In professional services, the sales process can be more complex than for product-based businesses. Your team may be continuously experimenting to find the best way to turn leads into clients.
To hone your process, it can be helpful to refresh the basic components of a sale, one of which is the quote. While your relationship with a prospect is usually looking good once you’ve reached the quoting stage, the quality and clarity of the quote itself can impact your close rate.
Here, we’ll review best practices to align your team’s quote creation process with your sales goals.
Your business processes have a direct impact on your team’s ability to generate accurate quotes. If those processes are inconsistent and you’re guessing about how much time and money a project will cost you, you’re probably underestimating what to charge your next client — and missing out on potential profits.
Accurate quoting requires gathering ongoing data about billable and non-billable time, how long your projects take on average and how budgets typically stretch over project timelines. You should also know how these metrics compare to your operating expenses and overhead.
All of the above is easier to achieve when you build a seamless system connecting each stage of client work, use automated time tracking and have access to profitability and utilization reports.
How? Use a single platform to unite data! Engineering firm DH Glabe & Associates corrected its inaccurate quoting by using Accelo to analyze costs and track time.
Although your prospects will appreciate itemization, best practice is to refrain from making your quotes look too much like invoices. While a quote should be detailed enough to answer upfront questions, it shouldn’t overwhelm the recipient.
Put yourself in the prospective client’s shoes: What would you need to see to trust a service provider and feel comfortable with committing to them? Present that information in an easy-to-read, succinct format.
The one area where you don’t want to skimp on detail is in your terms and conditions. To avoid distracting from the costs listed in your quote and extending its length, you may want to list your terms on a webpage, in a client portal or on a supplemental document that accompanies your quote.
How? Keep an up-to-date CRM. Your team will be able to quickly access any specific requests or client history that could affect what they choose to include in a quote.
Just as brands found that customers appreciated transparency about price increases when post-pandemic inflation hit, service businesses can build better and longer-term relationships with clients when they’re honest about price from the beginning. Pricing transparency is a surefire method for standing out from competitors.
A good quote makes your pricing easy to understand, reducing confusion about whether you use hourly rates or flat fees and minimizing the number of unanswered questions the reader will have.
While it’s wise to stay as concise as possible on a quote, the services you’ll provide should be phrased in a way that highlights the value proposition of each. Telling the prospect what the service will do for them — not just what it is — helps them connect a hypothetical description with a desired outcome.
How? Here are some tips for writing effective value propositions from HubSpot.
BONUS TIP: If you run through multiple iterations of a quote due to a prospect’s changing requests, don’t move fields around on the page. Clarity should be your top priority.
We highly recommend using quote templates, but you should be careful not to simply select a template that doesn’t apply to your industry or services. Branding can give quotes a professional feel, but it can’t make up for irrelevant or confusing content.
Most service businesses will need more than one quote template. Consider all of the different types of clients and services you have. While you don’t need as many templates as services, you probably need a few for regular use, and your salespeople should understand which ones best apply to various types of prospects.
Templated quotes make the post-acceptance period much smoother because project and account managers can understand what was promised to a client if the layout is consistent.
How? Find a platform that will help your team create and send templated quotes — like Accelo’s Sales product!
Quotes are only as good as the follow-through you provide. Your relationship with a new client begins the moment they accept a quote. To ensure your team provides seamless support and makes a good impression as a new project gets rolling, you need tools that make this part of the process as efficient as it can be.
That means leaving manual project buildout behind. A platform that can automatically transfer details from a quote to a project, including tasks and milestones, will save your team valuable time and minimize the risk of overlooking a crucial element in the handoff between sales and project management.
How? Accelo users only have to click a single button to convert quotes into projects. Read why one G2 user raves about the ability to pull quoted time and milestones through to a project instead of struggling with different platforms.
Implementing all of the above could be overwhelming if your team tries to do it all without the help of quoting software that can do much more than simply create quotes.
Hit upon every best practice we’ve covered with one platform that integrates quote creation, sending and acceptance with other facets of client work, including project management, retainer management and billing.
Accelo is the client work management platform that unifies the quoting process with the other essential functions of a professional services firm. See how quote creation, quote-to-project conversion and more could work for your business with a free trial or demo.