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The High Cost of Quoting Certification, Standards and Testing

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Paul Towne



5 min

How do you consistently create error-free, compliant and compelling quotes that drive revenue growth and reduce costs?

Quoting certification audits is complex and often time consuming. Individual Standards are challenging enough without adding the compliance risks associated with mandated calculations for audit days to retain accreditation. Multiply this across multiple prospect sites and locations, add in sampling, and then add in another scheme, and the complexity, and the chance of errors, and risk, grows exponentially. All before you even start looking at the price and profitability of the project.

How do you consistently create error-free, compliant and compelling quotes that drive revenue growth and reduce costs? 

You ease and speed your sales process by capturing business rules and calculations in one system. And enable automation to deliver the efficiency, productivity and reduced risk that benefits your organization.

Reduce Business Risk

Correctly and consistently calculating audit days has always been a challenge. That’s why Certification Standards and Testing businesses have often relied on spreadsheets or in-house built systems. Unfortunately, both options introduce risk.  

Can you reduce these risks?

  • Technology The software world changes rapidly. In-house built systems need maintenance to keep up, and the cost of this just keeps increasing. Standards also change, and the cost of updating these can also be significant. Add in your costs and sales prices, that are perhaps changing even more frequently, and you have a significant challenge that impacts your ability to sell. Spreadsheets introduce additional challenges, for example, version control. Ensuring everyone is using the very latest version is almost impossible, adding further to your costs and increasing your risks.   
  • People. Spreadsheets and in-house systems built on old technology are usually dependent upon key people. The older the technology, the harder it becomes to find the right people to maintain it. If you’re relying on scheme managers and other subject matter experts to build and maintain your spreadsheets, you’re distracting them from their day-to-day activities. And the consequences, and impact, of them leaving become even greater.   
  • Compliance / Accreditation. Mandated rules for calculating audit days should be clear, but often this is open to some interpretation. It is vital that when a non-conformity is identified, and your business is challenged on how you calculated the days, that your business can demonstrate how and quickly adjust as necessary. Failure to do so can lead to loss of accreditation status - a critical risk to your business continuity.

Removing and mitigating these risks from quoting certification and standards audits will help management and stakeholders sleep easier.

Maximize Existing Revenue Potential

One of the easiest ways to increase revenue is to make it easier for your sales team to quickly and consistently produce accurate, quality quotes that convert. Each quote that leaves revenue on the table is a lost opportunity. Each mistake drains profit. Manually checking or approving your quotes (a fair proportion of which never convert to orders) is time-consuming, demotivating and costly.

Is your team really motivated and helped to sell more?

  • Reduce the chance for errors. Free up significant time, and resources, for scheme managers, sales managers and other experts by automating calculations. And enforcing business rules to reduce the need for checking every quote. Empower your sales team to always produce accurate quotes. Provide them with the tools they need to quickly prepare and price error-free quotes themselves. This enables them to respond faster to customers, drive efficiency and increase your conversion rate. 
  • Increase the revenue per opportunity (Cross selling / Up-selling). Schemes can be complex and hard to learn, and sales people naturally become very comfortable with certain schemes and less so with others. Automating calculations, and easing the process, guides sales teams through the creation of quotes for schemes, including schemes they may be ‘unfamiliar’ with - which  is a great way to encourage them to offer additional schemes and increase the potential deal size. This is particularly helpful with combination schemes where prospects can realize considerable savings over buying schemes individually. A true win, win.  
  • Enhance the conversion rate. An easy thing to say, a little harder to do as there are so many factors affecting this. There are, however, three tried and trusted levers under your control that can help increase your chances of winning a deal. 1) The first is the speed in which you deliver your proposal to your prospect - the sooner the better - and the automation of your process to facilitate this. 2) The second is the impression or perception you make. This includes everything from your consistent use of branding to the medium you use to present your proposal. Typically, that’s a PDF, or, increasingly, via a web document / page.3)  And the third lever is the detail within your proposal. For example, is it clear, concise and laid out in terms the prospect will understand and appreciate. Automation of the text and proposal layout is a best practice and assists greatly in terms of delivery speed, first impressions, and content quality - all contributing to increasing your chance of success.  

Remove barriers to growth

Scaling and growing a business is difficult enough, but the certification industry has some unique challenges to address. 

Do you have the right systems in place for success? 

  • Subject matter experts. Scheme managers are a highly skilled and experienced resource. Capturing scheme rules to automate audit day calculations and guide users through the process eliminates the need to review and approve quotes. Instantly, you remove one of the biggest constraints to quote speed, freeing up scheme managers to work on the more interesting and value-added aspects of their role. 
  • Training new sales hires. Onboard new hires quicker by making it easy for them to confidently suggest and quote any scheme to prospects. Tools that guide new sales users through the process eliminates the need to learn, and remember, how calculations are made. This saves them valuable time, and allows them to focus on selling and closing deals. 
  • Ease collaboration and drive engagement. Internal collaboration can be reduced for most quotes with good automation tools. But when the need to seek advice and guidance from colleagues does arise, the ability to share and gather feedback in one place eases communication and reduces duplication of effort. External engagement can be a great way to help build relationships and drive further automation. For example, sharing your ‘fact finding’ with clients to edit and then sign-off is a great way to engage and enhance the relationship - before they even receive your proposal. It also reduces the chance of quoting based on incorrect facts which reduces time-consuming re-work.  With less checking and re-work, you free up valuable sales time for other value-add activities.

Removing these barriers to growth will enable your business to work smarter, and scale.   Your employees will thank you for it too.

You’re in the business to help people and businesses maintain a standard of excellence, differentiate themselves and thrive. Remove sales barriers and reduce the costs, so that you can help even more businesses benefit from your services. Start creating compliant, error-free, proposals with a process that minimizes risk, optimizes revenue and scales for growth. 


beat high cost

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Paul Towne

Paul, has been entrusted with helping to grow the North American market for XaitCPQ. He has more than 15 years of successful experience as an entrepreneur and senior sales leader in technology and financial services. He enjoys almost any outdoor activity as well as extolling the virtues of vinyl compared to digital music with anyone who will listen. Paul is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and lives in Boston with his wife and two kids whom they love dearly even though they regularly demolish their house, eat all of their food, and never let them sleep.

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