Quoting Software: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?
April 9, 2021
Deloitte estimates that 36 percent of all consumers want customized products from their favorite brands. One in five will even pay a premium for it, and most will wait a few extra days for it to arrive.
The 2020s have brought a new level of accessibility to customization – with it has come huge demand. Providing accurate, up-to-date quotes on customized products can be a headache. But with quoting software, it’s easy.
Sales quoting software enables businesses to quickly deliver customized products and quotes even when product options number in the dozens or hundreds. That’s especially critical for the manufacturing industry, which requires uncompromising accuracy in those configurations.
Here’s a closer look at what quoting software is and why you should be using it to drive your business.
Quoting software – often referred to as CPQ or configure-price-quote – is a handy tool for getting accurate pricing for customizable products out to your customers fast.
It works like this:
A customer calls one of your sales reps and tells them what they need. The sales rep enters features into the configurator, which automatically calculates the price based on the given variables. That number goes back to the client. The whole process takes a few minutes.
Learn how manufacturers are gaining a competitive advantage by introducing CPQ to complex product ordering and manufacturing.
It can also work like this:
A customer visits your website and plays around with your 3D configurator. The price updates in real-time as they select different options. When they’ve settled on the combination of features and addons that they like, they put it in their shopping cart and check out like a normal ecommerce transaction.
If you’ve ever selected options like colors, custom text, fabrics, or other preferences, then you’ve interacted with a brand powering its customer experience with CPQ. Today’s visual CPQ solutions are so advanced that they can do the same for buyers of highly technical, configurable products in the biotech space.
Imagine what your company could achieve if your sales reps spent more than 36 percent of their time actually selling. Because that’s the average proportion of time reps devote to revenue-generating activities.
Even if your company currently uses a CRM, there’s a good chance that CPQ represents an opportunity to streamline manual business processes. This is where 60 percent of your sales reps’ time gets squandered.
Sales automation software, or a CPQ, that integrates with your chosen CRM, takes a tremendous burden off your sales team by taking over the rote processes they would otherwise need to do by hand. In the process, it also:
Are you using Excel to track your current pricing and product options? You’re not alone. If the hundreds of Excel templates available for such purposes are any indication, it’s one of the more popular uses for this powerful program.
But if you’re producing complex products, it’s a horrible solution.
Excel has many wonderful uses. But using it for configurations, pricing, and quotes introduces risks your business doesn’t need. For example:
When it comes to software solutions, options exist from well-known vendors like Salesforce, HubSpot, and IBM to smaller, more specialized vendors.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are better or worse choices depending on your specific business needs and industry. That’s especially true for companies in manufacturing. Here’s a closer look at what the best quoting software for manufacturing looks like.
You’re specifically looking for two things:
These monolithic programs assume that if you’re big enough to rely on a CRM, you probably need every feature you can get.
On the flip side, highly specialized solutions may go in the opposite direction. They’ll give you only the tools you need to manage your backend or provide a sophisticated configurator but rely too heavily on your CRM for product details.
When it comes to quoting software for manufacturing, you need to find the proverbial Goldilocks fit. That means it:
Many CPQ solutions are solely backend services. That means they don’t have any public or customer-facing component. The product configurator is reserved for your sales rep, and there’s no support for embedding it on your website.
For today’s buyers, that won’t do. Increasingly, they want to self-serve.
Therefore, look for:
When your company produces complex and customized products, using quoting software is a best practice. CPQ solutions like Salesforce CPQ, KBMax, and others can help streamline your entire sales cycle – from customer wish through manufacturing and delivery.
We’ve covered what quoting software is, how it works, and the benefits that you can reap from deploying it in your business. We’ve even taken a look at a few tools for B2B and B2C companies of all sizes to give you a sense of what’s out there.
No matter what quoting software you choose, make sure it’s sales automation software that makes you faster, more efficient, and better able to respond to your customers’ needs. That’s the only way forward in the era of mass customization at scale.
Emily is a marketing professional with knowledge across branding, digital strategy, and creative content. She enjoys educating her audience on the benefits of products and how their ease and use can help with efficiency and problem solving.