How Manufacturers Can Gain Visibility and Control with Configure Price Quote Tools
November 3, 2020
If you’re a manufacturer up against the uncertainty of 2020, your legacy software could be your competitive disadvantage. It’s time to ditch Excel, Word, and other on-prem solutions. To boost visibility and control, you need to consolidate all your configure price quote tools in one cloud-based CPQ solution that analyzes your data and gives you results in real-time (after all, that’s the speed at which business people make decisions.)
Configure price quote tools make it easy for manufacturers of even the most complex products to provide customization at scale without adding any extra stress into the mix. And contrary to popular opinion, these tools are straightforward to set up and use. The best CPQ software for small business can be maintained in-house, enhancing flexibility and agility while keeping outside costs low.
CPQ (configure price quote) is software designed to streamline and optimize configuration, pricing, and quoting processes across various industries. But the most significant efficiency and profitability gains are felt by manufacturers of engineer-to-order products that want to provide customization at scale.
CPQ helps buyers select and configure products and bundles that fit their needs and budgetary constraints while maximizing sellers’ profit and manufacturing efficiency. The software calculates each configured product’s optimal price based on any combination of internal and external variants – cost, competition, market, customer, and more – and automatically generates a compelling quote without the need for manual calculations or formatting.
It’s no mystery that CPQ has a major impact on customer experiences, but what can it do for your organization?
Harnessing the best configure price quote tools results in substantial increases in deal size, conversion rate, and quote-to-cash speed while dramatically reducing approval time and sales cycles. But which specific tools make the biggest impact and provide the most significant ROI? Before committing to any CPQ vendor, make sure you look out for these tools during your CPQ demo.
Rather than picking options from an endless list of codes, visual CPQ enables product configuration through a highly intuitive visual interface. Customers can build out their customized products by pointing and clicking to change colors, dimensions, parts, perspectives, and more. As they make changes, a 3D representation of their configured product dynamically changes in real-time.
3D visual product configuration provides a fully immersive shopping experience that gives buyers a deep understanding of customized products before they’re shipped. Not only is visual product configuration a marked differentiator in competitive markets, but it connects buyers to products on an emotional level that increases conversion rates by 40%. The most advanced visual product configurators have AR and VR capabilities. They allow buyers to interact with, and even use, products within a simulated reality, enhancing decision-making and keeping pre-purchase anxiety to a minimum.
Visual product configuration automates the more menial, slow, repetitive sales tasks, allowing sales reps, even new hires, to become trusted advisors to customers and provide a best-in-class customer experience. Greater agility pushes your reps to the front of the quote queue, way ahead of competitors stuck using Excel and a combination of other legacy tools they outgrew years ago.
Visual product configurators contain product and pricing rules that eliminate human error and ensure:
Each CPQ has its way of handling CPQ product rules, but the best combine algorithmic sophistication with accessibility. KBMax’s Snap rules engine, for example, is highly advanced from a technical standpoint (it’s Turing complete) but can be maintained by non-technical users.
With Snap, rules are created by dragging blocks around and snapping them together to form logic statements. Dropdowns, color-pickers, and familiar buttons make the job even more intuitive. Building, testing, learning, and improving rules can all take place in-house without the need for coding skills, saving small businesses a fortune in development costs.
With document automation, sales teams can cut out all the error-prone, time-sapping, manual work associated with creating quotes by generating them automatically with a single click. Companies have total control over how their quotes look, from branding, logos, and product images, to pricing, terms, and shipping options.
The best CPQ solutions can do more than generate quotes, however. KBMax can automate the creation of CAD drawings, cut sheets, BOMs, and instruction documents, too, distributing data to where it’s needed, closing the loop between sales, engineering, and production teams.
CAD and design automation clears engineering bottlenecks. There are no more back-of-a-napkin sketches as design constraints are defined and validated up-front. Engineers can spend more time on R&D. And, sales reps can be confident that every product will be viable from the get-go, avoiding embarrassing back-and-forth with buyers over niggly changes.
Under a dynamic pricing model, manufacturers alter their prices according to various fluctuating variables, such as demand (think Uber’s surge prices,) time of day (travel fares are higher during rush hour), and competitor behavior (Amazon changes the prices of thousands of its products daily in response to competitor prices.)
Dynamic pricing lets manufacturers capture more of the consumer surplus that other suppliers leave behind. And retain flexibility and responsiveness in the face of an ever-changing market, maximizing value captured from every transaction. CPQ solutions contain all the complicated pricing rules and scenarios required to make dynamic pricing not only achievable but easy.
Most forward-looking manufacturers leverage multiple cloud-based tools. The best CPQ solutions have a full REST API to integrate with virtually any business system, from ERPs to CRMs. With 7,200,000 active users and 150,000 business customers, Salesforce is the crucial CRM to mesh with, and KBMax is arguably the best CPQ software for Salesforce. An ISV partner in the Salesforce ecosystem, KBMax handles the most complex Salesforce CPQ product rules and has been designed with manufacturers of complex engineer-to-order products in mind.
Peter Drucker was right when he wrote: “What gets measured gets managed.” If you want to improve user experience with any degree of replicability, you need to closely monitor how customers interact with your products and react accordingly.
With a visual product configurator, which can be embedded into an external B2B eCommerce website, companies can track user events to identify why visitors are leaving without converting and how you can put it right. This data can be analyzed within the CPQ admin or exported to a third-party analytics platform.
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.