A potential customer can be lost anywhere there’s a weak link in the sales process. Turning a prospect into a customer requires strategic partnerships across your organization: from sales, to legal, to service. In the manufacturing industry, intense competition is squeezing already thin margins, making every customer count. Manufacturers must accelerate sales cycles and improve customer satisfaction to compete for new consumers and earn repeat business.
However, modern pressures are preventing manufacturers from maximizing efficiency:
- Evolving customer expectations
- Time to quote has become a deal breaker
- Automation and IoT becoming requirements
- Increasing regulations and risk
These challenges aren’t going away—and manufacturers that are slow to address them stand to fall behind their competitors.
Challenges standing in the way of winning contracts
Evolving customer expectations
It should be no surprise that customer buying behavior is changing—57% of the buying cycle occurs before a prospect talks to a sales rep. With customers demanding more personalization, made-to-order or engineer-to-order configurations are now expected, as are self-service eCommerce and optional subscription services. They also want to engage through whatever channel they choose. This requires manufacturers to break down silos across their value chain. Supporting everything from digital commerce offerings to advanced, self-service configuration is now critical to retaining customers and delivering the service-enabled products they want1.
Time to quote has become a deal breaker
Manufacturers have increased their range of product offerings (SKUs), creating more compressed product lifecycles. This results in long lag times between quote and sale—and preventable revenue leakage from missed deadlines, lost sales and transaction errors. Studies show the first quote presented to a customer has the highest probability of winning the deal. Manufacturers that can speed up their time to quote—even by one day—are poised to see significant revenue gains. Aberdeen research shows that, on average, enterprises lose upwards of 8% to revenue leakage from inefficiencies in their sales cycle.
Automation and IoT are now requirements
The Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed industry requirements on both the buy-side and sell-side, and organizations must find ways to analyze previously-untapped data and integrate their business systems. To keep up with competitors, manufacturers must enable predictive and prescriptive guidance throughout the sales process, for everything from product recommendations to more accurate and competitive pricing.
Increasing regulations and risk
Manufacturers are operating in a more fragmented environment. Increasingly global operational models mean more reporting requirements, compliance issues, and warranty claims. Manufacturers must have control over processes like order management and billing and revenue recognition to align to compliance laws and government regulation.
These pressures are pushing manufacturers to streamline internal processes to capture revenue, and connect functions from quote to invoice. Working across the entire revenue team—sales, sales operations, legal, finance, delivery/professional services and the entire executive suite—Quote-to-Cash solutions integrate and automate business processes for more efficiency.
Apttus Quote-to-Cash helps you stand up against those obstacles
Apttus Quote-to-Cash is the only Quote-to-Cash suite designed to address modern business pressures and deliver better buying experiences, higher revenues and profitable growth.
Step up the customer experience
The solution is capable of handling even the most complex configurations of bundles and assemblies your customers have come to expect. And more, Apttus enables you to serve customers with multi-channel sales models including eCommerce, partner and field sales and augmented reality.
Drive more intelligent sales with actionable insights
Apttus Quote-to-Cash helps you take advantage of advances in big data and machine learning to for more intelligent sales. Benefits include showing sales incentives within the quoting process and highlight cross-sell and up-sell product recommendations. Quote-to-Cash also substantially decreases errors in the sales cycles. In fact, error rates can be lowered by more than 60%, helping manufacturers avoid embarrassment and unnecessary revisions to quotes, proposals, orders or bills of materials.
Accelerate your sales cycle
By connecting teams with a single application on Dynamics 365, Apttus Quote-to-Cash reduces departmental silos, poor communications and inconsistent handoffs between functions. From there, teams drive contract revisions with Microsoft Word to approve requests quickly and seamlessly. The change in approval process produces dramatic results— Apptus customers report 42% faster contract processing with a 38% faster time-to-quote.
Apttus Quote-to-Cash also ensures critical back-office functions work in sync and in accordance with the terms of the deal to better manage revenue. The solution provides enhanced contract visibility as well as streamlined management of incoming revenue and potential renewals. This reduces the risk of errors in an ongoing customer relationship, for example with early insight into inflight order changes—to ensure that the business has visibility into revenue impacts that otherwise may go unnoticed.
Keep up with changing regulations and risk
Lastly, as enterprises are forced to manage and navigate increasing regulations, the Apttus Quote-to-Cash solution helps to significantly reduce risks with deals and agreements. With the ability to handle growing volumes of data, organizations can improve contract accuracy—leading to better auditing and an increase in the rate of contract compliance by 43%.
In action: Olympus slashes cycle time for faster quoting
Olympus is a leading manufacturer of medical devices and equipment. Its CRM system was unable to track leads and contracts through to completed sales and could not accommodate fast execution of quotes—taking a full business day for manager discount authorizations. The company decided to implement Apttus Quote-to-Cash. Now, a 100-line quotation that would’ve taken more than 30 minutes can be done in about seven. Sales reps also realized sales productivity benefits—with 80% of reps utilizing the self-quoting features of the solution within six months of implementation.
Rather than treating each aspect of the quote process as a separate concern across different departments, manufacturing organizations must have a cohesive Quote-to-Cash process to compete. Research shows that organizations with a holistic Quote-to-Cash approach report a 7% increase in sales revenues4. By streamlining even the most complex sales operations, from sales to contract renewals, Apttus Quote-to-Cash enables you to get your quote out first, win business, and consistently achieve revenue margin goals.
Try it today
Leading manufacturers like Olympus are transforming their business processes with Apttus Quote-to-Cash to meet today’s challenges. Apttus is recognized as an industry leader by multiple analyst reports, including earning the top score for its offering and market presence in the most recent Forrester Wave report. Check out the Quote-to-Cash for Manufacturing solution for yourself on Microsoft AppSource today.
Learn how Apttus Quote-to-Cash can help you to grow your business at a Microsoft Digital Transformation webinar. Register for the Microsoft Dynamics 365 event series ‘Digital transformation at work’ webinar now.
 CEB, “Two Numbers You Should Care About”
 Gartner, Market Guide for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites, 2016
 Aberdeen, Contract Management: The Quote-to-Cash Cycle
 Satmetrix, Quote-to-Cash Impact Study, 2017: http://apttus.com/resources/apttus-quote-to-cash-impact-study/