The B2B market environment is increasingly becoming complex. And it becomes even more complex if the sales and production teams have to deal with razor-thin customer needs and preferences.
The demands, if bypassed, lead to reworks, wastages, delays, inefficiencies, and dissatisfaction. But how can you avoid the negative outcomes, streamline your operations, and accelerate the delivery of accurate, complex configurable products to customers?
One major tip stands out – Leverage a product configuration platform, also known as CPQ (Configuration, Price, Quote) software.
What Does a Product Configuration Platform Do?
A product configuration platform is a tool that helps sellers customize a product’s features to meet different customer needs and tastes. Think of it as a bakery. One thousand customers need specific cakes. Each cake has a particular flavor, shape, size, color, theme, etc.
If each customer demanded 1,000 pieces of their “configurable” cake daily, the sales and production teams would be overwhelmed. But what if the bakery provided software where customers would enter their specifications with just a few clicks? The configuration process would be simple, straightforward, and efficient for both the bakery and the customers. Even orders, quotes, production, and delivery would be a smooth ride.
And that is what a product configuration platform can help you achieve. The software enables teams to select different specifications promptly and accurately, and meet complex, tailored customer needs every time.
Complex Product Configurations Made Easy
If your company sells complex configurable products to dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of customers, you know better than anyone that configuring products and services to meet each unique customer request can potentially be chaotic. The risk of introducing errors in customers’ orders – e.g., selecting the wrong color or finish, adding a discontinued part, entering unavailable quantities – increases with the number of possible configurations. Extensive product portfolios demand you simplify complex product configurations.
The following are some of the features of a CPQ software that make complex product configurations easy.
CRM and ERP Integrations
CPQ software has the ability to connect with enterprise core systems, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. In this way, the multiple departments involved in product configuration have access to centralized specification lists, pre-configured bundles, product inventory, etc., eliminating the risk of errors when sales teams are configuring products for customers.
Furthermore, integrations with CRM and ERP platforms allow workflows between sales and production to become more efficient, with consistent requirements and specifications flowing from one system to the other. As a result, businesses are able to configure and produce customized products with higher levels of accuracy and efficiency, which increases customer satisfaction.
Guided Selling Functions
As salespeople configure a product, a product configuration platform can verify in real-time the accuracy of each selection and provide intelligent feedback via guided selling functions, such as easy-to-understand pop-up messages and color-coded highlights. Component relationships can be defined to drive unique combinations of parts, materials, or sub-assemblies.
Additionally, up-sell and cross-sell messages lead salespersons to relevant recommendations based on specific configurations, helping them provide the most complete offerings.
Dynamic Product Visualizations
A CPQ software lets you visualize products during configuration, as options and colors are changed. It provides the ability to apply different colors and textures, and create complex compositions with layers and effects that are dynamically displayed. This not only improves experience for both your sales teams and customers, but it also ensures your customers get complex configurable products tailored to their specific needs and preferences.
Salespeople aren’t the only ones who are involved in product configuration. Engineering, production, and provisioning staff all have a role in this complex process. Your sales team can efficiently collaborate and eliminate bottlenecks with these departments by leveraging automated review and approval workflows. CPQ software can prevent erroneous configurations via guided selling functions and automated approval requests. Product changes recorded in a connected ERP system can be immediately routed to appropriate team members for review and authorization.
A product configuration platform allows those in sales to work with other departments and built complex configurable products – easily and efficiently.
The Benefits of Simplified Product Configurations
In today’s business world, offering simple solutions to complex situations is critical for higher customer retention and growth. CPQ software helps organizations simplify complex product configurations to streamline operations, boost efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately achieve these business goals.
A product configuration platform brings many other benefits:
- Helps customers create tailored products, thus improving the experience;
- reduces wastages and reworks on products, which eliminates extra costs and delays;
- increases market share with numerous product configurations reaching a broader audience;
- implements quick and efficient sales, production, and delivery processes, which optimizes operations;
- integrates with centralized CRM and ERP systems, thus enhancing inter-departmental collaboration and productivity.
Climb the Marketplace Ranks with CPQ
When it comes to configuring complex products, the role of CPQ software in sales and production processes is vital. Business selling complex configurable products are constantly adapting and looking for ways to stay ahead of their competition, and one of the approaches is the use of a product configuration platform.
The customizations you provide make you unique in your industry, which can appeal to potential customers. However, to avoid errors, delays and unpleasant experiences, you need a robust product configuration platform that will empower your sales and production teams to configure and build exactly what the customers want. It should help you do that easily, quickly, and efficiently.
If your company needs to simplify complex product configurations, implementing CPQ software that provides user-friendly, guided features as well as connections to centralized systems, might be the answer you are looking for.