Today's blog post was written by Nathen Drees, Senior Developer at Sonoma Partners.
Quoting is a difficult process. It takes a lot of time, energy, and attention to detail to do it correctly. It is made doubly difficult when you are attempting to do many quotes a day in a transactional setting, reducing the amount of time you have to think about each quote and the amount of effort you want to spend digging through the various systems to find the correct prices. It is further complicated by the fact that often times the client has negotiated special pricing on certain items, and often this information is in yet another system disconnected from the quoting tool or isn’t in any tool at all.
When we sit down with our manufacturing clients to talk through pain points in their sales cycles, we inevitably arrive at quoting.
It is not uncommon for us to see sales reps quoting out of Excel or having to dig through ERP, Account Management, and perhaps even other Excel docs to be able to put quotes together, all while under pressure to deliver more quotes to clients. The net effect is that it is not uncommon for quotes to be incomplete or inaccurate on both list prices and customer negotiated prices, or simply discounted beyond profitability in the attempt to close the deal and generate a new order.
Often times, when we start investigating this with the sales team, we sense a hesitance to talk about the problem. Everyone at the business knows that quoting is difficult and that the current process is imperfect, but nobody knows what to do about it. Management wants visibility into margins and quote volumes; sales reps don’t want to dig through multiple systems or documents to put a quote together. Everyone wants the quotes to be created quickly and accurately the first time, reducing the need to create updated quotes due to simple mistakes.
If this sounds familiar to you, then fear not: you’re not alone. We have seen this situation many times and have helped our clients build an integrated solution inside the CRM based off of CPQ functionality. In doing so, we give both management and the sales team tools to allow quick creation of accurate quotes, reporting on margins and quote volumes, enforcing sales methodologies and pricing structures, and automatically applying negotiated prices and discounts for the customer to the quote. The net effect is that your sales team can create more quotes, accurate the first time, increasing sales and reducing stress for everyone involved.
C is for Configuration
When talking about creating a quote, a common requirement that comes up is the need to enforce rules around which products can be sold when and in what configurations. When talking about configuration, we most often see the following requests:
- Exclusive products (You cannot sell Product A with Product B and vice versa)
- Required products (Product A must always be sold with Product B)
- Quantity values (You can only buy Product A in units of 5)
- Relative Quantities (You must buy 1 Product A for every 5 Product B)
- Cross-sell products (Suggest and optionally add Product B when adding Product A)
This list is by no means exhaustive, and we have developers and CPQ experts on staff to build any configuration you need.
P is for Pricing
Pricing is the heart of the quote, and usually also the most complicated part. It’s not uncommon to have multiple factors play in to the price of a single line item on a quote. To ensure accurate pricing, we have experience assisting our clients in:
- Integrating with an ERP, ensuring product pricing and availability is always up-to-date and available for the sales team to use without leaving CRM
- Configuring discounting schedules, allowing for the automatic discounting of products based on criteria such as meeting a quantity threshold
- Configuring pricing methodologies, allowing pricing to be viewed in terms of list pricing, cost + margin pricing, block pricing, and custom pricing
- Automatically applying previously negotiated product prices and discount scheduled for a customer, freeing the sales team from having to manually apply it
In addition to ensuring accuracy of the quote price, we also can assist with:
- Approval processes based on multiple factors, to ensure no quote is presented to a client unless it meets the sales requirements of your team
- Margin calculations and reporting, to allow management to forecast profitability
- Quote auditing, to allow management to track the sales team’s activities
Q is for Quote
At the end of the day, the sales team needs to present a formal quote to the customer. We can assist with creating branded quote templates that are automatically filled with the correct data and emailed to the client, all without leaving CRM.
Let Us Help You
If you are looking to improve your quoting process, let us help. We bring with us industry-wide experience and have in-house experts on CPQ. We can help you work through the decisions needed to successfully build and deploy a CPQ solution on top of CRM, empowering your sales team to make smarter, more accurate quotes the first time, every time.
Still not sure if we are right for you? Have questions that we didn’t address here? Just want to talk to a human being? Contact us and we’re happy to talk.