5 Benefits to Manufacturers That Put Product Configurators to Use
A product configurator is a critical part of a proper CPQ strategy and solution that increasse profitability and dramatically improves the customer experience.
December 3, 2019
In an earlier post, we shared the 6 Manufacturing “Must Haves” for Product Configurator Software. As we considered that list of “must haves” a number of benefits came to mind, so why not spin up another blog in this series to outline the five major benefits of manufacturers implementing a visual CPQ solution?
Sales people will make and receive fewer transactional calls. They can focus on closing deals or working with more strategic accounts. As an example, with Tuff Shed’s KBMax and Salesforce solution they were able to eliminate 500,000 phone calls per year.
Engineering will not be forced to keep rendering new CAD drawings as salespeople, distributors, or customers can configure their product themselves and see it update instantly.
Manufacturing will get accurate, clear, and concise parts lists, bills of manufacture, assembly instructions and more to speed up production and reducing material waste and errors.
Customers love to be able to see a product before they buy, and especially previewing the exact product that they’ve customized in just the way that they want. This immediate feedback in how it looks, the price, and the ability to place the order directly eliminates the unnecessary back-and-forth of 2, 3, 4 interactions and chances to ‘dodge the sales guy’ and find another vendor.
In cases where Sales is require to be involved in the sale, the ability to visual configure the product simplifies the process and puts constraints around what they can order ensuring a product can be created by the production process. The automatically generated images and CAD drawings eliminate the need for engineering to be involved in the process, handling only exceptions or their enhancing work.
We already established that your teams can be protected from getting inundated with basic product questions, assembling quotes, or dealing with change requests. All of that back-and-forth, manual editing, and communications slows down the entire process.
With your CPQ software tuned up properly, you can compress these cycles dramatically as quote and order data can push to your other systems, product renderings can be generated automatically, and manufacturing automation can expedite and clarify what is happening on the shop floor.
Eliminate the choke point of your sales or engineering teams as they will no longer have to field constant calls and change requests to alter a quote or order as everything can be changed on the fly – even directly by a customer.
An added benefit is the ability to scale your sales operations without having to add salespeople to the team as these efficiencies will allow them to handle many more customers. A good benchmark for product companies to shoot for would be a classic 80/20 rule – where CPQ would allow 80% of orders to be fully configured and ordered without aid from the sales staff, leaving the outlying 20% of deals for your salespeople to handle which require heavier customizations or other reasons for hand-holding.
3D visual configurators as part of a CPQ solution is powerful in helping your customers envision the real-world uses, constraints, and opportunities afforded to them when they are able to build a product in real-time. Buyers can clearly see when a product option will benefit them which means they have the ability to upsell themselves with little to no reluctance, because it wasn’t forced on them – instead, they discovered the solution for themselves and the added cost becomes secondary to solving the issue.
DJ is a long-time marketing consultant and technologist, helping companies with marketing strategy and marketing technology. He loves telling stories about applied technologies and the impacts it has on buyers.