Manufacturing is changing again. But this time, the innovation disrupting manufacturing is being fuelled by software instead of machine upgrades on the shop floor.
Configure price quote solutions are enabling fully immersive buying experiences and digital self-service, catering to the demands of the modern buyer who values convenience and independence over an enduring relationship with an experienced sales rep.
What are CPQ Software Solutions?
Configure price quote (CPQ) is software that automates the ordering process. You may already use some type of CPQ in your business, but chances are this is just Excel. Dedicated configure price quote solutions are exponentially more effective.
The most powerful CPQ solutions are “visual.” Visual CPQ allows your customers to interact with and configure engineer-to-order products in 3D on desktop or mobile. They can select from a menu of options to generate a 3D image of exactly what they need. The CPQ then automatically generates an accurate quote that preserves your profit margin.
Configure price quote solutions take all of your pricing, catalog, and engineering information and use it to generate accurate price quotes for the most complex configurable products. They use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline and automate each ordering process step to maximize profit and customer satisfaction.
Problems with the “Traditional” Ordering Process
The ordering process most manufacturers still use has several drawbacks. It’s slow, cumbersome, and inflexible to customers’ changing expectations.
Typically, the customer and a sales rep will have a detailed conversation about what is needed. Then the sales rep will need to talk to engineering and the factory floor to determine viability and costs. Often there is a lot of back and forth with the sales rep running between the customer and the manufacturing team. Any changes made during the order process can cause lengthy delays.
The process can take weeks. And the longer the sales process takes, the more likely it is that the customer will look for other options.
The more people are involved in the sales process, the more money it costs to acquire a new customer, and the higher the chances of errors and miscommunications.
Transforming the Customer Experience with CPQ Software Solutions
Configure price quote solutions completely transform the customer experience. Sales reps no longer have to run back and forth between different stakeholders. Instead, they can show the customer the options from their mobile phone and instantly generate a quote.
As pricing and quoting are automated, sellers can easily tweak quotes as customers change the specs of their orders. The quote process is reduced from a few weeks to a few minutes, and the customer has more confidence in the quote’s accuracy because they can see a 3D rendering of the finished product on the screen.
CPQ is centered around the customer. All the information your customer needs to make an informed decision and place an order is immediately available.
Customers love the transparency of seeing all their options come to life and “building” their own product in 3D. Sales reps love spending time with prospects focusing on the benefits your company provides instead of shuttling paperwork between different inboxes.
How CPQ Sales Increase Profits:
- Lowers customer acquisition costs
- Reduces errors in the order process
- Streamlines the order process, shrinking the sales cycle
- Puts you in complete control of pricing, discounts, and approvals
- Increases customer satisfaction
- Optimizes traditional and lean manufacturing processes
- Gets more customers through the sales pipeline more quickly
Every minute your sales team spends with a potential customer increases your customer acquisition cost. These costs directly affect your profit margin.
With traditional sales models, as much as 50% of the time your sales team spends on a deal is taken up waiting to pass information back and forth. Configure price quote solutions provide your customers with all the information they need on-demand.
You already know that the more hands touch an order, the more likely errors will find their way into the final product. Order process errors are a massive drain on profits. They can critically damage your credibility–costing you future orders and referrals. CPQ reduces the number of people who need to interface with orders, making it simple for customers to specify exactly what they need.
The problem with earlier generations of automated pricing tools was that manufacturers lacked the flexibility and customization potential to serve customers buying engineer-to-order products. CPQ gives you complete control of the pricing backend.
With robust configure price quote solutions, the pricing team decides how much profit margin they want to safeguard on every product. They can choose how heavily they want to rely on the software’s AI-powered algorithm in setting prices for different components and configurations. Best of all, once they input all the pricing logic, customers can get accurate pricing information immediately as they configure products on their mobile devices or desktop computers.
Idle time is the enemy of manufacturing profits. Traditional and lean manufacturing companies need a steady stream of new orders to maximize profits. Because configure price quote solutions shrink the sales cycle, your firm can process more orders and produce more goods in a shorter time. Even complex orders that used to take weeks of back-and-forth can now be processed in a few minutes.
How Visual CPQ Upends Traditional Manufacturing
Manufacturing used to specialize in building identical products at scale. This model has made goods of all kinds cheaper and has driven countless innovations across every industry imaginable.
But the future of manufacturing is changing. In the next ten years, the most successful manufacturing firms will specialize in making custom products at scale. 3D printing and other revolutionary manufacturing technologies will require all manufacturing firms to transform their ordering process.
Visual CPQ is upending the old catalog-centered way of doing business. Instead, your customers will be able to see all of the options and personalize their perfect product for their business. Without a visual CPQ system, your company won’t produce at the speed and with the flexibility that the market demands.
While many news stories focus on the automation of the factory floor, most people outside of the manufacturing sector fail to see that the next wave of world-changing automation will come from software. Automating and streamlining the ordering process will unlock previously unimagined efficiencies and customizations in the manufacturing process. Visual CPQ is the engine that will power your business into the next industrial revolution.
CPQ Sales: Lead, Follow or Disappear
Using visual CPQ software has the potential to transform your company into a digital leader in your industry. It gives you a critical competitive advantage by boosting your profit margins, shortening sales cycles, improving the customer experience, and putting you on the bleeding edge of the coming mass customization revolution. Start disrupting your industry by getting a demo of Epicor CPQ today.