Shifting Into Hyper Drive With Configure, Price, Quote Software

January 1, 2015 Russ Chadinha

Imagine you’re at the airport to catch an early morning flight. The lines are already backed up as people go through the increasingly elaborate process of getting through security. But you walk right past that line. An agent takes your bags to the front of the conveyor belt for the scanner and tells you, “Have a nice flight!”

That’s the kind of exceptional experience available at a few airports now for customers of Clear, one of the companies providing registered traveler services for airport security. Today’s customers expect an intuitive, elegant experience when doing business with you. If you meet or exceed those expectations, like Clear does, customers are glad to pay — and tell their friends about your great service.

There is a hidden, yet extremely important characteristic of these experiences underpinning what makes them great – quick and easy. They save time and make the experience easy.

Buying from you shouldn’t be hard. Seems obvious, but your are not alone if there are many instances where your customers are standing there, trying to hand you piles of cash to purchase your products and services and your company consistently finds ways to make it difficult for them to give it to you. Sounds silly when described this way, yet the reality isn’t far from this dramatization.

The bottom line is if you’re not meeting expectations around quick and easy, customers are going to find someone else that does.

Making it easier for your sales team to be even more responsive is a good place to start. Improving your sales team’s effectiveness is a big part of providing an excellent customer experience, and configure, price, quote software (CPQ) is a great solution in this regard.

Instead of your sales reps having to pull information from different spreadsheets and sets of product information to create a quote, CPQ quickly guides them through the product configuration and provides upsell and cross sell recommendations. This makes your reps more accurate and faster, effectively making them even more responsive to your customers. Now they are turning around complex quotes faster with greater accuracy and completeness, which makes it easier for your customers to do business with you quick and easy.

One key area of process improvement from CPQ solutions that often gets overlooked is their ability to automate workflows based on business rules. Typically, getting approval for a quote requires input from several different people, which slows your sales process to a crawl. With CPQ, you can establish business rules that automate the workflow approval process, helping your company become more nimble and responsive.

As an example, Hewlett-Packard had an automatic quote approval rate of 10 percent before it adopted pricing guidance and CPQ. After implementing the solution, automatic quote approval rose to 80 percent, greatly increasing the speed and nimbleness of the organization. Thanks to pricing guidance and CPQ that automated business rules for pricing and discount discipline, quotes that used to take hours and days now can take minutes, allowing HP to compete at the speed their customers expect.

The quick and easy impact from CPQ with integrated pricing guidance doesn’t stop there. Another way it improves the customer experience is by reducing the number of interactions. The product configuration and pricing are more accurate, which means fewer iterations of a quote. According to research by the Aberdeen Group, reps using CPQ deliver an average of 2.42 versions of a quote, compared to 2.74 versions — a 13 percent reduction.

As a result, you’re able to reduce the amount of your customer’s time taken up with administrative details. And because your reps spend less time on administrative tasks, they’re far more productive, putting out a higher volume of accurate quotes, which drives revenue and improves processes throughout your supply chain.

Speed is the new currency of business, and CPQ tools with integrated pricing guidance offer massive improvements in quote time that streamline your business process. When your sales team is faster and more effective, it allows your customers to also be faster and more responsive. This creates an environment of winning that increases your sales team’s confidence, driving more user adoption of the tools and making them better at delivering an exceptional, quick and easy experience.

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