November 4 by Kamal Ahluwalia

Bottom line: Making successful sales cycles a habit in any company is based on a strong sense of sales urgency combined with a commitment to make investments in the quote-to-cash (QTC) process a priority.

For any selling strategy to succeed, it has to be energized with a strong sense of urgency combined with a commitment to continually improve each step of the configuration, pricing, quoting and selling process. Add in a purpose-driven strategy of giving sales teams the ability to meet or exceed their quotas and comp plans, and the right catalysts are in place to drive growth.

In Budget Cycles, Move Beyond Tactics to Strategies

This quarter many companies are completing their budgeting of CRM, CPQ, Sales Contract Management and related sales enabling technologies for 2014 and beyond. Now is the time for these companies to with sales strategie take a more strategic perspective, and move beyond tactics to strategies. Creating a powerful catalyst that will drive revenue growth in 2014 and beyond needs to starts, not just tactics. To do this, companies need to get beyond incrementally investing in customer-facing strategies and invest in quote-to-cash (QTC) automation to get the full impact of this strategy on sales in 2014, and for years to come.

After implementing Salesforce and seeing how effective it is in making the most of customer relationships, many companies are stepping up and extending their investments. Driven by a desire for even greater customer satisfaction, loyalty and sales team productivity companies are looking for optimum opportunities to expand the benefits of the cloud-based Salesforce CRM. It is with the addition of CPQ, contracts, proposals and renewals that companies can dramatically accelerate sales cycles, increase average deal size and profits. The seamless deployment of advanced applications covering the end-to-end quote-to-cash process delivers measurable and rapid financial results in addition to a better customer experience. Companies who have a strategic commitment to QTC automation generate 49% more proposals a month, and have generated up to a 104% increase in average deal size or contract value.*

Using Budget Cycles To Attain Optimal Sales Efficiency and Effectiveness

Gartner’s report How to Analyze Your Sales Processes on Efficiency Versus Effectiveness by Praveen Sengar and Patrick Stakenas prioritizes selling system strategies, ranking them by efficiency and effectiveness. Guided selling and Configure Price Quote (CPQ) are the most valuable selling strategies according to the Gartner analysis. The graphic below illustrates which areas of sales efficiency and effectiveness most contribute to profitability and long-term growth.

Apttus has built a complete Quote-To-Cash solution that includes creating a quote, submitting a proposal, negotiating and managing the contract, fulfilling the order, tracking payment and managing renewals ¾all 100% inside Salesforce. Complete Quote-to-Cash automation allows companies to have an integrated solution AND a seamless experience for customers – a critical requirement for global, cross-functional solutions.

Using Budget Cycles to Bring Urgent Change To Selling Strategies – A Quick Look At High Performing Sales Organizations

Investing in tactics throughout any budget cycle only delivers part of the blueprint any business needs to grow. Investing in strategies that can accelerate selling cycles, providing greater accuracy, clarity and precision surrounding pricing sets a solid foundation for future growth. Tactics drive complacency and tend to reinforce the status quo while strategies have the potential to completely revolutionize a company’s selling process.

When any business has the total blueprint for their selling strategy in place including each component of their QTC strategy, renewal rates, renewal contract value, win rates for new deals and the average sales price for new deals all increase.

Here are several key takeaways from industry reports for moving beyond tactics to creating a sales blueprint and ultimately delivering a complete selling strategy for 2014:

  • Companies with QTC systems in place including CPQ applications have more efficient sales cycles, with an average 3.42 months per sales cycle versus 4.68 months for companies who are tactically-driven and rely on manual approaches.
  • 58% of sales reps achieve quota when an integrated CPQ strategy is in place versus 46% when a manually-oriented system or just tactics are used to incorporate this selling strategy into CRM.
  • Average deal size of companies with CPQ systems integrated into their QTC process is $432K versus $211K for those that are using manually-based or semi-automated approaches to CPQ.
  • Sales teams standardized on a QTC platform are 60% more effective in customizing proposals and quotes and successfully differentiating the offered products and services.
  • High performance sales teams are 61% more effective at managing price expeditions, special pricing questions and navigating approval processes than their competitors. A strategic commitment to QTC leads to greater agility and fluidity of data throughout sales engagements, leading to more effective exception handling over time.

Additional Resources:


How to Analyze Your Sales Processes on Efficiency Versus Effectiveness G00237460 Analyst(s): Praveen Sengar | Patrick Stakenas

Configure-Price-Quote: Best-in-Class Deployments that Speed the Sale. Aberdeen Group, July, 2013

Optimizing Lead-To-Win – Shrinking the Sales Cycle and Focusing Closers on Sealing More Deals Peter Ostrow Aberdeen Group, May, 2010.

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