When working with my clients, they readily understand how the deployment of a CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote) solution can help them reduce sales errors. After all, we are human, and every one of us have days where we misplace a decimal point or enter in a wrong SKU. Just in writing this little post I have made a few spelling errors (of which I hope I caught all of them before posting). CPQ’s ability to help salespeople, order management and the customer with data automation for their entry tasks is easily understood. But one thing that isn’t readily apparent is how CPQ can help them win more sales.
Here are three ways that CPQ can help your business increase sales. While these take more of an e-commerce bent, the same principles come into play with your internal sales teams or sales channels.
The “Pretty Little Package”
No matter where you live, you have probably seen a roadside fruit stand selling watermelons, oranges, or in my neck of the woods “gator jerky”. The prices seem to be a good bargain, and you might think to maybe even stop and buy something from there, until you see they also offer “Gulf Shrimp”. You don’t see a mini-fridge in that truck bed, and so suddenly you floor it and head off. No matter how wired we might naturally be to find a bargain, we can certainly be swayed by other factors. In that case it is a 50-cent piece of fruit, but it could easily be a $50,000 piece of capital equipment. We don’t want it to look like what we are about to buy fell off the back of a truck or isn’t of good quality. In the case of a website or the process of assembling a complex product or service for purchase, if the information is hard to navigate, understand, or decipher, it just leaves a bad taste. A CPQ solution allows companies to present a professional, pleasant, and polished package (or website) which makes their customer feel good about their purchase and can ultimately be the differentiator about which vendor we choose to go with in the future.
The Amazon Experience
This particular point builds on our first one, and has to do with how Amazon has added fuel to the fire of our already increasingly shortened attention spans. Buyers now demand an “I want what I want, when I want it, for the price that I want” experience. A CPQ toolset allows you to provide that type of experience for your specific product or service, but you still control how much of that information is available for the customer at that time. A paint color that requires additional lead time? You can let them know right then and there. Other products or accessories that are typically bought at the same time? Done. Immediate feedback on the pricing of changes to a particular configuration. Totally up to you. But the overall point is that if you can be the first to prove to the customer that you can provide what they want, when they want, at a price that is acceptable, then they are more likely to buy from you.
The “Let’s Pretend”
Think of your past experiences of working with a salesperson on an item with a lot of possible options and it probably doesn’t paint a pleasurable picture. We can likely recall a moment of dread about browsing in a high-end store or a car lot. And that’s not totally unfounded – because we know that if we say we have a casual interest in some particular product, suddenly we are on the hook for it. You’ve seen it on TV or movies, where the best advice on how to buy a car is to deny how much you like the car you’re interested in. That’s where a CPQ tool acts like a stealth salesman. Without the pressure of “being on the hook”, customers are free to explore different options, packages, and add-ons. And this stress-free buying experience is the key to an increase in average transaction size. In fact, our customers often share that the average transaction size increases by anywhere from 15 to 30% since the customer can customize the product to fit their requirements. And the customer did it to themselves!