Blog Category: Guided Selling

Win More Channel Sales Deals Using Visual Configuration

Channel Sales is a well-understood strategy. When manufacturers lack the means to effectively commercialize and distribute their products and services they partner with specialized re-sellers. In doing so, the manufacturer gets to focus on the development of the product, while the channel partners focus on finding and signing new customers.

By helping your channel sales with a more simple, efficient, and effective sales process, you can win more deals. In other words, your job as a manufacturer is to make your products and solutions easy for your channel partner to sell.

If you are using channel sales you probably have dedicated teams ensuring that their channel partners are working from them. A couple of examples of companies working actively to make their channel sales successful are, Pelco – a Motorolla Company, and nVent talk about how they are working with channel sales to configure, price and quote their products.

Check out the videos below:

How can manufacturers ensure that their channel Sales delivers more sales?

Your responsibility towards your channel partner is to help them sell. If the channel partner is not only offering your products but also your competitors too,  you need to ensure that you are the go-to solution.

How can you ensure that channel sales offer your products above your competitor’s? Certainly not by being the cheapest, nor by offering higher commissions.

By competing on price, you might win the deal, but you will certainly end up losing the customer in the end. 

Instead, you should focus on making your offer easier to sell to the end customer. This way, both the seller and the buyer can perceive the value of the product more clearly, and thus paving the way to the signing table. One of the ways to do this effectively is using visual configuration.

Visual configuration is a feature of Configure, Price, Quote software (CPQ), that shows customers the product as it is being configured. It uses realistic 3D and AR technology that is not only visually impactful but also 100% accurate to the configured specs.

A closer look at Visual Configuration

Don’t Miss it! We are hosting 2 LIVE WEBINARS on visual configuration,

one for the US and one for Europe.

Tacton Visual Configuration webinar

For US & Canada – March 18, 2 pm EST/ 1 pm CT – Register HERE
For Europe – March 23, 15:00-15:30 CET – Register HERE

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The elevator industry is a great example for explaining the sales process using Visual Configuration. This industry typically relies on channel sales partners to sell their equipment worldwide. It is also a great example because elevators must not only meet stringent regulations to ensure safety, they must also be appealing in terms of design and finishing details.

Safety first: product configurator as a failsafe

How can we ensure that the designers, sales teams, and customers configuring the elevator do not neglect safety or operational feasibility? How can we avoid delays by having to review all details, ensuring that they are compliant with building codes and regulatory standards?

Visual Configuration without a robust CPQ behind the sales tool, manufacturers would require sales engineers to go through, in detail, the configurations that resulted from a customer meeting or a sales order. This was cost-ineffective and lead to delays in the sales process.

Visual configuration is based on the configurator (constraints-based, AI-powered algorithm) that ensures that each product selection is 100% compatible with technical requirements, and thus buildable. It also ensures that all regulatory, and design requirements are also accounted for.

Not all visualization tools are the same. Visualization must be supported by a powerful configurator working behind the scenes. 

The start of the Visual Configuration Process

Step 1: Capacity and Dimensions

First, you need to decide and define how big the room, or the elevator cabin should be. The elevator needs to fit in a pre-designed space or place and therefore defining and adjusting the width, height, and depth of the cabin and the resulting constraints like the possible load.

Different elevator cabin dimensions

(Images of different cabin dimensions)

Step 2: Materials and Finishings

After deciding on the dimensions, the next step is to design all surfaces in the room or in this case the cabin. From floor materials, over wall designs to ceiling colors. A wide range of materials and colors are available for different use cases that need to fit and work well together when combined.

On top of the design additional room or cabin accessories and products like bumper rails, hand roles, mirrors, different door types, entrance sides and glass walls are available to be placed at different positions and in different configurations.

Different elevator cabin designs and accessories

(Images of different cabin designs and accessories)

Step 3: Lighting

Lighting also plays an important role in the design of a room or an elevator interior. Different light types, forms, and alignments create different moods and illumination.

Different Elevator lighting configurations
(Images of different lighting configurations)

Step 4: Buttons Panels and Controls

One very important product and part of a cabin configuration is the operation panel to use the elevator. Configuring a complete operation panel is a complex task as well with a wide range of different buttons, displays, information plates, communication devices and other components that can be selected and that need to be placed and arranged on the panel surface.

Elevator operation panel configuration

(Images of operation panel configuration)

Spatial configuration is a complex task that is best solved by human interaction, reflecting individual preferences and needs. Dragging and dropping the individual elements on the panel, rearranging them in real-time and getting instant feedback about possible geometrical constraints and resulting conflicts is an essential function in any configuration process.

Elevator spatial placements and conflicts

(Images of spatial placements and conflicts)

Conclusion: Visual Configuration delivers more Channel Partner Sales

As we have discussed, visual configuration carries two primary advantages for Channel Partner Sales. First, it makes the sales process easy, and effective for the salesperson. A sales rep can trust the configuration is 100% correct, and therefore can assure the buyer every step of the way.

Second, accurate and real-time visualizations can transform an ordinary sales meeting. Customers can see renderings of their options in 3D as well as in Alternative Reality.  

If you are depending on Channel Partners to sell your configurable products, Visual Configuration is a safe bet to drive more sales.

Ready to learn more? Check out our visualization page, or download our ultimate guide to visualization

What is Guided Selling? Make Anyone a Configuration Expert

Guided selling – a phrase with as many meanings as there are business consultants using it.

A hot topic in manufacturing right now is Guided Selling. A lot of sales, engineering, and even marketing teams are talking internally about it. So what is it and how does it add business value to the day-to-day operations of your business?

A quick Guided Selling definition:

A solution that understands the needs of customers that creates an interactive dialogue based on their wants and needs of any product. Through every selection they make using Guided Selling they will always receive the optimal, and valid product.

Make your customers the expert, based on their unique needs

Your customers are faced with more options than ever for highly-configurable manufacturing products. This at times can be incredibly overwhelming to them. The modern buyer wants a few things, the first being control of the product they are purchasing. Second, they want to know every product specification, down to the smallest detail.

The five stages of Guided Selling:

  1. Understanding customer needs, defining the configured product
  2. Steer their selection to their needs
  3. Selection impact
  4. Propagation
  5. Information presentation

Let’s go through the list from top to bottom. Let’s point out what your customers find important when it comes to their buying journey.

Understanding needs

Guided Selling is understanding needs by asking the customer some initial questions. These initial questions focus on the wants, needs, and specifications of your customer. For example, does the item they are purchasing get used in the desert or on the tundra? Questions like this narrow down potential options to create the optimal product configuration. Using this interactive needs-based dialogue helps not only the buyer but also the seller understand why and how individuals buy.

Making the selection process, fun, and easy also enables you, the manufacturer some much-needed information that can lead to a one of a kind buying experience for the customer while also building segments of your market with integrations to your business-critical systems. Something manufacturers have always struggled with, simplifying a confusing buying journey. Think of it like this: you will guide or limit the user to a defined and optimal product. And instead of you having to sit in the salesroom and configure every detail of the product with them, they will have done it on their own time, fast and effective.

Learn more about guided selling and CPQ in our complete guide to CPQ!

Steer their selection to their needs

The feeling of control is as important as controlling the type of information and the format of the end product. By limiting selections in a technical way, you can display different options after each other. By doing this, you will elicit certain behaviors in the customer. If this is not part of your sales strategy, better fix it fast.

Selection impact

Every detail and every penny counts for your customers. Utilizing Guided Selling shows how even the smallest selection impacts the total order, bill-of-material or price of the product. This puts customers in even more control of which editions and options they like while keeping budgeting in mind. Without Guided Selling, this would be technical and cause confusion, but now customers have the advantage to see the impact of changes in the configuration.  You can even add packaged up-sell solutions right into the configuration. This is a great way to visualize the value delivered.

Propagation

Guided selling shows the real selection impact. This is crucial. Once you’ve made a selection, all other fields are highlighted with possible usage. More than one available, one singled out the selection and possible selection but with changes to previous decisions. This is what a guided selling solution should deliver straight from the box. The ease of a visual representation ensures that users always have this information directly at hand (and eye).

Information presentation

Guided selling is showing invisible values. I have been surprised a number of times of how much knowledge some sales processes require. Take a simple garage door. The ordering panels, windows and other measurable objects should be handled by the configurator. It should do all the work for you. Just input the width and height and all other materials and measurements should be calculated directly and shown. This truly adds value.

So, did you get the idea?

That’s right, Guided Selling will enable your customer to do more on their own time while being in control of a valid and configurable solution based on their unique needs.

Check out how Guided Selling is just one part of Tacton Smart Commerce, powered by CPQ which enables manufacturers to do more in a smart, efficient way.