Time is one of your most valuable resources — you need time to pursue new opportunities and to grow your business. Yet, so many manufacturers still waste time taking orders manually, directly through a sales rep, without the assistance of configure, price, quote (CPQ) software. Take this example of a typical quoting process:
You manage a small, independently owned manufacturer of specialty delivery vehicles. A sales rep receives a call from a company looking to order 10 trucks for their fleet. Your rep goes through all available options with the customer, explaining what your capabilities are.
Then, the rep contacts the manufacturing floor and talks to the engineers and machinists to put together a bill of materials (BOM). Only at this stage is your team able to determine if they can meet the customer’s requested specifications.
Of course, as this process takes place, someone has to record all information, determine what customizations are required, and apply those pricing rules to the quote. After all this, it could take days to finally generate a quote.
It’s tough to wait for a major order that can make or break your company’s bottom line — and each day that passes is another day your potential customer could switch to a competitor. Even after you deliver the quote, the customer could come back to update their specifications or alter the product mix, forcing you to start the quoting process all over again.
A quick, accurate quoting process takes more than an Excel spreadsheet to pull off. That’s a 20th century solution for a 21st century business.
You need CPQ software to do the job.
Manufacturing companies use CPQ software to produce quotes and process orders for configurable products. This quoting solution automates repetitive parts of the ordering process, giving you time to focus on your customers. It also connects your internal systems, providing you with the visibility to make decisions on order requests at a moment’s notice.
Let’s revisit the scenario at the beginning of this article in an environment where CPQ software is already at work:
You receive a call from a company looking to order 10 trucks for their fleet. With CPQ software at the ready, you walk your customer through the options available with accurate, up-to-date information about what you can offer. Since you have all product variations and customization choices in front of you, you might even be able to upsell to configurations they didn’t know they wanted.
Your CPQ software knows all the rules for configuring your trucks, eliminating guesswork. As they select options, the price is updated in real time while an interactive 3D model of the product reflects changes, showing the customer how their selections will look to ensure it meets their requirements.
Once configuration is completed, you generate a quote at the push of a button and email it to the customer, or share a web page personalized just for them. Now, you can move quickly to the negotiation stage, making changes until the customer is satisfied. Discounting rules allow sales reps to offer discounts within boundaries established by management, or reps can send more aggressive pricing terms to managers for approval. You can do all of this in hours or even minutes.
Once the order is won, the order details, including detailed BOMs, can be sent automatically from your CPQ to integrated manufacturing applications, like ERPs and CRMs, without any data re-entry or manual intervention. Time saved is time gained.
The answer is everyone. Both the customer and your business are better off when you use an automated quoting solution.
But the biggest reason you should consider an automated CPQ solution is that it will allow you to grow your business by making the sales process quicker, easier, and more efficient. Contact a representative today and schedule a demo to see how CPQ can work for you.