You just closed the biggest deal in the history of your company, one that crushed your competition and will enable you to exceed your revenue goals. You may be thinking, the hard work is done! Now we can relax and bask in the glory of our hard-earned win. Not so fast. Closing the deal is just one step in your journey to receiving and recognizing the revenue. The quote-to-cash (QTC) process consists of numerous phases, internal resources such as your marketing, sales, legal and finance teams, the prospect, as well as your customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. To illustrate the end-to-end process, let’s follow the flow of your most recent win, and how your billing system plays an integral part of the process.
The first stop on the quote to cash process is your CRM system. This central hub is where customer and prospect information resides, customer interactions are tracked, deal details are stored, and the opportunity is created. To streamline and automate payment, as well as reduce system redundancy you need tight integration between your CRM and billing systems.
A critical step in the quote to cash process, the pricing model – whether for a product, service or combination of the two – is often complex. The sheer number of pricing tactics available makes having pricing automation tools and catalogs to build models a necessity. Product and pricing software helps ensure that you’re able to offer incentives such as promotions, discounts, and coupons to develop competitive pricing of packages and bundles – without cutting into your profit margins.
As one of the first impressions you’ll make with the prospect, the quote you deliver needs to be error-free and delivered promptly. Unfortunately, this step is where many companies encounter a breakdown in the flow. Generating the quote requires information from numerous internal stakeholders, and is often prone to delays. To keep the quote to cash process moving, you need to ensure that the lines of communication are open and that everyone adheres to the timeline. To streamline this process, your billing platform needs to provide product relationship, bundling and discounting capabilities.
After some negotiation, the order is placed and the prospect is now your customer. This step consists of processes ranging from order approval to disseminating the order for processing and fulfillment. Visibility across the systems, including billing is essential to ensure efficient order fulfillment, as well as accurate and timely delivery of the purchased products or services.
With the fulfillment of the order complete, it’s time to send the invoice. This step needs to be done quickly and accurately and needs to include any incentives provided. As one of the most important steps in the quote to cash process, a billing system that provides automation is critical. You need automation across customizable invoice templates, invoice approval processing, print queuing, event-based invoicing cycles, and rate overrides to alleviate a potentially labor-intensive and inefficient task. For a seamless billing process that ensures that the account receivable data in your ERP is accurate and aligned with general ledger and invoicing data, it’s essential that your billing and ERP systems are integrated.
In an ideal world, payment would be received on or before the due date. What happens when payments are delayed or there’s a need to issue a credit or a refund? In the case of late payments, you need to reach the customer quickly to come to a resolution. Doing this requires a billing system with dunning automation capabilities and built-in workflows, so that you can automate late fees, account suspensions and customer notifications. Credits or refunds constitute one of the most labor-intensive activities of the billing cycle. A billing system that handles real-time charging, payment and credit adjustments simplifies the process and ensures that you always have an accurate status.
We’ve reached the final phase of our quote to cash process. However, recognizing and reporting the revenue isn’t as simple as it sounds. To stay compliant with ASC 606 and other regulations, you need to ensure that the revenue you receive is recognized only when realized and earned. To help, you need an automated billing system that was designed for even the most extreme complexities in billing, rating, and invoicing.
Drive Profitability with a Seamless Quote-to-Cash Process
The health of your quote to cash process plays a significant role in your profitability. Unfortunately, this journey is riddled with inefficiencies and manual efforts which result in revenue leakage, missed opportunities, and poor customer experiences. Breaking down the silos that comprise the journey should be a priority to improving your cash flow and improving customer communications.
Put another way, QTC is the connection between your gross revenue, net income, and customer satisfaction. A misstep on even just one of the processes within the journey can result in monetary loss and customer churn. The answer lies with a billing system designed to help you to create a completely integrated financial ecosystem. BillingPlatform provides a sophisticated cloud-based platform, enabling you to easily automate the entire quote to cash process. Contact our team to learn more today.