QTC

The Definitive QTC Guide: Foreword and Introduction

FOREWORD

I first met Gilles at Dreamforce 2012. SteelBrick had a tiny booth in the back of the expo, and I staffed the booth every one of the open hours back then. So Gilles and I had to meet during a break in the expo for Marc Benioff’s keynote. Phillip Smith, who had joined me as the first account executive earlier in the year, recommended I speak with Gilles. They had met earlier at the Cloud CPQ pioneer BigMachines, where they both worked. Phillip said Gilles is brilliant and, boy, was he right!

Gilles started to work with us part-time at first, but I quickly realized he was too good not to hire full-time. I bootstrapped the business and had no money. But I knew I couldn’t afford to pass on Gilles. In the next year, we grew our install base to well over 100 happy customers, crossed $1M in ARR, and attracted outside capital from the founding team at BigMachines. I can confidently say we couldn’t achieve any of those milestones had it not been for Gilles’ expertise, passion, and dedication.

CPQ was too difficult and too expensive to deploy and maintain in 2006. SteelBrick CPQ was built to change that. The idea was to democratize this important technology by building on a market-leading CRM platform and, more importantly, following Salesforce’s mantra of “clicks, not code.” Our vision was validated when Salesforce acquired SteelBrick in 2016 and ultimately grew Salesforce CPQ into the market leader, with close to 4,000 customers—more than every other CPQ vendor combined!

Gilles Muys is the world’s foremost expert on this groundbreaking product. Since I partnered with Gilles, he has implemented or architected close to a thousand CPQ projects. He quite possibly knows the product better than me—and I built the darn thing. The words of wisdom and practical advice he shares in this book are a must-read for any aspiring CPQ architect, admin, or stakeholder. There is no substitute for experience in CPQ projects, and I can’t think of anyone more experienced than Gilles!

—MAX RUDMAN, Founder of SteelBrick and Prodly CEO

 

Gilles Muys was a key member of our team as we pioneered the quote-to-cash industry over the past 20 years. First at BigMachines (now Oracle CPQ cloud) and then at SteelBrick (now Salesforce CPQ and Billing), Gilles was a core member and leader of our technical solutions teams.

At SteelBrick, Gilles was the third employee, and he worked very closely with founder/CTO Max Rudman to architect the SteelBrick solution on top of Salesforce to elegantly fulfill complex customer needs.

As a former CFO, Gilles brought in-depth financial and business knowledge, which he combined with his stellar technical acumen to bring a unique, in-depth understanding of both the business processes and systems required toautomate configuring, pricing, quoting, ordering, and billing products in a B2B environment.

Gilles’ depth of knowledge—something gained only through years of hard work successfully deploying hundreds of quote-to-cash solutions—is encapsulated here in this comprehensive quote-to-cash guide An in-depth look at the processes that comprise quote-to-cash (i.e., contract lifecycle management, configuration, pricing, quoting, and billing), this book has come at the right time. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking to learn more about quoteto-cash process improvement.

Whether you’re a CEO, a salesperson, an accountant, or someone just trying to understand the sales cycle better, I promise that you’ll never see sales the same way again.

—GODARD ABEL, G2 CEO and Former SteelBrick CEO

 

INTRODUCTION

There is a fundamental truth of the business world—something as great and inevitable as death and taxes—and it’s a hard pill to swallow: It doesn’t matter how revolutionary or world-changing an idea is: without sales, that idea will die.

This truth is not exclusive to salespeople. The sales process is much more inclusive than that. It involves everyone—from the CEO to a member of the accounting department. Everyone in the organization has some role to play. And that means everyone should take an interest in quote-to-cash.

Quote-to-cash, or QTC, refers to the integration and automated management of end-to-end business processes involved in selling. It is the foundation on which we build revenue, designed to simplify and accelerate the sales process. And this foundation includes other acronyms as well: CRM (customer relationship management) software is vital for managing customer data and moving leads and opportunities down the sales funnel. CPQ (configure, price, quote) platforms enable salespeople to automate the quoting process with greater speed and accuracy. ERP (enterprise resource planning) tools manage billing, inventory, and resources across the organization.

These tools (and many others) perform vital business functions that help turn those great ideas into viable businesses. Using quote-to-cash, companies experience the following:

  • 105 percent increase in deal size
  • 38 percent faster sales cycle
  • 200 percent increase in conversions

Further, with a fully executed quote-to-cash system, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Increase the productivity of your sales teams and back-office functions by automating sales processes
  • Optimize quoting and discounting to improve profit margins
  • Increase revenue by pointing sales to opportunities for cross-selling complementary products and services
  • Create efficient, accurate, and tailored sales processes that improve the sales experience
  • Enhance your brand, improve conversion ratios, and gain more opportunities for repeat business
  • Streamline processes while ensuring that sales teams are meeting company compliance policies and regulatory requirements

As the global leader in quote-to-cash, Simplus is uniquely qualified to guide you and your company through all aspects of the journey. As part of our mission to do so, I have written this book—a roadmap of quote-to-cash—to get you ready for the work ahead. In general, we’ll be asking and answering three questions about quote-to-cash:

PART 1: What is quote-to-cash, and what does it entail?

PART 2: Where does quote-to-cash fit in the overall business process?

PART 3: What best practices should I follow to ensure a successful quote-to-cash journey?

Remember this: you are not alone in your quote-to-cash journey. This book will serve as your map, and Simplus is standing at the ready to step in as your guide. So read on, take a survey of the terrain, and let us know when you’re ready to embark. We’ll get through this together.

 


 

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