Make it easier for the right people to configure their ideal products and/or services and then correctly price these.
For any business seeking to increase its sales and lower its selling costs, this must be the goal. However, for businesses w here there is complexity in their process that can introduce errors and commercial sluggishness, this is harder to achieve.
The importance of one particular aspect of this goal can be easily overlooked and mean that an organization is not enjoying the benefits of digital transformation that it should.
In this article, I will explore the importance of the ‘right people’ producing quotes.
The Right People…
It is rarely enough to simply aim for reducing the time it takes the people that produce your quotes. If digital transformation is to be achieved an organization must ask itself who is the best person to prepare the quote or price. Very often it is not the people that currently do so.
A sale is more likely when the time from ‘enquiry to order’ is shortest. And often the best way to achieve this is to enable the buyer to do this themselves – removing the need for any others to slow the process down.
The problem with this in many businesses is that the buyer does not know enough to configure their ‘ideal solution’, and a technical expert is needed.
Excel spreadsheets have been employed by businesses to help, but these fail to deliver a game-changing solution such that buyers can self quote.
Indeed, it can be the case that even with spreadsheets experienced sales team members still make mistakes and need an expert to approve. And spreadsheets remain outside of the main selling tool the sales team uses, its CRM system.
And this is why organizations turn to CPQ solutions to enable their sales teams to quote more easily and accurately and provide visibility of the sales pipeline within its CRM system. While this will help the business, it is great as a first step, but it should not be the end goal. It is therefore vital that the chosen CPQ solution offers scope to achieve the ultimate goal of enabling the ‘right people’ and placing the appropriate tools in the hands of the buyer, when they need it.
So how should an organization address this goal?
The answer, unsurprisingly, is ‘incrementally’ – perhaps adopting a phased approach such as below with an enterprise-ready CPQ solution:
Step 1 – Enable Your Sales Team to Quote Faster
Introduce an enterprise-grade CPQ solution that will easily help guide users through the selection of the correct products, options and services. To achieve this, it is vital to capture and convert as much of the organization’s expert knowledge and rules into automated, repeatable processes. This should be done seamlessly within existing tools such as CRM, where it can be analyzed..
This ‘guided’ approach, the rules and calculations should be refined and honed – such that training is no longer necessary for new recruits.
Step 2 – Empower Your Customers to Self Quote
Invite your customers or channel partners to ‘self quote’. This does not mean that your customers will require additional expensive CRM licences. Instead they will access the quoting and pricing tool through a customer portal, or for less frequent buyers, direct from your website or within your eCommerce system. Enterprise-ready CPQ will provide customer access to the master system holding your company knowledge – with secure login and appropriate access rights for them to safely produce their own quotes without the need to contact you and wait for a response. Furthermore, their quoting data can be fed back into your CRM system for greater and earlier visibility of your downstream sales pipeline.
Go Beyond CRM with XaitCPQ
B2C organizations have adopted this approach, and the shift to eCommerce has been rapid. B2B organizations have been slower – particularly where complexity exists and the chance for confusion and errors is high. This is, however, changing with the introduction of enterprise-ready CPQ solutions.
XaitCPQ is more than an omnichannel CPQ tool. It is a tailor-made enterprise solution to help businesses unblock the barriers to meaningful digital transformation. Designed specifically to help organizations think creatively, act quickly and cost-effectively, XaitCPQ takes CPQ beyond your existing CRM system and delivers real, tangible benefits for a successful digital transformation strategy.
Kevin's passion is helping companies become easier to buy from. He is a pioneer and thought leader in CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote). Quick to spot how technology (in particular CRM and product configuration software) enhances sales team performance, he was instrumental in the development of cloud based CPQ applications. He co-founded BlueprintCPQ in 1999, and built this to become one of the most powerful and flexible CPQ platforms. BlueprintCPQ was acquired by Xait in December 2020 where Kevin is Head of CPQ practice and Managing Director of Xait Ltd where he continues to apply his innovative thinking and experience to drive sales efficiency.
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