Small business owners want to have things simplified. For them software is no different. Instead of setting up ERP and CRM application separately and have them integrated, they end up having a single system for the entire life-cycle of a customer. Typically it is easier to customize and set up things within the CRM application instead of tweaking the ERP.

2017 CRM Guide for Small businessesRead our guide on simple small business CRM solutions 2017

In this article we will explore how a well set-up CRM system can manage your invoice cycle. Although, invoicing is the most important process in companies, after all this is where the money comes in from, most companies focus first when they set up their CRM on ensuring that the process from lead to opportunity is set up. It makes sense too, because in order to bill someone you need to first win the opportunity and a smooth process from lead to opportunity helps you in this.



Top 5 Things to keep in mind while configuring Order management within CRM

But in order to get the most out of your CRM system you need to look beyond the initial process and find ways to increase business value. One way to do this is to manage your order to invoice cycle in the CRM. Managing the cycle will free up resources and decrease the possibility for mistakes because this formerly manual process becomes automated. But before we move ahead and automate all the things, let’s look at the steps we need to take to manage the invoice cycle in our CRM system.


An updated opportunity pipeline is key to managing your invoice cycle through your CRM. It is crucial for Sales reps to move the opportunities through the pipeline because the billing cycle can be initiated by moving an opportunity to a closed won stage. In other words, you need to let your CRM know that the customer is ready for billing.

Every time we want to automate a manual process it’s best to actual map out the process to ensure that all different aspects will be taken into account when setting up the automated workflow. Sit down with your team and draw in the relevant stakeholders and map out what happens from when an opportunity is won, or a product is sold. Try to be as specific as possible – this is a rare case where more is actually more.

After you mapped your process you need to review your products. In order to set up the automation processes you need to ensure that the product catalog in the CRM is up-to date and supports your needs. This is important because the automated process will draw on whichever product is added to the opportunity and bill based on this. Now, if the product has the wrong pricing the automated process won’t know this. This is why you need to ensure the products are updated. In practice this means that the Sales Rep adds products to an opportunity and when the opportunity is moved to won the automation will be triggered.

After you mapped out your billing process you can proceed to translate the process into workflows. Based on the flowchart of your process you maybe need to add fields to your opportunity. For example, how often is the billing going to occur, is it annual, quarterly or monthly? You need this information to trigger the workflow at the right time.

Depending on what CRM you use, you either have features or apps that you can add to your environment to create bills on the go. Your customers need a bill and usually this bill is still generated manually but since you are already automating the process why not find a way to improve the way you are billing your customers.

Case Study

order based luxury goods manufacturer logoA Vermont based luxury brand trusted SugarCRM for managing its entire order to cash cycle. We customized the platform to meet organization’s need. The result? A single web based application accessible across the global business partners with single version of truth. Read how this transformed the supply chain management for this company.

Read the full case study by clicking here. 

1Business ProblemThe customer had a legacy application which ran locally and it was impossible to check availability and fulfill orders from various locations.The system was too rigid to manage various order types when the company grew into multiple divisions with varying business needs.
2Solution ImplementedCustomized ordering solution to manage all divisions into a single application. Web based architecture ensured that inventory was available across locations. Back ordering functionality was introduced for better sales management.
3Business BenefitsHighly flexible solution to fuel company’s future growth. Better availability check meant reduction in order cancellation. Back ordering solution helped eliminate lost sales.


SugarCRM order Management for Anachini


In summary, setting up an automated billing cycle in your CRM allows you to streamline a process that potentially costs you a lot of resources but in order to do this you need to take the time and ensure that you really map the manual process first. This is actually true for any automation: make sure to understand the manual process first. Moreover, it’s important that your products are up to date so when the automated workflows you set up a firing there won’t be any mistakes. And lastly, it’s always a good idea to check out what different options you have to further streamline the billing.