Streamlined Quotes

Jumpstart your Revenue Cycle with Accelo’s Streamlined Quotes

25-Feb 2021
LinkedIn
Christa Balingit MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Professional quotes are the start of your QTC cycle.

Creating quotes for business is more than just a way to keep you pipeline filled, it is the start of your revenue cycle. To be profitable, you need to track projects from Quote-To-Cash (QTC), from the time you send a quote until you receive the cash for a completed project.

Today’s business productivity systems, like Accelo, make tracking your revenue cycle easier by integrating quoting, selling, project management, scheduling, KPI monitoring, and accounting.

Developing a professional quote is the start of the QTC cycle, keeps your business profitable, and delivers a great customer experience. But many companies still rely on a time-consuming, inaccurate, manual quoting system that wastes time and can be highly inaccurate.

McKinsey and Company consulting studied over 500 B2B businesses that offer subscription-based services. They found that “B2B subscription businesses that optimize their QTC processes have greater success in adding new accounts, growing existing accounts, and reducing customer churn. As a result, these high-performing companies grow their annual recurring revenue (ARR) at four times the rate of others.”

At Accelo, we’ve proven that automation saves time and makes companies more productive. We’ve found that when you create a quote from our automated system, you’ll need 15 minutes or less to create an accurate, detailed quote. Your quote will stay in a centralized location where the right people across your organization can see it, update and track it after sending it to your customer or prospect. 

Quoting is the start of your QTC process and impacts your revenue and profits. You can optimize the process by using clear workflows and tools that take minimal time, provide accurate data, and demonstrate your value. 

Watch our video to see how you can create quotes and grow your business in 15 minutes or less.

What is a quote?

At Accelo, the definition of a quote is a formal document that describes the goods or services offered combined with pricing for that work. It tells your prospect or client what you will do, how long it will take, and the price for your services.

Your quote sets clear expectations in a concise, professional document, providing all the information needed for the client’s decision makers to make an informed decision.

Your quote should include:

  1. Your company’s information. Business name, contact information, project manager assigned to the project, and related information.
  2. Your client’s information. Business name, contact information, and client’s contact person who will be receiving the quote.
  3. Project information. Name of project (ex: “Website build”), milestones, project length, estimated number of hours to complete the project, billing rate(s) for the project, estimated cost of materials, licenses, and related items.
  4. Terms and conditions. Payment terms and discounts, length of time the quote price remains in effect, and other important legal and financial details.
  5. Total project estimate. The estimated total price of the project, including billable time and materials, licenses, or other products and services provided.

Your quote should look professional, and include your company logo and other features that promote your brand identity. A cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all template won’t distinguish your company from your competition and can leave out essential information that delays your prospect from making a decision.

Should you use a quote template or quoting software?

Unless you use an automated system for your quotes, you will have to recreate your quote information every time you create a new quote, even if it is for the same client. 

If you currently use a standard document template (ex: Word document) you will waste time entering your company information, pricing, customer data, and project information, increasing your chances for errors (especially if you rely on cutting and pasting). You’ll need supporting spreadsheets to calculate the time and cost of all labor and materials, resorting to 2-3 or more applications to create your quote.

While some accounting software applications create quotes, you often need a more robust quoting system that provides project details, including timelines for completion, labor costs, and other information that clients need to make project decisions.

Finally, having multiple systems that incorporate quoting, project management, and other plug-ins can be expensive. Licenses, IT labor, and maintenance create unnecessary costs. A single platform that already contains data across your company makes it easier and more cost effective to create the quotes you need to keep your business running.

What can go wrong with a quote?

The quoting process can be fraught with errors, preventing you from filling your pipeline and growing your business. Based on the McKinsey study, there are common problems in the QTC process, and specifically, the quoting process.

  1. Time-consuming manual quotes. After one Fintech company moved to a subscription-based service, they found that salespeople had to develop a manual quote on their own, without a consistent format or pricing, duplicating the effort needed for each quote.
  2. Late payments. It took the same Fintech sales people over 200 emails to move each quote to the invoice stage, causing unnecessary time and effort, and delaying payment 
  3. Confusing products and services. Without a standard list of products to use in each quote, companies waste their time quoting on services that customers don’t want or that the company can’t deliver. The study found that by having a standard list of products and services, high growth firms created higher value product and service bundles within a catalog. 

Quotes are the beginning step of your revenue cycle. Automating your quoting process is a proven way to reduce time and internal waste, while improving your accuracy and professionalism.

How to make a quote in 4 steps

At Accelo, our goal is to make you more productive so you can get back to doing the work you love. We make it easy to create a quote in four easy steps.

Step 1:  Create a template

Quote templates save you time and promote your company brand. You can create and store multiple templates that are appropriate for the different industries you serve. The good news is that once you create a template, you can use it for future quotes. In addition, people throughout your company can have access to the same template, making sure you have a consistent format, pricing, and brand image for all of your quotes.

Step 2:  Include the quote details

With Accelo’s automated quoting system, you’ll just need to select the details that apply to the project. Choose from a catalog of products and services, multiple billing prices, or material costs to make your quote as distinctive as your company. 

Your goal is to show not only the price, but the value you offer your clients by providing them with professional services that are differentiated from your competitors. Your details will support the products, services, and value you will provide.

You should include your company name, client name, services provided, pricing information, estimated time for completion and other details shown in the section, What is a Quote?

Step 3:  Edit your quote

Accelo makes all the information you need for your quote instantly available from easy pull down menus. Once you fill in the basics, you can add important details to your quote that include:

  1. Quote title: Give your project a descriptive name that describes the work you will do. (Ex: “Website Rebranding Project”)
  2. Introduction: Create an introduction or cover letter that describes conversations you have had with the client, how the project came about, and what the intended outcome of the project is.
  3. Conclusion: Summarize the work you will do, including timeframes for completion, milestones, and project goals.
  4. Terms and Conditions: Provide definitions of your payment terms, warranties and indemnities, delivery terms, liability, and other critical legal or financial expectations.

Because your quote is on a centralized platform, your authorized departments can review and weigh in before your quote is published. You will be confident that the right information and internal stakeholders contributed to your client’s quote, ensuring that all necessary information is included.

It takes only minutes to create a professional quote that jumpstarts your revenue cycle and improves your profitability. Using automated and integrated platforms like Accelo makes it easy to ensure that everyone weighs in, your quote is priced correctly, and you set clear expectations for the value your client will receive.

Step 4:  Publish your quote

When your quote is complete, you're ready to finalize it. With Accelo you lock the details in place, print it, email it, or mail it.

Alternatively, you can instantly email the quote to your client, streamlining the process by avoiding paper printouts and mailing delays. You can write an email cover letter that lets you include all the information you need before you press Send. Accelo gives you the option of attaching a PDF, or for greater security, providing a link to your Client Portal.

Example of a quote

If you’re not ready to put an automated and integrated system into place, you can easily create quotes using templates you will find in Microsoft Word and other providers. The advantage of these forms is that they are easy to fill in, but they do require extra time and effort to 1) create a cover letter, 2) proofread your services, pricing, and terms and conditions, 3) email all your internal stakeholders to review the quote, and 4) send the document to your client. Manual quote forms are easily accessible, but are prone to error and misfiling.

However, if you use an automated platform like Accelo, you will have access to quote templates like the example below.

 

Quote automation made easy

Creating great looking, accurate quotes is the first step to impressing your prospects and clients while tracking your profitability. Automating your quotes will save you time, track what’s in your pipeline, and stay on top of new business.

Accelo not only simplifies the quoting process, but we make sure that the information included in the quote comes from a “single source of truth”, ensuring accuracy. Using our system, you can circulate it for review by internal stakeholders, and keep your company identity on-brand with professional templates.

Accelo streamlines your business so you can get back to the work you love. Our platform is proven to increase annual revenue and billable time. 

New to Accelo? Contact us for a free trial to see how you can grow your business by offering professional, accurate quotes to your prospects and clients.

If you're already using Accelo, see how easy it is to create a quote using Accelo and watch our video to see how you can create quotes and grow your business in 15 minutes or less.

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