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How CPQ and revenue management system integration can power sales and growth

Are you finding your quotes are becoming ever more complex, as customers seek to configure your offering to the nth degree? If you answered in the affirmative, you’re far from alone.

While producing cars in any colour customers wanted, so long as that colour was black, may have been a killer marketing tactic back in Henry Ford’s heyday, when his keenly priced Model T Ford was the automobile of choice for the everyday American, the ‘radically limited choices’ approach to sales and marketing doesn’t fly, 11 decades on. 

Their money, their choice

In today’s times, consumers and B2B buyers alike want to mix it up. There’s an expectation that they’ll be able to call the shots; choosing the shape, composition, quantity and delivery method of the goods and services they purchase from businesses like yours. 

Refuse to accommodate their preferences and they’ll more than likely take their business elsewhere – to a competitor that’s willing and able to accede to their demands. 

Hence, pricing and quoting are becoming more customised – and, on occasion, convoluted – by the month.

The trend has been compounded by the commercial world’s collective shift to subscription selling. The term is used to refer to the practice of billing for products and services on a monthly or annual basis, rather than selling them to customers outright, for a one-off price. It’s an inherently flexible sales model that enables businesses to offer a much broader array of options and configurations than would have been possible in days of yore.

Spreadsheets and CPQ systems

Consequently, we’ve seen some sales teams turn to complex spreadsheets and weighty manual processes to track and manage their quotes. Others have taken the opportunity to transform; deploying sophisticated Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions across their sales divisions. 

This digital technology makes it possible to generate highly customised quotes that account automatically for discounts, additional features and other variables that can impact on a final price.

A boon for salespeople, a CPQ solution can enable them to respond quickly to enquiries and requests for proposals, eliminating, in many instances, the need to obtain management approval before reverting to a customer.

Billing breakdowns

But what happens when it comes time for those orders to be billed? Unless the organisation has a revenue management system in place which connects seamlessly with the CPQ, generating an invoice for each and every customised sale is likely to necessitate much manual handling of data.

Discrepancies and errors aplenty will inevitably ensue, as they do in every human-run process. Sorting them out can take time and resources, slow down the sales cycle and put a dent in margins. 

But that’s not the worst of it. Getting billing wrong can have a decidedly damaging effect on the brand and business in question, particularly if it occurs frequently. 

In today’s times, customer experience has emerged as the key factor that determines whether consumers and businesses remain loyal to a supplier. Keep sending them inaccurate bills that need to be disputed by their procurement and finance teams and there’s a good chance they’ll decide that dealing with your organisation is all too hard.

Tools to make the task easy

While manually resolving complex billing discrepancies can be difficult, there is an easy solution that can put paid to those errors, once and for all.

Unified revenue management technology which brings CPQ, billing and revenue reconciliation together under a single umbrella makes the hand off of orders a streamlined, straightforward affair.

Choose a revenue management platform that integrates seamlessly with your ERP solution of choice, as well as your CPQ system, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of data integration, along with fast and accurate quoting and billing. 

And you stand a good chance of shortening the sales cycle significantly to boot. Businesses which deploy this technology move from quote to cash faster on average, than those that persist with old school manual methods.

Building a stronger future

If your business is in the business of delivering customised goods and services, being able to quote and bill for them promptly and accurately is a commercial imperative. Adopting unified revenue management software makes it possible to do so, first time, every time. In 2023, it’s a solid foundation for future growth that forward looking enterprises can ill afford not to invest in.

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Carl Warwick

Carl Warwick

Carl Warwick is Regional Sales Director APAC and Japan for BillingPlatform, an agile, cloud-based revenue management platform which gives enterprises the freedom to monetise and deliver products and services that result in growth and competitive differentiation. He joined the company in 2021 and has more than 20 years of sales, business development and account management in the IT industry having previously worked for organisations including Zuora, NetSuite and Network Associates.

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