Three Best Practices for your Quote-to-Contract Process. No matter what industry you are in, or what technologies and systems you use to run your business, at the end of the day you’ve got to make the sale to be successful.
Securing that next important contract is hard enough for any company, no matter what their size. But for large, multinational organizations – like Exxon or Goodyear, for example – landing the deal requires navigating an intricate quote-to-contrac process; often with millions of dollars at stake. This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of organizational performance and profitability.
Generating revenue relies heavily on the effective alignment of sales content and sales teams. After all, if reps have to hassle to find the information they need, constantly double-check specifications and pricing, or juggle multiple proposal versions internally before responding, they’re more likely to miss the mark with potential clients. Ultimately, a lack of connection to sales content inhibits the effectiveness of sales teams and negatively impacts the bottom line; especially as the pace of competition increases.
Successful organizations empower their teams to sell more by connecting them to content that is optimized for sales enablement. Winning teams outpace their competitors because they are able to assemble the various parts, pieces and pricing they need for their proposals and tenders quickly, and with confidence that the information is up-to-date. In the end, this increased agility helps sales teams sell more, more quickly, and with less effort.
“The quote-to-contract process is vitally important for any enterprise because it's the way that most of the work is secured,” said Alan Tawes, former manager of tenders and contracts at Halliburton, one of the world's largest oil field service companies, in our recent interview on The Xait Factor. “It is essential to do a good job. At Halliburton, the proportion of work secured by tenders was well in excess of 80 percent of our annual revenue. And most of the rest would still be secured via smaller, less formal proposals.
Today, information agility and superior collaboration are essential in order to compete. Here are three best practices to help enable your sales team to sell more.
Sales teams need the ability to assemble the right information, efficiently and effectively, and present that content in the form of highly polished, high-impact proposal documents. A library of pre-approved content that is easy to access can be a competitive advantage; especially when it comes to authoring highly complex, and often highly specialized, proposals and tenders. A centralized content library can help every team close more deals faster, and increase customer satisfaction in the long-term.
Think of your content library as a centralized hub that houses all of your best company knowledge. Work to ensure that all available content is current, authorized, and approved for use. Design your database to store the content so it can be easily be reused and repurposed for multiple use cases. This will help eliminate any guesswork and provide sales teams with the confidence and agility they need to perform at the top of their game. Ultimately, organizations find that having a centralized library of accurate, up-to-date sales content that’s easy for teams to access and search is a game-changer.
It’s one thing to have great sales content, it’s another to leverage it effectively. Indeed, analysts tell us that 60 to 70 percent of content created by marketing departments sits unused. One reason for this is that content wikis and cloud-based shared drives force reps to spend time combing through lengthy documents to find what they need. And the second some of that content becomes outdated, reps won’t ever trust it or use it again. But with the right tools and processes, having a well-organized and easy-to-search sales content library is possible.
Start by organizing sales content into very specific, targeted categories. Is your content easily accessible? Is it tagged by persona, topic, industry, or stage of the funnel? Ensure teams can easily search across projects, regions and content elements. The more quickly and easily your sales team can discover and find the content they need, the more effectively they can put it into action.
“It's a multidisciplinary activity that includes sales and marketing, accounting, technology, engineering, company management, and others,” says Tawes. “So in order to be successful, it's very important to have effective teamwork amongst all these different disciplines.”
The ability to accurately select and price combinations of interdependent products and service options is essential for sales teams today; especially when competing with complex tenders, proposals, and contracts. If you have your pricing set up in a spreadsheet or something similar you’re already at a disadvantage. There is a huge improvement in having an integrated configure-price-quote solution. Shortened response times, increased quoting capacity, and enhanced collaboration all provide a distinct advantage.
“Pricing has become more and more complex with more and more things included over the years,” continues Tawes. “At Halliburton, we always put a lot of effort into understanding the winning price. For most of the large tenders today, you'll find that the enterprise has to prepare and model different scenarios so they can understand the effect on their cost and the price. It is very important to understand what your price will cover, what you can offer, and give clients pricing that is accurate for a variety of scenarios and specifications. You need to be able to do any number of “what ifs” to understand how robust your price will be.”
How can you move forward today and empower your sales teams to sell more? One solution worth evaluating is XaitPorter, a progressive database-driven document co-authoring software with integrated configure, price, and quote features. It is an ideal approach for complex tenders, proposals, and contracts. The solution enables sales teams to more effectively and more collaboratively create, manage and produce high-value bids and proposals and other business-critical documents. And the ability to seamlessly and accurately select and price combinations of products and services will give you an edge on slower-moving competition.
Want to learn more? Download my latest white paper “XaitPorter Just Made it Easier for Customers to Buy from You” here.
Listen to my extensive two-part podcast interview with Alan Tawse on The Xait Factor here.
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