Sales quoting systems: proven tools, powerful software, optimal selling

Some sales technology solutions are positioned as “out with the old, in with the new”. But a quoting system combines leading-edge business tech with tried and true sales processes.

It doesn’t force you to entirely change how you close a sale; it simply helps you optimize each step along the way, such as: creating a sales proposal from scratch (or not!); configuring products and pricing in winning combinations; using analytics and reporting tools to capture what’s helping close sales in place, and why you’re losing them somewhere else.

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How are you building customer relationships?

How are you closing sales?

Optimizing your selling process starts with a quick checklist to illuminate where it makes sense to automate, and where it doesn’t.

  • Lead generation: we can automate how we capture leads (webforms feeding info into our CRM, etc.) but that first point of contact will likely be forever old-school: trade shows, cold calls, advertising, etc.

  • Nurturing prospects: half and half. You need to be making calls, making visits, sending gifts (where appropriate, naturally), and you need to be creating automated nurture streams using tools like Pardot, Marketo, or HubSpot.

  • Closing business: here’s where technology makes a dramatic difference in keeping things moving. But — just like with lead gen and nurture — there’s an old school element at play called “relationships.”

Making and keeping customers is still founded in relationships. Because if your prospect has confidence not just in what you’re selling, but in how you’re selling, they’re more likely to sign the dotted line.

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Old school sales techniques meet new school proposal tools

What a cloud-based, configure, price, quote (CPQ) software delivers is the ability to create the kinds of sales proposals that further a prospect’s confidence in you and your business.

You’ve worked hard and likely used some or all of the old school tools available — events, “lunch and learns,” webinars, phone call after phone call after phone call — to get your prospect to the point where they’re ready for a sales proposal: CPQ can now “take over” and ensure nothing gets derailed. Here’s how.

  • Professional look and feel to every proposal
    Your quoting system is (or should be!) packed to the rafters with professional templates of every stripe. Looking sharp is neither old school or new — it’s simply good business.
    A “new school benefit” is that winning proposal templates are in fact guided selling tools for new reps. Want to know how to sell in our business, new guy? Check out and use the winning proposals.
     

  • Cloud-based catalog of products and pricing
    One of the worst things that can happen in any proposal is inaccuracy in pricing. Too high, and you lose business to a competitor; too low and you lose YOUR business (by not making enough revenue to stay afloat).
    But with a centrally administered, dynamically updated catalog that all reps use to populate proposals with products — point-and-click, no less! — your pricing is always on-point.
     

  • Proposal tracking and sales analytics
    Nothing old-school about this one. Matter of fact, after product and pricing configuration, being able to automatically track your pipeline (and thereby spot problem areas sooner) is one of the greatest tech benefits a quoting system delivers. It also enables sales managers to have a “macro view” of all proposals in the pipeline, which means more accurate forecasting.
     

  • CRM integration
    If you’re not already using a CRM like Dynamics, Zoho, or Salesforce, it’s well past time to start doing so. This is one of the few areas where there’s no longer any room for old school approaches (a rolodex? A desk drawer full of business cards? What’re you, Willy Loman?).
    But when you combine tools like CRM and CPQ with never-out-of-fashion old school relationship building, you’re bound to win and keep more business.

Go ahead: grab the best from both worlds.