By Jessica Nash on Thu 16 March 2023 in Sales
Whether you send quotes first, just take incoming orders, or a bit of both, product businesses must enable their team to focus on helping customers and spend less time keying orders or rekeying quotations. In this article, we dive in to why defining and implementing an optimised quote-to-order workflow can help B2B product sellers take more orders, more quickly – every time.
Fed up with manumatic quotation and order processing stifling business growth? Get ready to deliver a smoother experience for your customers – from the very moment they receive a quote, to how they confirm and pay for orders. In this post, we’ve highlighted our top 3 reasons why implementing an optimised quote-to-order workflow is a priority for growing product businesses:
1. Get from quote to order faster
Every business wants to take more orders – but for B2B wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers, accelerating order intake is vital for long-term profitability. A wholesale coffee supplier, for example, can take hundreds to hundreds of thousands of orders each week, so cutting down on time spent between sending quotes and securing business is key to maximising the efficiency of your workflow.
Research conducted by Gartner found that 77% of B2B buyers state that their latest purchase was very difficult or complex, indicating that a poor quote-to-order workflow not only affects the productivity of your business, but also the ease of your customers’ buying journey. An effective quote-to-order workflow should be clearly defined, standardised, and developed with the customer journey in mind so that all facets of the process are optimised. With a clear and structured workflow in place, processes can be streamlined to speed up every touchpoint.
2. Reduces errors & confusion
Data integrity has a huge influence on the success of your quote-to-order workflow. What may seem like a few admin inefficiencies or internal frustrations can quickly incur overhead costs and errors per order (expensive elements to quotation and order processing), and ultimately harm profits.
Automating areas of your quote-to-order workflow lessens the opportunity for internal confusion and, in turn, increases the accuracy and validity of orders to maximise profits. With structured processes and some enforced consistency in place, it’s easier to get everyone (even new, more junior members of staff) working in the same way to generate reliable results and success.
3. Deliver an enhanced customer ordering experience
Eliminating any sign of friction in your workflow is essential for a high-performing process. Evaluate and adjust your workflow for every stakeholder, but pay particular attention to making improvements for:
Your customer-facing teams. From pre-order reminders to prompts for upsell opportunities – when equipped with the right tools – your team can create accurate, professional-looking quotes.
Your customers. Providing easy ways for customers to authorise and pay for quotes online (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) make for an intuitive workflow that ticks all the boxes. But it’s not just about making it easy for them to say “yes”… make it easy for them to say “no”. If a customer doesn’t place an order, your workflow should enable them to tell you why, so you can improve going forward or re-engage with them. Simply put, a smoother and faster experience for your customers always wins.
Your operations team. Once orders are placed, an optimised workflow needs to efficiently pass them to your warehouse team quickly for order fulfilment. Integrating your back-office systems with your customer-facing software can mitigate rekeying errors and avoid unnecessary delays.
Once these elements are working in harmony, you’ll promote a growing business, happier staff, and a great customer experience.
Where do you begin?
Define your workflow
Start by drawing your typical sales process out on paper initially. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect – just define something at first.
Make sure the whole team know about this process, understand how to use it, and commit to the plan to nurture opportunities, step by step.
Implement, test, monitor, iterate & refine
Gather feedback on when and why it works (i.e. why it gets you sales orders), and when and why it falls short to slowly iterate an improved process. Analyse this feedback – coach anyone who needs extra support, and continue to iterate and refine your workflow.
With a workflow in place, consider tools that can automate each stage of your workflow to create a repeatable, scalable and profitable sales motion to grow your product business.
From CSV uploads, Stripe payment integration, automated confirmation emails and template orders through to B2B portals & eCommerce sites, you’ll improve order efficiency with Prospect CRM. Take more orders now – try Prospect for free or book a demo here.