When a small business hires a sales rep, it’s a huge investment. To get the most of that investment, reps should be focused on finding and nurturing deals to help grow your business. But studies show that only 22% of a rep’s time is spent with customers. That means three-quarters of their time isn’t spent with customers. Ouch.

What is one of the biggest time wasters for sales reps? It’s the manual process of creating contracts, proposals, and quotes, and finding the accompanying documents, terms, and collateral. In most small businesses, putting together a quote involves spreadsheets, price books in Word or Excel, document templates, email approvals, uncontrolled files, and more. It all adds up to a nightmare of risk and missed opportunities.

You’ve already invested in CRM to help your sales team better forecast, track opportunities, and get a complete view into and across deals. And, you’re using marketing automation to reach and engage with more prospects. The benefits of these tools—productivity, speed, efficiency, execution—are clear, and that’s why you use them.

So why are you still using uncontrolled documents, out-of-date spreadsheets, clunky approvals, and unwieldy emails to manage quotes, proposals, and contracts? It’s arguably the most important leg of your sales cycle,  and you’re leaving it open to unnecessary risk.

Here are five reasons why “manual” processes are stunting your company’s growth.

1. Manual is slow

Gartner estimates 89 percent of businesses are competing based solely on customer experience. It’s what helps you win deals and keeps your customers coming back for more. If it’s taking your sales reps a long time to generate quotes for customers—customers who want to spend money—you can bet their business will go elsewhere if somebody can respond faster.

Want an example of how speed is critical for your business? Watch Mark Hope, CEO of Pegasus Sustainability Solutions, talk about the importance of speed and how closing the gap between call and quote wins more deals.

2. Manual leads to errors

Manual efforts cause document control issues with your price books, templates, assets, and more, all of which can lead to delays, mistakes, and revenue-impacting errors. Using out-of-date pricing in quotes is a typical example, but including the wrong terms, using expired spec sheets, and submitting quotes with errors and omissions makes you look messy, or worse.

Add in cumbersome and uncontrolled emailed approvals for discounts, special pricing, and contract terms and you’re adding even more risk, delays, and headaches. It’s not a scalable solution for a growing business.

3. Manual drains your resources

Manual is not scalable. When the most important part of your sales cycle, closing deals, is a manual process, you can’t expect your team to bring in more customers unless they have more help. Efficiency is king for a small business. Giving your team tools to help them automate tasks with accuracy will give them capacity to manage more deals with the same, or even less, resources.

4. Manual adds work to your reps’ busy days

First, you want your reps quoting the correct pricing and staying within their approved discounting ranges. But even more, you want your reps to give customers multiple purchase options that include appropriate upgrades and add-on suggestions, plus the right incentives. It’s difficult to do if you’re working from Excel spreadsheets and trying to match up your items manually. Customers don’t want to work with vendors who are sloppy or slow or difficult.

5. Manual leaves money on the table

You might think that your manual efforts are fine, they are working, or they aren’t much of a burden. You’d be wrong. SiriusDecisions found that 54 percent of sales reps don’t reach their quota. While there are plenty of reasons for missing quota, it’s easy to eliminate many of the hurdles and roadblocks that contribute to missed opportunities and missed revenue.

Revenue and profits are left on the table when reps forget add-on items or offer the wrong up-sells (or forget them altogether).  More money is lost when reps give too large a discount, or use out-of-date pricing in a quote.

So what’s a growing business to do? It’s time to extend automation to every part of your sales cycle, to improve win rates, and to capture more revenue.

Quote-to-cash automation captures more revenue faster

You’re focused on growth, so a faster path to more closed deals sounds wonderful. Quote-to-cash (QTC) automation decreases manual efforts, increases revenue and profit potential, and decreases mistakes that cost you business.

QTC offers guided selling based on the parameters of an opportunity, suggesting the optimal products and services as reps build quotes and proposals. It also suggests companion products, common up-sells, and required add-ons, helping to secure bigger deals and helping new sales reps ramp up and start selling more quickly.

QTC also adds rules-based product configuration guidance, automatically ensures accurate and current pricing, and enforces your rules for discounts and approved product combinations. It also inserts approvals where needed, and dynamically includes the appropriate terms and conditions based on the products and services selected. Every quote, every proposal, is professional, error-free, approved, compliant, and delivered quickly.

What QTC means for your business is increased rep productivity, decreased errors, and more closed deals. After a deal is won, QTC even sets you up for easier orders, billings, collections, and revenue recognition, and automatically prompts customers and reps when it’s time to renew.

You’re almost there

So now you’re probably thinking that QTC is a good idea, but you’re focused on growing your company not installing more software. Well, since you’re already using Salesforce to manage your opportunities, you’re already using the best platform for QTC.

SteelBrick gives you the ability to manage your entire QTC process, from building a initial quote through billing and renewals. And SteelBrick is Salesforce, so you get the same interface your team already loves, and it relies on your existing Salesforce price book, so there’s little extra work to get started.

SteelBrick also gives you the flexibility and power to let you run your business your way. No matter how you organize and configure your products, rules, and processes or how many products, offerings, and combinations your need, SteelBrick can handle it.

What’s more, it’s not just for sales. For legal, it streamlines approvals and ensures the proper terms are always included. For finance, it ensures proper pricing and discounting, and speeds the path from quote through revenue recognition, including billing and collection. It even allows customers to pay by credit card.

Get started now

You’re already using Salesforce. Now, automate your entire quote-to-cash process with SteelBrick. Just click here to get started.