To produce a quote, sales has to help their lead configure the product to their specifications, price it out, and submit documentation for approval. This relatively straightforward process can be fraught with conflict and complexity that could undermine your bottom line. Here’s what you need to look at to improve this process:
Audits should assess your current performance so you have a benchmark when making changes. Determine the average time it takes to deliver each quote, how long it takes to respond to incoming leads, how long it takes to configure each product, and any other metrics you want to measure.
As you determine which KPIs you want to benchmark, study the processes that affect each of them and look for inefficiencies. Are configurations slowed down by back and forth between sales and engineering? Is key product data siloed on someone’s computer when it could be shared? Take note of anything that could impede on the workflows involved in producing a quote.
The longer a quote takes, the less profitable the overall sale will be. Since employees are paid for their time, time is money. This problem is compounded if sales makes a mistake in the quoting process, such as configuring a product that’s not producible, or accidentally setting the wrong price. Study processes carefully beyond bottlenecks and take note of any processes that cost more than they’re worth.
How complex are the quotes you’re providing? Do configurations involve dozens of customizations, or just choices between a few different parts and components? Understanding all of the intricacies that go into producing a quote will better equip you to streamline.
After an audit, you’ll know exactly where your sales performance stands, and have an idea of which processes need improvement. You could go to the trouble of refining your manual processes by building better spreadsheets and creating systems that streamline communication between sales and engineering. But you’ll still be behind most of the specialty manufacturing industry.