16 Apr 5 benefits of connecting CPQ and Billing
by Ashley Crosswhite
CPQ is a godsend to Sales. But while it makes it easier for the department, the silos within organizations have made it less than perfect. Sales is happy that the CPQ software helps close more deals. But Accounting is frustrated that Sales doesn’t collect enough information useful in the complex task of invoicing. Mistakes and misunderstandings are bound to occur. The manual exchange of information exposes the process to the risk of human error. This increases the likelihood of customers receiving flawed quotes and incomplete deliveries.
Not anymore. When companies integrate the CPQ and Billing processes, they bring Sales and Accounting on the same dashboard. This setup has many strengths, among them the way it eliminates human error, reduces the amount of time to close, improves customer satisfaction, and enhances company profitability.
In this post, we’re going to look at five ways in which CPQ with Billing achieves all that.
1. Easier generation of invoices
Generating invoices is part of the larger cash flow management process. This includes smooth processing of customer orders. If the customer doesn’t have it easy at checkout, they will find the buying experience unpleasing. And they probably won’t complain to let you know you’re failing: Research shows that 96% of customers don’t complain about a bad experience. But when Sales is well integrated with Accounts, you improve the odds in your favor.
Comprehensive cash flow management means the invoicing process is automatic and standardized. This reduces the administrative work involved in generating invoices from scratch every time an order is placed, and integrating CPQ and Billing thins down the margin for error. By interconnecting the systems, you make a smooth process of an otherwise clunky one. This is a huge benefit if you process thousands of invoices every month.
2. Easy revenue forecasting
Accountants do more than keep tally of the orders being made and generate invoices. The modern organization seeks after Accounting for the tactical and strategic direction of business processes. The department is thus expected to make meaningful contributions toward revenue improvements and operational efficiency. And that’s what CPQ helps it do.
In planning the path ahead, businesses focus on two numbers: One that shows them how much they might spend in the coming period (the projected expenses) and another that shows how much they can expect to earn (the projected revenue).
The plans proposed to reduce spending and achieve revenue targets are made by management based on input from various departments. Accounting is well positioned to verify these plans. But it must be well equipped.
When Accounting is integrated with Sales via a CPQ and Billing connection, the department gains essential data about the financial performers and non-performers of the organization. Both the spending and revenue growth are presented in the financial reports. This illuminates the path ahead for individuals, departments, products, and territories.
3. Better reporting and visibility
Creating useful all-encompassing reports is straightforward and simple. This is because integration removes the silos within departments. For instance, it’s easy to convert custom dashboards into an insightful resource when you turn them into reports. This information can help you identify your customers based on profitability and buying patterns. This helps you project cash flow.
Integrating the two departments also makes work easier for a third group: Customer Service. To improve customer experience, operations have to be transparent. The customer service department should see what’s going on to offer solutions to customers. When the customer needs more information about the bill, they need to get it fast. Since the information is available to all departments, Customer Service can answer any questions appropriately. This saves important operational time.
4. Better sales deals
The role of CPQ is to eliminate manual quoting and improve the efficiency of the salesperson. Salespeople have found this useful in improving the number of deals they close. This is because they don’t have to fumble around trying to determine what price to quote a prospect. The system analyzes the costs, competitors, and local economic factors. Using this data, it then comes up with the optimal quote. But, magical as it may seem, this is the most basic task that CPQ does.
Imagine yourself a salesperson. During the quoting process, you get real-time suggestions based on real transactional data showing what customers in a similar situation have been spending. What if the system then gives pricing recommendations and discount windows determined by the present activity of buying customers? It’s like having a sixth sense of what the customer will accept.
This is the real power of a CPQ-Billing integration. And it’s not magic—it’s a superpower. This interaction with real-time data allows your team to close more by offering the best deal to the customer.
5. Easy service/warranty verification
Are you in 2019 and still sending out printed cards to your customers to fill and send back to you? Or are you from a past darker period when you couldn’t do this automatically? The warranty card process can be very time-consuming. And this drives up administrative and operational costs.
To cut down these costs, an automated system will carry on the process without much manual input from you and the customer. With an integrated CPQ and Billing process, you can set up a logical system to allow you to generate warranty cards on a template. When a sale is confirmed, the system completes the template with various details including:
The company name
Date of sale
Terms and conditions
And many more
Then it sends these details to the customer for their records. This kind of set up saves your customer the pain of having to fill out cards or forms with information already available in the system. Everyone goes home happy.
CPQ has long been regarded as a niche product. But an eye-opening study published by Accenture in 2016 showed that the software has a role to play in more organizations than previously thought. The real need for CPQ software is shown to stem from what the salesperson is expected to achieve and what they want to achieve. In a single word: Empowerment.
The study reveals that Chief Sales Officers (CSOs) are concerned with sales reps closing more deals. But the reps want to improve customer satisfaction. This has created the perfect environment for the use of CPQ software.
Recently, the integration of CPQ and Billing has placed Sales in direct contact with Accounting. This has allowed salespeople to move fast to please their supervisors and boost customer satisfaction. The result is tremendous improvements in the whole process, pleasing Sales, Accounting, and many more departments.
Ashley is a Senior Consultant here at Simplus. She’s an experienced Change Management consultant and Technical Instructor with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry.