Quotation management software does more than organize outstanding quotes. It gives you the confidence to know that prices quoted over time and across your organization are consistent, accurate and aligned with your marketing strategy.
Prospect Phone Calls: The Blast from the Past
Most of us have experienced the phone call from a prospect months after you figured a possible deal was dead. Out of the blue, they call and want to move ahead with a deal you proposed eons ago. That should be good news, right? Actually, it’s bad news if the prospect expects you to honor a price that doesn’t resemble anything you would have quoted.
Maybe the numbers came from a different vendor, or perhaps the customer pulled the numbers from some notes jotted down during a discussion of options at the time. Worse yet, maybe another rep who quoted some deal in a confusing way, left the company, and now you inherit the mess.
Sales Quotes: They’re All about Follow-Through
Another common problem is the dropped ball of forgetting to follow through. You do all of the upfront work, you get the solution perfectly aligned with your prospect’s needs and you even submit a nice presentation proposal. Everyone smiles, nods and then, we’ll get back with you!
After that, you wait a week or two, and they tell you to call back next month. You go on vacation, they go on vacation, a new campaign launches and the quarter end comes and goes. In short, you lose track. You have a quote pending, and you’ve forgotten all about it.
Right Hand Low Ball, Left Hand High Ball
You handle the Bixley account because you are the best rep in the local office. Bixley is a national account with offices all over the country.
You are called in to provide a quote for your flagship product, the Auto-Widget Mark 2! Everything is fine until the pricing is discussed. It seems that your Topeka office sold the Bixley-Topeka Mark 2 for about 25% less than you are quoting today.
This does not seem to amuse the customer at all.
What’s the Deal? Who’s on First, What’s on Second ….
It’s a big day! After months and months of arm wrestling, negotiating, cajoling, promising and flat out nose-to-nose hard selling, the prospect is signaling they want to buy. You hustle in with contracts and a summary proposal.
Things immediately go south. They say you offered a volume discount on product A. Your memory is that the discount involved a trade-in. They say you offered implementation services at a fixed, low-end price. You swear they were going to handle installation themselves and pay for an extended service agreement.
No one seems to have anything in writing, so the deal you were about to close is now further away than ever.
Quotation Management Software Has Your Back
There is nothing unusual or far-fetched about any of these examples. Stuff happens, time goes by and memories fade. People always remember low prices when they buy, and they remember high prices when they sell. The real price is somewhere in the middle. An effective quotation management software system will serve as the elephant memory to clarify and testify to exactly what was quoted, by whom and for how much.
Quotation management software (QMS) comes in many forms including stand-alone functionality. But, the benefits are most fully reaped by baking QMS functionality into larger, more integrated technologies within the enterprise. Configuration software, or CPQ, is a natural venue for QMS.
CPQ scripting prompts and guides the conversation taking place between Sales and the customer. The customer provides the critical information needed to make configuration decisions regarding functional options, levels of services required and general sophistication of the ultimate solution being proposed.
Any and all of those factors have a bearing on pricing and the individual elements used to drive the pricing quoted. This is true for individual line-item prices as well as the ultimate rolled-up price at the bottom of a proposal.
Customers love to ask for ballpark prices early in a buy cycle. Many deals have been ultimately lost because of the expectation set by an early, ballpark quote that proved to be totally inadequate in light of the realities associated with the prospect’s needs.
QMS will allow for ballpark quoting, but it also should provide a backup in the form of a written description of what is and is not included in the quote. CPQ solutions will automate the quotation and proposal generation process, which makes quoting and documenting the given quote a much more useful and less-risky process.
Quotation management software is essential functionality that should be included in your CPQ solution.