“Hey, you’re only human. Everyone makes mistakes. Anyway… you’re fired.”
If you’re a sales manager, you may have said something like that (or wanted to) when one of your sales reps blew a deal because they did something stupid and easily avoidable, like getting the pricing or some other key detail wrong in a quote.
You may have followed that by thinking, “You can’t fix stupid.” You’re right. You can’t. Which is why the best proposal software doesn’t attempt to “fix stupid.” Rather, it avoids it entirely.
Your reps will, of course, have to interact with any business technology, and when human beings are involved, mistakes are not 100% avoidable. However, here are a few ways that configure, price, quote (CPQ) software can reduce mistakes reps often make.
1. Point-and-click sales proposal creation
Proposal software has the ability to store hundreds of professionally designed, preconfigured sales templates. Most CPQ solutions include dozens or more that you can use right off the bat.
Where reps were once using their own design “skills” and writing “talents” (sure, there are some reps with those skills and talents, but… c’mon) they now simply select a template that is both professional in its look — so YOU look good — and targeted to a vertical market — so your PROSPECT feels good.
More important than the “gift-wrapping” (a.k.a., design/layout of a sales quote), the best proposal software includes centrally administered and optimized product and pricing configurations, as well as the ability for a manager to set and control discount levels and other pricing rules at the rep level. Which means you can say good-bye to pricing or product errors in your quotes for good!
2. Integration with existing systems
Just like no one expects sales reps to be professional proposal designers, no one expects them to be systems/solutions integrators who can dabble in the coding of software to customize it to meet their specific business needs.
They are, however, expected to know how to use CRM software, as that is the tool of the trade, having replaced the rolodex and the hardbound ledger some generations ago.
One of the best things about the best proposal software is that it integrates seamlessly with leading CRM platforms, making it feel (to the rep, anyway) like an app, an add-on, another feature in the software they already use every day.
To ensure this is the case, choose a CPQ solution that integrates via a single sign-on. The rep logs into Salesforce, Dynamics, Zoho, or whatever CRM you’re using, checks leads, the overall funnell, how sales quotes are progressing, and it all feels like a single system to them.
3. Make it snappy, make them happy, use an app(y)
Most reps are about one thing — closing. And that means on weekends, nights, and holidays, they’re willing to spend a few minutes at just about any time of the day to move a quote further along in the pipeline.
Whatever sales proposal software you eventually determine is best for your team, ensure it has an app as well. And make sure the app is full-featured. Yes, reps will check in on quotes and enjoy a dashboard feature. But a rep may, in the course of a conversation at the 19th hole, create a quote-worth sales oppty and use their CPQ app to strike while the iron is hot.
And that app means that sales proposal that they make then and there, from their phone, is going to have a professional look and feel, accurate pricing and product configurations, be connected to the CRM at the mothership, and reduce the kinds of conversations that start with “Hey, you’re only human. Everyone makes mistakes…”