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Guided Selling for Manufacturing with Salesforce CPQ - Part 1

Posted by Phil Girard and Molly Redenbaugh on Jul 30, 2020 9:15:19 AM


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For decades, manufacturing companies have struggled through the cumbersome processes of configuring, pricing and quoting product.

Due to its overwhelming complexity, companies have historically accepted these inefficiencies due to familiarity and the seemingly daunting tasks of re-engineering and change management.

Salesforce CPQ offers the simplicity and acceleration companies need to keep pace with the digital race to create system efficiencies, deliver transparency, and realize significant ROI. 

The complexity of configuring, pricing and quoting (CPQ) is a by-product of the traditional manufacturing assembly process.  Advances in product flexibility have placed a greater burden on sales teams resulting in the navigation of configuration options, dependencies and released material numbers. Industry responded with an unsustainable and heavy-handed reliance on Inside Sales Engineering. An over tasked and under resourced process resulted in less-than-optimal configurations and unmet outcomes.  

Leveraging the strength of the sales team’s customer relationships, Salesforce CPQ empowers sales to maintain the rules and dependencies critical to product success without engineering input. All of this is done within the same platform they manage their sales cycles and contact management. One person, one platform. 

Creating the structure

Historically, manufacturing sales teams would rely on legacy systems and tools to quote new products; often referencing multiple spreadsheets, reviewing released material configurations and skimming past quotes prior to initiating a quote. Even with the combination of all that data, the team member may not have enough information to create an accurate and specific product configuration for a customer.

Not only is this process time consuming, but it also requires extensive time in the industry, with the specific application and in-depth knowledge of the product structure. Adding to the complexity, this process is not sustainable and too often creates both quality and technical issues with the product structure due to out-of-date information resulting from obsolete materials or new product features.

That was then, this is now

With the most recent paradigm shift toward guided selling, account executives can now easily choose their primary product line and their relevant options and features with confidence and accuracy. This offers 2 major wins for a manufacturer:

  1. Accurate product configurations based on real-time information. Without up-to-date configurations, rules and dependencies within CPQ tool, sales teams are simply unable to configure products that do not meet manufacturing guidelines.

  2. Sales teams are equipped to present both upsell and cross-sell opportunities. The correct data setup allows team members to not only capture new opportunities, but the tool can be configured to present related production information to expand the conversation to complimentary products and services when a robust CPQ system is in place.

Pricing Efficiencies

Another challenge for manufacturing companies is the complexity of pricing configurable products.

Block pricing, discount schedules, quantity price breaks, mark-up considerations, global and itemized discounts, different margins per business units, and more are standard for most manufacturers. Such a diversity in pricing rules in a single organization create complexity and often spawns inefficiencies across the organization.

Pricing is the next building block in the guided selling journey. As we’ve discussed, it’s important to build the right product structure, the second piece of the puzzle is a system that can also offer pricing optimization.

Salesforce CPQ allows companies to define clear pricing rules based on the data points that drive their individual businesses. It provides the guardrails needed for success and can be set up to notify or block a user from straying too far from corporate guidelines. While this may seem trivial, in a world governed by configurations and component level price changes, all calculations are vetted against pricing rules and recalculate in real-time. The days of spreadsheets, gonkulators, and magical math are gone. The system drives accurate pricing, in-real-time, based on inputs governed by the pricing teams, not by an individual salesperson.

Arguably, the biggest win comes in the form of the approval process. Antiquated approval processes can be long and arduous, frustrate both your sales teams and your customers, and lead to lost opportunities. With Salesforce CPQ, companies can identify the correct approval process for quotes, regardless of the complexities that govern the business. Rarely is there a single set of rules when it comes to approval processes, but with Salesforce CPQ you can accelerate this process leading to shorter sales cycles and an improved pricing and approval experiences for your teams.

End of the journey?

The final piece of the CPQ puzzle is the quotation process. Join us for an upcoming blog on the quotation building block and how Salesforce CPQ is an essential tool for Guided Selling for Manufacturing.

Want to learn more today? Simply fill out the form below or contact us at info@wave6.com

Topics: Manufacturing Cloud, Steelbrick, Wave6, Salesforce CPQ, Guided Selling, Configure, Price, Quote, CPQ

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