When it comes to the competitive world of manufacturing sales, there are two factors that can affect your quote-to-close rates: speed of response, and accuracy of quote. Let us look at the first point, one that can plague many manufacturers with complex configurations and calculations.
Usually, when a potential deal comes in, the first thing the sales team would do is to understand the details and requirements. The second thing, is to consult any pre-existing product versions or configurations to see if they can be tweaked for this customer. In the end, though, they would still need to get stakeholders involved, from the engineering team to their purchasing departments, before a quotation can be pulled together. After the quotation is sent out, the potential client might then request for changes or discounts, leading to further rounds of approvals.
Slow Response Times Equal Slow Service
This inevitably means that closing a deal takes some time; delays can occur at any point in that process and cause the potential business opportunity to slip away. The phrase ‘First to close, First to deliver’ becomes important here: The speed of response can impact your business, as clients see quick and efficient responses on the sales side as an indication of the service they will receive if they close the deal with your company. Slow response times can thus hit your company’s reputation, leading to less potential business.
As you can see, this is not ideal. And if manufacturers stay with this old model of quoting, they will end up redundant, especially in the age of Industry 4.0. How should manufacturers increase the quote-to-close rates of their sales team and hence, their revenue?
Automation of Sales Processes
Embracing Industry 4.0 is important for any manufacturer, but we suggest starting your Industry 4.0 journey with a sales automation software like a Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) solution. A CPQ that is tailored for the manufacturing industry can help to protect the first line of contact between your business and potential clients.
With a CPQ software, all existing product, configuration, or pricing models (even those residing as LO/VC) in your ERP can be accessed quickly from the CRM itself, allowing for quicker turnaround time. Product modelling can be done in the CPQ itself as well, with the CPQ pulling details from the ERP. That makes your quotation more accurate, which means less changes will be required.
This first draft of the quotation can be automatically sent to various stakeholders for approval, through the creation of specific rules in the CPQ. Engineering will get an email requesting for action, and can change or edit the proposal accordingly. If that is approved by engineering, the logic can make the next gate the sales manager or purachasing department, allowing the entire approval process to be automated. This reduces the time needed for approval drastically, as everything can be managed through the CPQ.
After the quotation is approved by all stakeholders, the sales team can then export it in a format of their choosing, with relevant extra documents included at a click. This ensures that your sales teams can send out more accurate quotations quicker, leading to an efficient first step in increasing productivity.
Learn about how a CPQ solution can help you further by downloading our whitepaper, "Configure-Price-Quote for Manufacturing Industry 4.0: Values & Benefits"!