While there are many layers and processes required to operate a successful B2B venture, the process that actually indicates the successful completion of a business deal is when the quote-to-cash step is completed. It guarantees that a sale has been made and your company has received the earned revenue.
Therefore, it is but natural that any misstep in the quote-to-cash process map will result in a slowing down or even stagnancy in the entire sales process.
The only way to keep the sales funnel flowing to increase revenue growth is the automation and streamlining of the quote-to-cash process to ensure accuracy, speed, and connectivity to all necessary data sources and teams.
To run its sales machinery and automate quote-to-cash, Salesforce uses a software called Salesforce CPQ and Billing.
This quote-to-cash software makes it easier and faster to complete every step of the sales funnel so as to increase customer retention and grow revenue.
It is important to remember that a streamlined Salesforce quote-to-cash process will not only make the job easier for the sales team in delivering business outcomes but also satisfy their clients and save their time and effort.
It is interesting to note that the sales process for an account does not get completed when they place an order or when the money is received.
Its true culmination occurs when the product or service adds value to the business of the client on one side, and, on the other, the cash received is used to achieve operational outcomes in the business of the vendor.
The desired business outcomes should be such that they directly help in improving the working of the sales department to allow them to make their quote-to-cash workflow even more efficient and productive.
Steps of QTC Implementation
There are a number of steps involved in the quote-to-cash or QTC process, each of which must be implemented sequentially and individually to ensure the sale’s seamless completion. These are as follows:
1. Product Configuration
When a client asks for a solution from the B2B business, the sales team goes through products and services provided by their company to configure and present a solution tailored to the needs of the client.
2. Pricing Determination
Once the customer is satisfied with the solution, they will ask for a quote. Before the sales team does so, they must calculate the cumulative price of all the products in the bundle.
They need to take into account quantity-based pricing, add-ons, discounts, offers, and any other benefits or adjustments when they draw up a quote.
3. Formal Quoting
After approval, a quote is created and formally presented to the client. The quote must be accurate and detailed, yet simple enough for the client to understand exactly what they will get and what they will have to pay in return.
There should be no hidden costs or overhead charges that can be applied beyond what is mentioned in the quote.
4. Contract Agreement
After the client gives their thumbs-up, a contract is drawn up. The contract must include all terms and conditions for doing business with each other.
It should also include clauses for the protection and insurance of the provider and any guarantees assured to the client. In most cases, a contract needs to be revised multiple times before it is finally signed.
5. Order Delivery
The finalization of the contract is followed by the commencement of the processing of the order. Production starts and steps are taken to ensure that the right products reach the right client at the right time.
All the steps are tracked to ensure the smooth fulfillment of the order. The client should also be kept in the loop for transparency.
6. Invoice Presentation
With the order delivered to the satisfaction of the client, the B2B business now needs to create the invoice. The bill must be accurate and include all customizations made for the client.
It is important to ensure there are no mistakes, or you will lose the faith your customers put in you.
7. Payment Receipt
While this step may seem easy and automatic, it often is not. There might be conflicts regarding how far the client was satisfied if they indeed received the order as they wanted, if they expected something more, etc.
Many customers also often stretch the time before they pay. It is up to the company’s representatives to politely yet firmly ask for payment and ensure it is received in the right amount. This should be tracked and inputted into the systems accurately.
8. Contract Renewal
If the client is happy, they may want to do business again. In that case, the contract will be renewed for repeat business. In the case of recurring business, like subscriptions or regular supply, the contract can be renewed exactly as before.
In the case of distinct purchases, terms and clauses might need amendment and adjustment before the contract is signed again.
How To Optimize The Quote-to-Cash Process
The quote-to-cash chain is a critical step in the marketing and sales funnel that ensures whether you actually won over the client for business and whether you have the promise and sustainability to retain them.
How advanced your quote-to-cash technology is will determine key business outcomes and reflect clearly in business outcome metrics. It should allow you to provide a personalized customer experience, which increases revenue and loyalty.
The Salesforce quote-to-cash solution is the perfect quote-to-cash software for small businesses as well as multinational corporations. How it helps streamline the QTC process is given below.
Configure, Price, Quote
You will be surprised at how CPQ helps businesses increase their revenue. More often than not, businesses lose potential customers at the CPQ stage because they are all over the place.
A product configurator engine will help create the perfect package for the client and keep the catalog updated in real-time.
Automated quotes in CPQ can help create accurate, client-friendly, and timely quotes. Quote management in Salesforce is done through automatic regulation of products, prices, and adjustments.
Salesforce forms quotes on templates and allows automatic addition and definition of configuration attributes on Salesforce CPQ to reduce the effort of the sales representative.
Guided selling can help increase revenue streams with CPQ by indicating upsell and cross-sell opportunities. It also allows multi-channel configure, price, quote for you and your partners via Salesforce CPQ for Communities.
Proposal and Contract Management
While catalog and pricing management were essential in the previous step, customer comprehension is more important in this one.
Before a formal proposal or contract is drawn and presented, one must research the pain points and character of their client company as well as market trends in their niche thoroughly to be able to provide a solution that can suit them.
The Salesforce proposal generator helps create formal branded proposals easily on templates that can be easily customized to suit you and your client.
Moreover, you can create professional contracts with a single action so that the time between mutual agreement and formal order placement is contracted. There is also the provision of using eSignatures to digitize and simplify the entire process.
Invoicing and Payment
The difference between quote-to-cash vs CPQ is billing and payment. No matter how efficient your CPQ sales process is, if you stumble at this step, you will lose your client forever.
Automation of the invoicing process and connecting it with the previous systems ensure that your bills accurately reflect the services rendered.
Moreover, payment collection should allow the customer to use any convenient gateway or channel and be instantly registered in your accounting database in real-time.
Moreover, there should also be a feature to notify and remind the client of payment so that you do not fall behind on receipt of your earnings.
Salesforce also has the features necessary for billing in multiple currencies, incorporation of local and global taxes, and automatic compliance to all financial rules of the area of operation.
When we consider client retention and repeated business, there rises a difference between quote-to-cash vs order-to-cash.
The former is a one-time process for one-off purchases while for subscriptions and renewed sales, once quotes and contracts are done with, they can simply be reused with modification.
This can even be automated if you allow self-service and e-commerce, which is how CPQ can increase B2B e-commerce revenue. You can also quote subscriptions with CPQ and manage their billing and renewal without having to engage the sales representatives every time.
Among the pros of Salesforce CPQ, the ability to keep track of and report on revenue streams in real-time. Audits and reports at each step of the QTC process help the finance team stay ahead of every development.
It also allows highly granular analytics to identify the most profitable revenue sources to develop further and less productive ones to nurture for growth.
The Salesforce quote-to-cash trailhead can guide you further on how to manage your QTC process while the AppExchange can provide you with the necessary tools to further enrich your billing and configure, price, quote system.
Docmation also provides quote-to-cash consulting to help you navigate your way through all the features and facilities and use them to Drive Superior Business Outcomes.