1. Consistent Pricing.
Over time, customers can even become accustomed to this, and specifically ask for the team member whom they believe will give them the best price for a particular product, service or project. Organised CPQ, with correctly thought-through authorization processes, removes this inconsistency.
2. Consistent Presentation.
Where people are using Word or Excel templates of their own design, or even simply emailing out prices, both layout and branding can differ between team members. CPQ will enable the maintenance of a consistent company branding, in line with the corporate image applicable for signage and vehicle livery etc., which not only presents a more professional appearance but, of practical importance, ensures that the pricing quoted is clear and easy for the customer to understand.
3. Ease Of Quoting.
More complex quotes and proposals frequently require the detailed attention of technically expert people to ensure accuracy. This is to create an “expensive quoting clerk”; such people would better be engaged in the technical / production work applicable to their specific expertise. A properly configured CPQ system will take the wisdom and experience of the technical experts and encapsulate this within the CPQ system itself, thus enabling more junior people to raise the quotes and proposals, freeing up the (expensive) time of technical experts for the work they do best and which, in many cases, only they can do.
4. Control and Maintenance Of Profit Margins.
All modern CPQ systems have the facility for quotes and proposals to require authorisation at management level when certain criteria are met, such as a profit margin below a certain level, or a total outturn figure above a certain level. This avoids commissioned Salespersons giving unauthorised discounts to secure a sale. Equally importantly, it ensures that very large quotations do not go out at too high a price, jeopardising the chances of closing the order.
5. Management Of Staff Absence.
Many businesses have experienced the problem of a member of staff being away from work due to Annual Leave, or because they are off sick. Some days previously they sent out an important quote to a major client. The client is now on the phone, and no-one can find the quote, either electronically or in hard copy. All the potential solutions – wait until the person comes back, re-create the quote, ask the customer to supply a copy of the quote – are unsatisfactory, and present an image of chaos in the Sales department. A correctly configured CPQ system enables a colleague to access the original straight away and continue or begin negotiation.
6. Speed Of Quoting.
Once the system is set up and populated, the need to search through product brochures (which may not be up to date) or even telephone suppliers to determine the current pricing and availability of components, is eliminated. So, too, is much of the need to consult with senior people regarding margins to be applied and other parameters relevant to the proposal. All these matters are handled by the system itself. This can result in a very great time saving in the preparation of the quote or proposal. Businesses have reported reducing their quoting time to less than a quarter of that previously required, resulting in a quicker quote which, in turn, will stand a better chance of acceptance.
7. Avoidance Of Double-Entry Error.
The modern CPQ system can provide not only Quotations and proposals, but also, where required, other documentation, such as Delivery Notes, Picking Notes, Production Orders, Risk Assessments, Work Statements, all based around the key data of the original proposal. This eliminates the potential for human error introducing inaccuracies into “job documentation” where this is created outside of the Quotation Management System itself. Integrations to most of the popular CRM and accounting packages similarly eliminate human error during double-entry, and removes the typographical workload of doing that, whilst retaining Accounts Department control over data transmitted electronically. Integration can also be created on a bespoke basis with ERP and other back-office systems as required.
8. Improved Cashflow.
State-of-the art CPQ offers online presentation of quotations and proposals with the facility to collect payment – deposit or full amount – at time of order, thereby reducing the Credit Control burden and the risk of bad debts.
9. Timely Follow-Up.
Several modern CPQ systems will send a notification to the salesperson (and anyone else within the business as may be required) when a prospective customer views the quote or proposal. This enables the salesperson, if appropriate, to pick up the telephone and ask if there are “any questions” in the knowledge that the quotation is being viewed at that very moment. Of equal significance, it shows which quotations have not been viewed, prompting a call to check if they have arrived with the right person.
10. Correct Product Configuration.
Embarrassment may be caused, and considerable resource wasted, by mistakenly quoting for something that does not exist, or cannot be manufactured, particularly if the error is not picked-up until the order has been placed and the deposit paid. The situation is even more serious if the error goes unnoticed until production attempts to build the requested item. The salesperson may simply not know that such-and-such a component does not work with another component, or the product or service being requested is now obsolete and has been superseded. A CPQ system which has been correctly configured at outset, and is appropriately maintained by a trained system administrator, will minimise – and usually altogether prevent – such costly mistakes.
Image source: Unsplash