While the quote-to-cash process, which includes product configuration and pricing, quoting, customer acceptance, order fulfillment, and managing revenue, is an essential part of B2B sales, systems integrators are discovering three hard realities: First, the quote-to-cash process is falling short of meeting B2B buyer’s expectations. Second, businesses are having more trouble with the configuration of their Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solutions than anything else. Third, demand for quote-to-cash technology that delivers the digital purchasing experiences B2B buyers now expect will only increase, as sellers come under pressure to increase the efficiency of their sales process.
A recent survey of 50 systems integrators by B2B ecommerce technology provider Logik.io, reveals that more than 70% of respondents say their clients experienced more difficulty managing their quote-to-cash (QTC) experience in 2022, compared to 2021. Of those respondents, 20.8% said the QTC experience was much more challenging, while 50% said it was slightly more challenging.
Looking ahead, 85.5% of respondents believe the QTC process will continue to increase in complexity for their clients in 2023. To reduce the increasing complexity of QTC solutions, 98% of respondents say incorporating self-service quoting and transacting features into the QTC process will be important, as buyers now expect self-guided digital sales experiences that are fast and dynamic.
Meeting those expectations will need require sellers to implement QTC solutions that have the “ability to handle large volumes of records and complex calculations,” says Sonia Flamm, vice president, Alliances and Intellectual Property at ATG/Cognizant, a QTC consultancy.
In addition, self-service solutions need to make it easier to sell, buy and do business, according to Boaz Meridor, co-founder of QTC consultancy Uptima, Inc.
That’s easier said than done as it has not been possible to deliver a consumer-like buying experience during the QTC process when there is also a complex assisted sales channel, says Sean Joyce, chief technology officer for of Navint, a technology consulting firm that focuses on lead-to-revenue lifecycle solutions.
As a result, sellers starting down the road of revamping their QTC process need buy-in from the C-suite in order to drive changes to their QTC process by implementing a new technology stack.
By aligning the QTC process now with buyers’ expectations sellers will be positioned to scale with the market and implement future changes, as they will be capable of keeping up with buyer’s changing expectations.
To improve the QTC process, many sellers are reassessing their CPQ solutions to redefine the role CPQ applications play in commerce. As a result, more than 77% of respondents expect the demand for CPQ applications to grow in 2023. At the same time, 50% of respondents say their clients look to CPQ solutions to increase sales efficiency, while 23% view them as a way to accelerate their sales cycles, and 21% want the technology to decrease their administrative and maintenance costs.
When it comes to the implementation of CPQ applications, more than 56% of respondents cite CPQ configuration as one their biggest challenges. One reason is that out-of-the-box solutions don’t necessarily feature the latest experiences that deliver the kind personal engagement and visual representations of tangible products buyers expect, the report says.
When asked to identify the main pain points they would like to see addressed in future CPQ applications, respondents identified rule complexity, costly maintenance, slow performance, and a lack of guided selling.
Among respondents, 29.2% say their clients are unsatisfied with current market offerings because they have product rules that are too complex for out-of-the-box solutions to accommodate. In addition, 20.8% of respondents say they struggle to provide a speedy configuration experience because of system limitations, which today’s B2B buyers place a premium on, according to the report. Another 20.8% of respondents says their customers also cite a lack of guided selling tools.
To properly service today’s B2B buyers, CPQ applications need to be more client-facing and eliminate many of the manual tasks and decisioning processes that slow and subsequently degrade the shopping experience, says Stewart Magnuson, a senior consultant Neuraflash, a consulting partner of Salesforce and Amazon Web Services.