How to Enhance Your Quote to Cash Process with Automated Billing

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Your sales team is sitting across the table from an executive who might be willing to throw a huge deal your way. The executive seems the no-nonsense type, and that’s appropriate because this is a no-nonsense situation.

You’ve been in this position before, staring down the barrel of a transformative sale. The problem? Last time it slipped away.

The culprit was not a defective product—what you sell are the honest goods. And at the risk of sounding arrogant, you feel confident that your team is not to blame either.

No. Disaster came during the quote to cash (QTC) process thanks to an erroneous keystroke, or perhaps a communication gap. In other words: human error.

That executive’s withering gaze makes you sweat because you know that one of a few problems in your process could rear its ugly head.

Too slow

Your quote process just isn’t quick enough. This enterprise-level client needs something a little more customized, but your legacy system makes it hard to get creative with an offer in real-time—and then deliver on it afterward.

Inaccuracies

If you do close the deal, will the figure and terms you’ve agreed upon be properly reflected on the bill? This wouldn’t be the first time a client purchased one thing and was billed for another.

Department divides

Your departments are a little too…departmentalized. From sales and account management to order fulfillment, billing, and account receivables there are too many people putting data into too many systems. Mistakes get made and the customer experience suffers.

If your QTC process is sluggish, inflexible, or error-prone, you may be missing out on valuable opportunities—or churning out customers before they’ve reached profitability.

Automated billing can serve as a simple solution to some complicated QTC problems.

Automated billing streamlines the quote to cash process

Having automated billing software that fits into your QTC process gives your sales teams direct access to your business’s catalog of plans. With predefined products and pricing, they can pull the right information into their customer quote process, and then push that information through the billing system automatically.

And with the advanced catalog flexibility of adaptive billing software, plan configurations and customizations can be accurately enabled at the customer level to satisfy more unique contract agreements with accuracy.

The salesperson defines and prices the contract based on their plan offerings and any specific configurations discussed during their conversation with the customer. Accuracy at this point is crucial. Only about 34% of traditional pricing proposals are accepted, and 47% of bundled pricing proposals.

Once the customer agrees to place an order and signs off on the quote, the deal is able to be closed won and automatically pushed into the billing system.

While the sales process might be considered complete at this point, the QTC journey is not. Automated billing software continues to streamline the process by ensuring the customer is accurately billed based on what was agreed upon. The software also helps to assure collections on that billing, while simultaneously gathering data on the entire transaction for analysis and future performance enhancement.

By stark contrast, from the beginning, a more manual process might require your sales team members to comb through spreadsheets and databases to find the product info and pricing they need. And if there are multiple conflicting entries for specific products, it could be anyone’s best guess.

This can obviously lead to inconsistent and error-prone quotes, which can cost your business a lot down the line.

Additional manual effort comes into play again when you reach the billing and collections phase.

Without a modern subscription management solution, collecting and analyzing data can become a complex nightmare.

Having an automated, streamlined process you can count on means reliable accuracy and fewer hiccups along the way.

This process is only possible for companies that benefit from a dependable and fluid tech stack. An adaptive automated billing platform integrates with solutions that streamline the QTC process while automating functions that guarantee that accurate, error-free billing and bookkeeping.

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Automated billing tears down departmental siloes

In addition to considering the various customer-centric tasks it takes to move from the initial sales process to billing and accounts receivables, the QTC process depends on data accuracy around what’s quoted and what appears on the invoice.

The objective of an efficient QTC process includes reducing errors, enhancing the customer experience, streamlining collections, and improving reporting capabilities.

The bigger your business gets, the more complicated departmental relationships become. Every department has its own technology, and the moment you close a sale, key customer data begins to cycle, not just through many different departments, but also their corresponding employees and the software solutions they use.

The possibility for error is huge. And when mistakes are made it can be pretty difficult to figure out the culprit.

A modern billing platform can furnish your business with an all-important single source of truth (SSOT). An SSOT enables all departments to access and action relevant data, but not to change it. As a result, billing and invoicing information remains accurate and dependable.

For the purposes of the salesperson trying to close a deal, this means unwavering confidence that the figure they quote will be exactly what shows up on that customer’s invoice when the deal is done.

And of course, your customer expects that as well.

Easier subscription renewals

Renewals are ostensibly nothing more than a new sale. Just because that executive with the no-nonsense look in her eyes signed on with you once doesn’t mean she’ll do it again.

A softer version of the QTC process has to unfold just to make sure your existing accounts don’t churn out at the end of their first subscription cycle.

With automated billing software, you easily identify contracts that are set to expire soon. After that, you draft a new opportunity that’s appropriate to the customer, and know that the quote you give them will be the fee that will show up on their invoice.

And the efficiencies of managing contract changes within a subscription management tool are tangible.

In particular, you have the ability to automate contract uplifts, seamlessly migrate customers between plans as needed, and record any expansion revenue appropriately.

Of course, your chances of getting that re-up will probably be contingent on how smoothly the first subscription cycle went. About 96% of people say customer experience is a very important part of their buying decision.

If that executive who doesn’t suffer fools lightly got billed the wrong amount or was otherwise frustrated by an extension of your company’s internal processes, they might be thinking about taking their business elsewhere.

The cleaner your QTC process, the smoother you’ll be able to sign new customers up. The smoother you sign up new customers, the more likely they’ll be to stick around.

For SaaS businesses, this is an important cycle that serves to stabilize and grow MRR—and it’s a process that benefits enormously from a dependable billing platform.

Automates the recurring billing process

Of course, the most obvious function of an automated billing platform is to, well…automate the billing process. Not only does automating the billing process reduce the possibility of human error, but it also significantly improves the customer experience.

Automated billing lets you:

  • send accurate invoices to clients every time from the beginning
  • sculpt customized coupons, discounts, etc. to meet the needs of larger accounts, and
  • automate key billing-related communications to bolster the collections process.

Since “cash” is the final phase of the QTC process it’s important to have a means of continually collecting it that’s simple and straightforward for both parties.

You’ll also keep your customers a lot happier if you can promise a smooth ride.

Yes, the QTC and billing processes can be very complicated, especially for SaaS companies. But your clients don’t want it to feel complicated.

Automated billing offers a straightforward solution for growing companies by integrating with your CRM, streamlining key functions, and providing your business with a single source of truth that simplifies your entire subscription management process.

Tags: Subscription Billing Recurring Billing Subscription Management SaaS Billing

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