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Showing posts with label configure price quote. Show all posts
Showing posts with label configure price quote. Show all posts

What is a sales configurator ?

Posted On Monday, September 9, 2019




With an online sales configurator – like Tacton CPQ – your customers, resellers, retailers, and sales teams can easily configure and display their products on any device. Access to the online sales configurator is possible anytime and anywhere. It's much like having an experienced product manager who offers the best suggestions while ensuring products can be produced. The pricing module of the sales configurator will make sure the price is competitive and profitable.

The sales configurator controls what products are available to what user.  Changes to new products, options, pricing, promotions and marketing materials can be distributed instantaneously, so all sales channels always have accurate updated information.

A sales configurator helps translate product features into value and benefits. A sales configurator integrates rules and business logic for design, manufacturing and cost, and will reduce the training needs and the in-depth product knowledge. A sales configurator also reduces costs due to errors and incomplete offers.

By presenting the entire product range in an online sales configurator, your customers can configure their product choices, get quotes instantly, set accurate delivery dates, and even place orders with no or minimal impact on sales.

A sales configurator is often used to guide customers to the right buying decision based on their needs and budget. The “Guided Selling” approach identifies ways to promote higher value products and introduce new revenue streams, such as: service contracts, aftermarket packages, add-ons, and warranties.

By making it easier to buy the products thru the sales configurator enterprises build strong relationships with customers and strengthening brand loyalty. A smooth sales process has a very positive impact the sales process and the way companies bring their products to market.

Today's B2B and B2C customers want options and customizations for most offers. Customers also want to receive complex offerings in no-time. Finally, customers expect a quick response to changing demands on purchase contracts.

To provide customers with this flexibility the sales force will need tools like a sales configurator that accelerate supply, ensure accuracy, and make selling custom products and services as easy as selling standard offerings.

With a sales configurator a sales rep can create quotes and quotes that are instantly. It’s no longer necessary to search for price list information, brochures, old proposals and other sources. The sales representative doesn’t need to request expertise from other teams and departments. Instead, they can launch the sales configurator from a tablet or browser. Intuitive questionnaire will deliver the right product, the right price and a fancy quote within minutes.

The sales configurator business logic provides non-sequenced questions, 2D and 3D visualizations, and continuous calculations to ensure product conformity. Pricing, discounts, margins, and more are calculated in by the advanced pricing engine to ensure bottom line profit.

With an advanced sales configurator – like Tacton CPQ – a sales rep will NEVER get stuck between conflicting choices. The sales configurator will always present a valid product selection and will also indicate conflicting choices. There’s a big difference between different techniques to describe “the product rules”. All will stop you from doing wrong, just a few will help you do right. This makes a difference front-end but will also dramatically simplify maintenance of the business logic.

How a sales configurator contributes to business success

Customer Confidence: the product selection is customer centric and asks questions based on customer needs and budget. A sales configurator an suggest the optimal solution for a specific customer. This creates confidence

Guided Selling: A modern sales configurator will guide sales representatives through the sales / 
quotation process. The sales configurator quickly identify ways to cross-sell and up-sell accessories and other products, helping the sales representatives to better meet customers hidden needs.

"Selling the Impossible": Sales representatives will never again sell impossible solutions, products that can neither be produced or delivered. “Selling the impossible” is a far to frequent and often costly job mistake. In a sales configurator an impossible combinations is simply blocked.

Mobility for responsive service: Sales representatives can work anywhere on devices from laptops to smartphones to create and adjust outstanding quotes. The information is stored and version handled directly in the sales configurator.

Full Insight: With a modern sales configurator sales representative can quickly show how options can affect weight, price, production time, and other critical variables.  

Product Visualization: “Seeing is believing” and depending on customer expectations both the 2D and 3D views can be presented directly in the sales configurator. This makes the configuration easy to understand and has proven to shorten the sales cycle for both simple and complex products.

A sales configurator will change the way your sales representatives do business, negotiate complex deals and respond quickly to changing product and service requirements. Learn how to use the sales configurator to configure virtually anything on any device to ensure a fast quote and responsive customer service!

CPQ meaning

Posted On Wednesday, August 28, 2019

CPQ meaning


Definition

The meaning of CPQ is Configure Price Quote. The acronym is used to describe a system to support sales by guiding selling, governance of pricing and automation of document creation.

Configure Price Quote (CPQ) is the combination of techniques, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and customize products throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving customer service and assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth.

CPQ systems compile product and pricing data across different channels, across the company, which usually include the product management, sales, marketing and R&D.

A CPQ systems can also give customer-facing staff detailed information on buying preferences thru a guided sales process.

CPQ has historically been used by larger enterprises, but the market is now moving toward small and medium sized businesses mostly due to cloud technology lowering the overall cost.

Components of CPQ


At the most basic level, CPQ consolidates product information, pricing and documents into a single “CPQ database” so business users can more easily access correct information. Business logic explains dependencies and ensure product correctness, pricing alignment and unified quote documents.

Over time, many additional functions have been added to CPQ systems to make them more useful. Some of these functions include automating various workflows, various calculations, advanced pricing structures and pricing models. Analytic capability gives managers the ability to track customer preferences and product inefficiencies based on information logged within the system.

Sales automation: CPQ tools with sales automation capabilities can automate customer interaction offering a 24/7-service for advance product enquiries. For example, as sales prospects come into the system, it might automatically send the prospects marketing materials, budgetary pricing indications typically via email, with the goal of turning a sales lead into a full-fledged customer.

Workflow automation: CPQ systems help businesses optimize processes by streamlining mundane workloads, enabling employees to focus on creative and more high-level tasks.

Lead management: Sales leads can be tracked through CPQ, enabling sales teams to input, track and analyse data for leads in one place. This is often combined with online presence of the configurator.

CPQ Analytics: Companies are keen to capture customer sentiment, such as the likelihood that they will recommend products and want to measure the overall customer satisfaction to develop marketing and service strategies. Companies can integrate CPQ data with other customer data from sales or marketing departments to provide a consistent view of the customer. Analytics in CPQ help create better customer satisfaction rates by analysing user data and helping create targeted marketing campaigns.

Geolocation technology: Some CPQ systems include technology that can create geographic sales campaigns based on customers' physical locations. This is important to make the product offering more adapted to the country or region. Geolocation technology can also be used as a networking or contact management tool in order to find sales prospects based on a location.


Types of CPQ technology


Some major players within CPQ systems are Apptus, Salesforce and Oracle. Other providers are popular among small to mid-market businesses, but these three tend to be the choice for large corporations with simple configuration problems. Some CPQ providers offer more advanced solutions for specific business segments such as Tacton that offers advanced CPQ with primary focus on the manufacturing industry.



The types of CPQ technology offered are as follows:

On-premise CPQ: With this system, the information about the company needs to be managed, controlled, backed up, and maintained using the CPQ software. With this approach, the company acquires licenses in advance rather than purchasing annual subscriptions from a cloud CPQ provider. The software resides on the company's servers and the user pays for upgrades. In addition, a longer installation process is usually required to fully integrate a company's data. Companies with complex CPQ requirements can benefit from a local deployment.

Cloud-based CPQ: Cloud-based CPQ, also known as SaaS (Software as a Service) or on-demand CPQ, stores data in an external remote network that employees can access anywhere, anytime. Sometimes an internet connection is established with a third party who oversees the installation and maintenance. The cloud's fast and relatively simple provisioning capabilities address companies with limited technological expertise or limited resources.

Companies might consider cloud CPQ as a more cost-effective option. Vendors such as Tacton charge by the user on a subscription basis and offer the option of monthly or yearly payments.

Data security is a major concern for companies using cloud-based systems because the company does not physically control the storage and maintenance of their data. If the cloud provider gives up the business or is taken over by another company, a company's data can be compromised or lost. Compatibility problems can also occur when data is first migrated from an in-house system to the cloud.

Finally, the cost can be an issue because paying subscription fees for software can be more expensive over time than with on-premise models. On the other hand, with a hosted SaaS solution improved functionality is constantly added to the CPQ platform.

CPQ examples in practice


Direct sales: Traditionally, data intake practices for CPQ systems have been the responsibility of sales and marketing departments. Sales and marketing teams procure leads and update the system with information throughout the customer lifecycle, and with the help of CPQ they gather data and revise customer history records through calls, meetings and technical support interactions. The CPQ system provides accurate pricing, correct product selection and impressive quotes.

Digital twin CPQ: CPQ can interact directly with customers thru a 24/7 business portal. CPQ gives the customer the possibility to investigate and understand the product offering prior to contacting a sales representative. This gives the company the possibility to find new lead thru automated channels and it give the customer a digital sales companion to guide thru the early phases of the sales journey.

Mobile CPQ: CPQ applications for smartphones and tablets are a must for salespeople and marketing professionals who want to access customer information and perform tasks when they are away from their office. Mobile CPQ apps use features that are only available on mobile devices, such as mobile devices. For example, GPS and voice recognition capabilities enable sales and marketing professionals to access customer information from anywhere.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C) Practices: A CPQ system in a B2C environment helps monitor sales as they go through the sales funnel and enables a business to solve any issues that may arise during the process. CPQ systems in the B2C market help improve the transparency of leads and thus increase the efficiency of the entire sales process.

CPQ challenges


For all the advancements in CPQ technology, without the proper management, a CPQ system can become little more than a glorified database in with product information is stored.

Companies may struggle to achieve a single view of the product portfolio. Challenges also arise when systems contain inconsistent data or outdated information. These problems can lead to a decline in customer experience due to lack of trust in the CPQ tool.

CPQ systems work best when companies are able to keep the product information up to date without involvement of consultancy services.

Multi-channel sales CPQ with ease

Posted On Wednesday, August 21, 2019



Multi-channel sales are made simple with CPQ. Managing multiple sales channels within the same tool can be troublesome but, this is a worry of the past. This might be a bumpy road, but in this article will sort out what you need to consider in order to support your multi-channel sales challenges.


What is multi-channel sales?



Multi-channel selling is the process of selling your products on more than one sales channel. Multi-channel management includes a mix of your own sales representatives, partners, OEM-suppliers and maybe directly on your website.

Selling on multiple sales channels increases your exposure to potential customers and will increases your sales opportunities. Multi-channel sales are also a way to minimize risk, especially for niche buyers and markets.

In the age of digitalization there is an increasing demand for online presence. In the time of of self-service sales, it’s important to minimize the product complexity and the potential errors due to misunderstanding. This is one of the main drivers for guided selling and high-level product guidance in the CPQ software.

Multiple sales channels give the opportunity to differentiate prices to match your service level commitment. The delivery terms and after-market commitment can also differ between channels.
The three main challenges in multi-challenge sales are the following;

Product offering per sales channel
Pricing and discounts per sales channel
Term and conditions per sales channel

Let’s dive deeper into each one of these topics and how a multi-channel CPQ can support these requirements.

Product offering and guiding your customer

The CPQ solution must be able to easily handle variations in the product portfolio. To start, not all products are sold to all markets. In the same way, it must be possible to control what options and features that are available for different sales channels. Obviously, all CPQ systems can manage this – the key questions is the effort to keep this kind of information up to date.

The second thing is the possibility to communicate and speak the language of the end customer. Different sales channels have different knowledge about your product. Where users in one channel care more about the overall performance of your product is in big contrast to a sales channel with very much focus on details. Here you want to keep the same “core product logic”, but be able to adjust what kind of questions to ask depending on sales channel.

A modern CPQ solution will provide effective tools to tailor general product logic to a specific sales channel.

Pricing and value


Price lists and discounts will most likely be different when you do multi-channel sales. Depending on the perceived value of the product and services provided thru a sales channel it’s very likely that prices are adjusted accordingly.

With multi-channel sales it’s possible to sell both highly standardized products and highly customized products at very different price points. A customer asking for higher level of customization will likely have a more expensive products as their next-best alternative.

A customer looking at a very standardized product might not expect to get the extensive know-how your company can offer and will therefore not value the product at the premium price point normally used. Selling a limited product portfolio thru a dedicated sales channel can be an opportunity to reach these customers that in other cases would have chosen a different vendor.
A modern CPQ solution will provide multiple price lists associated with specific markets or customer types in a multi-dimensional fashion.


Terms, conditions and appearance


Selling thru multiple sales channels will require different content and branding of the generated quotes and proposals. With multiple sales channels it’s possible to deliver exactly the same product but with different terms and conditions to match expectations within a certain sales channel or industry vertical.

A CPQ solutions can produce much more than just line-item prices; it can automatically create a full-blown proposal including customized 2D- and 3D-drawings. This is especially important in sales involving complex products or applications and can create a unique conformity in the quoting process.

The content is likely specific both to country and sales channel. For a global company it’s also important to support quoting in more than one language.  When it comes to multi-channel sales it’s equally important to align sales pitch as getting the language correct.

Bottom line


With modern CPQ software you can address all of the issues of multi-channel sales mentioned above with ease. With a CPQ solution it’s possible to deliver market and channel specific proposals, priced correctly and, of course, only with products available in alignment with your overall product strategy.

If you need advice on multi-channel sales CPQ, please get in touch.

Why use CPQ?

Posted On Monday, August 12, 2019


As the product portfolio grows many companies choose to use a CPQ system. A typical CPQ-user works for a company that offers a very wide range of products or services. The sales representatives (and to be honest usually others in the staff as well) have a hard time managing product prices and product dependencies. The products sold often have many options with critical technical/commercial dependencies.

CPQ software is useful by companies that need to quickly calculate prices. If a sales representative needs to quickly prepare a quote for a customer, the CPQ software automatically sums up all important information. This means that the representative can produce the quote and come back to the customer far quicker. Time is an important differential factor for all companies, regardless of whether the company works in faster or slower markets. Speed ​​is always important.

Global companies, large and small, use CPQ to quickly and effectively send pricing information to partners and customers. This means that customers can get the information right when they need it.

CPQ software is an effective way to unify how the products are presented to the customer. By using an automated tool for quote documents product can be presented in a consistent way and critical information is never missed due to human errors.

Studies show that the companies that respond the fastest have the greatest chance of finally winning the deal. This means that the speed offered by a CPQ system can have a major impact on the company's bottom line results.

In the past only large corporations could afford to use CPQ, but nowadays we see a big expansion of CPQ in small and medium sized business.

Top 5 things you should read or listen to before starting your CPQ project

Posted On Saturday, July 20, 2019


Ok, so you're planning to implement CPQ at your business. You figured you should maybe do some reading to learn some tips and tricks. Where should you start?

We've collected the 5 most important things you should read or listen to about CPQ before starting your project.

1. Gartner's Magic Quadrant

Gartner publishes a research paper once a year in the form of a Magic Quadrant. The latest version was released in November 2018. The document can usually be downloaded for free from some of the vendor's web sites (Apptus).

2. Knowledge-Based Configuration: From Research to Business Cases by Alexander Felfernig, Lothar Hotz, Claire Bagley, Juha Tiihonen

This is an academic-styled book about configuration. We don't recommend you to read the whole thing, as it will gain you limited value for actually implementing CPQ. We do recommend chapter 2 for a brief history of configuration, chapter 6 for understanding of different technologies for CPQ and chapter 16-19 for valuable insights into implementations at different companies.

3. Product Customization by Lars Hvam
This is a really good book for preparing your company for a CPQ implementation, how to document your CPQ data before the implementation.

4. The CPQ Podcast

Novus CPQ is an independent CPQ analyst firm. Their podcast is focused on CPQ tools and processes, and will provide you with useful insights. They conduct interviews with many CPQ leaders and analysts.

5. Top 10 reasons why CPQ projects fail

Don't miss this blog post describing the top 10 pitfalls when implementing CPQ. Learn from mistakes made in other CPQ project, and avoid doing them in your project.

CPQ Analytics

Posted On Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Here's a presentation on CPQ Analytics, presented in Stockholm at Tacton Day October 8-9 2015.

Five common pricing mistakes a CPQ solution will address

Posted On Friday, September 2, 2016

Pricing is difficult and also very sensitive. Changes in pricing is one of the most effective way to level overall profit.

This list of pricing mistakes can be used to build a good business case for a CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote) investment.

Weak controls on discounting

It’s not uncommon that sales representatives are given a lot of freedom when it comes to negotiating the price. This means what the profit per deal is very dependent on the person executing the sales.

Discounts are often given without a controlled won/loss analysis and are more based on gut feeling. This means that prices will vary very randomly.

Without analysis and a proper approval process these issues will not go away. This is something a CPQ solution will address.

Inadequate systems for tracking competitor selling prices and market share

It’s difficult to understand the completion and most companies don’t put any effort into analyzing the lost deals.

With a CPQ solution it’s possible to benchmark the won and lost deals in a very structured way. It’s possible to find what key features of the product that correlates with won deals and also what features that are typical for lost deals.

Cost-plus pricing

Cost plus pricing is still very common in the manufacturing industry. The problem with this approach is that it assumes that the customer value is dependent on the production cost. Everybody knows that this is not the case.

A CPQ solution can price on factors that are actually valued by the customer and at the same time ensure that margin.

Price increases poorly executed

There is a problem when price increases can’t be motivated. If we’re not providing any new customer value, why should I pay a higher price?

It’s essential to plan ahead and do price increases as your product improves. If your new engine will cut fuel consumption there is no problem to pay a higher price.

That’s why price increase should be coordinated with product development. This means that timing is essential. Do the math and plan ahead. This is a process that a CPQ solution should support.

Worldwide price inconsistencies

In a global market it’s no longer possible to have inconsistent pricing.

By introducing a central storage for local price it’s possible to understand and correct price inconsistencies. A CPQ solution normally connects the global and the local prices. This means that a CPQ solution introduces the possibility to have governance for local pricing.

Configure Price Quote software - the key benefits

Posted On Monday, August 25, 2014

Configure Price Quote software shortens the sales processes by automating the configuration, pricing and quoting of complex products, services and bundles.

“configure price quote” software is getting attention from global companies looking to reduce errors and streamline sales of complex product. Configure price quote software will serve as a consistent front-office interface with all necessary integration to existing back-office systems.

CPQ (“configure price quote”) is more and more becoming a critical advantage in several industry verticals. Fast and accurate quotation processes is no longer something to strive for – it’s now a critical factor in the competitive landscape.

The primary benefits with Configure Price Quote software include:

  • Guided and automation sales process supporting your customers through important selection including configuration, quoting and ordering.
  • Central pricing processes for establishing, maintaining and publishing pricing for products, services and combination bundles.
  • Workflow for quoting including creation, management and negotiation of sales quotes.

Guided and automated sales process

  • Increased deal size by simplifying cross-sell, up-sell and solution bundles. Service contracts and other related services are quoted together with the product ensuring returning revenue for a longer period of time.
  • Reduced costs and increased customer satisfaction as incorrect orders are dramatically reduced.
  • Increased sales productivity when repetitive, time consuming manual work is eliminated.

Central pricing process

  • Pricing consistency and automatic pricing changes instantly available in all sales channels.
  • Defined structure for pricing to decrease the maintenance due to changing market conditions.
  • Pricing models based on customer segments with analytics feedback for continuous improvements. Built in dashboards for sales and pricing governance.

Workflow for quotations

  • Significant time savings to create, negotiate and convert quotes into orders.
  • Increased visibility and traceability in the quoting process.
  • Support for channel and partners sales for complex products.
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