If you’ve been in sales for any amount of time, you’ve encountered the funnel-jammer, that sale that seems to be whizzing through your pipeline only to get stuck somewhere near the end of the deal. It may be because of a process in your company – an approval for a discount, for instance, or your inability to provide a key piece of content to the customer. Whatever it is, it forces your sales reps to stop, backtrack, and chase down the problem. That’s not time spent selling – it’s time spent trying to rescue a sale that’s on the rocks, one that should have closed easily.
This is one of the areas where configure-price-quote (CPQ) software can save your bacon. By automating these processes, delivery of content and confirmation of pricing can be done automatically – there’s no negotiation, no need to wheedle a sales manager into giving his approval, and no fretting over margins. The software takes care of it.
That’s not the only place that CPQ comes to the rescue. Repetitive tasks present myriad opportunities for human error, and errors during the creation of proposals and quotes can be very costly (both in terms of lost margin, when a quote is mistakenly too low, and lost sales, when the quote is erroneously too high). By getting things right the first time, CPQ can squeeze an amazing 40 percent of errors out of the process.
During the proposal phase, CPQ solutions automatically include all pertinent content to your prospects. Instead of digging through libraries and emailing prospects what they can find, salespeople can deliver content on time and on topic. The effect is impressive: according to Selling Power, reps using CPQ solutions create 80 percent more proposals per month than non-CPQ users.
CPQ can even help you make existing customers’ lifecycles more lucrative. As quotes and proposals are created, the software provides automated up-sell and cross-sell suggestions. In companies with rich product mixes, this is a great asset – your salespeople no longer have to memorize your vast catalog and can make the right offer at the right time and do so in less time, even as the average quote and order size increases.
These practical and pragmatic improvements to the sales process can make a tremendous impact on sales reps’ numbers and on the profitability of the organization. If you’re a sales rep and your sales manager hasn’t provided you with a CPQ tool, start demanding that he or she does. If you’re a sales manager and you’re not providing a CPQ tool to your reps, stop right now and look at the numbers in a brand-new report from Aberdeen – or, if you’re at Dreamforce, come see CallidusCloud Vice President, Product Management Dan Koellhofer at the Partner Theatre at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He’s leading a session called “Configure Price Quote Contract Compensate: Lead to Money Simplified,” and will spell out the benefits of CPQ when it’s included with CRM and other parts of a selling software infrastructure.
Even if you can’t make it, dig into the numbers. If your company’s sales are in any way complex, there’s a very good chance that CPQ will help you close more deals and make more money from the deals you close.