Quote management software: your automation foundation

Sales itself is an early-adopter kind of horizontal. After all, it’s the need to drive more revenue more quickly that spurns most technological innovation.

Salespeople, on the other hand, well… they can often be stuck in their ways. Why email when you can make a housecall? Why store contacts in Outlook when you can use a Rolodex? And why use quote management software when you can use a spreadsheet?

The first two suggestions most salespeople would laugh at: OF COURSE they use email and store their contacts. The last one, though… @@Why do so many salespeople still track proposals “the old fashioned” way@@, using spreadsheets and other manual methods?

Proposal automation

Technology averse? Here a step to take first.

We know why our friendly neighborhood reps use spreadsheets (at best) to track quotes: tech can be tricky. In some cases, we agree: using every feature in, say, a CRM or ERP system can be a daunting undertaking for even the most technologically savvy.

But quote management software is an easy first step into automation. We think this is because it serves one business goal — speeding and improving the proposal process. And having a solution focused on only one goal can help give each feature in that solution a sharper focus as well. Here are details on just a few of those features and how they support that shared goal.

Proposal automation

RFP response templates

A configure, price, quote (CPQ) solution should be stocked to the rafters with customized templates that support your brand, target specific markets, and are professionally written.

Why do we recommend professionally written? Chances are, most of your reps don’t have degrees in persuasive writing. So make a small investment and hire a pro to write some killer RFP response templates. Your reps can then tweak templates for each quote, use them over and over again, and optimize based on what’s driving response.

Proposal automation

Product and pricing configuration

At the heart of your quote management software is a configuration engine for products and pricing. Here, you’ll store winning combinations of upsells and upgrades, ensure pricing is consistent, and create a system where adding products to  proposals is simply point and click.

In “the old days,” reps often used their own RFP responses, having them pre-populated with products and pricing. But this meant rep A might be offering a different price than rep B.

By consolidating and centralizing products and pricing in your CPQ system, you create a more consistent experience for customer and reps alike, and create opportunities to drive more revenue through optimal pricing.

Proposal automation

CRM integration

While we said that using every feature in a CRM system is daunting — and it it is — not using a CRM is no longer an option for any org with more than three or four reps.

Integrating CPQ with CRM is critical as it helps create more accurate pipelines, namely by enabling more complete tracking of the most critical part of the sales process  —  the quote.

Integrating is also easy, especially with mainstream CRMs like Zoho, Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics, as preconfigured integration packages are often available (they are with IQX, anyway).

So while we understand that some business tech adoption can be daunting, rest assured that quote management software — with its focus on a single business objective — remains perhaps the easiest way make a move into automation.

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