When Henry Ford established the concept of the eight-hour workday, he essentially developed a three-shift day to support his business model. This industrial timing has carried over into today’s work environments, even though the way we work now differs substantially from Ford’s day.
Today’s businesspeople are often expected to manage their professional lives 24/7 and be responsive anytime, anywhere via mobile devices. As a result, speed is now an incredibly valuable commodity.
When your company offers solutions that help your customers achieve greater speed, they’re able to increase capacity and productivity. And that increased speed, capacity and productivity gives your customers an opportunity to create an improved experience for their own customers.
When we’re talking about increasing speed in the context of a B2B sales process, we’re really talking about three areas: Your speed of execution, your responsiveness and how quickly your sales organization is able to adopt new tools. Let’s look at each area in more detail:
1) Speed of execution: Another way to think about this speed is sales productivity — your sales team’s ability to generate the revenue and margin your company needs. And there are several ways to increase that ability with sales effectiveness tools, including price optimization, CRM and CPQ (configure, price, quote).
For example, sales organizations are seeing dramatic increases in productivity when they adopt a CPQ tool. When you compare the average number of quotes produced each month by sales reps using CPQ (20.9) versus those without (14), the latest research from the Aberdeen Group hows that CPQ delivers a 49.2 percent increase.
2) Speed of responsiveness: This kind of speed is similar to execution, but there’s an additional emotional component to it that helps build customer relationships. Using tools like CPQ allows sales reps to deliver fast, accurate quotes and respond more quickly to customers with relevant offers that don’t waste their time. As a result, your customers are more likely to see your company as the fastest and most responsible option. And because people sense the value of that speed in terms of their own responsiveness and see that it offers the opportunity to reclaim more of their personal time, you’re going to win their business.
3) Speed of adoption: Any time you’re introducing new tools to improve the sales process, such as CRM and CPQ, you want your sales team to adopt those tools as quickly as possible. The faster they start using these tools, the faster you start seeing results in terms of sales productivity and greater value for both your company and your customers.
Ford introduced the eight-hour workday to start a cycle that created customers who could afford his product — a model built around price. The factory workers would make the cars, Ford would pay the workers and the workers would then be able to afford to buy the cars. But he also needed to make sure people had time to use the cars. The eight-hour workday gave him the capacity to produce cars and customers in a balanced equation.
For today’s businesspeople, the eight-hour workday is often only a polite fiction, a relic from the industrial past that doesn’t adequately describe the realities of knowledge workers. Now, speed is the new currency of business.
But one thing has remained constant from Ford’s era: There’s only so much time in the day. CPQ tools offer a great opportunity to make the most of that time, for your sales reps as well as your customers. It allows you to drive speed in execution for each stage of the configure, price, quote process, which combine to improve responsiveness and help you win more business.