Improve Sales with an eCommerce Quoting System

 

B2B buyers expect more from their product suppliers than ever before. The demand for seamless ordering efficiency includes highly individualized purchasing processes, streamlined methods of customizing products and efficient systems that automate quotes for complex orders. A custom eCommerce quoting system convinces buyers that companies value their business and are giving them special treatment. As most sales staff instinctively understand, the first company that offers a deal is usually the one that gets the order. That’s why progressive companies, B2B platforms and multi-vendor marketplaces increasingly rely on automated quotes in real-time to improve sales.

 

Buyers Increasingly Call the Shots in B2B Sales


Any efficient sales organization in today’s global marketplace understands that the dynamics of the sales funnel have evolved beyond linear sales and now work more like a spider’s web of interconnected influences, associates, social media and marketplace sales. In this complicated journey, the buyer’s convenience is of paramount importance. However, research shows that only about 52 percent of B2B buyers are satisfied with their purchases, and more than 91 percent expect more from their vendors. [1] Given the new marketing trends where buyers can switch suppliers easily with a little online research, it has become a buyers’ market.

Few technology advances are more critical for landing B2B orders than integrating an automated quoting system, or CPQ, into the company’s ordering platform. Today’s customers often have multiple decision-makers and stakeholders to satisfy, and each of these might request special product features or custom deals based on the company’s ordering history and long-term value. Customers are demanding--and getting--the following considerations from their product vendors:

  • Real-time inventory figures
  • Up-to-the-minute estimates for resupplying out-of-stock products
  • Multiple product options
  • Data-driven pricing recommendations based on each customer’s buying profile
  • Automatic updates of quotes through CRM software
  • Automated calculations of discounts, incentives and rewards
  • Product configurators for customizing and personalizing products
  • Getting custom quotes while using self-service ordering--even when orders are complex and highly specialized

 

How Automated Quotes Can Increase Sales


The simplest method of increasing sales and leads is to improve the closure rate on quotes that salespeople, management and the company’s custom quoting system deliver. Those prospects who request quotes have a genuine interest in the company’s products--enough to request a price quote--so they should logically have higher close rates. Integrating quoting software with ERP and CRM software can deliver a responsive, intuitive and effective quoting system. Real-time quotes can increase sales in the following ways:

  • Customers don’t have to wait for approvals, so closure rates are higher.
  • Sales staff don’t need to waste time on preparing quotes, so they have more time to sell.
  • Professional-looking quotes can be customized for each salesperson or customer.
  • Sales forecasts update automatically based on the number of requested quotes.
  • Users of CPQ systems report 28 percent shorter sales cycles and 17 percent higher lead conversions. [2]
  • Buyers don’t need to wait for a salesperson or executive to ask for a custom quote.
  • Using CPQ software, marketers can address canceled orders and abandoned shopping carts by using predictive analytics to offer custom pricing for items that might interest a given customer.
  • Custom quotes can immediately trigger reports or dashboard displays throughout the company to inform salespeople and others about the status of quotes and any ordering activity that results.


Leads from clients who request custom quotes are a lucrative second line of income-generating potential. An integrated system can track these customers and their online behavior, match the data with their buying histories and identify those leads that need nurturing. One manufacturer tracked lead data provided by its CPQ system and found that leads increased by 62.5 percent. [3]

 

Improving and Automating the Quoting Process


Quoting falls under the category of consultative sales instead of transactional sales. B2B buyers seldom order products on their first website visits, which can be a tremendous advantage for B2B sellers. Buyers often add complementary products, accessories and associated services to their orders--such as setup or installation. Some companies want personalized messages on their products or products using the company’s color scheme.

It takes time for vendors to prepare quotes for all these different options manually, and that time cuts into time that could be spent on sales or other core business activities. That’s why enlisting a development partner to integrate CPQ software into your sales platform is so important. The software can get costing figures directly from the company's ERP software. Automated quotes can take into account the costs of materials, labor, shipping supplies and other expenses. Business intelligence integrations can supply the prices of similar products and those of the company’s greatest competitors.

Using this information, which the software can access automatically when all systems are integrated into the platform’s API layer, the quoting algorithms can quote competitive prices based on trends, costs, buyer behavior and other influences. The faster the quote, the more likely the buyer will complete the order, and a customer who receives a professionally prepared quote in his or her preferred format can approve the order instantly online.

 

The Value of Business Partnerships


As a B2B seller, you try to develop partnership arrangements with your best clients, and the same should be true when looking for a platform developer. Some vendors offer collaborative marketing and development so that you can express your needs and work together to design appropriate technology. Pricing is one of the most critical elements of selling wholesale products, so you should try to find a trusted development partner to integrate any CPQ software with your CRM and ERP software. Once properly installed and integrated, price quoting software can automate quotes while customers are still online and increase conversions and leads dramatically. Clarity specializes in designing and building custom eCommerce quoting systems for your storefront, distributor portal or marketplace. Give us a call or request a free quote and we'll be happy to build one for you.

References:

[1] Knowledgetree.com: What Do Today’s B2B Buyers Want? | KnowledgeTree
www.knowledgetree.com/blog/2015/08/what-do-todays-b2b-buyers-want/

[2] Superoffice.com; Five ways a CPQ solution can help you to close deals faster
www.superoffice.com/blog/five-ways-inject-speed-accuracy-sales-process/

[3] Vtldesign.com: How To Improve Sales Rep Performance & Monthly Quotes By 62.5%
vtldesign.com/digital-marketing/how-to-increase-sales-rep-quoting-activity/

 

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