Understanding the sales cycle is one of the most important ways to get the most out of your clients when providing your services for them, as well as to turn them to become repeat customers. Although, understanding the quote-to-cash cycle is equally important as well, running before and parallel to the sales cycle as you court and service your customer in a manner best tailored to their needs.
So, what is quote-to-cash? It's defined as a business process that starts at the moment customer intends to purchase a product or service and ends with a payment receipt. This includes creating a quote for a customer, order management, payment requests (invoicing) and payment receipts. It's an essential part of your daily operations, your back office.
Quote-to-cash serves as the foundation of which your success with yours customers is based upon. Mastering this will greatly help you in attracting and retaining customers. These five steps illustrate every step you need to take to make this happen.
I. Create a quote estimate (Includes terms, pictures, drawing and schematics) or contract
Being able to effectively communicate expectations of costs and procedures for the job will allow your customers gain a solid understanding of what they can expect from you. Quote estimates are usually generated quickly – think of this as a preliminary outline of the contract you will later create. Not only is this your opportunity to delineate the ways in which you can tackle and solve their unique problem, but it also allows the customer to negotiate and adjust the course of action when they commit. Thus, reducing the chances that another client will get to them first.
It's important to keep your quotes very simple and concise to give the reader a sense of confidence and trust in the service you will be providing. You don't want your quote estimates to be lengthy and intimidating as it becomes the first impression of how it will be to work with you and your business. Having a simple creator tool can help to improve accuracy and time in generating a quote or contract.
For projects with a particular duration, a contract can be generated to cover the time period the services will be completed in. This is where all of the fine print and details come into play. This is where you can generate a contract with more detail to project or job. Every phase of the project and each step taken therein is laid out, with the deadlines for each phase being of particular importance. By managing your customer's expectations with a detailed plan, you reduce the cost of the overall project.
As the project progresses, there is less back and forth about particular details or what the deliverables are. It's important to be clear as to what will be provide and how it will be done. You will want to ensure that the job is done as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality, and this is the phase where you can communicate and fine-tune the timeline with your client.
II. Signing the deal
Ensuring an agreement of the terms and a plan set forth is important to reduce any conflicts or miscommunication between you and your client. Having a electronic signature helps facilitate the process. Most companies have found a faster close rate by including electronic signature in their workflow. It makes it much easier for the customer to get you the documentation.
In addition, most e-sign provides automatically save and store your documents in a centralized depository. It's less work and management on your part. Having a secure areas for agreements protects your business of any future issues that may arise in this process. Taking these precautions can help improve your overall customer service and customer retention.
III. Simplify the Payment process
Once you have your quote ready for a signature, remember to offer a easy method to collect a payment. Send out invoices or payment requests when money is needed by a particular time and ensure your customer has a simple way to pay you. With many different online services out there, it's essential to utilize these services to help facilitate this process. Through easy payment integrations, some businesses have found quicker turnaround times on receiving payments and tracking payments on outstanding quotes or contracts.
Finishing the job and collecting payment is the last step of a specific job, but the way this step is handled is especially important as it is the final impression a client has with you when they walk away after the job is done. Make collecting the payment as easy a process as possible, and it will go a long ways towards encouraging the client to purchase your services again in the future.
With so many online resources, yоur customers has a lot of information about your business before they decide to become your customer. It can be a lengthy process and a bit more complex than ѕіmрlу saying; "I need tо purchase something and I know precisely from who".
The customer buying cycle is defined in 3 steps. First, you have awareness which can be described as the moment the customer sees your product while there is a need for it. Second, there is moment of consideration where they are evaluating your product or services for a possible purchase. Lastly, the final step is purchase, where the buyer makes a purchase.
Here are some ways to market to these buyers:
Having an online presence such as a website that describes your product and services will help your buyer find you. It’s always good to have testimonials to provide credibility as well as recommendations through sites such as yelp or google business.
When your customer has found you, it’s best to introduce your product as a solution to a problem the buyer may be having. The buyer is trying to see if your offering can meet their challenges and how you will be doing it.
Having a quote or contract that describes your methodology with a breakdown of costs associated with how you will be address their needs will be beneficial at this stage. describe the value the buyer will be receiving if they choose you as a vendor and include reviews or customer references.
The buyer is ready to be your customer. If the customer requires more time, you should consider giving them a discount or coupons. Having a simply way for them to agree to your terms through electronic signature and payments will be helpful to ensure you close the deal quickly.
Successful businesses maintain good habits and it is one of the reasons why they managed to be where they are now. Habits they have picked along the way, such as good contract management , has helped them get to where they are at the moment and take their business to the next level. The bad news is that there are small businesses that don’t have any good habits at all. The good news is that they can start changing their attitude and practices in order to develop good habits.
In a highly competitive landscape, it’s important and vital to make sure you ensure good habits are enforced so your business continues to thrive. Here are some good habits that can help small businesses include:
1) Focusing Your energy
To ensure you utilize every minute and hour of each day, it’s important to learn how to focus on the most rewarding tasks. Take care of the low hanging fruits first. Review your list of things to do and evaluate which task you can do now that will bring forth the most value to your customers and team. Give each task a percentage of impact and ask yourself what are the top 3 things I can do that will benefit my business the most.
Ask yourself what is the most important thing you need to do today in order to set a foundation for your business. It’s always important to think about how something can help you to increase revenue or reduce your operating cost. The vital part of any business to knowing when you should create a strategy for long term goals while balancing short term objectives. Most businesses have 3-5 simple objectives they want to accomplish each quarter. Everything else you do should coincide with those objectives. Never lose sight of the goals you have set out for yourself. Once you have a goal in place, work each day to get closer to those goals.
Having ways to measure performance or data analytics in your business helps you prioritize your business. Based on that data, you can start to formulate patterns and understand what works and what doesn’t. Focus on what works and continue to improve business workflow to ensure your success.
3) Create Task and Execute
With each of your goals or objectives, it’s essential to follow through to ensure long-term success. Most of the time a goal has a few steps in between until it’s completed. Write it all down. Sometimes, it helps to work backwards if there are dates involved. Write down and revise as needed. With each task, you get closer and closer to where you want to be.
The use of software to streamline task and follow up is very useful in situations where there are a lot of repetitive, mundane work. Try to look for solutions like Mosspaper, a quote and contract management platform, to help you execute your business goals in a more orderly fashion. Mosspaper focuses on different aspects of your business such as operations, finance, and sales. With built-in workflows, it helps you consolidate the management of your team’s workload all in one platform.
4) Positive Mindset
Being happy and having a positive mental outlook can help with any situation. It is always said that you don’t have control with external factors, but you do have control over how you handle situations. With positive thinking regardless of what you are going through, you will continue to work through situations and reach your goals. A great attitude for success and having gratitude can go a long way. If you understand what you’re trying to achieve and have patience with the process, you will be ahead of the rest.
It’s important to have good habits to succeed as an entrepreneur or small business owner. There are many different ways to get to where you want to be. Having disciplined habits can make or break your company as you face the challenges limited time and resources on a daily basis. Working smarter is always better.
For any interior designer, being able to provide accurate and effective sales quotes to your clients can be one of the best ways to drum up recurring business. When you are able to give your clients something that they can actually understand and feel comfortable with paying, you give off a far more professional approach and style. However, being able to give quotation services that are accurate and detailed can be quite tricky, and for many interior designers it can be easier to just stick to the basics. Here are some of the best ways that you can start changing your mindset and increasing the quality of work that you provide by using a value-based quotation system.
Here are some of the best ways that you can start changing your mindset and increasing the quality of work that you provide by using a value-based quotation system.
1) Provide a Work Summary
It’s always important to make sure that your clients are able to get a summary of the upcoming job so they can always refer to what is going to be taking place. This will be a list of goals that are to be achieved throughout the process; include key benefits within the work summary and an overall price of the job as a well. Dealing with part of any quote management system can be tough for an interior designer, but looking for software packages that help you manage this – for example, we recommend checking out Mosspaper – can be a massively beneficial way to keep things flowing.
2) Include Suggestions
One thing that always helps your clients out is to give them easy feedback and suggestions as to what they could improve moving forward; by having this within the quotation you are providing a bit more authority and helping them see things they maybe would have missed themselves. This helps to build extra trust between you both and makes your sales quotes a bit different to the rest.
3) Itemize Your Pricing
You need to make sure that your clients are able to see why the price is the way it is. If you can give them a fully itemized list to help them see what their money is paying for, the quote will feel far more authentic. Some designers aren’t comfortable doing this, but it’s an absolute must. Again, Mosspaper can help you do this. The administrative side of the software is excellent and will make creating references to items being used on the job so much easier.
4) Include Terms & Conditions
You always need to have the right legal information included with a quotation – especially in something as expensive and serious as interior design. Please make sure that your quote includes the terms and conditions section so the clients really understands what is required of them. Mosspaper can help you audit track all documents like this so you can be sure that the client reads and agrees to everything that is mention on the sales quote.
5) Provide References
Lastly, make sure that you provide some kind of reference to your potential client with a quote. This adds such an extra layer of value to proceedings and will really go a long way to help you become a favored option for the job. If you want to benefit from getting more work and the best kind of jobs, then working towards a value-based quotation system can be the best way to go.
As an small business, it's important to make sure you provide customers with the right information in an organized matter. It makes it 10 times easier on you in the end. Thus, it's imperative to provide your customer with a value-based quote when you start working with them. Professionalism, attention to detail, and thoroughness goes a long way.