The sharp competition and pricing pressures have necessitated stronger selling requirements in the manufacturing industry. Traditional sales cycles are no longer effective in catering to the demands of modern-day customers. Today’s fast-paced market with ever-increasing demands cannot stand erroneous configurations, complex pricing scenarios, and disparate systems. The eroding profit margins, error-prone orders, plummeting conversion rates, and multi-channel issues are negatively impacting the bottom line of manufacturers.
Today, in manufacturing and industrial distribution, it is much more than just communicating the value of the product. Buyers often come armed with easily accessible information.
CPQ, paving way for user-centric product configuration, bridges the gap between sales and today’s millennials. It infuses intelligence into the complex manufacturing sales process to drive benefits like:
• Faster sales cycles and decreased sales complexity
• Quick response to customer queries and enhanced deal value
• Increased brand awareness and rapid response to RFPs
• Timely generation of error-free quotes and improved channel partner visibility
• Improved renewal and customer retention rates
• Streamlined quote-to-fulfillment process and better supply chain management
Here are some more advantages:
Time is money — Don’t lose any!
When we leave the highly flexible price and configure factors of manufacturing into human hands, there is a good probability of errors. These errors generally range from bad quotes to discounting and pricing errors — thus, a lot of time and money is bound to fall through the cracks. These errors can be turned around with CPQ which can automate all these fluctuating and time-consuming tasks. Moreover, CPQ interprets data and presents it in the right direction for decision making.
Manage margin pressures
Due to the fierce global competition, profit margins continue to surge through for manufacturers. Companies are scaling their business to compete on the worldwide stage. Products with their unstable pricing and configuration factors require heavy collaboration with business and engineering experts, which is not feasible manually. With CPQ, we can visualize channel partners and monitor historical trends and provide standardized quotes and discounting across all the segments.
Gain some Guidance
Unless a formalized quoting process is used, sales reps often miss out on the critical customer-specific data. Consequently, opportunities to connect with your customers and build on your customer experience is lost. The guided selling process in CPQ helps here. It keeps a record of all interactions through the custom questionnaires, provides insightful metrics, suggests a relevant product, and thus leads to enhanced sales efficiency.
Better your Relations
There is often a long line of reps, distributors, dealers, and retailers, between manufacturers and the customer. Such dots can be easily connected to gain deeper insights into your customer base. CPQ does that for you — It provides insights into the behavior of potential customers in response to how they react to different prices. Manufacturers can use this analysis to determine the most optimum pricing and promotions for their customers.
CPQ, Manufacturing, and SoftClouds
With so much happening in the manufacturing industry, SoftClouds is working with the top manufacturers to bring in some bold transformations with the help of its strong muscle — CPQ.
Here are some of our transformative solutions in CPQ:
Simplifying the Quoting Process for a Pump Manufacturer — A SoftClouds CPQ Implementation
The customer was a leading pump manufacturer, producing pumps adhering to the most demanding specifications and military standards in the world. However, was facing some issues of relying on tribal knowledge, having multiple isolated systems and inaccurate lengthy process to generate quotes, to name a few.
SoftClouds personalized a CPQ solution that centralized everything and eliminated the complexity factor, helping the client in the following,
• It let them visualize the pumps as they were configured
• Provided quicker access to the customer information
• Perceived buyer patterns and trends in a better way
• Could seamlessly custom quote for any industry in no time
Automating Quote Creation for a Tile Distributor — A SoftClouds CPQ Implementation
The customer was one of the biggest privately-held designer and marketer of tile and natural stones in the United States. They had grown exponentially but lacked the modern systems to manage and grow. Like most manufacturers were facing typical issues of being paper-driven and using outdated methods.
SoftClouds helped them channelize their quoting process through an expertly crafted architecture integrating Oracle Engagement and CPQ Clouds. With the end-to-end integration, it led to nurturing, scoring, quoting to be automated and simplified. The client could now easily control price deviations, have a streamlined workflow and an automated, simplified quoting methodology with a 0% error rate.
Increased Sales Efficiency for an e-Liquid Manufacturer — A SoftClouds CPQ Implementation
The customer was the sole distributor and manufacturer of premium e-Liquids whose mission was to ensure the growth of its clients as well as the vaping industry at large. The customer was unable to quote efficiently and track their customers. They needed a solution that could ease the product configuration and the quoting process.
Integrating Oracle CPQ and Sales Cloud, SoftClouds provided a solution that streamlined client’s processes, quotes, orders, leads, contacts, opportunities, and products. Systems were improved upon for compliance on government regulations and were integrated with their existing shipping solutions. Nonetheless, the client started witnessing a direct 20% increase in the productivity of their Sales Group.
Barriers in the Manufacturing Industry
Highly Variable Product Configurations
The industry continues to pertain to highly variable product portfolios and to the ability to personalize every aspect as per customer needs — ultimately leading to complexity in selling.
Complex System Integrations
The commercial logic equations in CPQ are not being synchronized with their existing product logic. For instance, if you’re selling a car — CPQ’s pricelist generates pricing details, while the product management software carries all assembly instructions. Thus, sellers face it difficult to convey the right information since all the systems are not in sync.
Unceasing Globalization and Digitization
Globalization introduces new markets, new manufacturers, new products, new demands and new ways of customization with a hasty speed from all the quarters of the world. This leads to persisting complexity in selling.
The transparency introduced by the internet is also leading to too much customization that leads to complexity in product manufacturing.
Technology can overcome all the Barriers — AI, VR, and CPQ
Agreed — Due to constant personalization, complexities are on all-time high and sales reps feel as if they’re selling a new product every time. But, CPQ and Technology have come together to the rescue. Technologies continue to renovate and influence customers’ expectations.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken over the world and CPQ is no exception. It is especially true for the manufacturing industry where other than the primary products, we have many assemblies and sub-assemblies to be presented. It’s going beyond the rule-based systems to incorporate AI and ML, taking configuration and pricing automation to a new level. AI is streamlining the process of getting accurate quotes to customers eliminating all possible guesswork.
Automating processes & decision making, detecting anomalies, revolutionizing business security, creating adaptive & intelligent security measures — AI is all set to become a trusted factor in the CPQ arena.
CPQ is also evolving into a 3D Product Configurator. Augmented and Virtual Reality Configurators are allowing more interactive and collaborative sales. Multiple product configurations can be represented virtually. This allows the customer to know exactly what they are looking for and gives them more confidence in the buying process. Additionally, not only can the product offerings be made visually appealing, cross-sells and upsells can also be represented visually, making it more likely for the customer to execute on them.
Right now, CPQ is experiencing a golden age with Technology and Personalization. We must wait and see how the three prime players — Technology, CPQ, and Personalization, play the game.
This post was written by Srikesh Menon — CPQ Practice Director at SoftClouds, who has 12+ years of experience with technical solution design and end to end implementations. Srikesh is also certified on Oracle BigMachines and Siebel. He specializes in developing CPQ processes, Complex Configuration of Product Catalogs, Pricing, Tracking & Approvals, Order Management, Service Management, Partner Management, and Loyalty Management modules.
SoftClouds is a recognized leader in CRM/CX transformation with experience in numerous Service Cloud Implementations with pre-configured best practice business processes for multiple verticals/domains.