Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

How CPQ Impacts a Sales Rep, By a Sales Rep

Today's blog post was written by Niki Somerfield, Senior Account Executive at Sonoma Partners.

When I began my sales career, I started in an inside sales role in a call center environment. I sold hardware and software to companies, generating anywhere from five to fifteen quotes a day. This type of transactional quoting can be fast-paced and exciting…for me, this was not the case.

At the time (though I’m sure they’ve upgraded systems since then), we would use approximately five different applications to get a quote together.

I used one application to store and gather all my customer information; a website to look up product data; another website for pricing and comparisons; another application for shipping and distribution; and a final order fulfillment application. I would assemble information from each application and manually input it into Excel… which I would then convert to PDF and send through e-mail. Whew. If your head isn’t spinning, I applaud your ability to understand what took me months to get a hang of.

Each quote took me 15-20 minutes to put together. In a highly transactional sales position, that’s an impossible amount of time. Every moment of the day that I wasn’t making calls or sending e-mails, I was missing opportunities. But I couldn’t wait until the end of the day to get the quotes together because the customer would likely purchase from a competitor in the meantime.

Fast forward to a point where I was ready to move on in my career and started looking around. I learned about a company that sold CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote). I fell in love and couldn’t believe this solution existed! As a sales rep, these are the things that made the most difference for me:

1. Better System

This product was built for me – the sales rep – in mind. The application streamlines business processes across the sales organization. Its modern, slick, and created for the 21st century sales process. And its cloud-based! So that means push upgrades with new features to take advantage of all the time.

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2. Better Productivity

When I use CPQ… I have ONE… I repeat ONE… screen open at a time to get a quote together. It plugs into my CRM which means I’m also not manually entering anything.
Ever had to deal with data entry? Manual entry equals multiple errors. It’s hard to even put into words how much more I could fit into a work day when I wasn’t spending hours completing quotes or correcting errors.

3. Better Relationships

In my previous role, a customer would often send an email to multiple vendors asking for competing quotes. I’d typically save the quote for the end of the day so I could use the time customers are in the office to call on them (remember – 15-20 minutes to get a quote together!). But sometimes a customer didn’t want to wait and would execute the first quote that came across their desk. With CPQ, I can get quotes out to a customer in five minutes or less. I could even generate one while on the phone with them! That makes a huge difference to the seller!

4. Better Management

I would say I’m a fairly typical sales rep. And as a typical sales rep, I’m not interested in any activity that isn’t revenue-generating. In my previous position, I’d have to enter data into an application my manager used so he could report off of it. Then, I’d re-enter some of the same information in a separate application to generate my customer facing quote. If I’m honest, I’m only going to do one of those things. And that one is going to be the revenue-generating option.

Using CPQ, you enter the information in ONE place. My manager gets the data he’s requested, and I get the quote to close the deal. CPQ in tandem with CRM helps decrease the amount of administrative work required to forecast accurately.

Are you interested in talking with us more about CRM and CPQ? You can contact us here, and we’d be happy to help.

Topics: CRM for Manufacturing