5 Ways To Improve Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) Selling With Integration

The difference between achieving sales quotas and closing more deals often begins at the start of sales cycles. Creating a quick sales cycle cadence supported by quotes and proposals that meet and exceed customers’ expectations brings a sense of urgency to prospect relationships. Deals close faster and customers are on to accomplishing the goals they had in mind when first initiating a sales engagement and Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) strategies succeed.

Looking to improve the accuracy and speed of quote turn-around times, improving quote-to-order response times and improving order capture accuracy can keep the momentum and sense of urgency going in sales cycles. Fighting the inertia that slows sales cycles down with better integration across legacy on-premise, SAP, Salesforce and 3rd party cloud platforms delivers accurate quotes faster, improving deal win rates.

Bringing Greater Speed, Selling Simplicity and Scale To CPQ Selling

Integration has to go beyond just integrating systems; it has to provide a means by which everyone involved in responding to customers’ requests can see how they are making a contribution.  With real-time integration, providing immediate feedback on which quotes turned into orders and why is now possible. Integration creates teams internally across departments who have the potential to excel with real-time feedback and the opportunity to contribute.

With any organizations’ reputation on the line with every quote and proposal they generate, it’s important always to be looking at how the CPQ and QTC strategies can be improved.

Here are 5 ways to improve CPQ selling with integration:

  1. Remove as many manually-based steps as possible from quoting and proposal workflows, creating an integration roadmap that captures how connecting systems can turn quoting speed into a measurable feature. The more competitive the sales cycles, the more important speed is. Often it is the first complete quote that wins a deal as prospects have a high sense of urgency for solving a major problem or accomplishing a goal. Build a roadmap of how systems can be integrated together to provide real-time responses to quotes and proposals and start measuring win rates after doing this.
  1. Get pricing under control by getting rid of Excel file updates that are rarely current on every sales rep’s laptop and have a single system updated in real-time. One of the greatest roadblocks to selling faster is the inconsistency in pricing Too often companies will rely on Microsoft Excel files being sent to sales reps who may or may not be using the most current one. Save hours and days by removing this roadblock with an integrated pricing system that ideally is cloud-based and can deliver real-time, accurate pricing to any rep, anytime on any device.
  1. Integrating ERP, production scheduling, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Salesforce systems to deliver Available-to-Promise, Capable-to-Promise, and delivery dates in real time can take deals away from competitors in speed and accuracy alone. Having this level of data integration has a direct impact on the accuracy and speed that a sales cycle can move at. It also enables greater scale of selling strategies across all product lines supported by the integrated systems. Best of all, taking this approach makes winning deals faster by getting competitors out of deals quicker than using manually-based methods of quoting and proposal production.
  1. Only quote products that can be profitably produced and only upsell and cross-sell accessories, add-ons, components and services that are in stock by integrating ERP, catalog management and quoting systems. By integrating production scheduling, product catalogs updated by product management, ERP scheduling systems and quoting, sales reps will only have product combinations available to sell that meet minimum pricing thresholds. Also, having real-time integration across these systems will also enable the most accurate upsell and cross-sell strategies possible.
  1. When a quote is approved, work instructions, bills of material and production scheduling need to start immediately, making real-time ERP and quoting system integration a must-have. Too often organizations rely on manually-driven workflows that cause delays, scheduling errors and bills of material that are specifying parts not available. By integrating quoting, production scheduling, MES and CRM systems everyone involved with the customer from first order through fulfillment knows what’s going on with the order.  Having this level of insight is invaluable in managing customer relationships well and keeping expectations met and exceeded.

 

 

About the Author:

I am a Forbes contributing columnist, industry analyst and blogger, and serve as Director, Global Cloud Product Management at Ingram Cloud. Previous positions include product marketing at iBASEt, Plex Systems, senior analyst at AMR Research (now Gartner), marketing and business development at Cincom Systems, Ingram Micro, a SaaS start-up and at hardware companies.

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