Sales teams are a critical revenue driver for B2B organizations since they match customers with the right offerings and then engage them with smart deals.
They’re the outward-facing touch-point for engagement, enrollment, and overall experience.
To align sales organizations as closely as possible with customer expectations, it’s important that sales leaders not only identify customer needs but also work to solve inefficient sales cycle friction points.
The three most common inefficiencies of the B2B sales cycle include:
Inaccurate mapping of customer needs to the right offering
Customers are more comfortable when they feel like they’re being heard and understood, and that a problem in their life will be fixed with the purchase, may it be a scarcity or an aspiration.
But when something as small as a mistargeted email can make or break a decision point in the sales cycle, it’s no wonder that disconnected data and systems can have all the more devastating effects on your plans for top-line growth.
Error-prone complex product configuration
Companies are selling products with increasing numbers of custom features with more and more sophisticated options.
Enterprises that are still using spreadsheets to configure complex products have learned the hard way how error-prone and time-consuming a manual sales cycle can be, and find themselves unable to scale or adapt to modern monetization strategies like the subscription economy.
Additionally, complex products have complex pricing structures, which in turn introduce significant problems to a manual approval process.
With so much effort spent on error resolution, the average time spent on a manual sales cycle gets higher and becomes a common cause of low sales team morale.
Tedious approval processes and delayed quote generation
Pricing and discounting are often dynamic when dealing with B2B especially, and thus require a strict spontaneous and efficient approval process.
In the age of fast fulfillment, a good experience at this stage can dramatically improve an organization’s chances of securing further work from the customer.
B2B sellers have grown wise to the fact that their customers not only prefer but now demand the convenience and user-driven experience they’ve grown accustomed to from B2C retailers.
In turn, B2B businesses are integrating the interface and functionality of the B2C domain into their B2B e-commerce platforms, including prominently set forth customer reviews, interactive product catalogs, real-time support, and inventory updates along with guided selling, personalized settings, and automated renewals.
Like B2C, the B2B market is a turbulent environment. Price fluctuations, limited offers, specific customer prices, volume discounts, and intricately configured products are all factors in the order quotation process.
The problem for B2B retailers is to manage these variables on a much larger scale.
With complex rules that govern everything from price to configuration, the powerful application is needed to precisely manage the numerous variables that accompany modern B2B transactions.
CPQ to the rescue
CPQ technology, when implemented correctly, addresses all of these concerns with automation and rules-driven sales cycles, resulting in the improvement of critical sales KPIs and is an important tool in the fight against sales process friction.
Here’s how it works:
a) Lead Conversion Rate
Intelligent, rules-based configuration means that questions asked during discovery are designed to quickly guide the customer to the correct products.
Our experience shows that B2B businesses achieve significant improvements in lead conversion rates when they focus on resolving issues that impede customer experience.
b) Average Sales Cycle Time
The rules-driven pricing directed through CPQ solutions like Salesforce CPQ & Billing gives companies the flexibility to offer prorated and subscription-based pricing.
The automated aspect of this approach has a tremendous impact on quote error reduction and sales team productivity.
We’ve seen organizations that adopted automated quote generation and approvals experience 70% reductions in quote errors, leading to dramatic reductions in time and effort spent on sales cycles.
c) Total Company Revenue
According to recent research, thanks to automation, guided selling, and shortened sales cycles that result from best-in-class deployments, CPQ implementations result in 5x greater total company revenue growth year-over-year, and 82% higher total revenue over a 5-year span.
But this level of growth can only be achieved by process-centric and customer-aligned sales organizations who, when empowered with the right tools and partners, have the potential for a significant impact on your bottom line.
CPQ gives B2B sellers the power and resources they need to easily configure orders while maintaining dizzyingly-complex business rules, seamlessly integrate with existing CRM platforms for quick, easy adoption and leverage data to better maintain margins and customize product and service offerings to customers.
It doesn’t end here; the list goes on, and the power boost that a CPQ solution will give is much more.
You can eliminate costly reworks by accurately validating all product and service solutions in real-time, offer automated approvals, renewals, and intuitive guided selling opportunities and generate instant and accurate quotes while incorporating pricing and discounting rules.
Alignment between your sales organization and customer expectations is critical for modern marketplace success.
Since the buying and selling process is no longer a linear path, buyers and sellers participate through multiple channels at different points of sales and customer life cycles.
It is true that, with a CPQ solution implemented correctly, organizations can make the most of their time and resources to move from the quotation to the conclusion of the transaction.
Now you no longer have to worry about inaccurate prices and budgets, configuration errors, gaps in the communication of the equipment, the sale of an exhausted product.
So start your search for a powerful e-commerce platform for companies. Focus your attention on systems that have a customer-centric approach and are designed and developed for electronic commerce.
Look for enterprise e-commerce systems that can be rapidly implemented and have the power and capacity to meet future growth.