The quote-to-cash (Q2C) process is one of the most vital business operations as it is responsible for driving revenue for the company. The Q2C process connects a customer’s intent to buy (CRM) to an organization’s realization of revenue (back-end ERP system), enclosing the entirety of your sales, contract, and customer relationship life cycles. In the current scenario, most companies look for CRM (customer relationship management) software that helps deploy the Quote to Cash (Q2C) process.
Modern CRM systems come with a full suite of products, but after implementation, it takes a lot of time for training, and after prolonged use, it starts to show limitations. On the other hand, some CRM products are explicitly made for a process like Configure Price Quote (CPQ) / Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM). But the issue with such systems is that data migration and adoption become far too tedious. Hence, to achieve a middle ground, the interoperability concept is introduced in the CRM and other peripheral systems, enabling them to bifurcate based on the use cases. So, let’s discuss how interoperability in CRM can make the Q2C process much smoother and allow faster deployment to help companies generate more revenue.
What is the quote-to-cash (Q2C) process?
The quote-to-cash process encompasses the end-to-end functions related to sales activity for your business enterprise. Usually, configuring offers for a prospective customer is regarded as the first proper step of the Q2C process. However, the Q2C process spans from the quotation until the cash for the sale order has been collected and allocated, and the data for every point of the process has been analyzed and used to boost performance. Although it’s assumed that sales activity is over immediately after the customer places the order, it is not over until the cash is collected. The entire cycle is reported and analyzed. Here are the ten steps of the Q2C process.
Streamline Q2C with technology
Integrated interoperable Q2C CRM software can improve our chances of successful sales and collections. By deploying an interoperable Q2C CRM solution, we can easily handle all the independent actions of the quote-to-cash cycle. This enables our sales team to quickly deliver precise information to clients, reduce orders and invoicing mistakes, and boost our data analysis and forecasting efforts. First, let’s look at how interoperable Q2C CRM software can streamline each Q2C process step:
Start by configuring the sales offer
The earliest stage of the Q2C process is broken into Configure, Price, and Quote (CPQ). The configuration begins when the salesperson creates a quotation for the client. Manual configuration is susceptible to errors that can prove to be very costly. An automated interoperable Q2C CRM solution will remove the guesswork for the sales team. In addition, it accelerates the front end of the process for the company and the clients. It imposes a series of controls to ensure consistency and quality.
Build the offer price and project quote
As per research, 66% of sales quotes fail without a purchase. The sales team can improve their odds of converting a quote to a purchase by being accurate, thorough, and timely with their sales quotation. Usually, these quotations involve a complex pricing structure consisting of discounts, grouped items, add-ons, bundles, and other dynamic price fluctuations, making quotation building a problematic task if done manually. The order quantity changes also make the process even more cumbersome. With an interoperable Q2C CRM solution, you can do sales quotations instantly with real-time pricing details, which will be updated in the system, allowing the customer to receive an accurate quote.
Craft the proposal and agreement
Even if we have all the numbers with us, manually creating a proposal and agreement can be riddled with errors. Formatting errors, incorrect attachments, typos, etc., can lead to multiple revisions, wasting both time and resources. It can also create credibility issues as the customer might not be sure and may decide to cancel the order. Automated proposals, a feature of an interoperable Q2C CRM solution, ensure that each proposal and contract meets the required standards to complete the sale.
Process the order
We have to consider how our sales quote goes from proposal to order. For example, once the customer agrees to the proposal, we might have to enter the data into a different system than the standard Q2C processing system. But with an interoperable Q2C CRM solution, we can integrate the order process so that executed proposals and contracts immediately trigger actions on the fulfillment end in terms of cash receipt.
Continue selling via order renewal and subscriptions
After the first purchase, the sales team can pursue cross-selling and renewal possibilities. Manually managing this requires the sales team to start from scratch if there are price fluctuations and order quantity changes. Fortunately, an interoperable Q2C CRM solution allows entering modifications in prices and quantities and processing renewals and cross-selling. These systems can also create renewal quotes based on existing order data used for negotiations and inform customers about their future expenses. Subscription management is also difficult to manage manually as there may be hundreds of clients placing orders simultaneously. With an interoperable Q2C CRM solution, we will get superior subscription management functions that can be utilized to make subscriptions seamless and build long-term relationships with clients.
Send the invoice, allocate cash, and collect payment
Before introducing an interoperable Q2C CRM solution, companies had to learn and manage separate CRM, order management, and accounting systems. As a result, it delays data transfer from one team to another, creating issues for processing the order and reducing customer satisfaction. With an interoperable Q2C CRM solution, invoicing and other accounting tasks are integrated with the sales, order processing, payment, and analysis tasks. In addition, real-time data is presented for any department to access instantly when an order is modified in the system.
Q2C is a complex process that involves numerous disparate organizational functions. Even a small change in one area can significantly impact other areas of the quotation to cash operations. Further, multiple departments and personnel have to find ways to work cohesively to provide the best customer experience and generate more revenue to meet the business goals. Therefore, an interoperable Q2C CRM solution is a suitable catalyst that can integrate all the operations from quotation to cash receipt and handle further renewals and subscriptions. Automation and reduced manual intervention are the only way to get the best Q2C process output, and an interoperable Q2C CRM solution will help in a big way to achieve this endeavor.
1. What are the three layers of Q2C?
A: The three layers of Q2C are:
- Configure the price quote
- Contract management
- Revenue management
2. Which component of Q2C can be automated?
A: At a minimum, automation can be done between the CRM system and the ERP or finance system in the Q2C process.
3. What are the key benefits of an interoperable Q2C CRM solution?
A: The key benefits of an interoperable Q2C CRM solution are:
- It leads to higher acceptance rates
- It saves time, effort, and cost in the long run
- It leads to an increased sales cycle
- Improved statistics that can smoothen future sales
- Reduces manual errors leading to a better customer experience
- It offers a common platform for all cross-functional teams
- Provide real-time updates on pricing and order quantity changes
4. Which are the top companies that develop interoperable Q2C CRM solutions?
A: The top companies that develop interoperable Q2C CRM solutions are:
- HubSpot Sales Hub
- Salesforce Revenue Cloud
- Zoho CRM
- Expedite Commerce
5. Is Q2C (Quote-to-Cash) the same as O2C (Order-to-Cash)?
A: Although they sound the same, O2C (Order-to-Cash) is a subset of Q2C (Quote-to-Cash). The key difference is that in Q2C, customer needs are integrated into the Q2C life cycle, whereas O2C only handles customer transactions.
6. What are the common Q2C (Quote-to-Cash) challenges?
A. The common Q2C challenges are:
- Inability to develop competitive quotes
- Inaccurate invoices
- Delayed payments
- Inaccurate revenue recognition
- Reduced customer satisfaction
- Possibilities of missed cross-sell and upselling opportunities
7. What are the different software used in a Q2C process?
A. The different software used in the Q2C process are:
- CRM software
- ERP software
- CPQ software
- Revenue recognition software
- Pricing software