Did Henry Ford predict proposal automation software?

Many people credit Henry Ford with the “invention” of the assembly line. Not 100% accurate but close enough for our purposes. Because the benefit of the assembly line is the thing.

Being able to take something complex, break it into simple modules, and create a repeatable process is the bedrock of most business technology — and the prime directive of proposal automation software.

So while Henry Ford likely didn’t see a tool like iQuoteXpress coming anytime soon, his basic vision fueled the fire for its development and adoption.

And if you handle your sales quotes in the here and now the way Ford plants handled automobiles back in the day, you’ll @@see near-immediate improvements in both the quantity and quality of your sales quotes.@@


Separate “automation stations”

Just like an assembly line for cars has stations — e.g., for engine installation, wheels, interiors, etc. — your automated sales proposal solution has “stations” for templates, contact management, product and pricing configurations, tracking, and more.

Let’s start with templates

Or, to keep the automobile analogy rolling, the chassis.

You’ll want to ensure you have a wide array of templates built-in to your configure, price, quote platform.

Your proposal templates, ideally 1) target the vertical markets you serve and 2) are pre-populated with your branding, as well as infographics or other supporting imagery that has been shown to engage your prospects.

Chassis selected: let’s install the engine!

The most critical component of any car is its engine, and the most critical components of proposal automation software are its products and pricing configurations.

In some cases, you may know configurations that work for your target market before even sending a quote. For example, if you’re in the pool-building business, every quote you send likely has a water filtration upsell attached. You can pre-configure easy winners like this in your software before even road testing it.

But in most cases, you learn as you go, creating new product and pricing configurations based on how prospects respond to them. The beauty of a CPQ tool is that it enables new configurations to be immediately accessible across the enterprise. Which means — by essentially pooling learnings — more reps can take advantage of more new configurations to drive more revenue.

Let’s get the show on the road...

While there are other stops for your quote along “the assembly line,” including adding any relevant CRM/CPQ integration and/or implementation tools and tasks, it’s in the tracking where we can monetize the repeatable processes an assembly line approach to quote production creates.

Because, since you know each quote is built using a proven template and winning combination of products and pricing, you know that you’re delivering a good product, proven to drive sales.

So, if you see fewer quotes closing, the sales proposal tracking tools in your CPQ solution will enable you to spot the logjams along “the line”: is it a process issue? A people issue? The metrics will tell you. Conversely, if you see more quotes closing in territory A than in territory B, you can make adjustments and match workflows in the territories to ensure equal levels of success.

Taking an assembly line approach to proposal automation does not mean all quotes come out looking the same, but it can mean that all quotes come out “closing” the same.

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