Changes in technology behavior are driving big changes in the way B2B sales teams must engage with buyers. Gone are the days of old-school spreadsheets and email attachments. Today’s top sales professionals are virtual, paperless, and more agile and flexible than ever before. It is now more important than ever to establish the right balance between great technology and great people to keep up.
Sales professionals must place the buyer at the center of their process and engage in the ways that buyers want – when they want. That means moving to new ways of working that remove friction from the process. To do that, teams must have a modern approach to sales using technology that can flex and scale easily, allowing increased agility and response, and positioning the team to move fast and secure quick wins.
One way to establish an advantage is through the use of Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) software. Often integrated within existing software systems such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and e-commerce, CPQ serves as an invaluable conduit to fast, efficient sales growth. Imagine a bow tie. On the left-hand side, you have the ERP software fanning out from the center. And on the opposite side, you have CRM software fanning out toward customers and prospects. And in the middle, the piece that joins it all together, is Configure-Price-Quote.
What is CPQ and Why You Should Care?
CPQ solutions span a wide range of functionality; from very simple tools to complex solutions. Regardless of type, they are ultimately all designed to help and encourage buyers to make a purchase. Here is a quick breakdown:
- Configure – This function uses business rules to guide users in the selection of related and interdependent items such as combinations of products and services, and options within these.
A more recent trend is for greater collaboration on a proposal, across departments, with third-party suppliers, and even directly with the buyer. Software like XaitCPQ helps bridge those requirements and people for a better, often customized solution for the buyer.
- Price – Again, business rules are used to price items automatically. These often include quantity breaks and permitted discount structures, as well as margin-based rules that ensure acceptable profit levels. More sophisticated systems will introduce emerging models such as value-based or outcome-based pricing. And helps streamline the approval process and empower teams to move quickly and profitably.
- Quote – This feature produces the document or webpage that will deliver and present the solution - its price features and images. The speed and quality of this quote will significantly affect the likelihood of landing the sale. Modern CPQ solutions leverage web proposals and virtual selling as a strength. Automating and easing the quoting process ensures best practices are consistently applied while making it easy for buyers to buy from you.
Gain Sales Advantage
A good CPQ tool captures all of the complex product, pricing, and business rules in one central place for automating and streamlining actions in real time, allowing sales teams to have everything they need at their fingertips to close deals faster, with better collaboration, control, and transparency.
This is in stark contrast to traditional quoting processes that often rely upon disjointed systems and silos of knowledge that slow the process, increase the chance of error, and are expensive to maintain.
In these circumstances, it is difficult for sales teams to convey the maximum value of their company’s products and services. The bottlenecks and the inherent risks in traditional quoting are key reasons why more and more companies are turning to CPQ software.
If your company experiences the following challenges, it may be time to move to a CPQ solution:
- Spreadsheets or custom-built systems are used to price and quote – Using outdated tools to configure products, calculate prices and generate proposals can keep sales teams behind the curve, leave money on the table, increase the chance for errors, and constrain your ability to grow.
- Sales are growing faster than the sales team’s ability to operate – As a company grows, so will the number of sales quotes it needs to generate – and the amount of time the sales team will spend generating them. The need to adopt a smarter and more automated approach to generating quotes is vital to scale the business quickly.
- Inaccurate proposals are reducing profits – Sales teams struggle to produce accurate quotes when time frames are squeezed and the deals are complex. Sending out inaccurate quotes is embarrassing, costly and undermines the trust of both new and existing customers.
- Approvals are manual and slow – If customers find that your company is a hassle to work with and slow to respond they’ll simply move on to the competition. When sales teams regularly wait for approvals, customers could be losing patience and look elsewhere.
- Aggressive sales growth is needed – Investing in CPQ software to streamline and automate the sales process is vital to both increase the quoting capacity and the conversion rate. And new recruits can be onboarded faster to help the organization meet its sales goals sooner.
Related article: Experts Explore the Convergence of ERP, CRM and CPQ