There’s a bit of conventional wisdom that’s making its way around the business and technology world: innovate or die. It all comes down to the simple idea that businesses that fail to adapt and innovate will ultimately fail and fall by the wayside. This goes beyond just innovative products, it extends to how a company operates and keeping customers satisfied.

Certainly, this maxim fits perfectly in the manufacturing industry. CPQ (configure, price, quote) software solutions help manufacturers bring the sales side of their business up to meet the level of sophistication already in place on the physical production side of things.

CPQ software is one of the most flexible innovations that a manufacturing company can implement to stay current or even pull ahead of its competitors in the modern economy.

Here’s what a CPQ solution can do for your company:

1. Streamline and speed up your processes: CPQ software supercharges your sales team by automating the tedious and time-consuming quoting process for customized products. It gets rid of the back-and-forth with customers where specifications need to be approved by engineers and specialized pricing has to be calculated for each quote. What could once take days or even weeks to get a product into production now takes only a few minutes.

CPQ top 10 guide download button2. Improve consistency: Another positive change you’ll notice with CPQ is that it allows for more consistency. Say goodbye to using complex spreadsheets and human error that could cause misquoted or use of outdated pricing. The consistency of CPQ ensures everyone is always using the most up-to-date pricing information, giving you confidence that your profit margins are set properly.

3. Maximize your time and workload: You can get the most out of your specialized workforce using CPQ software. Engineers don’t have to waste their expertise going over each customer quote, and the sales team doesn’t have to wait around for approvals before taking an order. This lets your engineers spend their time designing new products and innovating on existing product lines, which makes your business more competitive.

4. Professional quotes and error-free orders: By automating the quoting process, businesses can produce professional, formal quotes that can give your business a level of service that it might have been lacking before. Additionally, because the computer is able to be programmed to handle realistic dimension specifications, you don’t have to worry about a product being ordered that you cannot realistically build.

Give your customers a buying experience that reduces canceled orders and miscommunications. CPQ software can work with a visual configurator to give a customer a real-time 3D model of the product so they know exactly what they’re ordering. This will prevent later hassles if a customer claims that the finished product is not what they wanted.

5. Standardize sales processes: One powerful aspect of CPQ software is in standardizing your sales processes through guided selling. A guided selling interface can be built into the quoting tool and uses a set of questions to figure out which product best suits the customer’s needs. Instead of relying on the salesperson’s experience, which can come with blind spots and biases, you can be sure that customers are getting the best possible experience every time.

6. Use data to your advantage: CPQ software can provide you with an abundance of sales data to aid in your processes. A sales department can easily look at historical sales data to determine how best to upsell or cross-sell to a particular customer. With clients who have ordered in the past, you can determine when it’s best to reconnect with them to set up a new order. Additionally, “Asset-Based Ordering” or subscription ordering is easier as you can readily see when they need to place another order. This is done from one convenient interface.

7. Integrate with other software: CPQ solutions can integrate with other software options such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. This can give you numerous advantages, including the ability to streamline your order taking, production, and billing into one network. You can easily track your materials and determine what is in stock, what you need to manufacture, and what you need to order so you can complete every customized order.

With a CPQ solution, many of the problems that come with trying to configure a customized product are eliminated. Automating processes and orders allows for a more streamlined business flow which lets you maximize your time and profits.

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