03 Aug Ask Gilles: Why do you need Quote-to-Cash?
Aug 3, 2017 | by Gilles Muys
In my 18 years of working with CPQ, I have helped customers solve many problems, from configuring complex pricing structures to improving their quoting processes. During this time, I’ve seen customers save hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars by streamlining these processes. They’ve also eliminated stress, improved their organizational culture, and made their customers happier. As the only Salesforce CPQ Black Belt in the world, I’ve worked with the best companies to solve the world’s biggest Quote-to-Cash problems.
I have learned over time what works and what does not. Even though every company is different, I have observed that solutions that are successful for one usually work for most. The same patterns come regularly, like a leitmotiv in the musical works of a composer.
In this “Ask Gilles” series, I will address some of the questions I’ve been asked over the years and respond directly to questions that you might have. This question, “Why do I need Quote-to-Cash?” is the most fundamental and often-asked question I’ve received.
Let’s embark on this journey together, deep inside Quote-to-Cash, shall we?
Without accurate and prompt quotes, your potential customers will leave you behind for the competition. That’s why you need an automated Quote-to-Cash (or QTC) system—to improve your processes and keep your customers happy. Here are just a few benefits of QTC.
Set it and forget. That’s the great allure of an automated QTC system. You won’t need to babysit the program to make sure that it does what you’ve told it to do. Just tell it and move on to your next task. The more your company grows, the more important that opportunity becomes.
Instinctually, you may feel that automating your processes requires sacrificing control. In fact, the opposite is true. It means more control. When you have fewer decisions to make and less work to do, you can limit yourself to the decisions that matter. How much do you want to charge? Does this client deserve a discount? By how much? Rather than fret over the tiny decisions necessary to put a quote together, you can focus on the big decisions that give your services a personal touch. Those are the decisions that your clients will recognize and appreciate.
Do you need more visibility surrounding margins and discount levels? If you’re not utilizing a Quote-to-Cash software, you probably do. CPQ brings a high level of visibility to sales and finance over discounting and also makes structured data for reporting and dashboarding readily available.
To err is human. It’s natural, but human error can be costly, whether those mistakes are caught and corrected or, even worse, go unnoticed. Worst of all, human error can strike at any time. Earlier this year, an employee at Amazon mistyped a command, accidentally shutting down Amazon’s S3 services, costing US financial-service companies an estimated $160 million in lost revenue.
The stakes might not be quite as high, but you should still do whatever you can to protect your company and your clients from human error. Automate the process and allow your system to pull only the information you need to get the quoting, billing and invoicing done. Know exactly what you’re billing and how much revenue you’re bringing in.
Faster Time to Market
Once your processes are all automated, you’ll be amazed how much faster everything is. Surveys find that QTC systems on average lead to 28 percent shorter sales cycles. Spend hours instead of days or minutes instead of hours generating that quote.
One of the greatest benefits—and one that your employees will thank you for—is productivity. Your sales representatives no longer have to get bogged down by the quoting process. Instead, they can focus on what they’re best at and what you hired them to do: close deals. Surveys find that with a QTC system in place, 26 percent more representatives close deals, with 105 percent larger deals and a 17 percent higher lead-to-conversion rate. On the billing side, automation of invoices, the dunning process, and even complex revenue recognition rules can increase productivity dramatically for your finance team. And integration with back-end systems—such as revenue, accounts receivable, cash, and general ledger—further speed up the process.
Does this sound familiar to you? You keep track of all work done for a client in a single Excel spreadsheet, updated by multiple employees and tracking time and rates. You do your calculations using Excel functions, then transfer them to another spreadsheet for recordkeeping. Next, you use Microsoft Word to order all that information into a single, presentable document, which you load up to your company email account to send off to the client. The client approves via email, which you have to include separately as an attachment . . . somewhere.
How many platforms do you currently use to prepare a quote? Well, get ready to kiss them goodbye as you adopt a single QTC tool that meets all your needs. Track, describe, and report work and pricing all in one place. No more having to juggle applications to get one quote done and sent.
Simplicity is the name of the game. Simplify your processes to start reaping the benefits. Simplus is here to assist. Contact us today to get started on implementing a QTC system in your business.