Smart Selling

Configure Price Quote – Paybacks for Sales

Automating the configure price quote (CPQ) process provides immediate, measurable benefits for sales folks. The more complex the product or pricing, the more immediate the benefit. The more involved the buying process, the quicker the advantages of configure price quote tools are realized.

In a previous life, I was involved in selling and marketing a modular storage system for office and IT use. The system was trademarked and had several patents. You couldn’t just pick up a catalog and order this stuff unless you knew what you were doing. The ROI for the product was based on improved access to the media stored and the efficient use of floor space. So, you also had to know a bit about the businesses you were selling to.

The product was highly modular and flexible and could handle almost everything including hardcopy file folders, X-rays, computer tapes, tape cartridges, printout storage, disc packs, books and assorted archival storage boxes. Each of these media types had a specific component that was added to the system to accommodate the storage of that particular media. For example, hanging tapes had a sort of slotted rack from which to hang a computer tape, and paper records were handled with a hanging box that would support individual file folders and also slide back and forth to facilitate maintenance of groups of paper files.

The various structural components came in 30-inch and 42-inch widths. Used in combination, you could build a continuous run of storage to match within 9 inches any length specified.

Selling this product was easy in terms of relieving the space problems a customer might have. It also was easy in terms of the aesthetics of the product in that it was far more attractive than regular shelving. But, it was a bear to sell in terms of getting an accurate price to quote. You couldn’t afford to just guess; the system was too pricy.

Our sales reps all carried tape measures, and they also had a list of questions regarding floor loads, point loads and load limits per foot squared. They had to measure each media type to be stored and translate that into component counts.

In a large sale, there might be several hundred individual units sold, each made up of 20-odd separate components. Smart reps would use architectural-grade drawings to make sure that the layout and physical dimensions of the system would fit in the room.

A sales rep could easily burn up an entire weekend getting the order ready. The list of parts, the drawings, the counts for each hardware pack and, of course, the pricing for each individual component took hours to assemble. Extending the price for each component and double-checking the counts and calculations was a lengthy, boring, error-prone process.

CPQ technology could have made this process so much easier. A laptop or tablet-based configure price quote tool would have turned a quote around in minutes instead of days. The bill of material for the sale would be automatically generated by simply answering a few questions related to room dimensions and media quantities.

So, how does this impact the sales rep? Configure price quote (CPQ) makes selling complex products easier and faster. Configure price quote tools provide:

  • Near-instant quotes
  • Accurate, error-proof pricing
  • Onsite accurate spec’ing for order entry and creation of 2-D renderings
  • The ability to create multiple layouts so the customer can have choices without manually re-drawing each time
  • Instant proposal on-demand

Time is money for sales reps, and doing the detail work on an order is not selling. Configure price quote liberates the sales rep, assures the customer of order perfection and makes everyone happy sooner rather than later.

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