If your business provides services as part of your business model, you’re always quoting a variety of services related to the complex products you manufacture or resell. While standard CRM functionality almost always includes basic quoting capabilities within a sales opportunity function, it rarely has more than a high-level capability to produce complex service quotes – like quoting a quantity multiplied by a price for each item, regardless of whether it’s a product or a service. Moreover, CRM certainly won’t provide the logic and dependencies necessary to make intricate quoting processes automated, repeatable, and error-free so your sales reps and professionals can produce estimates and quotes quickly and accurately … every time.
Bring CPQ into Your Business
To improve business profitability and allow more work production that isn’t slowed by the quoting process, many service companies are adding a configure-price-quote (CPQ) tool at the front end of their selling process. The right CPQ tool is designed to incorporate service project deliverables and ensures that the correct services are quoted using dependent logic for products. For example, installation of a particular product requires three days of services with a particular skill set – but if you choose an optional add-on for the product, four days of services will be necessary. Two different options, however, many add another half day. The knowledge required by one of your staff to add the correct number of days limits the quote process to just a small number of individuals in the organization.
A CPQ is, in essence, a sales tool specifically designed to help you configure, price, and quote potential deals accurately, quickly, and easily. What makes certain CPQ tools even more attractive is integration with your CRM’s project system, thereby not only quoting products but also passing quoted services directly into a project for delivering the required work.
Discipline is the Key to a Robust CPQ Tool
To ensure you configure, price, and quote deals quickly and accurately to maximize profitability, a high-quality CPQ tool combines configuration capabilities, guided selling, ‘ready-for-input’ templates, and professional quote output (PDF or paper) that matches the look and feel of your other business materials.
Understanding the correct mix of products and services unique to each quote is the most challenging part of the quote process, which is why ‘configuration’ serves as the core capability within a CPQ tool. It allows you to automate critical steps in the process, such as filtering correct service options based on product mix, applying proper dependent service quantities for each item chosen, performing price calculations for different business scenarios, and prompting the user about exclusions or restrictions.
In fact, configuration can be made available directly to prospects or customers on your website so they can build their own configuration (popular with automobile manufacturers) and electronically submit it with their contact information directly to your sales team. Imagine the time savings when the customer does all the work and the sales team only has to close the deal. Building a car does require services, so behind the scenes and invisible to the prospect are labor costs/charges that are part of each option in the configuration.
Advanced CPQ tools bring in a price configurator that practically writes the quote by including the following advanced features:
- Support for special product/service pairings and groupings
- Customer-specific pricing
- Discount and mark-up constraints
- Multi-currency transaction calculations
- Suggestions for cross-selling and up-selling
- Creation of new rules and dependencies your products and services require
The guided selling functionality within a CPQ tool helps you create a standardized workflow that walks your sales professionals through configuration, pricing, and proposal generation. Controlling the views your sales personnel have as they progress through the steps of a quote makes the entire process more intuitive, which is particularly valuable when your salespeople aren’t fully technical or conversant in the nuances of your products and services. Of course, to be useful, a CPQ tool must be customizable so that you can match the guided selling feature to your company processes.
A modern CPQ tool should provide the templates necessary to instantly turn an estimate into a quote or full proposal with supporting documentation. Today, a robust CPQ tool provides input-ready forms as you walk through the configuration and pricing steps. Additionally, as you progress to proposal generation, it will place your company logos, product images, dynamic terms and conditions, and any associated marketing content directly into the proposal. This bridges the gap between unformatted quotes and slickly branded proposals that reflect your company’s professionalism.
The Power of CPQ with PSM and CRM
The power of integrated CRM and PSM (project service management) has already been achieved for the Infor and Sage ecosystems using TimeLinx Project Management. Now, if your business runs Infor or Sage CRM, you can add advanced CPQ capabilities with the new TimeLinx Configurator. Through the unique integrations of CRM, TimeLinx PSM, and TimeLinx Configurator, your sales and services teams gain access to the fastest quoting engine possible, backed by the full context of complete customer data and project insights.
To learn how you can surpass competitors with proposals that stand out for their speed, accuracy, and professionalism, contact us today.
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TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.