Supercharge Your Quote-to-Cash Process by Asking These 7 Customer Questions
You’ve got all the details needed to improve your quote-to-cash process. Just ask your customers!
Feedback from your customers allows you to:
- Identify gaps in the quote-to-cash process
- Generate ideas for improvement
- Reallocate resources based on customer needs
- Make meaningful changes
- Supercharge revenue
In this post, we’ll share seven questions you can ask your customers about your quote-to-cash process. From there, you can build the data you need to significantly improve the revenue side of your sales cycle. Your customers will notice, and your bottom line will, too.
But first, some logistics.
When to ask for quote-to-cash feedback
The more detailed the feedback is, the more valuable it will be. Ask for feedback when the experience of interfacing with your company for a new project is still fresh.
For example, consider following up a few days after the contract is signed, and the invoice deposit is paid. This way, the request for feedback can be bundled into an initial thank-you check-in from your sales rep.
Quote-to-cash feedback is different from product or service feedback. You can immediately get intel on the buyer’s journey before service starts.
How to ask for feedback on your quoting process
As Forrester Senior Analyst Karine Cardona-Smits says, “customer feedback is not limited to structured data coming from surveys.” Surveys are helpful because they are direct, but you can take a more informal route.
Enlist the person with the most contact with the customer to check in after the contract is accepted. As mentioned, you can immediately inquire about the sales process before service or product delivery. Include quote-to-cash feedback questions as part of a thank-you follow-up conversation or email.
Cardona-Smits suggests adopting an overall enthusiasm for receiving and logging customer feedback as it arises. This feedback could be incoming from a support call or a customer review. Extract any data you can, and get interested in following up for more information to help inform your processes.
Tips for gathering quote-to-cash feedback
Here are some tips for having beneficial conversations and making a solid impression on customers.
- Be timely. Ask for feedback soon after the sale because it is the easiest time to initiate a conversation. This is preferable to returning to customers weeks or months after a deal to jog their memory.
- Keep it open-ended and curious. You’re not trying to check off boxes here. Let the dialogue go where the customer takes it. You’ll learn something new no matter what. On the customer’s side, this approach will show them your level of engagement and personalization with them as individuals and not a number in a survey.
- Be gracious. Don’t just accept criticism: ask for more detail on it. Anticipate negative as well as positive feedback.
- Say thank you. Whether it’s a phone call or an email, you’re taking some of your customer’s time. Make sure they leave the interaction knowing you value their input.
- Find the conversation starters. After an initial round of customer feedback, there may be changes you can apply to your quote-to-cash process right away. Feel free to return to your customers to let them know you’ve made changes based on their suggestions. It shows dedication to being customer-centric and could encourage repeat sales.
What to ask for quote-to-cash feedback
Let’s get to the meat of the topic: 7 questions to get meaningful intelligence about your customer’s experience of your quote-to-cash process.
1. “Do you work from home or an office, or both?”
Four years ago, this wouldn’t have been a question. But COVID-19 has fundamentally changed where and how B2B sales happen. Only 20% of knowledge workers want to be in-office full-time.
It’s helpful to gauge whether your customers work from home, in-office, or a combination of both. If you depend on scanner printers to sign contracts, you could create friction for an at-home worker without access to central office equipment.
With Quoter, electronic quote acceptance skips the printer altogether. Customers can securely accept and sign a quote’s agreement linked directly from the quote itself.
At-home staffers are more likely to have the flexibility to work the hours that suit them. Make an impression with a quote-to-cash process that accommodates decision-making that happens anytime and from anywhere.
2. “How many people are involved in your decision-making process?”
This question will spark conversations about who interacts with your brand in the buyer’s journey. From this question, you will understand the number of people involved and their roles and responsibilities.
Whether it’s managers only, administrative, frontline, contracted staff, or some combination of these, gathering this information will help refine your customer profile. To be customer-centric, you can make better decisions about how to improve the content and streamline workflows based on who comes to your online channels as part of that decision-making process.
3. “What kind of deadlines does your team set for purchasing decisions?”
The dream is real: faster sales cycles are possible (with the right quoting software). Use customer feedback to create realistic benchmarks based on their internal timelines.
Gathering feedback over time allows you to make general assumptions about sales cycle time frames based on the organization type, service or product volume, or other definable categories.
With quoting software that lets you track quotes and monitor trends, you can get the exact shape of sales performance. Coupled with a deep understanding of your customers’ purchasing cycles, you’ll have the data to accurately project and set targets for closing deals.
4. “What convinced you we were the right provider for your needs?”
Here’s an open-ended question. The direction the customer takes will tell you much about what stands out about your business. It could be an affable sales rep or how your quote broke down labor, products, and services into clear subsections. You might be surprised to learn what helps you stand out from the competition.
No matter what response you get, there’s an added benefit of gaining a deeper understanding of what criteria your customers use to assess value. “If you want to sell the product, you need to know how your customer evaluates a product prior to purchasing it,” says Hubspot contributor Tony Alessandra.
5. “What information do you wish you had to help you decide?”
You’ve built your quote-to-cash process, and since you know every twist and turn, it’s challenging to see the gaps. The customer’s perspective is valuable in identifying vulnerabilities you and your team might have missed.
Thinking in a proactive revenue mindset is all about being prepared and anticipating needs. Quoting software features like optional items and user-configurable products & services helps customers see the whole picture without additional questions.
You can reduce the back-and-forth for the customer by offering all of the necessary details upfront. Use your customers’ insights to optimize your quoting process and provide helpful information from V1.
6. “What could we have done to make things easier for you?”
This is a helpful question at any stage in the customer relationship. In the quote-to-cash context, you want to discover where the customer stumbled or got lost in your funnel. The goal is to optimize towards a frictionless sales process. Your customers will know best about where there are friction spots based on their experience.
Your customer would speak up here if something created a roadblock for them. If they can immediately recall a challenging part of working with you, take that feedback seriously. It could mean that others are encountering the same issue, and it may be enough to deter sales.
Broken website or quote links, inaccurate invoicing details, and unresponsive sales reps are some red flags to address immediately.
7. “How does your organization prefer to pay for invoices?”
Every business has a unique preference for paying suppliers. So while you can’t please them all, you can work to make it as convenient as possible for most.
UX Magazine contributor Ari Weissman says that in crafting customer experiences, “the perception of convenience is as important as the actual benefits of saved time and effort.” In the quote-to-cash cycle, that could look like secure online payment processing for deposit invoices.
Over time, this question will provide valuable data that inform changes to the payment options you provide. If most of your customers prefer to pay with a credit card online, you better have an easy way for them to take action.
You’ve got (almost) everything you need to generate more sales
Customers are in the driver’s seat of your quote-to-cash process. Start conversations with them to identify areas of improvement. They know (probably better than you) what is working and what needs help.
Take the guesswork out of supercharging your revenue. Next step: request a Quoter demo, and see how our quoting software can solve your biggest challenges in the quote-to-cash process.