Sales is a tough job. They need to chase prospects or handle accounts, pitch products and solutions against competitors, and then negotiate prices to make the right person sign on the dotted line. This process itself can take weeks and often months.
Now imagine that your product isn’t one single item, but is millions of tiny pieces that make up one product. Or that your offered product doesn't even exist yet and you have to figure out how to best serve your customer whilst keeping profitability in mind. Don’t have to imagine it because you’re living it? Well, let me guess: You work in the Manufacturing Industry, possibly the make-to-order (MTO) or engineer-to-order (ETO) sectors. One where product configurations can be immensely complex, customisations and requests happen daily, and your success depends on a variety of factors, including how fast you reply to that RFQ.
The Costs And Risks Of Inaccuracies
This can lead to one legacy that you don’t want your manufacturing business to be associated with: one where mistakes are made frequently from start to end, causing a dip in RFQs won, multiple delivery issues, and ultimately, a reduction in profit margins. This can happen particularly often if you don’t have any existing product, configuration or pricing models. No matter how detail-oriented your sales team is, it is tough to churn out quotations and potential configurations quickly when engineering’s input is required, every step of the way.
You can do three things when this happens. You can:
- Ignore the problem and continue to let revenue slip away
- Fire your sales team and keep training new ones until you find that one unicorn who never makes mistakes
- Keep your sales team, and look to investing in specific automation processes that will reduce mistakes significantly
For us, the answer is clearly number 3. Industry 4.0 is going to lead the way when it comes to the future of manufacturing, and embracing it responsibly will only lead to increased revenue and reduced cost.
The Sales Automation Tool Manufacturing Sales Teams Need
So, what you need then, is a solution that will automate that complex process, while still giving you enough leeway to make changes, give discounts, and get approvals quickly. The key here is efficiency and accuracy.
The solution would have to integrate with your existing ERP in order to pull data that is up-to-date. It also needs to be able to relay that data to a CRM, which your sales team can easily use. This would make implementation more straight-forward, as you wouldn’t have to completely overhaul all your processes. At the same time, it needs to be able to include any existing models you have, even if they are done in Excel format.
As mentioned, your user, or sales team, would also need to customise the quotation with the choice to add discounts or make changes, and get approval from teams quickly.
In this case, the best solution would be a Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) software which can do all of the above. A reliable CPQ can make your sales teams more productive, and give your business the boost in profitability it needs.
Don't forget to choose a CPQ that integrates with your CRM smoothly, as that user-interface (UI) and user experience (UX) choice will reduce training time needed for your sales team, and also provide an extra incentive to use the tool.
Learn about how a CPQ solution can help you by watching our 2-minute explainer video!