How CPQ Software Solves the 5 Biggest Challenges Facing Sales Teams Today
September 8, 2020
Your sales reps are supposed to be selling. But they’re not. Research shows they’re spending just 34% of their time bringing in new business and the rest generating quotes, creating proposals, waiting on engineering input, and (most frustratingly of all) gaining approvals. Imagine if you could free your reps from the burden of these tedious, repetitive, menial sales tasks and 3X their productivity! Well, with CPQ software, you can.
Below, we shine a light on five of the biggest challenges facing sales teams like yours and explore how they can be solved with the implementation of CPQ software.
CPQ software saves time and increases efficiency in several ways. First, with a visual product configurator, sales reps can assemble complex products visually rather than scrolling through an endless list of part numbers in Excel. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, so if you want to supercharge configuration speed, the process has to be visual.
With visual CPQ software, users can resize objects, change colors, add and remove parts, upgrade features, and more by pointing and clicking or dragging and dropping to assemble products in a 3D scene. Prices update in real-time as the user customizes their selection, and, upon submission, a compelling quote in the form of a PDF is automatically generated. Reps spend less time formatting and number crunching and more time selling!
KBMax’s CPQ software generates more than just PDFs, though. It can automatically produce detailed technical drawings, CNC cut sheets, CAD files, and more without engineering input. Engineers can spend more time innovating and less time bogged down in menial and time-consuming tasks that lengthen sales cycles and threaten customer retention.
Learn how manufacturers are gaining a competitive advantage by introducing CPQ to complex product ordering and manufacturing.
The market demands customization, but providing custom options means more complexity, and complexity means mistakes. Reps are spending ages configuring products only for them to be rejected by engineering because they’re technically unworkable. If only the most experienced sales reps can wrap their heads around your extensive product range, how will new hires manage?
With CPQ software, the configuration process is governed by CPQ product rules – little bits of logic that prevent users from configuring technically or financially nonviable products. Fewer mistakes mean fewer delays, returns, and chargebacks, and increased customer satisfaction.
KBMax’s product rules are built using the KBMax Snap Rules Engine, so-called because even non-technical users can simply ‘snap’ together blocks of logic to create complex expressions that ensure perfectly optimized configurations every time, as well as engineering and manufacturing consistency.
No one doubts the importance of pricing, yet sales reps frequently over-discount to secure deals to the detriment of margins. And a weakly enforced pricing strategy gives reps too much autonomy over pricing decisions creating inconsistencies – different reps quote different prices for the same products. That makes no sense. Underpricing hurts your bottom line, but worse than that, it undermines your future negotiating position and risks upsetting customers when discounted prices can’t be maintained over the long-term.
CPQ software harnesses machine learning power to provide powerful data-driven insights and optimized prices for each customer. Sales reps can still offer discounts but within a carefully managed environment. Price approval requests are sent automatically to the right person (a 5% discount might go to a line manager and a 10% discount to a VP, for example) and can be approved with a single click. Changes to list prices filter down to reps instantly. And all without a single email being sent.
Gone are the days of face-to-face deals and relationship selling. In the “Amazon era,” B2B buyers are looking for the same consumer-like customer experience, whether they’re buying for business or personal use. They want to self serve, preferring to configure their products independently online with a sales rep on hand if (and only if) support is required.
With CPQ software, you can embed a visual product configurator into your B2B eCommerce website for use by visitors. They can adapt and customize products with prices updating in real-time, and when they’re ready to purchase, get out their credit card and do so, regardless of where they might be in the world, or what device they’re using.
The more money we spend on an item, the more likely we are to want to see it first – few people would buy a sports car without taking it for a test drive. Still, we expect B2B buyers to part with vast sums of money for customized products they’ve never even set eyes on (let alone taken for a spin around the block.)
Companies that lack visual representations of their products try to compensate for their shortcomings by pumping out more, highly detailed text-based product information. But it only makes things worse – the internet is overflowing with text, and it’s only exacerbating analysis paralysis!
With CPQ software like KBMax, you can display a 3D visual representation of your configured products to customers – there’s no room for misunderstandings or underwhelming outcomes. Sales reps gain a deep visual understanding of the products they’re selling, and buyers experience far less pre-purchase anxiety. Deal sizes increase, while chargebacks, returns, and rework decline.
VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) take visuals to a whole other level. VR places buyers inside a simulated reality where they can interact with your products in the most lifelike way possible. They can “use” a piece of machinery or “fly” around a product, viewing it from every angle. It’s more captivating than any real-life showroom visit.
AR, meanwhile, overlays a 3D representation of your product onto a background captured live by the camera on your smartphone (or another device.) Both VR and AR provide a fully immersive buying experience that elevates your sales process above those of competitors. Customers actually enjoy configuring products and connect with your brand on a more visceral level.
Lauren has over 11 years of marketing experience and has learned from industry experts at companies like HP and Salesforce.