The Cacheflow Blog

The Ultimate Quote-to-Cash for SaaS Guide

May 16, 2023 10:44 AM

What is quote-to-cash?

Quote-to-cash is everything that happens from creating a proposal (or quote), to receiving your final payment from a customer.

Quote-to-cash is a combination of...

  • Generating proposals: Combining desired products, pricing and customer info into a document
  • Negotiating: Back and forth on contract amendments, discounts and incentives
  • Quotes: Agreed upon pricing, products and payment terms
  • Contract closing: Customer signs and returns the quote (almost always eSign in SaaS)
  • Invoicing: Accounting system sends an invoice
  • Payment scheduling and collection: Customer pays via credit card, ACH, direct debit or offline payment method (bank wire, cheque, etc..)

It's more complex in SaaS, because the subscription is a living agreement vs. a one-time product. It's a product bundle that can grow, shrink, and renew.

For SaaS companies, the quote-to-cash process also includes

Having the right processes and tech to make this as frictionless as possible is the goal.

What are the benefits of a great quote-to-cash process?

A great quote-to-cash process results in more wins, more often. Not only does it improve internal efficiency, but your customer buying process becomes a competitive advantage that you will be rewarded for.

Your team spends minimal time on admin work that can otherwise be automated (particularly relevant for companies with ACV's less than $10k). Too much employee time spent on small deal sizes can result in a loss.

Finally, it provides guardrails so that accurate pricing and legal docs are delivered 100% of the time (via user permissions, templates and workflows).

What problems does a bad quote-to-cash process cause?

A bad one will decrease your sales win rate and increase churn. Even for cheap consumer products, people get turned off by bad buying experiences and look for alternatives.

AE's missing proper guardrails deliver incorrect pricing or legal agreements to the customer.

Finance wastes too much time with manual billing, which often leads to under-billing clients.

Finally, late and uncollected payments will happen more often, and you won't notice it until it's too late. All of these challenges will only get worse as your deal volume grows.

Why is quote-to-cash important in SaaS sales?

Growth is the most important thing for early-stage SaaS companies. Even if the demand and sales pipeline is growing, a bad process will cause leakage at the very bottom of your funnel. It's like a marathon runner collapsing at the final mile mark.

Sales teams use special pricing like discounts, delayed payments and free add-ons to get deals across the finish line. This gets very difficult to keep track of manually, and most sales and finance platforms are not setup for this kind of flexibility.

List prices and pricing models often change, especially in the early-stages. Sales technology shouldn't be a bottleneck for launching new products. Your quote-to-cash system should take less time to update pricing models than building new features does... sadly, this is not always the case.

ex-A SaaS company decides to buy a CPQ to handle selling new products. The implementation is still ongoing 9 months later, and companies have to resort to lots of manual work and spreadsheets to track their new usage-based product.

B2C brands obsess over optimizing their eComm checkout flow, but SaaS companies are still sending PDF quotes and crossing their fingers for an eSign notification, while finance chases down late payments. You can now use the SaaS "checkout" (aka "buying experience") as an advantage to close deals more often and faster.

[Instead of a PDF attachment, a Cacheflow quote uses an interactive link that can reflect order updates, embed legal and marketing docs, capture esignature and payment details and manage the subscription.]

Who is responsible for quote-to-cash at SaaS companies?

The RevOps (or Sales Operations) lead typically builds and manages the quote-to-cash stack. Founders and Sales VP's often build the V1 when deals and deal volume are less complicated.

But by the time a deal has gone through the entire process, it would have input from sales, customer success, finance, legal, and executive teams. Both from the SaaS seller and buyer sides.

Ex- Sales gets their discounted offer approved by the CEO, legal provides an updated Terms of Service agreement, CS up-sells the contract with 10 additional user seats, and finance updates the subscription billing.

At every stage, there's friction points where the deal can get stalled or canceled. Companies that win and renew the most deals know this very well and have built or bought quote-to-cash stacks that optimize for every stage a deal touches.

Quote-to-cash options for SaaS companies

Below are the 4 most common options SaaS companies use for their quote-to-cash process. The best option ultimately depends on your company's growth stage and number of sellers.

The example in each category are typical stacks, but each could contain additional or fewer products depending on your company's use case.

[*Costs are all estimated and scoped for a 5 person sales team. Listed prices are not guaranteed, but are what we see and hear in the market.]

#1: Point Solutions

Point solutions are usually commodity software products that just do 1 or 2 things. It's appealing because it's cheap to get started, but your costs and friction grow fast once your deal volume and number of sellers picks up. Usually around 15 quotes/month and 3 sellers.


  • Cheapest option to get started
  • Can add or remove tools as needed
  • Normally easy to use and good UX


  • Quickly becomes expensive when adding user seats, integrations and revenue
  • Too much admin work once you hit 15+ quotes per month
  • Still have to rely on spreadsheets and manual processes to close the loop
  • Bad buyer experience when they have to use separate links/tools to review the quote, eSign, and pay
  • Difficult or impossible to automate the 'hand-offs' between each tool
  • Not designed for SaaS companies
  • No ability for more complex pricing models like usage-based

Estimated annual cost (5 seats)

PandaDoc: $3,000 ($50/month x 5 users x 12 months)

DocuSign: $1800 ($30/month x 5 users x 12 months)

Zapier: $600 ($50/month x 12 months)

Stripe Billing: $8,000 (0.8% fee X $1M revenue)

TOTAL = $13,400

($5,400 when pre-revenue)

#2. Cacheflow

New quote-to-cash products built specifically for a SaaS motion have entered the market recently (like Cacheflow). Most of the integrations and connectors you need are pre-built into the platform, use modern UX, and are fast to implement. (Payments, banking, subscription management, eSign and contract generation, CRM and accounting, etc..)


  • Affordable for early-stage startups ($5k to $15k)
  • Everything is configurable and fast to update
  • Quotes, payments, subscriptions and renewals managed from one platform
  • Plug-and-play integrations with CRM and ERP software
  • A B2B "checkout" experience that buyers love


  • Harder to justify value if you only have 1 seller with a low deal volume

Example stack

  • Quote Builder
  • CPQ
  • Payments
  • Subscription Management
  • Integrations Included

Estimated annual cost (5 seats)

TOTAL = $10,000

#3. Custom Build

If you have an excess of time, engineering resources and money, then a custom quote-to-cash build is a strong option. But for SaaS companies focused on growth, it's a resources trap that is best to leave alone.


  • Highly customizable (building your own tool for exactly what you need)


  • Very expensive and eats up engineering resources
  • Long timeline to build and implement
  • Needs to be maintained and slower to make updates
  • High risk unless you have an excess of engineering resources

Estimated annual cost (5 seats)

TOTAL = $500k+

#4. Build in CRM

CRM's like Salesforce and Hubspot have built an entire ecosystem of tools that can be used directly inside their platform. These are often older startups that were acquired and integrated into CRM offerings (like SteelBrick). Good quote-to-cash platforms include bi-directional data integrations so it's not a true advantage, but some teams prefer to work out of a single platform.


  • Everyone works out of the same place
  • Everything integrates  


  • Limited options of tools
  • Prioritizes internal process over your customers buying experience
  • Not designed for SaaS companies
  • Bad UX and perception from sales people

Estimated annual cost (5 seats)

Salesforce CPQ & Billing Plus: $18,000 ($300/month x 5 users x 12 months)

DocuSign: $1800 ($30/month x 5 users x 12 months)

TOTAL = $19,800

The Modern quote-to-Cash option for SaaS

Cacheflow was created after the realization that it's faster to buy a $50K Tesla on your phone than most $10K SaaS subscriptions. The current options just require too much work to get a sub-par process in place, or unreasonably high costs that are impossible to justify as a startup.

So we re-imagined the entire deal-closing workflow and designed a single platform to optimize the SaaS quote-to-cash process, while connecting to the sales and finance sources of truth (CRM and Accounting System).

The result is Cacheflow: a platform that actually helps a sales team automate work and close deals easier, with a subscription management back end to up-sell, renew and track your deals in just a few clicks.

We’re excited for you to see Cacheflow in action.