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Revenue Lifecycle Management FAQ Series: Question #6

May 20, 2024 | Admin, Latest News, Salesforce CPQ

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 #6: How much money, for how long?

 

What is a realistic budget and timeline to consider for an RLM implementation or migration?

 

Perhaps the topic consultants and advisors fear most: “Yes, but how much and how long?” And not without reason. Without knowing individual needs, constraints, value drivers, and similar parameters, who can say? At least, let’s investigate what we do know, and can suggest.

 

Salesforce RLM Licensing

Interestingly, Salesforce RLM licensing is based on a “hybrid consumption” model, based on RevOps transactions or system events that are purchased as consumable “credits”. Event credit usage calculations are based on records that are processed, queried, or analyzed during the use of RLM features. Given that RLM is architected in a way to fully support extensibility via system calls and integrations (of course, while still being a fully capable tool if built in-platform), this model makes sense.

For example, invoking a successful Pricing Line Item API call is an event, and consumes a credit. The same applies to Product Configuration API calls. Creating Quotes, Contracts, RLM Documents, or Order records consumes credits, including when created by batch loads or import.

This makes right-sizing your licensing obligation a somewhat complex analysis of your RLM needs. With more or fewer features used, volumes processed, or transactional iterations, so will your consumption vary. At the time of writing, the following Salesforce RLM list pricing is below, but as always, discuss your needs with your Salesforce representative first.

Revenue Management Events—$10,000 per 25,000 platform events

Suited to organizations focused on headless or heavily-integrated RLM implementations where few front-end user scenarios may be needed.

    • An actual RLM user license is NOT required to CONSUME RLM events; however, a minimum of 10 user licenses (see pricing below) MUST be active in the org.
    • Given the licensing and event structure, this option seems potentially more suited to large, complex, enterprise organizations which have multiple connected RevOps tools alongside a higher number of front-end Salesforce RLM users, and likely a broad existing Salesforce footprint.

 

Revenue Lifecycle Management—$200 per user/per month ($4,800 p/a)

Suited to organizations that will be leveraging the RLM front end as a holistic RevOps tool, alongside other Salesforce Clouds and feature sets.

    • 500 RLM Events are included per user license per month. Simple math means 6,000 events per user license, per year. User licenses are likely to be presented in packs of 10 users.
    • This licensing option seems more suited to less complex (but still enterprise-capable) RLM needs, where most RevOps functions are executed in-platform, and a lower number of external tools or integration dependencies exist.

 

Salesforce RLM Implementation

The tougher part to estimate is the consulting and implementation effort of RLM. So much so that any estimation would likely be wildly inaccurate. Instead, let’s briefly list (but not describe in detail) key factors that could influence the cost of planning, designing, building, and rolling out your instance of RLM:

  • Current/future state complexity of your organization’s RevOps processes: Are these complicated out of necessity, or simply outdated and layered? Are there go-to-market or revenue-relevant organizational changes that must be accounted for? Are you catering to multiple selling and revenue models that are not performing? Is the product catalog bloated, or is the pricing model catering to edge case sales? Is it time to streamline operations and relinquish established ways of working, or should you strive to protect these successful, established methods?

 

  • Quality and quantity of RevOps documentation: When last were your RevOps processes studied and documented accurately and fully? Have they been updated to represent all personas, systems, and dataflows as the company evolved? Are your SOPs up to date and suited to current work scenarios? Could these documents, as a holistic body of knowledge, enable a Salesforce services vendor to rapidly onboard and understand the inner workings of your organization to model RLM around them successfully?

 

  • Technology stack, data, architecture: How many applications exist? Are they changing regularly? How many are connected to or are directly impacted by RLM modules? How clean is your data and how/where is it authored, stored, monitored, shared, and managed? Are data warehouses, MDM, integration layers, or ERPs involved in a potential RLM implementation?

 

  • Ability to adapt and adopt change: Are your users comfortable with the current revenue processes and tools? Will they support not only new tools but also engage in the design and requirements-gathering processes? Do you have testing, training, onboarding, or change management practitioners to ease and support users through and beyond the RLM transformation?

 

  • Maturity and experience of your implementation vendor: Do they have a successful track record of successful CPQ and/or Revenue Cloud implementations as a certified Salesforce partner? Were these in a similar industry or of a similar nature to your business model, size, or needs? Can they provide not just design and delivery skills, but guidance and advice on building an RLM end state that aligns with strategic goals and scalability alongside growth? Can they provide the additional skills and expertise usually needed to fully implement RLM (e.g., all Salesforce clouds, expertise in common industry reference architectures and tools, data migration, management, integrations/middleware, industry-standard DevOps, project delivery, and governance models, expertise in various ERPs, financial, or BI tools, etc.)

 

These are just some topics that may be keeping a company’s Chief Revenue, Technology, or Financial Officers up at night when considering the leap to RLM. Other areas must be examined as well as potential influencers, but taking honest stock of how mature and ready you are across these areas will be a valuable exercise, one that will accelerate and prepare you for the RLM journey while alleviating a lot of pain and reducing wasted time and financial expense.

Throughout this FAQ series, we’ve covered some of the most pressing and repeatedly asked questions surrounding Salesforce RLM, from its impact on existing processes and industry-led capabilities to its benefits, features, and projected scope of work to implement.

While this series, or the promise of Salesforce RLM, does not purport the path to RevOps to be a simple one, those unwilling or afraid to take the first steps can quickly find themselves falling behind in what may be a critical transformational opportunity. RLM can allow them to overtake competitors with quick launches of new products, services, and experiences to customers and partners while ensuring revenue targets are accurately set, measured, and safeguarded.

It’s hard to imagine a more valuable capability than gaining real-time visibility, deeper insight, and tighter control of the cash flowing through the business. Effective revenue lifecycle management as a business construct is a keystone in ongoing success, and those that are currently using (or considering) Salesforce as their end-to-end CRM system now have at their disposal a suite of integrated, extensible, enterprise-grade components that, if correctly applied and invested in, can deliver these outcomes and benefits. And the sooner these revenue value drivers are defined, designed, built, and delivered, the sooner the business will reap the rewards. What are you waiting for?

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