February 12, 2018
Let’s imagine you’re in the shoes of your newest salesperson visiting a long time customer who is spinning up a new project. Maybe it’s a new piece of machinery with electrical or hydraulic needs that aren’t exactly off-the-shelf. Or perhaps this is a new apartment complex going up in Denver, and you’re trying to spec air and water barriers into the design while respecting local building codes.
Regardless of what you’re selling, there’s a whole host of insight and know-how that is needed to bring to bear in this situation to be successful. What products do you offer? How many squares of material or valve styles do you offer to meet your customer’s needs? What are the pro/cons of different offerings? What price point for this particular job will win you the business? Are you talking about some commoditized use case, or something special only your firm can deliver? And oh, the customer wants the proposal back by tomorrow.
To make matters worse, now let’s assume this salesperson isn’t a 20 year industry expert, but instead someone hired for their people and deal closing skills. Sound familiar?
This is where processes tend to break down. Companies miss beats with customers and relationships begin to fray. Not for lack of good intentions, but simply because we fall down on our ability to execute repeatedly and sustainably, let alone stay focused on the right price for the value we bring to that specific deal.
Businesses that are tied to individual projects and price authorizations are particularly vulnerable to these sorts of scenarios, as there are multiple possible failure points and relatively little data quality or oversight possible down at the opportunity level. Product Management is left wondering whether their value offering is being presented properly. Finance is wondering where their margin projections have gone and sales is simply trying to get a proposal and deal done with a minimum amount of friction.
In my line of work, I see these scenarios play out time and time again for different industries. Too often I hear, “but we’re different” or “you won’t imagine how complex our sale is”. While I occasionally run across some surprises, more often than not if we continue to drill down into root cause of frustrations it’s the same drivers. ERPs and CRMs are excellent at executing orders and managing pipeline, but they’re simply not designed to pull together everything needed for a jobsite or engineering design proposal and provide a winning price and intelligent approval process. Somewhere there is a gap, and both sales and margin begin to atrophy as the organization loses the ability to see through the day-to-day chaff and focus on what is important.
Reduce your Risk
For manufacturers, Vendavo’s strategy is simple: provide a high performing, end to end process that drives commercial excellence and reduces risk in the sales process. Intelligent CPQ (iCPQ) directly addresses this need for jobsite and design specific sales by automating complexity and providing the behind-the-scenes AI to make every salesperson as good as your best salesperson. Regardless of whether the team is focused on transformers, bearings, concrete additives, gypsum, or even more unique regulatory and spec constrained products, we welcome the most pressing challenges of today’s sales leaders.
If you’re unclear on the value CPQ can bring to your organization, try this quick calculator. The assessment is six simple questions and provides you with a customized, estimated return on investment.