August 7, 2019
The Quote-to-Cash process can best be summed up as the start-to-finish process from the time you interact with your potential clients, to the time you receive payment for your services or product. This process includes (but is not limited to) product or service selection, pricing, quoting, contracting, invoicing, payment checking, and contract renewal. In today's high stakes business economy, there is little room for a "good enough" attitude. It is crucial you take all the necessary precautions in order to maintain a competitive stance among those in your industry; primarily by examining your business process for flaws, inefficiencies, and areas in need of improvement. For an example, if you notice that your average DSO is relatively high, seek out solutions that will help reduce it and streamline the overall invoice payment process. Below are a few tips to help you maximize the efficiency of your Quote-to-Cash process.
1. Organization and Planning
The first step in maximizing your business process efficiency is to identify exactly which processes can be improved upon. Examine all parts of your Quote-to-Cash process; such as the time it takes for your team to send potential clients their quotes, your document signing process, or your average DSO, for an example. Once you are able to clearly define what needs to improve, create a specific and detailed plan of action that includes how your team can help you complete these tasks. Set high, but reasonable goals that reflect success and improvement in the area of interest. If you are unsure of what constitutes a reasonable goal, one of the best ways to find out is by simply asking the team that most often deals with the task at hand. Setting seemingly unattainable goals run the risk of actually discouraging your team by inciting a feeling of inevitable failure. Not to mention, the more included you make your employees feel, the more likely they are to take a personal interest in the improvement of the company. Personalizing the cause and reminding your team that their input is valuable will not only remind them of their importance, but will also emphasize teamwork amongst company employees. It is also important to set time-sensitive schedules for the completion of these goals in order to establish a sense of urgency. Failure to set time constraints could draw these improvement plans out longer than necessary, and create yet another inefficiency to be dealt with. Most importantly- be creative. Even issues that seem to be out of your control can sometimes be improved in unexpected ways.
It’s time to face the facts- technology is the future. The use of technology in the business process is expected to increase exponentially moving forward into the 21st century, and automation has proven especially valuable in the business world. Automation software is constantly being improved and developed to meet the needs of all kinds of industries, many of which have been proven to dramatically improve the efficiency of business processes. Automating anything that you can (within reason) not only saves you time spent on manual labor, but also saves you money. Even the tasks that seem simple could be costing you more than you think. Some companies even employ entire teams whose time is consumed by tasks that could easily be handled by instituting the use of automation software. Data presented by Forbes Magazine in the past few years has even suggested that automating certain parts of your business process can save companies up to 4 million dollars annually. With about a 50% average survival rate for businesses in the first 5 years, the money you save with automation could be the difference between success and bankruptcy. While there is software that offers solutions to specific inefficiencies; there are also types of software like Armatic that offer a more comprehensive set of solutions for multiple components of your Quote-to-Cash process. Armatic offers accounts receivable solutions, data reporting & analytics features, subscription management capabilities, e-signature options- and much more. Instituting automated solutions does the tedious work for you, so you and your team have more time to focus on the tasks that require genuine human connection, such as strengthening customer relationships, and strategizing. The more time you have for you customers and their needs, the more likely they will reciprocate and remain loyal to your brand.
3. Management & Opportunity Identification
Now matter how significant the impact of your initial changes are, no one solution can create sustainable results forever. It is important to celebrate your improvements, but also to never stop looking for processes in need of change. This means continuing to aim for the "best" solutions in regards to maximizing your efficiency, even when you have met or exceeded your goals. This includes management, and leadership positions, taking an active role in the continuous strategic planning and evaluation of goal success. Consider implementing tools such as regular performance reviews, to better motivate employees and refocus their attention on the goals sought by the team as a whole. Performance reviews should focus on ways to improve and recognition of success, rather than shortcomings or criticism. For an example, if an employee came just short of reaching their monthly goal, praise their efforts; but also remind them that you believe in their ability to reach that goal, and look forward to congratulating them next review. The more motivated your employees are, the more efficiently things will run. Management should also always take into account the ideas and criticism of business practices by employees of all positions as well as customers. Most importantly, don't be afraid to institute new ideas in the name of efficiency maximization, creativity and innovation is what drives the business world forward.
BY Alyssa LeBlanc
BY Max Golovnia
BY Alyssa LeBlanc
Alyssa is handling content development and content planning for Armatic and works closely with our product and development team.