How to automate a sales quotation and win business

The practice of issuing a quote to your customers is an important part of running a small to medium sized business and should be part of your overall business plan.  The quote will give your customers an indication of price, service expectations and turnaround times.

Around Perth the practice of requesting a quote is now an accepted business practice for many industries (including accounting businesses).

A quote can also help you understand your future cashflow forecast as converted quotes become sales which then results in cash.

However, the tiresome process of preparing, issuing and tracking quotes for many new businesses has meant that this process is often overlooked.

Why are quotes good for business?

A quote is important for your business because:

1. They help you and your customer understand each other.
2. It becomes a call to action for a customer who is engaging with you.
3. It gives you a legal framework to prove your engagement and protect the business. 
4. It clearly sets out the pricing you propose.
5. It allows you to showcase other options as part of your sale process.
6. A quote reduces price conflict once the invoice is issued.
7. A structured quotation system will make your business more sale ready.

What to include on a quote

The act of quoting will vary widely however you should clearly show:

1. If your price has additional taxes like GST.
2. Additional costs like shipping, disbursements or account management fees.
3. Standard information like your ABN and the legal name of your business.
4. Dates that payment is expected.
5. An expiry date when the quote is no longer active.
6. A place where the customer can approve the quote.
7. Your standard terms and conditions.
8. Clearly outlined services and goods offered (and those not offered).

Automating quotations

You should incorporate the act of quotation into your accounting software.  This will ensure that:

Terms and conditions are correct

The standard terms and conditions can become confusing in a world where the terms are updated regularly (such as Covid).  If you have a master template of terms and conditions you can ensure that the correct master template is sent with every quote.

Forecasting will become easier

If you have a quote converted you have a forward basis for understanding sales and cashflow forecasts.

The quotation system should be combined into your business and accounting projections so you can understand how the business will perform.

Your quote is more likely to become accepted

The use of software like Practice Ignition, Quotient, Xero or Simpro allows you to attach videos, corporate brochures and professional templates to let your customers appreciate the calibre and professionalism of your business.

You will save time

Using a quotation software will build up a pricing matrix for your business and reduce the time involved in presenting a quote.

You can have a structured follow up

When structured properly a quotation software can send follow up emails with videos attached and internal reminders to call clients who have not yet approved quotes.

You can demand payment

Some software has built-in payment options so customers can enter in their bank details allowing for you to deduct payment when the invoice is issued.  This will significantly reduce work around getting customers to pay your invoice once the job is done.

You can use electronic signing

If a client has agreed to a quote, you should make it as easy as possible to accept the quote.  Accounting and quotation software now has services like electronic signing that gives your customer the option of accepting a quote through their mobile phone.

How to start

The practice of issuing quotations must be incorporated into your accounting software.  Over time and with business growth your accounting software will eventually grow into a whole-of-business software program (an ERM).  At Westcourt we have a deep knowledge of accounting programs (including Xero, Quickbooks, MYOB and their add-ons) that suit a range of businesses.

We also issue quotes ourselves and we have started a business. So we know the journey first hand.

Talking to us about getting quotes embedded and automated into your business is an important first step in getting your sales process completed and generating new sales.  We can do a Xero Health Check, Business GAP Planning Session or a Software Strategy Session on how to design your business.

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