New configure, price and quote (CPQ) software offerings are intended to ease the burden of working out the right price point for manufactured products, but surprisingly, not all manufacturing companies have been quick to take advantage of them, says Ron Mouw VP of Configure One.
According to a recent post from CRM Software Blog, about two-thirds of all organizations are still relying on old-fashioned spreadsheets to perform the majority of their configuration, pricing and quoting. If your organisation is one of those included in this statistic, read below to learn about some of the benefits you’re missing out on:
More accurate pricing
In the manufacturing industry, pricing requires a delicate balancing act: set prices too low, and you’ll eat into the overall profits of the business. Set them too high, and you risk driving away customers. Your sellers may put their best efforts into creating accurate prices, but the fact is, pricing is simply too important to only rely on guesswork and gut feelings. A CPQ software solution can arm your sellers with pre-established pricing models that make it quick and easy to turn out accurate prices, even for very complex product configurations.
A recent report from CRM Search points out that standardised product offerings are on the decline in the manufacturing industry, meaning that made-to-order offerings are increasingly important. These types of customised orders place quite a burden on sellers, and the longer it takes for a seller to turn out a quote, the more likely the customer is to walk away from the sale. CPQ software speeds the process of creating the quote and getting it into the customer’s hands, which in turn relieves some of the pressure placed on sellers.
Automation of the tedious, error-prone configuration process
There’s a reason spreadsheet-based configuration processes result in so many errors: they are manual, which means there’s plenty of room for the seller to make a mistake, and tedious, which compounds the problem and makes the seller even more likely to make a mistake.
With CPQ software, an organization can overcome this problem by moving away from spreadsheets and automating some of the most time-consuming aspects of the configuration process. The CPQ software guides users through the product configuration process, only allowing the seller to choose compatible features and options. As a result, the potential for the seller to make a mistake during the configuration process is removed altogether.
Enables sales to focus on selling
Selling should be your sales staff’s key focus, and every hour they spend building configurations, creating proposals, and pricing orders is an hour they won’t be working directly with customers. By automating time-consuming configuration and pricing processes, a CPQ software solution helps sellers spend a larger portion of their time with customers. As a result, your sellers will be able to meet with more leads in a day, and identify more sales opportunities.
Current, accurate sales data to support forecasting
In the manufacturing industry, having an up-to-date and accurate understanding of what you’ve sold in the past is a key part of predicting what your future product demand will look like. Many businesses have attempted to implement sales forecasting, but have been stymied by sales data that is out of date or inaccurate. With a CPQ solution, you sales data can flow directly to your customer database, so that you can feel confident your sales data is always correct.
In business, there will always be transformational technologies that completely rewrite the way key processes are performed for the better. CPQ software is an example of one such solution, but a company must implement CPQ before it can begin to reap its benefits. Start considering if a CPQ solution might be right for your business today.
Ron Mouw is the Vice President of Business Development for Configure One, a leading provider of CPQ software. Mr. Mouw received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and has over 15 years of experience on Configure One’s Executive Board.