You and your team work hard to generate leads for your business, so the last thing anyone wants is to drop the ball when it comes to closing those leads.
This is where quote-to-cash comes in.
Quote-to-cash (QTC) is an essential workflow for every type of business. It covers an initial customer inquiry to the moment when revenue from that sale is recognized. Without a streamlined QTC process in place, businesses can lose out on valuable sales opportunities or create poor customer experiences that affect retention.
Bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the quote-to-cash process are usually caused by an overreliance on manual processes and delays in communicating important sales information between teams. By investing in automation and recurring billing management, you can make the QTC process a key competitive differentiator for your business.
- Quote-to-cash (QTC) is a crucial workflow for businesses, spanning from initial customer inquiries to revenue recognition.
- Manual processes and communication delays contribute to inefficiencies in the QTC process, which makes automation a key competitive advantage.
- Stax Bill offers a comprehensive solution for businesses to optimize the QTC process with features such as automation, recurring billing management, and revenue recognition tools.
What is Quote-to-Cash (QTC)?
Quote-to-cash (QTC) refers to the end-to-end sales cycle, starting from a customer’s initial inquiry up to the point that the business receives payment. The purpose of QTC is to help businesses to better manage their sales funnel by aligning company resources to communicate important data, leading to better efficiency and reduced errors during the sales process.
QTC can be completed manually using tools such as spreadsheets, emails, and data entry into standalone CRM systems. However, this process is time-intensive and can result in errors and delays in vital information being shared.
Increasingly, many companies are automating the QTC process via CRM (Customer Relationships Management) platforms that can integrate seamlessly with different areas of your business—including inventory management, order fulfillment, and account management—to provide real-time visibility into the sales cycle.
Understanding the Quote-to-Cash Process
So, what exactly does QTC entail? Let’s look at the steps involved in the process.
Lead generation and management
Before any quotes can be generated, a business needs to develop a successful lead generation strategy to bring potential customers into its sales funnel. This requires finding the right combination of products or services to meet the needs of your target segment. Common lead generation activities include content marketing, events, and cold calls.
Effective lead management ensures that all leads in your sales funnel are captured and nurtured according to certain criteria. This ensures that organizations can maximize their efforts by focusing on sales opportunities with the highest chance of conversion.
When a business receives a customer inquiry for a product or service, sales representatives must put together a quote that addresses the customer’s needs and provides information such as pricing, customization, scope of work, and add-ons. Depending on the nature of your business, the quote process may be automated and sent to customers almost instantly. Alternatively, it may take a number of days for a representative to compile an accurate quote, especially for a very niche offering.
It’s important to note that if a potential customer has reached the stage of requesting a quote, they are highly interested in your company and likely comparing you with a short list of other vendors.
Order capture and management
Once a quote has been accepted, the order needs to be processed and fulfilled according to the characteristics and timeline agreed upon with the customer. Order details must be captured and processed by an internal order management system so any product or service customizations are included. The order will be allocated to a specific team or warehouse to undergo the fulfillment process.
Automation can be used to allocate orders to the appropriate facility, remove manual tasks, and provide proactive updates throughout the order fulfillment process until the order is complete.
Billing and invoicing
Completion and delivery of the order are followed by the generation of an invoice based on the agreed pricing and terms. This is the point where the order typically passes from the sales team to the accounts team to ensure timely payment. Information that should be included in invoices includes order numbers, itemized breakdowns, tax adjustments, discounts, and more.
A streamlined invoicing and billing process is essential to prevent errors and reduce delays in recognizing revenue. This process can be automated with accounting software to send invoices out automatically, saving valuable time post-purchase.
Revenue recognition is an accounting system that determines when and how revenue must be recorded on financial statements. Guidelines for revenue recognition are defined by several different accounting standards, including the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). In addition to accounting, accurate revenue recognition also helps to create better sales forecasting and set stronger performance metrics.
Potential bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the QTC process
When done right, QTC enables teams to quickly close leads faster. That said, there are a number of bottlenecks and missed opportunities that could take place. Consider the following.
Reliance on manual processes
Requiring regular data entry creates lots of opportunities for errors and delays, especially during peak sales periods. When systems aren’t integrated, this can lead to workarounds like copying information between systems or using communication channels such as email, chat, or paper forms, which results in a non-unified sales process where data can get lost.
Missing out on cross-selling and upselling opportunities
There may be additional opportunities during the QTC process for add-on products or upgrades that boost revenue and increase customer satisfaction by better addressing their needs. But poor collaboration and communication between different teams involved in the sales process may mean that these opportunities go unidentified.
Poor performance monitoring and Analysis
Without real-time visibility into the end-to-end QTC process, it’s difficult to identify areas that are slowing down the sales cycle or creating inaccuracies. Companies must rely on individuals to flag problems in the process, which can make it difficult to identify the root causes of errors or delays.
Steps to Streamline the Quote-to-Cash Process
How can you make the QTC process more efficient? Here are a few suggestions.
Implementing a centralized system
If your QTC process isn’t running through a centralized system, it’s very difficult for anyone in your organization to have full visibility into what’s going on during every stage. A centralized QTC technology solution can integrate all of the different functions in the QTC process and eliminates data silos, ensuring real-time visibility.
For example, integrating your QTC software into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system makes it possible to see how close each of your sales leads is to committing to a purchase.
Automating repetitive tasks
The manual input or transfer of data massively slows down the generation of quotes and the fulfillment of orders, leading to customer dissatisfaction and even lost sales. Rules-based software automation makes it possible to seamlessly transfer leads into new workflows throughout the QTC process, including initial lead capture, quote generation, fulfillment, and invoice generation. This saves valuable time and frees up sales personnel to focus on more complex activities to generate revenue.
Standardizing quote creation
Generating customized quotes in a timely manner is crucial to avoid losing leads to your competitors. Sales personnel need to be able to synthesize information given by customers quickly and accurately. Creating standardized templates and ensuring up-to-date pricing information is vital to accurately configure quotes and manage product bundles, software add-ons, and other price fluctuations.
Simplifying order capture and management
Using a real-time order management system ensures that new orders are automatically processed and transmitted to the correct facility or team for fulfillment once a customer has confirmed the quote, ensuring a seamless transition from quote to order. Automated order management can send your team proactive updates throughout the fulfillment process to pass onto your customer, ensuring a high level of engagement.
Streamlining billing and invoicing
Delays to invoicing can result in significant cash flow issues for businesses, especially for highly customized services that take up a lot of personnel time. If businesses are reliant on manual invoicing, this increases the likelihood of subscription renewals being missed, resulting in higher levels of customer churn. By feeding order updates through their accounting system, businesses can automatically generate invoices the moment an order is complete.
To provide a seamless billing process, you need to provide customers with a choice of payment options and regular payment reminders to reduce late payments, or maintain a card on file system for automated recurring billing and dunning management.
Accurate and timely revenue recognition
Accounting software usually has revenue recognition tools built in, allowing businesses to accurately recognize their revenue at the right time and provide better sales forecasts. This supports more informed decision-making and where to invest in your business.
How Stax Bill Can Help Businesses with Their Quote-To-Cash Process
Stax Bill offers businesses an all-in-one solution to streamline their quote-to-cash process. Armed with powerful automation for invoicing, revenue recognition, and recurring billing management, Stax Bill empowers brands to achieve faster, more accurate QTC management and accelerate business growth.
Subscription Management. Our self-service portal allows your customers to manage their subscriptions independently, while flexible pricing tools make it easy to make adjustments to your pricing plans for individual or multiple customers.
Recurring Billing & Automation. Never worry about a late payment or a delay in finalizing a sale with our automated billing system. Ensure that recurring payments always take place on time and avoid costly billing errors with automation for top accuracy.
Recurring Revenue Recognition. The Stax Bill system is fully ASC 606-compliant, so your business doesn’t need to waste precious time on managing taxes for your recurring revenue. Send invoices, receive payments, and accurately recognize your revenue – all from a single system.
Payment Gateway & Management. Integrate multiple payment gateways and payment methods into a single system for seamless payment management that improves cash flow and minimizes lost time.
Subscription Analytics. Access high-level performance analytics for all of your subscription products in real-time from our dashboard. From customer retention to MRR growth, identify key trends to help your business grow and increase revenue.
Dunning Management. Avoid unnecessary customer churn through expired credit card by auto-updating deactivated and expired credit cards, boosting customer retention.
As a complex, multi-step process, quote-to-cash is often rife with inefficiencies and bottlenecks which can result in poor cashflow and lower levels of customer satisfaction. This makes streamlining the QTC process essential for businesses to increase sales, boost efficiency, and speed up the billing and invoicing cycle.
By implementing centralized systems, automating manual processes, standardizing quote creation, streamlining billing and invoicing, and ensuring accurate revenue recognition, businesses can reduce billing errors and lost revenue while also identifying slowdowns in the QTC process that are contributing to customer churn.
By refining the QTC process with Stax Bill’s toolkit, businesses can increase profitability and build stronger customer relationships that increase revenue. Find out more about how you can strengthen your recurring billing strategy with Stax.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Quote-to-Cash (QTC)?
Quote-to-Cash (QTC) is a business process that covers everything from creating a quote for a potential customer to recording the revenue from the finalized deal. It involves steps like configuring the product or solution, pricing, quoting, contract creation and negotiation, order management, invoicing, and payment collection.
Why is QTC important for businesses?
QTC directly impacts the business’s revenue. It’s the process that converts leads into paying customers. When does efficiently, QTC can significantly improve the customer experience, reduce sales cycle times, eliminate errors, and ultimately drive more revenue.
How can I identify inefficiencies in my QTC process?
Inefficiencies in the QTC process can often manifest as slow quote generation and pricing errors, which ultimately lead to contract delays, inaccurate orders, or problematic cash collection.
That’s why it’s vital to regularly review your process and solicit feedback from staff and customers. Using metrics like time-to-close or conversion rates can also help identify areas for improvement.
What are the benefits of streamlining the QTC process?
Streamlining the QTC process can lead to quicker sales cycles, fewer errors in quotes and contracts, improved order accuracy, faster invoicing and payment collection, increased customer satisfaction, and ultimately higher revenue and profitability.
What should I look for in a QTC software?
When it comes to QTC software, consider its integration capabilities with your existing systems like CRM or ERP. Look for automation features that speed up quote and contract creation, flexible pricing and discounting options, and strong order and billing management. Ensure it can handle the complexity of your product or service offerings.
Also, evaluate its reporting capabilities to track performance and identify bottlenecks. Lastly, consider its ease of use for your team and its scalability for future growth.
Need a solution that ticks all the right boxes? Check out Stax Bill, an automated subscription and payments platform that can automate various parts of the QTC process. Stax Bill enables you to work more efficiently, recover more revenue, and collect on more invoices. Learn more.