Thursday, December 13, 2018

Quote Management System & Order Tracking Software 101

Formal quotes and proposals are a vital part of doing business today. Because they represent potential revenue, having a system in place to track quotes is essential. Historically, this meant handwritten or typed quotes that were filed away until they were needed; if the customer accepted the quote, the paper copy could be retrieved to allow parts to be ordered and invoices to be prepared. There was a great deal of duplication of effort required to take a transaction from quote to invoice.

Today, many companies have moved their quotes to off-the-shelf quote tracking software or are attempting to "make do" with a rudimentary quote module in their accounting software. In many cases, however, they are finding that these options offer little improvement over the old system of keeping paper files. The best solution is to have a custom quote-tracking app developed.

Benefits of developing a custom quote tracking application

A custom app will be tailored to meet the unique requirements of your business. 

A general contractor, for example, needs a much more robust quote system than a company that wholesales vitamins. Off-the-shelf software is generic, designed to meet most of the requirements for the greatest number of industries. A "canned" app will likely have many features that you do not need while lacking some features that are essential to you.

A custom app can be updated or modified whenever your needs change. 

Off-the-shelf software gets updated whenever the development company desires. In some instances, many years can elapse between changes, leaving you to make the best of obsolete software. In other cases, the developer may make multiple updates every year, many of which have no relevance to your business and may actually make your tasks more difficult.

Custom quote tracking apps can be integrated with your existing software.

 Whether you are deployed in the cloud, on-premises or both, a quote tracking applications can be integrated with your office software. Integrating your quotes with your CRM, purchasing module, payroll and accounting eliminates duplicate keying and allows a more efficient workflow.

It is true that a custom software app is more costly, and it does not offer the convenience of instant deployment. However, in the long run, having a custom quote tracking app developed will typically provide better efficiency, less duplication of efforts and better accountability.

Actionable analytics.  

A robust analytics feature is imperative to absolutely any kind of software, and it is particularly important when it comes to quote tracking software. Analytics within a quote tracking platform should be able to identify patterns between quotes and conversions. If done correctly, a pricing strategy can effectively be determined using this data.

Efficient automation. 

One of the great benefits of quote tracking software is that it takes away the need for making complex sums and equations in order to create a quote. Instead, quote tracking software should be sufficiently automated so that it can perform all of these complex sums at the touch of a button. The best quote tracking software should be able to take into account many different client scenarios, and have an ability to automate for every different client.

Prompt alerts and reminders. 

In the case of any task management software, alerts and reminders are a very important feature to ensure that a quote can be taken from a prospective opportunity to a captured sale.

 

Quote tracking software example: A custom field technician app that streamlines your business

If your business model includes field technicians who provide services at a customer's location and process word orders, you may already be aware of some of the issues that can decrease productivity and hurt your profitability.

Issues you face without a field app

The more time that your techs must spend on work order paperwork, the less time they can spend on jobs with customers. The same issue can be present in your office if your staff members are having to enter data from work orders to generate invoices, and this extra step can affect your cash flow. When you add in the need to manage quotes between your field service technicians and your office staff, the total time lost can be substantial. Furthermore, billing errors can occur that alienate your customers.

A custom field service technician app can solve these issues

A custom field technician work order app with a quote tracker can solve these issues and enhance the productivity of your employees. Office personnel or field technicians can generate quotes, and when the customer chooses to accept the quote, it can be converted to a work order without additional data entry. Work orders can then be scheduled and dispatched as you choose. Regardless of which technician receives the work order, he or she will have access to the quote, allowing the tech to ensure that all work quoted has been performed.

Generate invoices in the field, not in the office

After completing the job, the technician can generate an invoice or collect payment before leaving the customer's site. Alternatively, the technician can simply mark the work order as completed if you prefer to have invoices generated by office staff. The invoicing procedure is streamlined; manual data entry is eliminated, office personnel will not have to wait for the technician to return to the office and an invoice can be mailed within minutes of the job's completion.

Get customer invoices paid faster

When your field service app includes a quote tracker, you can operate more efficiently and reduce the time you must wait for payment. You will be able to track labor, material and other job-specific costs in detail. Billing accuracy is improved, which leads to happier customers but also ensures that you are not short-changing yourself.

About the author

Joe Lewis is the owner and president of PhaseAlpha, a custom software company. We can develop a custom field service app to your exact specifications. We can show you how including a quote tracker can make a great app even better. We have extensive experience in custom software development for clients in a wide range of industries. To learn more, call (913) 648-9200 or send an email to info@phasealpha.com.

 


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