An efficient sales process is the first step toward sustainable growth for businesses. Superior marketing and sales strategies pivot around customer-centric omnichannel engagement, so companies must pursue data-driven personalized sales strategies and accurate automation of their sales cycle.
What is a sales cycle? A sales cycle is the step by step process that businesses undertake when selling a product or service to a customer. The sales cycle stages are a series of steps that act as a road map for sales team members to follow so they know the next steps of the selling process.
The steps in a typical sales process depend largely on the product, service, and nature of the businesses. Consequently, the business must identify the potential to optimize each of these steps in order to accelerate the output at each level. For instance, if the biggest challenge is finding qualified leads, it follows that more team time will be invested in that stage of the cycle.
What has also been identified as one of the most important yet challenging steps of the sales cycle is to decide on an accurate sales quote without inefficiencies and errors.
What adds to this predicament is the fact that sales representatives are compelled to multi-task – from persuading customers to buy to finally ensuring that the deal is sealed.
Marketo states that “45% of sales reps’ time is spent on admin and prep work, not with customers.”
Giving out manual quotes makes the sales process highly prone to mistakes or misinformation. This problem could be the result of an unavailable configuration, an unapproved discount, or any other detail that fails to make an appearance once closing a deal is imminent.
Implementing a more consumer-centered experience into the selling cycle can not only help improve self-service and product transparency but empower the sales team to adopt more of a consultative rather than a transactional role.
This also plays a role in simplifying an otherwise complicated sales process where rich information about the product is available all through the stages of the buying cycle. The buyer is also equipped with all the requisite information needed for the decision stage, and thus a positive outcome is more likely.
Enter Salesforce Configure Price Quote-Module by Salesforce
Salesforce, a forerunner in the cloud CRM realm has long since introduced this widely adopted module particularly for businesses in the B2B space.
The Configure Price Quote (CPQ) model is a sales tool by Salesforce that enables B2B sellers to quickly provide a cost estimate based on a pre-defined set of conditions as per a prospect’s specific needs.
CPQ applications often work in tandem with CRM platforms, ERP programs, and other applications that exist in the business in order to yield accurate and integrated data. Hence quotes produced reveal error-free prices that account for quantities, discounts, customizations, additional/optional features of products, multiple revenue types, and other incompatibilities.
In short, with CPQ tools sales representatives can:
- Generate quotes several times faster.
- Cut through time-lapses for approvals.
- Hasten the quote to cash (sale) phase.
- Quickly onboard new representatives on to the team.
Salesforce CPQ functionalities have tremendous potential to provide an excellent return on investment (ROI), with manifold benefits of using it in an integrated environment with the CRM and ERP systems.
How does the Salesforce CPQ Improve the Sales cycle?
CPQ in Salesforce benefits the sales process management in several ways.
1.Reduced Time For Lead Conversions
When a prospect expresses a certain amount of interest in the product/service, what can bag the deal almost immediately is a price quote. If the business fails to provide a neat and accurate price quote, this opens an opportunity for the prospect to shift to the competition.
The dangers of delivering a manual quote based on assumed projections rather than on hard data might further be detrimental to the business. Salesforce CPQ delivers an accurate, upfront, and immediate quote based on the predetermined set of rules. This offers all the right information to the prospect to help him/her make a buying decision. Research shows that CPQ software can shorten the sales cycle by a third on average.
2.Ease Of Customization Leading To Increased Productivity
With the traditional quote model, sales representatives struggle with the introduction of variables. Say the prospect comes up with changing requirements such as quantity, configuration, what they’re willing to invest, etc. Such a scenario warrants reworking the quote from scratch which slows down the process of closing the sale.
Not to mention the additional efforts and man-hours involved which can be deployed more effectively elsewhere. With the CPQ module, product customization is carried forth on demand thus bringing about cost savings, less waste of resources, and a quicker generation of accurate updated quotes.
3.Enhanced Potential To Upsell
Conventional quote estimation consumes a lot of time so in most businesses, this eats into the time that could be used to make more selling pitches. This also reduces the bandwidth for sales to focus on customer relationships.
With the CPQ model (where a quote process is largely automated) it is far easier to continue to show the value of the product in a tighter and a more transparent feedback loop with varying combinations or configurations of pricing and cost variables.
Now, this technique not only nurtures the prospects’ interest in the brand and its offering but also increases the chances of closing out a higher-volume and higher-value deal.
4.A Standardized And Collaborative Environment Across Departments
Staying updated on developments and practices within other support departments of a business can be a challenge to the sales team. Being up to speed is particularly crucial to dispense uniform and accurate content about the product to its buyers.
With the CPQ module, it is possible to enable not only sales and marketing but also to involve other departments such as IT, finance, or developers in this process. The sales rep can thus focus on engaging with the prospect and focus on directing efforts towards conversion.
The overall experience is more communication for the entire team who can thus create a value-based and well-tailored buying experience for prospects and clients.
5.Customer Retention, Growth, And Other Benefits Of An Integrated Environment
Operating in a highly competitive business environment requires businesses to meet customers where they are, it is how a successful sale can be established leading to growth in revenues.
Being able to quickly identify a prospect’s needs, configuring a quote in no time, and efficiently leveraging the CPQ model can bring about a sea-change in how your sales cycle performs.
Competitive selling has become the order of the day and sales teams are under tremendous pressure to deliver (particularly in the ongoing pandemic scenario). The need to respond swiftly to any cross-selling and upselling opportunities (and to be equipped with updated product and price information) is critical.
Salesforce CPQ needs customer, product, and pricing information and therefore needs to work in tandem with other data sources such as CRM and ERP solutions – which points out to the need for a tightly integrated data environment.
AppShark is both a Salesforce Gold Consulting Partner and a Product Development Partner based in Dallas, Texas. Our implementation process which includes customization, set up, and configuration has been perfected through the many years served in the Salesforce industry.
We also provide software integration services including strategy, development, and management to enable a continual flow of information from the cloud, premise to premise, or from cloud to premise platforms.