The phrase “Quote to Cash” is in vogue in business sales processes today, and is especially prevalent in the “Software as a Service” (SaaS) space, as shorter and faster design and implementation cycles become the norm in increasingly competitive environments.
Configure, Price, Quote is the well-recognized description of the process followed during the sales cycle. Many tools, some more automated and integrated than others, exist commercially to help with the CPQ process. As one decides on the right tool or tools to facilitate the sales process and minimize the Q-t-C cycle, these 5 fundamental questions need to be asked.
Is the Application you are using or are considering:
1. Does it offer a visual representation?
We’ve talked about a picture being worth thousand words… it is well accepted that visual description of a proposed configuration solution can significantly shorten the sales cycle. A diagram can play a large role in communicating a proposal, based on customer requirements, in such a way that the complexity and guesswork can be mitigated. Drawing, rather than writing, can be a large time saver in the process.
2. Is it intuitive? Easy to learn and support.
If it is easy for you to learn and use, it will be easy for your target customer to understand. Diagrams can play a big role in helping outputs and solutions be easy to comprehend; the more they understand, the shorter the cycle. The “C” of CPQ can stand for comprehension!
3. Is it collaborative and easily shareable?
The ability to easily collaborate in real time and anywhere with co-workers and other company functions not only saves time, it can result in more accurate output. Better communications result in shorter sales cycles, from qualification to proposal to implementation. The more collaborative the process, the less opportunity for time wasting errors and costly omissions.
4. Does it appear professional? From a customer facing presentation perspective.
Not only do professional documents, based on collaborative and iterative inputs throughout the sales process, hold you in good stead in the perception of the customer, they can, if accurate help shrink the Q-t-C cycle. The key point to consider is if the output to the customer (the quote and supporting documentation) is automatically linked to and generated from the various elements of the quote, including the configuration diagram, the resulting parts master, and generated pricing. A first impression can be a lasting one, and critical to sales success.
5. Is it scalable?
Is the solution applicable for both large (multi-system, multi-site) and single system applications? A good CPQ diagramming tool needs the ability to scale; scalability allows for less input processes and the ability to monitor and track proposed solutions; rather than multiple diagrams and configurations, all scenarios can be captured, tracked and modified on a single “canvas”. Again, the ability to view either in the whole, or segment to individual sites and systems, can result in fewer errors, and faster times to proposal (and hopefully implementation).
If a shorter Q-t-C cycle is important to your company (and why would it not be?), then make sure to evaluate the ability of the CPQ software you are considering using the 5 questions above. We are confident that if these are all important to your shortening the sales cycle goal, our D3M platform can play an important role in achieving this realization.