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How to Remove Friction from the Sales Process

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Coralie Beelen



6 min

You established your sales process as a roadmap for converting prospects to customers. It was probably designed with speed, scalability and consistency in mind. Over time, however, steps were added, unintentionally increasing friction along the path to closing a deal. And this is slowing down your sales.

This friction might be due to the complexity of your products and services, and their complex variations and options. More likely, this friction is inherent to your sales process. Here we identify the root cause of friction and how to get your sales and growth back on track.

3 Tasks Slowing Down your Sales

Friction is anything that slows down the sales process. And the symptoms are easy to spot; quotes taking too long to deliver, dependencies on key individuals, frustrated sales teams, re-inventing content, high internal email volume, and lots of spreadsheets moving around the business.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then the cause must be addressed to get your sales team back on track. Oftentimes the cause is one or more of the following:  

#1 Mistakes

The effort to reduce mistakes, or errors, can become stifling. Generally the cause of these errors fall into three categories.  

  • Solution errors. Solution errors arise by misunderstanding the customer need, and selecting a combination of products and or services that are not optimum, or perhaps not even saleable. Spreadsheets are the typical ‘go to’ tool, however these introduce other types of errors due to onerous maintenance and confusing version control. Plus, even with spreadsheets, there is dependency on key individuals or experts who double-check the quote is correct and optimized. Get too busy and these resources are further squeezed. 
  • Pricing Errors. Pricing errors arise when the wrong price book is selected. Or when the calculations used form the base price. Or costs are manually calculated incorrectly. Often these errors go unnoticed, so more layers of checks and approvals are introduced to reduce the chances for error, increasing your turnaround time. 
  • Processing errors. Even when errors in the quoting stage are reduced, the conversion of a quote into an order may be another friction point. Typically you might rely on sales operations to check orders for errors and then key them into a system - but manually re-keying orders is an unnecessary cost and introduces the chance for keystroke errors. The delays caused by manually checking or worse, correcting errors that only get noticed on delivery, slow down delivery, payment and erode margin.

#2 Risk

Risk is often managed with layers of approvals. They are usually tiered and rely upon “back and forth” email communications. Perhaps your risk approvals are driven by product / service complexity, levels of user experience, new products or services, deal size, discount or margin limits. Each rule, each tier, and every related email adds both time and costs that slow down the pace of delivery for each quote - further decreasing your chances of winning the deal.

#3 Trust

Processes are usually put in place with good intentions. Yet manual processes can rarely be relied upon to deliver consistency. So, rules and peer reviews are put in place to encourage best practice. While these tactics can help promote accuracy and quality, they usually introduce bottlenecks and re-work - and introduce further delays to getting your quotes in the hands of prospects. Manual processes can and should be avoided wherever possible.

Reduce Friction, Increase Sales

Whether you sell equipment or services, sales process friction puts your business at risk. Can you beat your competition to the prospect? Are you selling what you can deliver? Are you leaving money on the table, or spending too much money to close each sale? 

Friction is common, but not incurable. The prescription lies in guiding your sales team and seamlessly enforcing your business rules each step of the way to eliminate errors and manual activities that slow down revenue. 

Eliminate Errors

When you guide your sales team, and enforce your business rules, you eliminate configuration errors. Any business rule you can imagine can be automated to streamline your complex sales process. Now, when you select a complex product or service, you get all of the correct variations and options on the quote the first time, every time. 

The same is true for eliminating pricing errors. When you automatically govern your pricing calculations based on sound rules, you eliminate errors. Now you’re achieving greater accuracy, and enabling more people to work on more profitable deals. 

By eliminating configuration and pricing errors, you also eliminate the need to monitor, review and approve. Key resources are freed to work on more value-added activities.  Bottom line, by eliminating configuration and pricing errors, you will sell more, at better margins and close deals faster.

Reduce Collaboration Churn

By guiding product and service configuration, and automating price calculation, you reduce the email “back and forth” of collaboration churn and advance quotes through your sales cycle faster. Your quotes are error-free and, where required, your experts build on them instead of kicking them back for revision. On the occasion where an approval is required, it is quickly received by the right approver within a single system. You eliminate repetitive activity that slows you down, iterate rapidly and respond to your prospects faster than your competition. And you reduce your cost to quote. Now you’re bidding more and lower costs. 

Bottom line, by reducing collaboration churn, and the need for approvals and peer reviews, quotes that took days can now be with customers in minutes.

Propel Prospect Decisions

Who doesn’t want to keep the prospect conversation flowing forward? Conversations build understanding and common ground. They encourage more in-depth information exchange. They build trust and lasting relationships. How well you can keep those conversations going, however, is the difference between a lost opportunity and your next win.

Traditionally, these conversations are had via phone calls, which typically go to voicemail. Or emails and information overload that gets de-prioritized over other emails. Now, we’re not suggesting you eradicate phone calls and emails. We’re recommending a better way.

Imagine a prospect conversation that makes it faster and easier to understand how you solve their problem and what you sell. It includes easy access to meaningful content, such as video demos, meeting recordings and action plans - and they don’t need to return your call or dig around in email to find it.  

Enter the digital sales room - a quantum leap forward in sales. Digital sales rooms centralize the prospect conversation by automatically creating a secure digital space or “hub” for collaboration.

  • Elevate the Buyer Experience. Digital sales rooms make it easier for prospects to evaluate your products and services. Especially with today’s buyers who prefer to do as much as they can without engaging with sales people. You can share a veritable buffet of resources with them to help them find what they want, when they want. And people are much more likely to remember details with interactive content than with emails. 
  • Increase Engagement. Digital sales rooms are low friction, quick and casual. They entice buyers and spark conversations. They can comment on or share content, and are much more likely to make changes directly in the system or fire off a quick question than compose an email. 
  • Accelerate the Sales Cycle. Digital sales rooms expedite deals because they make it faster and easier to invite stakeholders to the conversation. Without these decision makers, you rely on your prospect contact to socialize their stakeholders, and locate and share the information stakeholders need to make the decision. With a digital sales room, your entire conversation, and supporting information, is only a click away. 

Bottom line, digital sales rooms are here, and revolutionizing the whole quote-to-order process (and beyond). By eliminating conversation friction, and the delays and confusion it causes, deals happen faster and more efficiently.  

A prospect or customer wants something. Your business has that something. It shouldn’t be harder than that. Unfortunately, sales process friction impedes your goals at every turn, blocking the “yes” you are working so hard to achieve. Inflating your cost per sale. And delaying attempts to scale your business. 

Eliminate sales process friction with XaitCPQ and introduce greater efficiency, improved productivity, reduced risk and enhanced quality to boost sales.


reduce time to quote by 50%

Author picture

Coralie Beelen

Coralie is an experienced Business Developer Manager at Xait. She studied Business Administrations in Germany with a focus on International Affair and has worked in Tech directly after her graduation. Her interests vary from painting, to literature, technological innovations, and cuisine.

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