Lead-to-Quote Efficiency Means More Manufacturing Sales and Happier Customers

February 24, 2021 | By: enosix

The right software solution teases out qualified leads to increase manufacturing sales productivity

Key takeaways:

• Manufacturers are facing unprecedented challengesTo improve processes, you have to define the current process

• How to build a better process

• Lead management is a must

• Faster quotes = happier customers

• The right software solution increases efficiencies and boosts ROI

Manufacturers are facing unprecedented challenges today. The National Association of Manufacturers performed a survey that found that 53% anticipate a change in operations and 35.5% are facing supply chain interruptions. In addition, 78% of survey participants said they expect the pandemic will have a financial impact.

In order to remain competitive, manufacturers must have effective and integrated sales-enablement solutions – tools that create a smooth, efficient workflow from lead to quote to improve sales productivity and the customer experience.

This software should facilitate early customer engagement and maximize sales opportunities while minimizing the length of the sales cycle. The platform should also offer enhanced insight into the entire process and its performance. This means looking at your current process, defining a better process, and implementing the software to make it happen.

Look at your current process

Your process is the way you get things done. It provides a standardized framework that governs the flow of information from start to finish. To make your process more efficient, take a deep dive into how things are done now to see where there’s room for improvement.

Working with your entire sales team is the first step. They can provide insight into how your current lead and quote system operates, and how well they feel it’s working.

Then do business process mapping. Pull out that whiteboard and make a flowchart. This provides a visual method to understand your current way of working so you can see where improvements could be made.

Now it’s time to identify areas of concern. Define approval bottlenecks and where your process is falling down and prevents real efficiency.  At this point, you won’t be asking why; you’ll just be documenting how you currently do things.

Build a better process

Once you have a handle on where your sales-to-quote inefficiencies lie, you can develop a workflow that addresses these challenges and works better for your team. This means better productivity and a positive impact on your bottom line.

Start by talking to the sales team. This discussion must be frank and open — you need to know the “why” of the situation to get a real understanding of their concerns and how they feel these can be fixed. The point is to design a process that provides real resolution.

Make another flowchart to make sure all concerns are addressed but approach the new process as though you are starting your business all over again. It’s important to leave preconceptions at the door to create a process that will truly improve the way your sales team works day-to-day.

This new chart is best started at the end. What happens before a customer receives a quote? Look at how the information is gathered, how the quote is generated, how long it takes, the approval process, and how the estimate is delivered.

When the process is finished, take a second look and see where further efficiencies can be created. Perhaps there’s an overly complicated approval process? Look for things that have “always been done this way,” and ask if that step is really necessary.

Next is implementation, which means finding the best software solution that provides efficient tools for your sales team and an enhanced experience for your customers.

You need a comprehensive solution from lead to quote

For your sales team and your company to be successful, you have to find the best leads quickly and provide a customer experience that will convert them into profitable clients.

Manage leads to maximize conversion

Lead management is the first step. Your sales team must have the ability to easily identify, track and manage potential customers. Information gathered through this process will help you figure out which tactics nurture leads, and which ones are a waste of time, and that can then be used to optimize your sales strategy.

You need to know customer interests as well as their business details so you can strategically offer the right products for their requirements. You create the best experience when you contact them through their preferred medium. This allows a friction-free communication channel to present new products, offers, discounts, and anything else of interest to that customer.

Of course, you need to manage opportunities. Which products and services are your customers interested in? Who are your competitors, and what is the likelihood that you’ll make a sale to a particular customer? You need a software solution that captures the customer information and insights you need, as well as the ability to create forecasts.

But all of these efficiencies must be combined with efficient, accurate quoting.

Create and manage quotes efficiently

Customers want accurate quotes, and they want them quickly. Your lead-to-quote solution must have the ability to capture all the product and service details and any applicable terms and conditions. The sales rep must be able to present quotes fast, both online and offline on handheld devices.

It’s essential that this solution is integrated seamlessly with your SAP ERP system of record. It doesn’t matter how fast you can create a quote if it doesn’t have up-to-date inventory availability, or if it’s missing customer-specific pricing or billing rules. Any inaccuracies here can make the quote incorrect, which can invalidate the sale, ruin the customer experience, or unintentionally shift the terms you offer that customer.

The right software will give your team the ability to suggest up-sell, down-sell, or cross-sell products automatically based on customer information, increasing value-adds for the customer and your ROI. Once the quote is complete, your system should notify and forward quotes for approval, streamlining that process so quotes take less time, which creates happier customers.

Redefine Sales Productivity with enosix and SAP S/4HANA

enosix takes the complexity out of SAP integration to let you get up and running 70% to 90% faster than competing approaches, while still providing secure, scalable, reliable connections between your front-end systems of engagement and your SAP ERP core.

Our platform runs in the application layer of your SAP ERP and replaces IDOCs and the JCo connector (we know – it sounds like magic). Our pre-built Rapid Integration Objects encapsulate the most common queries and transactions.

No more calling standard SAP BAPIs/RFCs and piecing together the results in middleware or on the front end. The end result is a significantly reduced load on your SAP system compared to traditional approaches. It also means far greater code reusabilityacross different front-end systems (nearly 100% vs. typically <40% for PI/PO or iPaaS solutions — and 0% for solutions that live in the front end). And because our pre-built solution covers the most common use cases, your implementation will be done in 80% less time than a custom project.

Schedule a demo today or reach out with questions; we’ll get you the information you need — fast.