The quote-to-cash process connects customers’ intent to buy with a cold, hard cash deposit into your company’s bank account.
Digitally transforming your quote-to-cash process with KBMax increases annual sales by 168% and accelerates sales cycles by 38%. It’s a game-changer for engineer-to-order businesses.
But how can you automate the quote-to-cash process in your organization? It requires a step-by-step approach and the adoption of new technologies and techniques. Read on as we break everything down.
- Why quote-to-cash automation is so crucial
- Your step-by-step guide for automating quote-to-cash
- How you can automate your quote-to-cash process right now
Why Quote-to-Cash Automation is Important
Quote-to-cash (QTC) encompasses all the operations related to sales in your company. The quote-to-cash process begins when a potential customer considers purchasing your product, ends when you receive payment for that customer’s purchase, and includes every stage in between.
A streamlined and optimized QTC process:
- Reduces errors in both ordering and invoicing
- Ensures a high collection percentage
- Improves the customer experience and customer satisfaction
- Speeds up purchasing and production processes
- Gets more deals over the line
Most of these benefits result from speeding up the time from initial customer interest to purchasing, shipping, invoicing, and collection. The faster you can provide quotes to a customer, process and fulfill orders, and send out invoices, the quicker you can turn inventory into cash.
The problem is that too many manufacturers have a slow, manual, inefficient QTC process. There’s too much waiting in the workflow for product customization, quotes, purchase orders, invoicing, and payment. The potential for inaccurate information is high, creating further delays and greater costs.
If your QTC process is overly manual, you need to automate it. With the right QTC software, you can easily do just that. You can dramatically shorten your sales cycle from start to finish, reduce errors, and access detailed analytics that you don’t get from manual systems.
How to Automate Your Quote-to-Cash Process
Knowing the benefits of QTC automation, how do you automate your company’s quote-to-cash operations? It’s a multi-step process with a robust CPQ solution at its core.
Step 1. Automate Configuration with a Visual Product Configurator
The first step in automating QTC is automating product configuration, which is a slow, complicated, and error-prone process in many engineer-to-order businesses.
Traditionally, product configuration meant picking model and parts numbers out of a catalog or spreadsheet and hoping they all worked together. But visual CPQ has revolutionized how sales reps (and end customers themselves) configure the most complex, configurable products.
With KBMax, users can configure products with a visual product configurator – an intuitive visual interface that displays an interactive 3D product rendering. Users can drag and drop to change dimensions, colors, and parts, rotating and zooming in to see more details from every angle.
Visual product configuration ensures customers are 100% happy with their product before they order. It reduces purchase anxiety and aids decision-making. It’s a fully immersive, error-free process that can be carried out remotely.
Step 2: Generate Additional Revenue with Guided Selling
With a robust visual CPQ solution, sales reps no longer have to create their own upsell opportunities (and remember to offer them to customers.) Instead, guided selling walks them through a dynamic sales script that pushes for bigger deal sizes through up-sells, cross-sells, and intelligent recommendations.
QTC technology also automatically generates renewal notices when contracts and subscriptions are due to expire (something sales reps often forget!), maximizing the lifetime value of your customers.
Step 3. Automate Pricing with Dynamic Pricing Rules, Workflows, and Approval Loops
The next step in the QTC process is pricing. Again, a visual CPQ solution can automate pricing calculations, leveraging intelligent pricing rules to save sales reps from the slog of formatting and number-crunching.
Automated pricing is particularly powerful if your company has a complicated pricing structure full of add-ons, bundles, discounts, and the like. The more complex your pricing, the higher the risk that sales reps will make mistakes.
With visual CPQ, prices are calculated automatically in real-time. Customers receive updated pricing as they interact with a visual product configurator, empowering them to make purchase decisions on the spot.
For companies that prefer to hide prices from customers, automated approval loops are running behind the scenes to get quotes signed off super-fast without incessant emailing between reps and sales managers.
Step 4. Auto-generate and send sales quotes
Two-thirds of sales quotes fail to result in a sale. If you make prospects wait, they’ll buy from your competitors.
Automated CPQ solutions automatically generate quotes for customers. What was once an error-prone, time-sapping process can be achieved in seconds. Fast and accurate, automatically generated quotes benefit both parties and result in increased close rates.
Step 5. CAD and design automation
In addition to quotes, estimates, proposals, terms and conditions, and other PDFs, KBMax also auto-generates CAD files, BOMs, CNC cut sheets, and any other data required to streamline engineering and kickstart manufacturing. With CAD and design automation, you can connect the entire end-to-end process from the shopping cart to the shop floor.
Step 6. Process the Order
No more manual data entry, your visual CPQ integrates with your CRM and ERP to connect orders to customer data, inventory, pricing, and your supply chain before processing an order. You get a single source of truth for the QTC process that connects front- and back-office teams.
Step 7: Collect Payment
What’s more challenging – selling a product or collecting payment? It’s hard to say. Extracting cash from some customers is like trying to get blood out of a turnip!
Collecting customer payments is yet another manual process that you can automate with CPQ. A robust CPQ will automatically issue late payment reminders, payment retries, cure actions, and more, getting you paid faster.
Step 8: Allocate Cash
After customers pay, you need to allocate those payments to the correct accounts. Can CPQ software automate this manual process too? Yes, yes, it can. CPQ ensures fast and accurate revenue reporting, ensuring that your revenue reposting is in full compliance with all legal and industry regulations.
Step 9: Analyze QTC Data and Create Cash and Budget Forecasts
The quote-to-cash process doesn’t end with cash collection and allocation. At least not anymore. With a QTC solution like KBMax, the process extends to analysis and forecasting.
You can leverage all data collected during the quote-to-cash process to create cash and budget forecasts. And mine it for insights into new product development, marketing ROI, customer acquisition models, and sales rep performance.
How Can You Automate the Quote-to-Cash Process Right Now?
Automating the QTC process supercharges efficiency, accuracy, and revenue while reducing costs. It delivers a much-improved customer experience and enables you to sell remotely, with or without a sales rep.
You don’t need to invest in multiple tools to automate quote-to-cash. A visual CPQ solution like KBMax is the glue that binds the entire quote-to-cash process together. It integrates seamlessly with your CRM like Salesforce or your ERP like Epicor, getting more deals moving through your sales pipeline more quickly.