If you manage a business that provides products for various clientele, you likely use quote-to-cash (QTC). However, many people may be wondering, “What is quote to cash?” This is a question many new business owners ask. However, it’s an integral part of your sales process that everyone should be more aware of to optimize their business processes.
The term quote-to-cash is how many commercial business owners describe their start-to-finish sales process. For example, quote-to-cash refers to everything from configuring a client’s product to billing to renewing contracts. When a customer places an order with your company, you’ll need to discuss what they need a quote on, get the specifications correct, and then quote a price for the client. All of these steps only describe the first part of the QTC process. Today, we’ll explore all the steps in the QTC process and how many businesses optimize this process to run their companies more efficiently.
The Quote to Cash Process
For most companies, the QTC process is comprised of six steps. Below, we’ll cover these steps and the details of what each step entails.
You can break down the first step into three sub-steps, Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ). In a traditional configuration, your sales representative will meet with the client to discuss what product they need and the exact specifications. Next, your salesperson would research databases to find all the information they need to create a reasonable quote for the product. Unfortunately, many databases may have conflicting information. As a result, manual CPQ can lead to inconsistencies and human error.
Price and Quote
The next step is for your salesperson to settle on a price based on what will go into making the product, how much it costs to make it, and how much profit your company wants to make. Frequently, sales quotes end with no purchase. Nevertheless, with accuracy, thorough research, and timeliness, many sales representatives can still make a sale.
However, the process can quickly become more challenging when you combine CPQ with complicated pricing structures, such as discounts, grouped products, bundles, and promotions. As a result, your salesperson can end up with incorrect or inconsistent quotes.
Once your customer agrees on the delivered quote during this part of the process, you’ll need to draft a contract. During manual contract write-ups, typos and other mistakes can occur. Even a tiny mistake during this step can cost your sales representatives credibility. However, the production team can get started once the contract is signed.
With the contract agreed on and signed and the production underway, your accounting team will create an itemized bill for the customer, send the invoice, and collect payment.
After the product manufacturing and billing, your sales team can analyze the data from the sale to improve the various steps of the complex QTC process. Unfortunately, many companies skip this step. However, analysis is one of the most crucial parts of QTC. If you want your business to grow, you need to analyze your sales, identify what you’re doing right, and what needs improving.
After the purchase and analysis, your sales team is in a prime position to seek out cross-selling and renewal opportunities. As a result, you can continue selling this new product and making a profit. However, manual management of renewals can cost additional time if the quote price changes, meaning they’ll have to start the QTC process from the beginning.
Optimizing Quote to Cash
The quote-to-cash process can be prone to errors at each step. However, you can mitigate these errors and streamline the process using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, CPQ software, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. This software automates much of the process. CRM systems keep track of customer information and past sales. CPQ software allows salespeople to input product specifications as it determines how much it will cost to make and how much you should charge for it. Finally, ERP systems maintain your item inventory in real-time to keep track of your internal inventory.