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Sales People Dislike Spreadsheets

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Paul Towne



3 min

Let’s imagine your ideal sales team. They are determined in the face of a challenge and ambitious enough to put the work in to close the deal. The problem is, the tools designed to help them are probably also slowing them down and reducing their chance of success.  

As a business leader, you have an important decision to make; continue the status quo and fall behind your competition or take action now and accelerate your path to more sales.
In this first in a series of three blogs, I focus on product and service configuration; and how today’s business leaders are leveraging CPQ software for faster, customized quotes that are built around the buyer’s specific need.

The Configuration Challenge

Building the ideal solution for a specific buyer need is increasingly challenging. Selecting the correct product options is complex, adding relevant upsells and cross-sells can easily be forgotten, and both decisions come with a high risk for error. Yet, it’s a set of decisions that your sales team must make for each quote..  

Enter your sales spreadsheets; the matrix that communicates your ideal configuration decisions to your sales team. Trouble is, products are getting more complex and spreadsheets are not suited to capturing complex business rules. They are difficult to use, often out of date and too open to interpretation. Add in services and things get exponentially more difficult. Even spreadsheets designed to help your sales team quote often need an expert to review and approve them - slowing down your process.

  • Salespeople. Sales teams sell the products and services they know and are comfortable with. Spreadsheets are rarely intuitive, introduce errors and keep prospects waiting. The very tool designed to increase your productivity is actually doing the opposite.
  • Sales Operations. Spreadsheets don’t always enforce business rules - particularly across products and services - introducing costly errors that are only spotted after an order has been placed. Re-keying orders into your sales order processing system is inefficient and introduces further risk of error.
  • Business Leaders. Spreadsheets are incomplete, and disconnected from the other tools that were introduced, such as CRM, to ease forecasting. At best, forecasting has become a slow and painful chore. At its worst the data is incomplete or wrong, making quality decisions difficult.

The result; endless, top-dollar hours wasted on checking, re-working and re-keying configurations instead of working on more new quotes. Meanwhile your prospect is left waiting for their quote.  

CPQ: C is for Optimum Configurations

CPQ is the short-hand name for Configure, Price, Quote software. At its core, CPQ is a powerful and flexible rules and calculation engine for automating the sales process. Any business rule you can imagine can be automated to streamline your sales process.

The C, the P, and the Q are the user-based outcomes of CPQ software, outcomes that are used by different stakeholders across your organization. The C, or Configuration of CPQ, guides users through the process of building or configuring the best solution for your buyer’s need, including recommended upsells, cross-sells and relevant services. By making it easier to build the optimum solution, you achieve faster, more value-optimized quotes.  

  • Salespeople. Configure means greater productivity; faster quotes that are correctly built and no longer require anyone to check them for configuration errors or omissions. .
  • Sales Operations. Configure means increased efficiency; quotes are error-free and can be seamlessly and automatically converted to orders with minimal to no human intervention.
  • Business Leaders. Configure means faster, better decision making. Quickly identifying items and combinations that are selling at top margins that you want to push and plan accordingly.  

Tip: Integrating CPQ with existing systems such as CRM and ERP increases productivity and enables quality decision making.

In today’s highly competitive market, business leaders are ditching the spreadsheets for guided selling systems. By leveraging XaitCPQ, they quote optimum solutions faster and pave the way for more sales.

Related Article: Win More Deals at Higher Margins

Guide to CPQ software ebook

Author picture

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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