- Quote-to-Cash (QTC) is the connective thread that brings together every part of a customer’s experience with your business. By the time your potential customers have encountered your product or service and decided it might be just what they are looking for, you have already triggered the QTC system designed to complete the sale.
Your goal should be to make pricing, quoting, contracting, and invoicing a streamlined, hassle-free experience so that the customer transitions from liking the looks of your product to actually paying you for it.
There are five stages of developing an efficient QTC system.
Stage One: Developing the Product
Before you can create a quote for your product or service, you must work through the development stage of the process. This is when you identify the essential properties of what you have to offer and why a customer would choose you over your competitors. Sometimes called the configuring stage, this is when you develop your product and identify the key selling points that will attract clients.
This is also when you conduct market and internal research to determine what prices and special offers will work best for your target audience. There is an easy way to know that you have moved out of the development stage of QTC: Have you finished the 3 P’s of configuration? Do you have the right products? Are your products correctly priced? And are you ready to get the information to your customers through the best promotions?
Stage Two: Quoting
Providing your customer with an accurate, easy to understand price quote is almost always the first individualized interaction the customer has with you and your company. Sure, there may have been a discussion of their needs that helped you develop that quote, but up until this point, every other piece of your professional literature the customer has encountered has been directed to a wide audience.
This is the moment where you get to provide them with the information that is unique to their needs, their wants, and their preferences. It is vitally important that your quote does everything you want it to do: show that you are professional and courteous, communicate your pricing and policies effectively, make the customer feel valuable and important, and give the customer an easy way to say, “Yes.”
Stage Three: Contracting
There are multiple steps within the contract stage. Once you and the customer have moved on from the quote, you’re ready to negotiate the terms of the contract. Depending on your product or service, this can be an easy or a complicated process. Sometimes all you need is the customer to agree to the terms of the quote, and you’re ready to go, but often, there are nuances and negotiations to work through.
Contracting involves creating a clear and precise legal document to protect all parties, and it also involves communicating back and forth until that contract is ready to be signed. A great business will make customers feel valued throughout this whole process.
Stage Four: Completing the Transaction
This is the stage that most people think about when they start their business: the part where you perform your service or create your product, and the customer is thrilled by what they receive. What a great moment! You do your job well, and the customer is satisfied! Anyone who has run a business for any amount of time, though, has learned about all of the little moments that come before this one.
The transaction phrase includes actually fulfilling the customer’s order according to the contracted terms, creating an invoice for the customer, getting that invoice to the customer, and then receiving payment for the product or service. Perhaps the most exciting part of the QTC process, the transaction phase is often the only one the customer really thinks about when telling friends, family, and colleagues about your work.
Stage Five: Following Up
Following a transaction, it is a universal best practice to continue communicating with your customer. There are several reasons for this, including getting feedback on what you did well and how you could improve, gathering data on whether your configuration process is working well in terms of pricing and promotions, and creating opportunities to continue your business relationship with the customer.
The information that you can gather through a follow-up conversation can be invaluable to you as you make decisions about your QTC process. Don’t forget this important final step in the process, because it allows you to continue working with customers who know and appreciate the quality services you provide.
What do you need to complete these stages?
A QTC system is built on great ideas, but it is dependent on far more than creativity and hard work. Every stage you’ve read about requires intentional business strategies, great software, effective tech support, and an integrated system of programs and tools.
StarrData can provide your company with the support it needs to develop a Quote-to-Cash network that gains you, new customers, allows you complete transactions quickly and effectively, and ensures that your customers keep returning to you for all of their needs.