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DSO: An Unlikely But Important Metric for Customer Success in 2023

Table of Content
1.What is DSO and why is it important? 
2.Role of Customer Success in managing DSO
3.Definition and Calculation
4.Why is DSO an important metric for Customer Success?
5.Using data analytics and technology to manage DSO
6. Best practices for managing DSO in Customer Success
7.Collaboration between Customer Success, Sales, and Finance teams to effectively manage DSO

What is DSO and why is it important? 

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) is a financial Metric for Customer Success in 2023 that measures the average number of days it takes a business to collect payment on its sales. A high DSO indicates that a business is taking longer to collect payments, which can impact its cash flow, liquidity, and ability to invest and grow. Therefore, DSO is an important metric for businesses to track and manage for long-term financial health.

Role of Customer Success in managing DSO

In 2023, Metric for Customer Success (CS) will play a critical role in managing Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), as they are responsible for building and maintaining strong relationships with customers. By proactively identifying and addressing issues that may impact payment, CS can help improve DSO and cash flow. One effective way to manage DSO is through the use of prompt reminders from CS managers, which can help ensure that customers pay on time and reduce the risk of outstanding payments. This approach not only helps decrease DSO but also improves account receivables, as it increases the likelihood of timely payment and reduces the risk of bad debt. By leveraging technology and data analytics, CS teams can gain greater insight into payment trends and customer behavior, allowing them to proactively manage DSO and improve overall financial health. In a competitive market, a strong focus on customer success can help businesses retain customers and drive long-term revenue growth, making effective DSO management a key priority for CS teams in 2023. 

Definition and Calculation

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) is a financial metric that measures the average number of days it takes a business to collect payment on its sales. DSO is calculated by dividing the total accounts receivable during a period by the total value of credit sales made during the same period, and then multiplying by the number of days in the period. The resulting number indicates the average number of days it takes a business to collect payment from customers. For example, if a company has $100,000 in accounts receivable and $1,000,000 in credit sales for a 30-day period, the DSO would be calculated as follows:

DSO = (100,000 / 1,000,000) x 30 = 3 days

This means that, on average, it takes the company three days to collect payment from its customers. A high DSO indicates that a business is taking longer to collect payments, which can impact its cash flow, liquidity, and ability to invest and grow. Therefore, DSO is an important metric for businesses to track and manage for long-term financial health.

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) differs from other financial metrics, such as Accounts Receivable (AR) and revenue, as it measures the average number of days it takes for a business to collect payment on its sales. AR, on the other hand, represents the total amount of money owed to a business by its customers for goods or services sold on credit, regardless of the time it takes to collect payment. Revenue, meanwhile, represents the total amount of money earned by a business from its sales, regardless of whether or not payment has been collected. DSO provides insight into the efficiency of a business’s cash collection process, while AR represents the total value of outstanding payments owed to a business, and revenue represents the total value of sales made by a business. By tracking DSO, AR, and revenue, businesses can gain a comprehensive understanding of their financial health and make data-driven decisions to improve overall performance.

Understanding Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) is crucial for businesses of all sizes and industries, as it directly impacts their cash flow, liquidity, and financial health. A high DSO can cause cash flow problems by delaying the collection of payments, making it difficult for businesses to pay their own bills and invest in growth opportunities. Moreover, high DSO can result in bad debt write-offs, which can further reduce profits and cash flow. By managing DSO, businesses can improve cash flow, reduce bad debt, and provide the resources necessary for growth and investment. Additionally, understanding DSO can help businesses to identify issues in their sales and invoicing processes and take corrective actions to improve the efficiency of their collections process. In conclusion, DSO is a critical financial metric that businesses of all sizes and industries should track and manage closely for long-term financial success.

Why is DSO an important metric for Customer Success?

Metric for Customer Success (CS) teams can play a significant role in impacting Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) by proactively engaging with customers and addressing issues that may impact payment. CS managers can prompt payment reminders, communicate payment terms, and provide resources to help customers understand payment processes. By building strong relationships with customers, CS teams can also gain greater insight into payment trends and identify potential issues before they become significant. Effective DSO management can help improve cash flow, reduce bad debt, and provide the resources necessary for businesses to invest and grow. As a result, CS teams must have a strong focus on DSO management and work closely with other business units to ensure timely payments and a healthy financial future.  

Building strong customer relationships is vital for B2B SaaS organizations to improve Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and overall financial health. Strong customer relationships can help businesses to gain insight into payment trends, identify potential payment issues before they become significant, and proactively address them. Additionally, by building trust and providing excellent customer service, businesses can encourage timely payment and reduce the likelihood of payment disputes or delays. Strong customer relationships also improve customer retention, leading to higher customer lifetime value and increased revenue. Moreover, by working collaboratively with customers, businesses can gain insights into customer needs and preferences, enabling them to tailor their products or services and provide greater value to their customers. In conclusion, building strong customer relationships is essential for businesses to improve DSO and ensure long-term financial success. 

Effective customer management is a critical factor in improving cash flow and reducing DSO for B2B SaaS organizations. To achieve this, businesses should prioritize strategies such as proactive communication, accurate and timely invoicing, flexible payment terms, payment reminders, and collaborative problem-solving. By implementing these strategies, businesses can build stronger customer relationships, reduce payment delays, and ensure long-term financial success. 

Using data analytics and technology to manage DSO

Technology has revolutionized the way businesses manage their DSO. With the help of automation and analytics tools, companies can now identify and resolve issues in their billing and payment processes quickly. Customer Success teams can leverage these technologies to proactively identify customers with outstanding balances and provide personalized support to resolve payment issues. Additionally, analytics tools can provide insights into customer payment patterns, enabling teams to tailor their approaches to individual customers and reduce DSO. Overall, technology has made DSO management more efficient, effective, and data-driven, empowering Metric for Customer Success teams to deliver better outcomes for their businesses.

Data analytics can play a crucial role in improving DSO management by helping businesses identify trends and areas for improvement. By analyzing historical payment data, companies can identify patterns in customer payment behavior, such as average payment times or recurring late payments. This information can then be used to develop strategies to incentivize prompt payment or address underlying issues that may be contributing to delays. Analytics can also help identify areas in the billing and payment process that may be causing bottlenecks or errors, such as unclear invoicing or inadequate payment channels. By addressing these issues, companies can streamline their processes and reduce the risk of payment delays. Overall, data analytics provides valuable insights that can inform and optimize DSO management strategies, helping businesses achieve better cash flow and financial performance.

Learn how AppEQ.ai can help reduce DSO by bringing out right alerts in-the-flow-of-work of the Customer Success Managers.

 Best practices for managing DSO in Customer Success

Here are some tips and strategies that Customer Success teams can employ to improve DSO management and ensure long-term customer retention:

  1. Develop strong customer relationships: Building a strong rapport with customers can help foster trust and encourage prompt payment. Regular check-ins, proactive communication, and providing personalized support can go a long way in building lasting relationships.
  2. Streamline billing and payment processes: Make sure invoicing and payment processes are straightforward, easy to understand, and accessible. This can help minimize confusion and errors that can contribute to payment delays.
  3. Set clear payment terms: Clearly outlining payment terms upfront can help prevent misunderstandings or disputes down the line. Be sure to communicate payment terms and deadlines clearly and ensure that customers have access to payment options that suit their needs.
  4. Offer incentives for prompt payment: Offering incentives such as discounts or early payment bonuses can encourage customers to pay promptly and reduce DSO.
  5. Monitor payment patterns: Keep track of payment patterns and identify potential payment delays early on. This can help Customer Success teams intervene proactively and take appropriate action to avoid payment delays.

By employing these strategies, Customer Success teams can not only improve DSO management but also foster long-term customer retention by building strong customer relationships and delivering exceptional customer service.

Collaboration between Customer Success, Sales, and Finance teams to effectively manage DSO

Collaboration between Customer Success, Sales, and Finance teams is crucial to effectively manage DSO. These teams have different but complementary responsibilities that contribute to DSO management. Customer Success teams are responsible for maintaining strong customer relationships, ensuring customer satisfaction, and identifying potential payment delays. Sales teams are responsible for closing deals, negotiating payment terms, and ensuring timely invoice delivery. Finance teams are responsible for managing billing, collections, and cash flow.

Sales, Success and Finance Collaboration to reduce DSO
Collaboration of Sales, Success and Finance teams

Effective collaboration between these teams can help streamline DSO management by aligning goals and objectives, facilitating communication, and ensuring consistency in billing and payment processes. For example, Finance teams can work with Sales teams to negotiate payment terms that balance customer needs with cash flow requirements. Customer Success teams can work with Finance teams to monitor payment patterns and identify potential payment delays early on, while Sales teams can ensure prompt invoicing and follow-up on payments.

Moreover, collaboration can help foster a culture of accountability and shared responsibility. By encouraging open communication and cross-functional collaboration, teams can identify areas for improvement, share best practices, and work together to optimize DSO management.

DSO is an essential financial metric for Customer Success teams in 2023, as it reflects a company’s ability to collect payments in a timely manner and manage cash flow. By improving DSO management, Customer Success teams can ensure long-term customer retention, enhance customer relationships, and drive revenue growth. Collaboration between Sales, Finance, and Customer Success teams, leveraging technology and data analytics, and implementing effective payment strategies are crucial to improving DSO management and achieving business success.

In conclusion, businesses can improve DSO management and ensure long-term financial and customer success by focusing on building strong customer relationships, implementing effective payment strategies, leveraging technology and data analytics, and collaborating between Sales, Finance, and Customer Success teams. By adopting a proactive approach towards DSO management and constantly monitoring and improving key metrics, businesses can reduce outstanding balances, improve cash flow, and achieve greater business success. Customer Success teams play a crucial role in this process, as they are responsible for managing customer relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to improved collections and revenue growth. With the right strategies, processes, and tools in place, businesses of all sizes and industries can effectively manage their DSO and drive long-term financial and customer success.

Table of Contents

Picture of Vachas Krishnan

Vachas Krishnan

Customer Success Enthusiast, loves talking to Account Managers and Customer Success professionals to help in achieving business objectives through streamlined access to customer account information and enjoys watching TV, riding motorcycles, and dancing to hip hop.

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