Better sales experiences, better customer experiences, and better ROI are needed to meet today’s customer expectations.
There’s probably no better way to illustrate the fact that great sales tools can lead to superior B2B customer experiences than Configure Price & Quote (CPQ).
Modern B2B customers have taken their cue from the online consumer experience, and don’t tolerate waiting days or weeks for quotes, then waiting again for those quotes to be adjusted as negotiations proceed. Just like B2C shoppers, they want instant results.
B2B customers also come to the table armed with pricing information, enabling them to demand more flexible pricing and product bundles/configurations. And they are prepared to switch vendors if they don’t get what they want.
This is part of the “switching economy” that Accenture has described as being more than $6.2 trillion strong worldwide, driven by bad customer experiences with a vendor – or in some cases – just one bad experience.
Aside from the propensity to churn, another characteristic of modern customers is that they want a connection with their vendor, and a deeper relationship rooted in trust.
4 ways CPQ improves the B2B customer experience
So, how does CPQ help deliver outstanding customer experiences?
- Faster results: CPQ provides speed to many B2B purchases, and speed is number one on the list of modern customer expectations. Complex quotes can be generated in seconds. If a particular quote doesn’t work for the customer, another one can be created. While CPQ is often associated with manufacturing due to the complexity of piece parts, it can also provide this speed and velocity to industries that provide services and subscriptions, thereby expanding its market.
- Accuracy: Aside from speedy responses, customers receive quotes that are accurate. Errors in quotes and configurations can be that one bad experience that causes a customer to switch, and CPQ eliminates that possibility. Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM), which can be sold with CPQ, streamlines the process of the final contract negotiation on terms and pricing so that the negotiation process doesn’t turn into a painful customer experience. (It should go without saying that CPQ must be integrated with Sales Automation tools.)
- Personalization: Personalization has long been a feature in the B2C consumer world and generally improves the customer experience. In the B2B world, CPQ allows personalization in a deeper way. For example, customers can have specific pricing and catalogs tailored just for them. Partners can have their own catalogs suited to their particular needs.
- AI: AI built directly into the product provides optimal pricing along with recommended cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. AI as a trusted advisor empowers the rep with granular insights, allowing them to handle the deal more intelligently. This improves the sales experience, eliminating large swaths of research that a sales rep would otherwise have to complete independently. All that time saved can be applied to developing a deeper customer relationship.
In the B2B world, understanding the customer’s buying journey, and the customer organization’s mission and value is critical. CPQ can help you form the kinds of connections today’s buyers expect.