A Cure for Quote-to-Cash Inefficiencies

The quote-to-cash cycle is where the real money is made or

lost in competitive enterprise. Not simply because of the prospect at the

beginning and the payment at the end, although those are certainly crucial

steps. It's because the Q2C cycle is where you find dozens of opportunities to

create efficiencies, from finding the right part from the right warehouse to

meet the customer's need today to securing the best possible credit terms. Configurators

and order flow management systems are not glamorous, and the efficiencies they

can create don't show up on President's Club scorecards. But they create—or

hinder—the kind of customer value and seamless execution that can make or break

a company over the long term. Companies which have discovered the power of a

modern solution which delivers a pricing engine, configuration, inventory and

collections in a tightly integrated suite with CRM and Ecommerce

capabilities have made the Q2C improvements they need in order to stay

competitive. The rest will bleed money at the margins when they could be using

those integrated insights to make more on every deal.

That's why running a business with quote-to-cash systems

designed 20 years ago is such a self-sabotaging tragedy. These systems assume a

much slower pace of business. For example, in a popular legacy Q2C system, a

purchasing agent cannot create a purchase order on the fly. The structure

instead requires setting up a customer ID, then a customer profile, then having

that customer profile approved before a PO can

be issued. Those steps can take days, when today's business opportunities are

often measured in hours, or less. When the market signals that you need to make

a move—that your processes aren't as efficient as the competitive landscape

demands—then your business needs to be able to move, without hesitation. That's

nearly impossible to do when 10 different business systems

run your most crucial customer-driven processes.

Watching some of the biggest names in brick-and-mortar

retail struggle with competitive pressure makes this crystal-clear. Best Buy

has earned the privilege of being the last man standing in its segment. But the

only reward is to have its margins squeezed from all directions—from suppliers

looking to protect their own interests, and from customers who have shown a

willingness to order online and wait a few days in exchange for a better price.

The market told them to move—but it still hasn't happened.

Other enterprises make the mistake of thinking that good CRM

automatically translates into a superior quote-to-cash process. Good CRM can

improve lead generation, prospect cultivation and create more visibility around

the sales funnel, but the heavy lifting in the quote-to-cash cycle happens

after the lead is established. Without pricing and negotiation models that are

seamlessly linked to back-end financial realities, without order management

that provides real-time inventory and fulfillment insights, hot prospects can

quickly become frustrated customers. Entrusting your Q2C processes to an

integrated, modern and flexible solution frees your business from managing a

stack of software that can't move as fast as your opportunities demand.

K. David Fite - Vice President Global Enterprise Accounts

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