It’s likely your sales goals for 2017 are higher than last year’s—that’s a healthy outlook for growth. It’s also likely that you’ll need to improve actual sales performance to meet those goals. There’s a lot that goes into sales performance, but what wins come down to is increasing sales conversions and decreasing customer wait time for custom offers and proposals. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how a sales configurator can make that happen. We’ll give you a sketch of what it can do, and then talk about how it helps configure success by improving internal sales processes.
Give your prospect more than an RFP: give them an experience that wins the deal
Responding to RFPs from leads is usually the least likely guarantee that they’ll actually call on you to purchase their product. The odds can be as high as a rock band finally catching the producer’s attention—they can’t do it by sending a CD. You need to differentiate your business from the other bands, your product from the pile of RFPs. With a sales configurator, you can catch a prospect with a dynamic, intriguing experience of building their product, swiftly followed with a proposal or quote. If your offerings are strong, you can build your prospect’s product with visualization and guided selling. Pricing will be automatically humming away in a screen corner. If your prospect has an ad hoc request for a small variation, you can either make that happen on the spot or suggest another option using automated prompts.
A well-designed sales configurator standardizes the creation of custom products, quotes, and proposals, so your prospect feels they’re getting a product that meets unique needs, with special discounts and pricing that are pre-defined. Your prospect’s waiting time can be as short as your visit with them—you can print or email a quote or proposal at the end of your meeting. Even if your product has a slower sales cycle, you can give prospects a tailored configuration experience, record outstanding details for speedy follow-up, and print or send preliminary specifications and an in-process proposal. The faster you can get those docs to the customer after they’ve seen what you can offer, the more likely they’ll sign off.
Behind the scenes: improved internals sales processes
The real magic of a sales configurator is that it vanquishes struggles that go along with ad hoc internal processes. You have a tool that lets your talents as a salesperson shine and ensures you “lose” problems that include:
1. Hours lost creating complex quotes
When it comes to unique products and services, sales teams can get lost in a jungle of calculations, proposals, and pricing. In many cases, the complexity is beyond their grasp. Information isn’t easily accessible or usable, so they can’t respond to customer requests in a timely, informed way. A configurator automates and connects all the processes. A great configurator helps sales people fill in knowledge gaps with guided selling that presents options, prompts, and suggestions that ensure customers get the best product for their needs.
2. Selling “product impossible”
You’ve been successfully delivering on a particular product combination, and discover after an order is submitted that the customer is requesting changes that aren’t feasible. Because there weren’t any filters to prevent the combination from being ordered, you incur error costs and delivery delays. That’s no longer an issue. A robust configurator is essentially a rules engine. A user-friendly configurator helps salespeople build product combinations and prevents them from entering an option that won’t work.
3. Missed revenues
If salespeople are working with ad hoc documents, manually copying and pasting proposal lines, wondering whether their order has been set up in the ERP system, they’re wasting time and probably making errors. Those headaches turn into quality selling with a sales configurator. Proposals, quotes, and orders emerge directly from the accurate configuration they build. If you know that you won’t have to suffer through a quote or proposal, you can spend your time building relationships, creating great configurations, and cross-selling and upselling.