Many organizations rely on Excel for processes ranging from basic reporting to far more complex processes, like advanced pricing calculations and tracking product inventory. Though it is one of the most used business applications in the world, it can lead to extra costs and missed opportunities when it’s used in place of a more robust, purpose-fit solution.
This is especially apparent when looking at how different departments might use the same spreadsheet or application. For example, sellers may use Excel to calculate prices, while engineers can calculate costs for implementing new features. But over time, customized Excel worksheets become more complicated and error prone as finance, manufacturing and other teams add their own customizations.
Two of the biggest stumbling blocks in complex product sales are Excel-based pricing sheets and the often-related problem of slow sales team ramp-up times, says Bert de Vries, a senior sales director at Experlogix who works frequently with Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM clients.
Organizations struggling with their product sales processes face some common problems.
“Output from the ERP system needs to be separately approved in a manual process. A lot of sales is dependent heavily on tribal knowledge. This can eventually lead to inaccurate orders. Customer requirements aren’t calculated correctly,” he explained at a recent MSDW webcast.
Experlogix is a specialist in developing business applications — including CPQ, Digital Commerce and Document Automation — designed to simplify complex processes, with solutions that integrate with Dynamics 365and other business-critical systems. Our CPQ solution stands out for how easy it is to use, requiring little to no programming to maintain.
Uptake of CPQ is growing among Dynamics 365 clients because they recognize the bottlenecks that hold back the typical sales cycle, limiting revenue in the process.
But what do these bottlenecks look like?
“We deliver a seamlessly integrated solution with a syntax similar to Excel to easily migrate from Excel to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. It uses all of the available product pricing information. It is all set up with or by our customers in a low code/no code approach, where product knowledge is [incorporated] into the system.”
A typical example is ThermoFisher Scientific, which has had Experlogix CPQ for many years, replacing many different Excel sheets, de Vries said.[
Experlogix often sees clients realize the benefits of CPQ as they onboard new employees. All too often, new employees start eager to generate revenue for their company. However, they traditionally struggle to become effective sellers because of inadequate knowledge sharing within the organization. Ineffective tools also make it more difficult to close the deal, particularly with demand for personalized experiences growing among the majority of customers. Disconnected systems and a lack of efficient quoting tools means that many organizations can’t develop high-quality, accurate and personalized quotes quickly.
Experlogix works to overcome these hurdles by giving sellers the tools to guide customers through requirements to determine if a new solution is truly aligned with their needs. Leveraging CPQ driven by the company’s other systems of record like Dynamics 365 F&O, sellers can carry out guided selling and develop streamlined proposal documents.
De Vries also detailed the product configurator in Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, and how it differs from Experlogix. Compared to the native features in D365FO, Experlogix’s CPQ provides more comprehensive capabilities, offering a way to incorporate rules and policies related to margin, commission, pricing, and product configuration. Experlogix also offers tools for identifying upsell opportunities and incorporates advanced document automation to support complex services and equipment.
“It has a lot of functionality that is available for use,” de Vries said. “With CPQ, you can automate…in one flow, going fast, giving the right proposal at the customer desk.”