Author: John Cady
So, you just implemented a new quote-to-cash process, and you’re probably wondering how to get a return on your investment. Or maybe you’re using your status-quo process and pondering if you can get by with what you have.
If your business has products or services and customers you probably have some method to transact your quote-to-cash process. However, this is mostly a transactional process. The goal of the quote-to-cash process is to move an opportunity or quote through the lifecycle to an actual sales order. The typical quote-to-cash process is not meant to actually maximize your overall margin. So how do you optimize the process for more profitable orders and leverage the information it provides?
Step 1: Get Real About Your Levers
Many companies get caught up in the intricacies and complex business rules of the quote-to-cash process. Taking advantage of your specific levers leads to real improvements. For example, if you have a lot of customers and products with recurring business, your leverage point may be in order efficiency and pricing. If so, you want to process each order with as much automation as possible and make sure that you are not leaving margin on the table. Otherwise, if you have few large transactions your emphasis should be to increase the win probability and align with the customer on contract terms. Get real about discovering your levers and aligning your team around them. What are your levers?
Step 2: Organize Your Process Around Your Levers
Now that you have a solid understanding of your levers and aligned your team accordingly you can organize your process around those levers. Even if you have just recently implemented a new quote-to-cash system, you may have to expand your process to take complete advantage of your levers. For example, if your quote-to-cash process does not calculate win probability, you may need to enhance the software or create a process workaround. Right now, you’re thinking, ‘Wait! Did you say workaround – the four-letter word of process efficiency?’ Yes! You have to do whatever it takes to fully leverage your levers.
Step 3: Listen to the Data
Even if you do not have a state-of-the-art business intelligence application, you can access transactional data from your quote-to-cash process. What is it telling you? Are you leaving margin on the table for your high-volume customers? Are your customers taking advantage of products with favorable pricing on contracts and ignoring other products? Are quotes getting stuck in the approval cycle? Start by looking at the data around your key levers and expand from there.
You can start simply by organizing your team and asking:
- What are our key levers in the quote-to-cash process?
- How do we maximize them?
- Where are we falling short?
This can be an enlightening moment for some organizations. Get started on the journey.
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