The current marketplace may be driven by technology, but ironically, it’s even more driven by customers. They’re savvy, and they’re quick to move on if your approach to sales lets anything fall through the cracks. We talk about customer intimacy, but look under the hood and you’ll start to see how configure-price-quote software plays a key role in sales. We’re talking about instant, always current expertise about what they need, and ability to show that off in real time while configuring a proposal or quote. Flexibility to meet custom requirements for standard offerings without extra effort. A balance of speed, cost and quality for goods and services that makes the customer happy without hurting your margins. And—you need to deliver a great quote-through-order experience, one that brings a personalized, interactive touch to automation. That goes for complex deals with multiple onsite visits and detailed documentation to 60-second e-commerce transactions.
Pressure Points calling for CPQ
On your side as the provider, there’s no room for ad-hoc in any department, from front-facing sales to production or services fulfillment. What we’ve noted above is just a glimpse of what customers expect in a global marketplace that’s moving at warp speed. You’re also under constant pressure to scope out new revenue opportunities, launch and manage new channels, and increase upsells and cross-sells across your customer bases. Not to mention leveraging information so that you stay competitive with new and enhanced offerings.
Let’s look at how the right CPQ software can serve as your not-so-secret weapon for building, sustaining, and growing profitable customer relationships. Indeed, the best configurators or CPQ solutions transform sales from the disconnected orphans up front to the customer’s 24/7 source for all quote-to-production processes and information.
Full integration with ERP and CRM, including shared databases. This is the foundation that’s essential—a packaged solution that minimizes IT overhead from the start. Whether users work directly with the CPQ solution or access it from CRM or ERP, there’s no proprietary database. Data entered and updated in any solution spreads system wide, instantly, across all departments. A fully integrated, role-tailored CPQ toolset also ensures that the front-end UI organizes massive volumes of complex information into a relevant, clear sales experience for both salespeople and customers.
A rules engine that configures anything. A CPQ solution is just that–a rules engine that never stops connecting and combining all information it receives about your offerings. A great rules engine will be packed with formulas, checks, and balances that go well beyond all configurations are “first time right.” A sure bet for impressing customers? Quote generation that includes all specs, BOMs, routings, project documentation for service offerings—you name it and the engine delivers error-free, start-to-delivery information in their preferred format. This unified approach would include instant conversion to orders. That level of sophisticated will extend to other types of configurations—from auto-generated custom documents to enabling customers to configure specialized sales tools, and more.
Guided selling within a rich experience. Done right, your CPQ solution turns sellers into smart advisors. Ideally, you’ll have a real-time catalog served up as a questionnaire that lets them easily navigate alone or with customers through all offerings and prevents them from making choices that you can’t deliver on. Add real-time pricing calculations, dynamic visualization, flexibility to go back and make changes or work in any sequence, auto-suggested upsells and cross-sells. You may be gunning for speed and accuracy so that sales can free up time to focus on new opportunities. Or seeing how a great UI can enable salespeople to turn automation into a deeper connection. Regardless scenario, the focus is on meeting precise and fickle demands via an interactive, handsome interface that eliminates need to make extra calls, requests, halt the process, etc.
One tool that works for all teams and ensures sales “runs the show” flawlessly. CPQ software’s huge value-add for customer-centricity is that it closes traditional gaps between front-end sales and back-end teams. You’re on to the right solution with what we’ve already discussed, because it reflects that all stakeholders developing and source your offerings use it. All their work goes into the rules engine, which works its magic to give sales all real-time possibilities and enable them to configure quote to order within minutes. No more ad hoc queries, need to bring in other teams for input and review, or inaccuracies that take laser focus off serving the customer efficiently and impressively.
Ability to work anywhere, on any device. With mobile first and cloud first the mantra, your solution needs cross-browser compatibility so that it runs on all computing devices, smartphones, tablets, etc. Platform and database independence also deliver ultimate flexibility for deployment and use—on premise, in the cloud, via web portal, embedded in ERP or CRM, as a phone app—sellers, dealers, even customers can work with role-based rights to configure, view, and update 24/7.
Designed for a multi-channel world, including in-store retail and e-Commerce. Your configurator should offer built-in tools for adapting to in-store displays and self-serve sales, along with a responsive design and modern UI. Look also for straightforward options that let you tailor your solution to work as part of your webshop, with assurance that all orders go directly to ERP. Finally, your CPQ should be accessible via portals and browsers, with access rights appropriate for dealers, partners, and customers who want to enter, update, or simply view status for quotes and orders.
A “keep it simple” tool for spotting trends and opportunities. Big Data is the buzz, and your CPQ information should contribute to advanced analytics. But your solution’s routine reports and query capabilities can tell you that custom requests for Y option have reached point where it needs to be part of your standard portfolio. Or that geography X has become a lucrative market for an offering you’ve yet to actively promote for that region. Today’s query from a product engineer about bolt finishes could open up a host of revenue sources that also help reduce costs and waste.
There’s a deep pool of capabilities to look into if you’re interested in leveraging CPQ software for your customer-centric approach to selling. If you dive into a search, you can use the highlights above as a starting point. Keep in mind also that you’ll want pricing options that let you tailor a standard offering to your preference.
And of course, you’ll want a CPQ software provider that walks their talk about building profitable customer relationships. We encourage you to connect with us to talk over your needs and see if the e-Con sales and product configurator could measure up as an investment. Our goal is to be helpful, and at the least serve as a resource for making the best choice.
So we’ll sign off with a light suggestion. We hope our blog’s given you some good insight, and also that you’ll feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any and all questions. If you take a few minutes to visit the e-Con Solutions demo-lab, you can enjoy a hand’s on experience for configuring quotes, products, custom brochures, ROI estimations….you’ll see that automation can deliver that interactive, personalized touch we talked about at the start.