactive quote assembly and advanced approval processes to deal with complex deals without slowdown. Adding Billing and Contract Management then introduced users to the world of Salesforce Revenue Cloud, and Subscription Management tackled the needs of the SaaS space and the proliferation of the recurring revenue model. All the while, AppExchange vendors augmented the stack with their own point solutions and enhanced feature sets.

With this slew of application releases available, it is only natural for existing users of these RevOps applications to question what parts of their existing stack investment may be impacted, replaced, or should be left well alone.


So is this just more Revenue Cloud products I bolt on?

No. Well, sort of. Maybe.

Firstly, it is important to note that while RLM is branded and sold as a completely new, integrated product (as a suite of Salesforce RevOps tools), another way to look at it for existing CPQ or Revenue Cloud customers is an evolution and “stitching together” of existing clouds or revenue management products built on their latest design language and architecture (Omniscript, Omnistudio, also known as legacy Vlocity). What this enables is a more modern, intuitive experience for not only back-end configuration (product and pricing logic, CLM templates, order and billing management automations, approval workflows, etc.), but also elevates this for front-end sales teams, too (examples include creating quotes, selecting products, approval and order visibility, or producing rich proposal documents). Salesforce RLM aims to become the “one-stop revenue shop” by offering the best of both worlds: strong capabilities and features that exist fully “in-platform” but that are also easily extensible to other data sources, systems, logic processing tools, or front-end data manipulation applications or experiences that exist in and complete the cycle of any revenue journey.

This is, of course, a very simplistic description of RLM and does not intend to cover how these benefits are delivered or what the extent of new features are—let’s save that for another article—but rather allow a 10,000-foot view of whether or not these offer appeal to you as a potential RLM user, given myriad considerations around your potential existing Revenue Operations footprint, capabilities, roadmap, investment, adoption, and unique organizational challenges or goals.


Finding square pegs for your square holes

So this leads us back to the question: how might Salesforce RLM impact your current investment in Salesforce revenue management tools? One way to proffer an answer is to look at three scenarios that may seem relevant to your current situation. Bear in mind that, if considering your “investment” from the perspective of monetary cost, Salesforce’s new RLM product carries options around consumption-based and user-based models (list pricing will be provided later in this series), and the appropriate analysis and model should be considered and discussed with your Salesforce representative as well.

  • If you have implemented tools such as Salesforce CPQ, perhaps integrated with CLM, and maybe even rolled out Revenue Cloud and are having stable, ongoing operational success on the platform, you may want to hold back on diving headlong into RLM for now. To get this far, it’s very likely you have committed to and invested in ongoing onboarding and training efforts, best-practice process improvements and adoption, well-maintained SOPs, and other critical support mechanisms built around the technology to deliver the value you are getting today. You likely have a strong, capable (internal or outsourced) Salesforce maintenance team that ensures new features or enhancements are carefully evaluated before rollout, issue and feedback loops are in place, and that the end-to-end business personas along the revenue operations cycle are in sync, and RevOps awareness exists among your teams all the way from product development through to financial reporting.

Take a pragmatic view around what critical or inherently valuable capabilities or features may be missing from these operations or tools, document these, and perform a quick impact or root cause analysis to see if these can be resolved through smaller changes in your toolset, processes, automations, or data workflows. If not, you may want to perform some initial research into what RLM has to offer but, in this scenario, protect your investment into change and process stability by ensuring these do not have to be overhauled or thrown out, which could undo the success you have achieved so far.

  • If you have implemented (or attempted to implement or integrate with) Salesforce revenue management tools, but feel it is often a struggle to create, stabilize, and justify investment value, it’s time to take stock of your overall business RevOps needs (not your stack or its capabilities) through the lens of what an RLM “dream state” looks like, and perhaps gap-fit these value-based findings against the RLM product. These are customers that I like to say “aren’t getting what it says on the side of the box”; they hear about Salesforce RevOps success stories all the time, they feel they have invested sufficiently in the technology and users, and probably spend a good portion of their days maintaining and stabilizing the product, yet still feel like there are critical or undefinable pieces of value that feel out of reach or too painful to extract.

If you are in this camp, the very first thing to do is to take stock of your entire revenue lifecycle. This can seem daunting at first—do not underestimate the effort or experience needed to do this evaluation effectively. So you might consider engaging a trusted external vendor to assist you.

Start with your product development cycle and go-to-market strategies, even your marketing initiatives around these. Carry these through the various sales operation steps (of which there are typically many) through to order staging, provisioning, fulfillment, and then finance. Don’t forget about support, retention, nurturing, and product sunsets. For all of these, don’t simply catalog your technology—gather data and insights about the job functions and teams that perform these and where their input/output challenges or responsibilities lie. Overlay this research with robust analytics and success metrics that form a benchmark for improvement. Approach your training team to discuss their tools, success stories, and onboarding methods to gauge the impact of organizational change. Speak to executives and leaders in the organization to document their goals and objectives to start identifying where your existing processes, technology, data, or other business enablement may be falling short. Take your findings back and then map them to your application landscape, reference architecture, technology stack, data, and integration management topology, or other systems information to expose dependencies, gaps, or redundancy across your people, processes, and IT.

Sounds scary? It can be. The point is you will not solve your revenue operations malaise by running blindly toward Salesforce RLM as a savior. Spend the right amount of time analyzing, documenting, and openly calling out deficiencies as well as critical needs in your revenue operations processes, scrub these against technology needs, and use this as the defining template for tool capabilities.

  • Customers who have not implemented and are considering full- or partial-stack Revenue Management tools and applications and are aware of or have researched not only the value these can bring but also the effort and adjustments that are required by the business and its processes to realize their potential.

Many businesses, especially smaller, leaner, and less complex ones, manage their revenue on the Salesforce platform perfectly well. Simple integrations, AppExchange products, established ETL efforts between systems, and basic analytics are sufficient in delivering enough insight to ensure the health of the business and monitor the revenue flow from forecast to liquid asset for such mid-size customers.

However, businesses grow and, for most, with this comes inevitable complexity in their product mix, market footprint, pricing and billing models, sales motions, and overall challenge to ensure executive and shareholder revenue performance goals are on target. Another challenge this brings in a growing organization is their ability to invest in (and develop the foresight to) document, refine, and properly implement the necessary user procedures and processes to support the growth, all of which is compounded by trying to right-size technology investments that will efficiently enable automation and streamline operational complexity and be able to manage, secure, automate, and report on their growing data. All these are critical ingredients to deliver Revenue Operations insights. Therefore the needs of users and the business will outgrow Salesforce’s standard (Sales Cloud) platform capabilities and require implementation of their more enterprise-grade RLM tools.

If you are in this position, it actually may make most sense to consider Salesforce RLM, as a full-stack suite of products, as opposed to individual components of the suite (CPQ, Billing, CLM, Subscription Management, etc.) Simply put, RLM is the Revenue Management platform of the future, and while Salesforce will continue to support them for years to come, in all but a few cases it makes far more sense to invest resources, effort, learning, and change into a comprehensive tool that can scale and grow with you, rather than having to deal with incremental gains, constant change, and potential technology roadmap bottlenecks.



One note to remember is an ongoing theme that exists throughout this series: implementing RLM tools does not start with simply evaluating the features and capabilities of any product. As discussed, it starts with identifying and documenting your current and future state processes, the desired end state mapped to current gaps and inefficiencies, understanding all the players that enable business operations, and using this analysis and insights to clearly depict the operating model blueprint of how your business will look like (including the goals attained and value delivered) in the desired end state.

Only once you know what your destination looks like—and how far away it is from where you are right now—can you select the right vehicle, route, and passengers to help you get there. 

Next week, we’ll cover another pressing question regarding RLM: Will Salesforce RLM address the unique needs of MY company needs, industry, or complexity of application?

Stay tuned.



Kevin Willemse
Kevin Willemse
Managing Director at | + posts

Kevin is Managing Director in Simplus’ Strategic Advisory Practice, focused on bringing valuable transformation to our customers looking to maximize their investment in through improved systems integrations, enhanced data capabilities, and frictionless business processes.

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