September 30 by Zack Alspaugh

The answer is possibly millions in top-line revenue. Recently, Apttus and Adobe assessed the impact that sales automation solutions, specifically Configure Price Quote, Contract Management, and E-Signature, have on an organization’s revenue and sales cycles by partnering to launch a world-wide benchmarking survey.

Delayed-Quoting-ProcessWhen you’re nearing end of quarter—or in a dead heat against a competitor—getting an accurate and easy-to-understand quote or contract in the customer’s hands is critical. Yet less than 3 out of 10 businesses are able to turn a quote around in a 24 hour period. And almost half hang on to contracts for over a week!

When product and pricing rules are centralized and up-to-date, and discounting rules are clear and enforceable, the quote should be the easiest part of the sales process. So for many businesses, generating a quote in under 24 hours should be a realistic benchmark. Yet, 70% of respondents can’t get a quote in front of a customer in that time frame, and 40% of companies polled took longer than two days.

Slow quotes are caused by a number of factors, including complexity of product catalogs and pricing, poor product knowledge among sales reps, error-prone manual steps, lack of anytime, anywhere access to quoting tools and business rules, and limited mobility. If a rep has to be tied to a desk to create a quote, getting a reliable 24 hour turnaround time is impossible.

Automated-CPQBy automating quoting processes, sales organizations can tame complex catalogs, eliminate manual steps, and drastically shorten quote generation time. Getting a quote in front of a customer before the competition is critical; first-mover advantage, in many cases, will seal the deal.

But the benefits of speed can be lost if contract management and approval isn’t also automated. What’s the value of having an accurate, speedy quote if the deal is bottlenecked at the contracting phase and doesn’t get signed in a timely manner? Or, if all of the quote information has to be manually entered into another point solution or, even worse, transferred to paper,
re-exposing the deal to the risk of costly errors?

If it takes weeks to negotiate terms and conditions and get a signed contract, many of the advantages of an automated CPQ solution can be nullified. Quoting should flow seamlessly into a contract so deals close and get booked as fast as possible. One important way to accelerate contracting is by integrating E-Signature into the process, which can cut contract finalization time from weeks or days to minutes.

Speed is one of the most valuable assets to any business. Companies that have created a full integrated Quote-to-Cash process experience a much more streamlined and efficient sales cycle, resulting in:

  • 500% faster signature-based approval times
  • 105% larger deal size
  • 49% higher proposal volume
  • 28% shorter sales cycles
  • 26% more reps achieving quota
  • 17% higher lead-to-conversion rate

To find out where else sales inefficiencies might be hurting your enterprise, download the survey report “5 Sales Blind Spots That Are Costing You Millions.”

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