Inefficient Sales Processes Costing Businesses Millions

Survey results suggested streamlining contract renewals with an e-signature solution could contribute to revenue growth of 15 percent or more.

sales management and IT management

Half of all respondents to a survey conducted by Adobe and software company Apttus admitted that their company had experienced costly mistakes as a result of errors in the sales quote-generating process.

Each year, inefficiencies uncovered in the survey contribute to an estimated loss of millions in top-line revenue for the brands surveyed.

The survey results suggested that simply streamlining contract renewals with an e-signature solution could contribute to revenue growth of 15 percent or more.

Nearly half of companies surveyed, without an e-signature solution required one week or more to finalize contracts, while nearly one-third of companies with an e-signature solution reported closing contracts in one day.

In addition, four in 10 companies revealed that they require more than two days to generate a sales quote, resulting in delays and lost sales opportunities.

"There’s a lot of inherent complexity in the quote-generating process. The act of quoting is inherently cross-functional within an organization: there are multiple hand offs, interfaces, transition points, and every stop has the potential for error," Elliot Yama, associate vice president of best practice and knowledge management for Apttus, told eWEEK. "Whenever processes evolve, especially when pricing and complex product catalogs are involved, it’s a challenge. Finally, keeping an organization’s sales force up-to-date adds another level of potential communication issues–approvals on discounts and other fine details can be lost in the blink of an eye."

Yama noted small businesses can be equally complex and they can experience the same problems-- however, problems do become more costly when multiplied out across larger enterprises.

Apttus and Adobe segmented the data into five distinct categories, deemed blind spots, that when ignored can create inefficiencies and outright mistakes within the sales process.

These blind spots include a lack of internal visibility within sales, as 20 percent of companies were unable to estimate their sales win rate, and delays within the quoting process--40 percent of companies take three days or more to generate a quote.

Half of the companies surveyed admitted costly inaccuracies and mistakes within the quote-generating process, and one-third of respondents missed cross and upselling opportunities to existing customers—two other major blind spots the survey uncovered.

"Forgive the cliché, but it’s relevant: time is money, and even more so in certain industries," Yama said. "Response time when it comes to deals can often be the difference between winning and losing–businesses dealing with perishable goods, or other strict delivery dates, cannot function without a reliably fast contract process. Bottom line, having more time means having more options."

The final blind spot was poor results due to ineffective communication, with 20 percent of companies reporting serious issues forecasting revenue, attributable to communication issues along the entire sales funnel.

"The world is moving beyond selling based on simply the solution: sales representatives must now be expert in the business of their potential customers, and overcoming that hurdle is critical," Yama said. "Price quote solutions lower that learning curve and provide the level of custom detail necessary to fill in these gaps of understanding. Also important is steering sales people to understand what others have done in similar fields and deals, making them smarter about solving customer issues."