The move away from third-party data to first-party data means that enterprise B2B businesses are now enormously dependent on the data and intelligence that lives in their Q2C software. This is a huge organizational opportunity and shift.
Quote-to-cash - the cycle steps in B2B selling - has long been the revenue backbone in B2B. With changing dynamics in the marketplace, including a new reliance on digital, and changes in privacy regulations, Q2C is now the foundation for acquisition and retention marketing.
New Dynamic: Why Quote-to-Cash Now Drives B2B Marketing
Quote-to-cash (Q2C) has long been the revenue backbone in many business to business (B2B) organizations. New needs for digitization, privacy regulations, and provider policies are impacting how service providers work, what customers expect, and how organizations can market their business. This makes third-party data no longer a reliable tool for marketing programs and forces businesses to rely on their owned data.
This change means enterprise B2Bs are now enormously dependent on their quote to cash ecosystem (software, processes, and data) to drive acquisition, revenue, and care.
Moving forward, B2B leaders will be looking at three core areas:
Acquisition: How does the business maintain (or improve) return on ad spend (ROAS) without reliance on 3rd-party data?
Revenue: How do we capture more market share by being easier to work with?
Care: How do we better and more proactively service our customers?
Surprisingly, the solutions to these challenges live in the Quote to Cash systems. Your Q2C must be made up of:
the right software, optimized for your business.
comprehensive processes to synthesize, extract, and analyze data
a system for strategically using this data to power acquisition, revenue, and care programs
As you can see: this is principally a data problem that has a data solution.
Defining Quote to Cash (Q2C)
Quote-to-cash (Q2C) is the process of businesses selling to other companies (B2B). The Q2C process can be described by the following ten steps:
Configure a product, service, or solution
Price the product, service, or solution
Create a contract
Negotiate the contract terms (price, payment terms, indemnifications, etc.)
Close the contract
Bill the client
Fulfill the contract
Renew or subscribe
“We can now say that a ‘golden spike’ connects the once siloed quote-to-cash (Q2C) processes for B2B sales organizations, transforming those processes into a more integrated end-to-end solution. Q2C includes configuration, pricing, quoting, contract, order and billing management. These processes leverage applications that include configure, price and quote (CPQ), price optimization and management (PO&M), and contract lifecycle management (CLM) platforms.”
The Quote to Cash Cycle
The Q2C cycle rests within a broader business cycle that takes a client from Acquisition to Revenue to Care.
B2B Customer Acquisition is the marketing that drives prospects into the quote-to-cash journey
B2B Revenue is the money-making engine that drives business dollars
B2B Care (also called Service) are the programs for retaining, nurturing, and growing existing clients
The Changing Importance of Quote-to-Cash
So why is Q2C now the key to solving Acquisition, Revenue, and Care? Three forceshave converged to cause this monumental change:
A multi-year pandemic forcing businesses to do more volume digitally.
Public and private policy changes that now prioritize privacy over freedom of data
Death of the third-party cookie
Impact of COVID-19 on B2B Q2C
COVID-19 forced many B2B organizations to ground their sales teams and quickly provide digital self-service. This made Q2C being digitized a top priority across every B2B organization.
Changing Landscape of Privacy Policies
Widespread legal changes began in 2018 when Europe enacted GDPR (a comprehensive set of regulations that allowed customers to choose if a site they were using could sell their data). California, the world’s 5th largest economy, followed by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the California Privacy Rights Act CPRA. As regulation and enforcement of data privacy increases, service providers are increasingly enacting their own controls.
Losing Access to Third-Party Cookies
In the last decade, individual web platforms have started blocking third-party cookies, with Safari blocking third-party cookies in 2017, Firefox joining in 2019, and Google Chrome announcing that it will block third-party cookies in 2023.
How Changes in Third-Party Data Usage Impacts B2B Marketing
Q2C is where 90% of the digital signals needed to create first-party identity profiles live. This first party-data, drawn from your Q2C system, is the new center of the B2B universe.
Digitizing Quote to Cash
Organizations that replatform to a revenue and data cloud to digitize Q2C now need to think through how their revenue and data cloud will:
Create effortless backend user experiences to improve efficiencies and satisfaction
Deliver seamless buying experiences for associates, partners, and customers
Build for a new era of marketing: capturing first-party data and consent and leveraging this data for strategic marketing programming
The technologies that own quote-to-cash – or the business process by which B2B organizations sell their products – are fundamental to your business. And the data that’s compiled, synthesized, and utilized, is now more valuable than ever.
A Comprehensive Quote-to-Cash Software Suite
For complex businesses, it’s essential to choose Q2C solutions (CRM, CMS, CPQ, and Commerce) that service the entire lifecycle from acquisition to care.
Oracle is best positioned to deliver this comprehensive solution. The major components – CPQ, CMS, Commerce, Service, Sales, and Marketing – all reside on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Each solution is natively integrated to provide the most optimized Q2C solution on the market.
Importantly, Oracle launched Unity – a customer data platform (CDP) which enables all the signal data to be brought together in one place. This makes a powerful engine – with Oracle CRM, CPQ, CMS, and Commerce all working natively together – to deliver a world-class Q2C journey with the infrastructure to efficiently build out first-party data for acquisition, revenue, and care.
This powers the Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience (CX) platform which offers a suite of applications connected by data (beyond a traditional CRM) to help you create, manage, serve, and nurture lasting customer relationships.
This gets increasingly complex. According to a new report from McKinsey, B2B Businesses now work in 10 channels: in-person, procurement department, email, phone, website, mobile app, e-procurement portal, video conference, web chat, and web search.
Your business will need to service and support each of those channels. By connecting your business data across advertising, marketing, sales, commerce, and service, you can capture, analyze, and utilize every customer interaction. This builds a complete, owned, view of your customer – empowering your business to deliver exceptional customer experiences at every touchpoint.
In this new world, the solution is in your owned data– and your data’s depth, accuracy, and extractability. With steps that acquire consent and protect privacy, your business can utilize the data you’re capturing to drive acquisition, retention, and care programs - all driven by accurate and owned first-party data.
With Oracle’s focus and strength in data, it is uniquely positioned to drive a new era of B2B acquisition, revenue, and care.
Takewaways: Marketing’s New Dependence on Quote to Cash
COVID-19 forced the digitization of Q2C. The side effect is that Q2C now generates most of a business’s first-party data.
Public and private policies put the burden of consent on the holders of first-party data on Q2C. First-party data is now the currency that will drive the return on advertising spend (ROAS).
Oracle is well-positioned to take the top position in having a comprehensive, competitive Q2C suite of solutions.
About the Author
Rohit is a forward-thinking eCommerce evangelist, especially focused on re-energizing the B2B sector and merging the old disciplines with new technology opportunities. He is passionate about delivering profitable growth through people-driven digital transformation. Watch his talk on digital transformation.