How Fundbox used a Salesforce Data Automation with Snowflake via Workato to Scale and Free Up Engineering Talent

Founded in 2013, Fundbox is a market-leading B2B payments and credit network designed to facilitate and accelerate B2B commerce at scale. With Fundbox, sellers (of all sizes) can quickly increase average order volumes (AOV) and improve close rates by offering more competitive net terms and payment plans to their SMB buyers. With heavy investments in machine learning and the ability to quickly analyze transactional data, Fundbox is reimagining B2B payments and credit products in new category-defining ways. Fundbox’s novel approach involves making data-driven decisions, rather than business owner information that traditional banks typically rely on. In an environment that’s not always encouraging for small businesses who need access to capital, Fundbox cuts through the red tape and makes it possible for businesses to green light new projects.

APPS CONNECTED

  • Snowflake
  • Salesforce

CHALLENGES

  • Enabling client-facing teams to access data without having engineers pull the data.
  • Free up engineering talent to work on innovation.
  • Work through R&D backlog
  • Create infrastructure to facilitate scaling processes.

ROI WITH WORKATO

  • Non-engineer employees can now create recipes with Workato without engineering.
  • Increased efficiency for Sales because they can get data faster.
  • Engineering team is focusing again on innovation.
  • Worked through R&D backlog
  • Company has the necessary infrastructure to scale processes.

Empowering SalesOps with Workato

Fundbox is a fast-growing company, and as they grew, they realized they needed to step up their infrastructure to keep pace with the increased demands on their team. Their engineering team was particularly swamped, building custom code to move information from their back-end data tables into Salesforce. This process had been working earlier on in their development, when they only needed to do the process occasionally, but it became less and less viable as they scaled. It was taking engineering talent away from innovation and directing their valuable efforts toward maintaining internal systems. Basile Senesi, Head of Sales Operations at Fundbox, wanted to find a way to allow the engineers to do what they did best, work on the product, without compromising what the Sales team needed.  “We were highly reliant on our engineering team to make any changes,” said Senesi. “Frankly, our engineering team’s highest and best use was not maintaining a data pathway into Salesforce, but rather innovating and building out our product.”

To solve this problem, Fundbox partnered with Workato to implement an automated data corridor from Snowflake cloud data warehouse to Salesforce via Workato. This enabled Fundbox to scale effectively, freed up their engineering team to focus on innovation, enabled SalesOps to access data as needed, and helped Fundbox work through their R&D backlog. They came out of the situation with a new approach to handling the increasing business requirements that came with up-scaling. Now when they have new engineering requirements, instead of handing them to the engineering team to deal with, they ask, “Hey, can we do that through Workato?” 

Fundbox needed Salesforce to perfectly mirror their MySQL tables. They stored the information in Snowflake, and the data goes into Salesforce, as well as out of Salesforce into Snowflake. In the past, their API would read directly off of their MySQL tables, while the data science team was building a data warehouse. Now the data warehouse has synced data, and they can access the data they want. “Now how we’re using Workato is, rather than reading it off of our back-end tables where we selectively would have to pick specific fields to sync, we can go into our data warehouse where everything is synced and just selectively retrieve the fields that we want,” Senesi explains.

Their new model is building this on top of Snowflake and connecting Snowflake to Salesforce via Workato.

Enabling Fundbox to Scale

Fundbox decided that instead of continuing to tackle individual instances of the overarching issue on a case-by-case basis, they would take a comprehensive, infrastructural approach to solve the issue as a whole. As Fundbox considered Workato, they asked, what could it mean for them to free up their engineering talent? Would their sales teams be able to access the data they needed in an effective way? 

Senesi says, “Well, the answer was pretty much overwhelmingly, yes.” He continues,  “So much so, that we kind of doubled down on our investment with Workato and decided to make it a mainstay of how we build our new API, as we now think about rebuilding Salesforce from the ground up, to kind of capture more holistically the changing business requirements that we’ve seen really materialize over the past few years.”

Freeing Up Engineering Talent and Speeding Up Business Outcomes With Snowflake Data Automation

Engineering no longer has to push data from MySQL into Salesforce. SalesOps is empowered to get the data they need from Snowflake through their Snowflake-Salesforce automations established securely by Workato. Workato trained Fundbox’s team to be able to use the platform not just as a one-time solution to a problem, but as a platform for solution-making. “The Workato team was very, very effective, I think, in getting a number of internal resources on our side up to speed in the skill set required to run Workato,” says Senesi. “So, we found that people who aren’t engineers, but have a basic background in systems administration or somewhat proficient with SQL, can pretty quickly pick up and understand the underlying structures of Workato.” 

These team members can now create recipes without the help of the engineering team. 

Freeing up their engineering talent let Fundbox tap back into their core values of customer innovation. “Workato was, I think, a necessary thing that got us kind of back to our core, if you will, so that we could free up our really quality engineer’s time to develop new customer innovation,” says Senesi. In fact, since implementing Workato they’ve completely shipped a rebrand of their product, “across every aspect that you could imagine.” Senesi notes that Workato was key to their rebrand: “That would not have been possible had our engineers been tied up in items that weren’t their highest and best use like tasks required to power operations.”

Working Through Backlog and Tackling New Challenges

After the Fundbox team became proficient with Workato, they were able to resolve items on their R&D backlog. This happened within a matter of weeks; because SalesOps was newly empowered to access their data without help from engineering, Fundbox was able to work through the backlog faster.  “I would say that the average time now, from business requirements to data point in Salesforce, has gone down from one quarter to two to three weeks,” notes Senesi.

Empowering Client-Facing Teams

A core benefit of implementing Snowflake and Workato together is that it empowered the SalesOps team to do things faster, which is what Fundbox needed to scale. To contextualize what that meant for Fundbox, here’s a look into their sales process:

  • Customers go online and fill out a form.
  • The customer connects to the data source, generally their accounting software or a business checking account, and Fundbox automatically underwrites that business and returns them a line of credit.

The sales team gets involved if:

  • A customer has begun the process of applying, but for whatever reason decides not to complete the application.
  • To offer support and customer service to newly approved users.

Senesi notes that “Time is really important” when sales representatives are following up with a potential user who hasn’t followed through with their application. The status of the customer’s application is crucial information that now automatically surfaces in Salesforce. 

Insights Where You Need It, When You Need It 

It’s also crucial that the Client Services Team has accurate user data in front of them, so that they can speak to the business owner’s needs. Fundbox focuses on seeing through their industry lens, or making sure that they understand why those specific businesses applied for their service, so that they can best serve the user.

After a day of activity on a new account, it’s assigned to an account manager, who takes the new user through their account and makes sure that they understand every facet of it. These account managers are tasked with understanding the pricing, mechanics, and changes to limits over time on the account. For this, account managers need access to a single source of truth that is accurate and up-to-date in real-time. Now they don’t have to wait to run reports or SQL queries, they are served the exact information they need inside of Salesforce. 

Senesi notes that the automations have been a lot better for them than traditional reporting with data visualization tools like Tableau, with which the longer turnaround time is “not exactly conducive to a quality phone call.” He adds, “Salesforce is really kind of their source of truth for speaking to those customers in an informed, educated manner with all the data points they need.”

Snowflake Automation v. Tableau Reporting

The SalesOps teams strongly prefers the new process, by which they can access data in Salesforce without having to run a report in Tableau. Most of their SalesOps team doesn’t have Tableau licenses, or, as Senesi light-heartedly quips, “any interest in logging in there,” so they have been very happy to have an easier way to access the data that facilitates their performance, and have even requested more data points that they’d like to see in Salesforce. Senesi reports that since implementing the Snowflake and Salesforce automations, there have been numerous (“a flurry”), of requests to implement more automations similar to the ones they have in place.“Even our sales managers know about Workato,” he says. “Even though they don’t really know what it is, they understand the impact for our organization through it.” 

Envisioning Future Automations

After seeing the benefits and popularity of their Snowflake Automations, Fundbox is looking toward new automation territory to explore. On their wish list is integrating Zendesk information with Snowflake, in addition to connecting SaaS apps with Slack integrations. Fundbox envisions setting up an error-reporting workflow automation via Slack. If there are issues while syncing, a flag would go into a particular Slack channel. They also are considering integrating Salesforce such that when a sales rep has a new high-value user in Salesforce, a Slack message is sent to the sales rep via Workato. Senesi observes that Workato allows them “to think much bigger about integration potential, in a way we were really not even thinking about before.”

Fundbox found that Workato’s ethos aligned with their own. They value efficiency, and they value making smart choices with how to allocate their human talent and their investment resources. “From Fundbox’s perspective, we’re really, really, really big on resource efficiency,” he says. “Part of how we’ve been able to scale is by being really smart with our resource investment, specifically how do we solve for, “Hey, we have a limited engineering team, how do we make sure that what they’re doing is absolutely highest and best use and focusing on customer innovation, not operations and systems?” So to us, I think it was really important, philosophically, to set ourselves and our infrastructure up in a way that allowed for that.” 

Workato’s enterprise automation platform offers security, collaborative recipe-building with defined user roles, and a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. To learn more about Workato, request a demo from our team. 

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