Blog Category: Guided Selling

CPQ and Guided Selling: Empowering Manufacturing Customers

A shift towards customer empowerment is here

A dynamic power shift has been happening for businesses across every industry over the past decade. Manufacturers used to rely on ads, word-of-mouth and even promotions to attract customers to their products. This oftentimes was a leap of faith for customers, with little to no peer-reviews or information buyers would have to trust that a manufacturer could do as they promised.

That’s all changed, with review sites and numerous other ways to get info on your company. These changing customer demands make it imperative to change how manufacturers interact and empower their current and prospective customers. This power shift demands that manufacturers enable customers to configure, price and quote highly configurable manufacturing products on their own time without the help from your sales or engineering teams.

What does customer empowerment for manufacturers look like?

The old customer journey took your buyer directly to your sales and engineering teams because configuring products with high product variability was difficult. That process could some times lead to costly misconfigurations and error-filled quotes, making your customer think twice about your product. Manufacturers who use CPQ offer accurate quotes and configurations, but customers are still looking to do the work on their own time. That’s why today’s customers want to be less reliant on your sales team and more create their product on their own time with the same accuracy but still have the same great support from your team if problems do arise. This support and empowerment is a powerful way to foster a great relationship based on loyalty and accurate expectations.

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CPQ and Guided Selling empowering the customer and the manufacturer to do more

Customers want to do everything fast, and accurate. Errors aren’t acceptable to the new B2B buyer because if they do happen customers are likely to find an option that can fulfill their needs. Without CPQ many manufacturers struggle with product variance because they use excel sheets and other databases with scattered information. This of course leads to errors and unhappy customers which makes creating a cohesive internal experience even more important. Connecting with existing CRM, ERP and other business-critical systems to CPQ with robust integrations help your company get to grips with the quoting process for internal empowerment.

Now that internal empowerment is accomplished with CPQ your customer will be able to enjoy the same benefits. Customers want to save as much time as possible when searching for products, that’s why CPQ self-service is a key tool you can use to create configurations and even visualizations of their products, all without any assistance from your sales team. Customers want an eCommerce way of buying things similar to how they shop for a new pair of shoes. Enabling self-service helps your customers work with products while enabling your company to create the eCommerce journey they are accustom to. This journey can be accompanied by stunning visuals that are accurate down to the smallest detail. Check out how we helped MAN Truck and Bus give visuals that helped them save time while enhancing the customer experience.

This sounds like a bad thing for your sales team, but in reality, empowering customers to create themselves will save your team time and money by focusing on other potential deals. Self-service can also help with frequently asked questions by providing a knowledge base of questions, and troubleshooting.

What is Guided Selling?

Guided Selling software creates an interactive dialogue about customer wants and needs to find a solution that is both accurate and optimal for their needs. Think of your best salesperson, they have the experience to suggest what would work in a certain situation but still can create mistakes. Guided Selling is like your best salesperson but without the errors. Utilizing Guided Selling creates a personalized experience by showing customers optimal products that they didn’t know they needed. This empowers them to take a deep dive into the products, how do they use them, where do they use them? These questions give customers options that they didn’t even think of that can help them get the most out of their products. Technical knowledge isn’t needed with Guided Selling, making it easy for anyone to use, sales, or customers.

Empowering Customers can take your business to the next level

It’s not a secret anymore, manufacturers are trying to catch up to other industries by creating a cohesive, fast and empowering customer journey. Many have struggled to get the process started because the optimal solution hasn’t presented itself. That time is over, Tacton Smart Commerce, powered by CPQ can shape how your business does work internally and externally. Empowering customers with self-service and Guided Selling is just the beginning. Once they get a hang of that it’s possible for them to enable their partners do work with their customers for a truly omnichannel customer experience.

Sound too good to be true? Check out some of our resources and customer stories to see how top manufacturers are empowering their customers daily.

Book your personalized demo

Tacton Smart Commerce eBook 

CPQ Self-Service Product Sheet

Visual Configuration Video

Husky Success Story

 

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.