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.
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.
With less than a month until the end of the fiscal year, it is crucial for manufacturers to ensure that they end the year on a high note, mirroring industry expectations. This includes ensuring productivity levels stay high, overhead costs stay low, and that your allocated budget is used to maximise revenue in preparation for the next fiscal year.
Q4 is interesting from a budgeting point of view, especially, as frugal budgeting measures in the first 3 quarters of the year can lead to a surplus that needs to be used within Q4. This isn’t indicative of poor budgeting; in fact, it’s an opportunity for manufacturers to use that excess budget to lock down measures for the next year.
Choosing a Configure-Price-Quote solution is complex. Your manufacturing business might have already lost money on inaccurate quotes and RFQs lost to competitors; choosing the wrong CPQ provider can cost you more revenue.
The question of "How quickly can the CPQ solution be implemented?" can become a main decision driver for businesses in fast-paced environments. From our years of experience, we can tell you that it depends on 3 main questions.
The JPMorgan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) has steadily hovered above the 50 point mark (indicating expansion instead of contraction) in the last year. This month it has hit its highest since April 2011, at 53.5. This leaves the industry looking healthy for Q4, with many countries (including Singapore, Germany, and the United States) showing increased activity in the manufacturing sector.
How can your company get ahead of the competition, win more RFQs, get more business, and keep costs low? Well, unless your business has a very unique product, your opportunities lie with streamlining your processes and a profitable sales approach.
‘It takes too long to get a detailed RFQ! Your competitor quotes within hours instead of weeks.’
If this sounds familiar to you, then you need to re-evaluate your sales processes - urgently. Yes, a good product or attractive price for a manufacturing solution can help you close a quick deal. But ultimately customer satisfaction - even within the quoting phase - will define whether you retain them and get referral business. According to Zendesk, 62% of B2B customers purchased more after a good customer service experience, while 66% stopped buying after a bad customer service interaction. Which side would you want your business to be on?
Manufacturers today are facing several challenges around the revenue generating unit of their business: Sales. When your sales team’s job includes to calculate production costs, configure the right solution out of a million options and compile Bills of Material extending hundreds of posts, sales has transformed from a number into a data game.
Navigating through the day to day workings of a manufacturing business can be both exhausting and debilitating. Trying to avoid any additional costs and risks to these slim margins, the inevitable long cycle times and a sales process so disconnected from your manufacturing operations, you wonder if you are living in the stone age.