Quote-to-Cash can be a complex process, especially considering that you are dealing with both customer experience and monetary transactions. What makes Q2C so unique is that it touches every part of business – finance, sales, legal, customer success, leadership and others all depend on Q2C to create a favorable outcome for your business and, at the most baseline level, help ensure your bills get paid. 

As your business expands, your existing Quote to Cash processes may no longer fit your needs, thus jeopardizing those essential experiences and transactions. Treating your Q2C system by use case or element as opposed to an end-to-end process can cause headaches and hiccups down the road. This dilemma is causing business systems teams to look at how to structure their Q2C process differently, in a way that benefits every single hand it touches.

The Complexity and Pain Points of Quote-to-Cash

There are a lot of elements within Q2C that can go astray if not held together by an integration and automation platform. Photo via Venkat Ranga.

There are several issues when dealing with your Q2C process that should urge you to make changes now: 

1. Complex Approval Workflows

Having to go through intricate chains of approval can prove to be tedious and slow down your Q2C process. Any changes or mistakes require manual labor which is time-consuming. Overall, waiting can cause your customers to become frustrated, jeopardizing customer experience and loyalty.

2. Existing Processes

Taking a deeper dive, the current processes you have in place could be causes problems and stunting growth. If your main imperative was to solve for, for example, CPQ and billing and let all of the other processes to fend for themselves, you’re certainly going to come across some problems. On the other hand, if your systems cannot scale, you will find yourself having to build processes on top of the existing system, which can convolute workflows and add confusion to handoffs. Navigating through these processes will not only cause headaches for your finance team, but for your company as a whole.

3. Siloed/Mismanaged Data

How you manage your data is critical to the success of your Q2C process. Siloed data is one of the main perpetrators of dysfunctional processes. Different teams within your organization may need access to the same sets of data for their own analysis but lack visibility due to restricted access. Furthermore, this can lead to redundant data, having the same data stored in different places and taking up unnecessary space. By the time teams request access, the data can be outdated, causing you to have to redo some of the work needed for those processes and/or inaccurate analysis. Having mismanaged data also requires your IT team to sort out access controls and permission – again, taking time away from the task at hand.

Why a Quick Fix Isn’t the Answer

Quote-to-Cash is a multi-step process. This Salesforce graphic and accompanying article demonstrate that a Quote-to-Cash solution is preferred over a one-time remedy that fixes an immediate use case.

When a roadblock or issue comes up in your Q2C process, you may feel pressured to opt for an easy fix. However, solving for use-case scenarios is only putting a bandaid on your larger issue of inefficient, unintelligent processes. You are essentially only providing a solution for a niche need and Q2C is anything but niche – it encompasses the whole business and every business needs it to successfully drive revenue from a customer’s intent to buy all the way to the realization of said revenue – it’s how they make money. Building an architecture that supports short-term needs creates disparate business solutions that require manual work to link between them, stalling how you make money. 

In terms of applications, a lack of scalability is also a problem. By constantly adding on new applications in order to fix singular problems, you’re costing your team time that’s already of the essence. Your superfluous applications will need to be upgraded, maintained and integrated, wasting resources on tasks that weren’t needed in the first place and adding complexity to your workflows – making Q2C even harder to accomplish.

Solving Q2C Issues With Automation

So how can you avoid congestion and a lack of cohesion in your Q2C process? Turning to automation can simultaneously handle issues of mismanaged data, short-term fixes, and complex approvals while also increasing business productivity and data visibility and reducing your IT costs. 

An integration and automation platform aligns your workflows and makes it easier for your team to navigate between tasks. With defined workflows, you can create consistent and repeatable steps and processes, helping to stay organized throughout the process and avoid bottlenecks.  

Additionally, with an integration and automation platform, you can set up triggers to reduce the time spent waiting for approvals. By bringing the work into one of the world’s most commonly used collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack, you can set up triggers configured to a bot command that will carry out an action once the command is called. 

For example, when sales deals are being made, there are often price adjustment requests. A leading collaboration vendor uses Workato and Workbot, a Workato chatbot, to securely approve price adjustments inside of Slack. A group of managers must approve all of these requests and they wanted to be able to easily approve or reject without logging into Salesforce or flooding their email inboxes with requests.

Workbot for Slack features Verified User Access, ensuring that only the managers who are authorized to approve or reject requests have the ability to do so. Verified User Access allows you to take actions inside of other apps from Slack—in this case, Salesforce—but requires that you authenticate by signing into your Salesforce account initially so that it can check if you have clearance.

Now, sales reps can request certain deal terms in Salesforce from Slack. Workbot puts those deal terms into the correct Salesforce account and triggers a price request. The request goes to a designated Slack channel, where a manager then clicks “approve” or “reject.” Workato then performs Verified User Access to ensure the person who’s acting is qualified to take this action, before recording the approved or rejected quote in Salesforce. 

This Workbot Deal Desk workflow provides the needed level of security while making collaboration between people (reps and management) and apps (Slack and Salesforce) a seamless experience, further enhancing the customer experience. 

Opting for a scalable platform also addresses issues of growth. Scalable solutions save you from constantly reconfiguring your architecture and purchasing additional apps and solutions you don’t need while integrating the ones that you do – automating tasks that otherwise slow down the revenue-generating process, driving both efficiency and customer loyalty for business.

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Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.