Getting from quote to cash is a complicated process. Every step of the process needs to transition smoothly, but too often, disparate systems and poorly aligned processes stand in the way.
Following our last articles on the challenges and importance of connecting the configure-price-quote process and the necessary elements of facilitating the contract creation and negotiation process, we would today like to explore the final steps of the quote-to-cash process.
Something we referred to as the third phase in our last blog, each phase requires skills and involvement from a variety of departments:
- Phase One: Marketing brings on a lead, the sales team builds a quote, and the customer agrees to the preliminaries.
- Phase Two: Lawyers on both sides get involved to finalize the deal.
- Phase Three: Products or services are delivered, accounting and finance gets involved.
As we move to discuss phase three, what can you expect and how can you prevent leakage?
These steps—fulfilling the order, billing the customer, recognizing revenue, and possibly renewing the contract—are vital to the long-term success of your firm. Knowing this, each step of the process presents the risk of leakage—especially when you use disconnected systems and workflows. What are the risk factors and how can you facilitate each step?
Order Fulfillment: Doing What You Promised
After the contracts are signed, now it’s on you to get to work; after all, this is the step you’ve worked to get to. All the negotiations, line items and analysis got you here, and now you have to deliver the product or service to the customer before you get paid.
But say a customer makes a last minute change. Maybe you have to piece an order together from a few warehouses. Here’s where an integrated solution helps, delivering a complete picture of your business, your customer, and the terms of the agreement. Integration and communication throughout your organization matters here, making the process of delivering the product or service easier and more controlled.
Billing: Calculating the Charges and Sending the Invoice
Now that you’ve done the work, it’s time to get paid. Billing matters here, but often, blind spots can pop up, leaving you with less understanding or control over the cash flow, revenue recognition, or forecasting.
An integrated solution can make this easier, connecting your billings to your services, and allowing for this to be easily passed off to the finance team. To facilitate this, the billing solution you use should be able to easily bring in anything discussed in the first phase, connect it with the order fulfillment, and easily generate an invoice for payment.
Revenue Recognition: Timing a Transaction’s Entry into your Books
Recognizing revenue incorrectly carries a lot of risk—especially in the wake of the ASC 606 changes. When important details in your contracting terms – like pricing, net payment terms and delivery schedules – are made available to finance, your company will be more likely to recognize revenue correctly.
Timing needs to be perfect here, as it has to match the timing of order fulfilment and in turn, data needs to be up to date and accurate.
Renewal: Avoiding Churn and Collecting Cash
The process rarely ends with the collection and recognition of money. Relationships matter, and churn is incredible dangerous to cash flow. A well-integrated solution can prevent churn, not only helping you see when a contract is about to expire, but offer upselling opportunities to make your job easier.
Connection Matters: How Integrated CRM Connects Your Business
With the right technology, this is possible. However, too many companies rely on disparate systems that hold them back. Integrating your CRM with the rest of the business ensures you can easily configure a solution, leverage data to provide accurate pricing, and generate a quote without hassle. From here, you can improve the accuracy in building, tracking, and executing contracts and move all this to service execution with ease.
Businesses of all sizes have turned to CRM software to track, organize, and improve their customer relationships. But those who connect this powerful application (or select a CRM built into the ERP) get even more from their efforts and investments.
As a leading provider of business management software in the New York Metro, we understand how to help your business do more with ERP and CRM solutions customized for your unique business. Get to know more about our company, the work we do with CRM, and contact us for more information.