Today's guest post is by Steel Brick Founder, Max Rudman.
The recession officially ended in June 2009, but many sales organizations remain under significant economic pressure. Companies have slashed their budgets and reduced payroll to improve productivity, requiring sales teams to sell more with fewer resources. Meanwhile, shifts in buyer behaviors have lengthened sales cycles. These factors combine to create the perfect storm for today’s sales enterprise.
It's harder – and it takes longer – to sell.
But good news comes from recent Bain & Company research: Companies are twice as likely to substantially expand and maintain their market share immediately after a recession. Now is the time to make strategic investments in operational efficiency and reap the corollary topline benefits before it's too late.
Many industry leaders use configure/price/quote (CPQ) tools to inject speed and accuracy into their sales engines. In the following two-part post, I'll discuss the top 10 ways CPQ automation software can help your sales force improve its performance and catapult corporate revenues.
Top 10 Advantages of CPQ
1. Help your sales team to spend more time selling.
The average sales rep squanders 45 percent of his or her day on inefficient tasks, yet a simple 5 percent increase in selling time can increase company revenues by 20 percent. By integrating with your CRM software, CPQ software automates many time-consuming tasks and eliminates your sales team's need to reinvent the wheel. Your reps will spend less time in the office and more time out in the field doing what you pay them to do: generate leads and cultivate new business.
2. Rapidly create winning proposals.
Proposals don't win new business when they merely present products and pricing. They must also persuade your prospects with a clear and convincing message. Luckily, CPQ solutions automatically include all data sheets, case studies, and other critical content relevant to your proposal and prospect's industry. This saves your sales reps and channel partners time, eliminates human error, and inspires key decision makers to sign on the dotted line. Plus, sales teams using CPQ solutions create 80 percent more proposals per sales rep per month than non-CPQ users.
3. Know your price is right.
The more complex your offerings, the more variables will affect your pricing quotes – especially when product bundles and volume discounts come into play. Relevant pricing information is often spread across multiple sources and may not reflect your most recent pricing structures. But CPQ tools ensure that your sales reps can access current pricing information in one place and that you feel confident your outgoing proposals honor your margins and drive profits.
4. Correct configuration.
Studies estimate human error accounts for at least 30 percent of all mistakes in the workplace, especially in repetitive tasks. When your sales reps manually configure proposals or place orders, blunders are unavoidable – and they can significantly detract from your bottom line. Fortunately, CPQ software enables sales by eliminating 40 percent of human error. Not only can you add products to a deal and edit those products at the same time, you can bundle extra options, as well as product dependencies and exclusions. You'll establish rules to automatically prevent incompatible orders, generate better quotes and proposals quicker, and win more deals.
5. Create and sustain a good first impression with proposals.
Consistency is key. You know the business proposals that your sales team creates directly influence how customers perceive your brand, but it's difficult to ensure that each rep generates proposals in the same format, with an executive summary and ROI justification. CPQ tools standardize your sales proposals, giving you control over not only what is quoted, but also the proposals' appearance. Your reps will make a cohesive, professional impression that enhances your brand. You'll sign more deals and watch your renewal rates surge.
Stay tuned for part two of this post, and find out five more ways to shrink your sales cycle and rake in more revenue.