Is configuration confounding? Proposal software’s your best bet

How do you put products together? We don’t mean “how do you build them” via assembly lines or machining or even packaging. We mean how do you configure your ready-for-market products — and their prices — for sales proposals in a way that 1) appeals to the customer and 2) drives as much revenue as possible?

A best practice for a winning formula used to be a focus group, but that — as anyone who has done it can tell you — is costly and time-consuming. Market research is a prerequisite, of course, but it takes time and even then you’re still basing configuration on assumptions derived from pre-launch research, not necessarily real-world, real-time feedback.

For product and pricing configurations that deliver a win-win for you and your customers and that don’t require a large cap-ex, your best bet is proposal software. With the ability to customize product and pricing configurations in real-time for each customer, a CPQ system lets you meets both your customer’s requirements and your own revenue goals.

Product configuration

The A, B, D’s of proposal software (yes, a, b, D’s)

A.I.

A stands for “artificial intelligence,” and while your CPQ solution won’t be carrying on a conversation with you any time soon, its configuration capabilities have a rules-based approach that is at its core A.I. — sorting, tracking, and combining offers to help you find a winning formula.

Bundles

The B stands for “bundles.” In almost every case, the best thing you can sell to a customer is MORE. Your @@proposal software enables you to configure product bundles that have been proven effective@@ across your enterprise or market segment.

It used to be that your reps would have to merge information from spreadsheet X along with previous order Y and new product upgrades list Z. But with a fully automated sales quote system integrated with a CRM platform, winning bundles can offered by sales reps who have never even seen them before.

For example, it’s Dave’s first time selling widget 1. He selects it in your CPQ system and sees that people who order widget 1 tend to benefit from widgets 2 and 3 as well, and proposes them to the customer. Very little additional work to drive that additional revenue.

Discounts

Match those bundles — created with a bit of A.I. and a bit of sales input and experience — with a proven discount, and you have configuration at its finest. It’s not rocket science. And while there is certainly some computer science involved, we prefer to think of configuration as customer science.

Through the efforts of your sales team and their interactions with your customers, through tracking of winning proposals, and through application of a few business rules, the best proposal software will help you deliver the best possible offer to each individual customer.

If you'd like to learn more about this topic or see IQX for yourself with a free demo, contact us.