Imagine you need to sell a product the size of a small town, millions of components that are all interconnected. The deal is HUGE, often in the USD millions. And your customer not only sits on the other side of the globe, but they also expect this deal to last them a generation.
This is the reality of the Power Industry. An industry that literally powers the world.
This is an industry that is obsessed with efficiency. From the way they build and install the equipment, to their output and performance.
UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGE
There is, however, an area where efficiency can still be improved: the sales process. Some might argue that the inefficiencies in the business side of things are mainly due to human factors. Just think of long negotiations, cultural/language difficulties, governmental bureaucracy, travel-time, etc.. While in part this may be true, there are still many technical tasks where huge gains can be achieved.
To get some real insight, we asked Matti Stoor, one of our Tacton experts, who has over 30 years’ experience in the power industry. Matti currently Manages our customer relations and was happy to weigh in on the matter.
In Matti’s experience, selling in the power industry is never straight-forward. The challenges are many, and each negotiation tends to take on a life of its own. Nevertheless, they often share these common traits.
3 PRINCIPAL DIFFICULTIES OF SELLING IN THE POWER INDUSTRY
1) Global companies with dispersed teams – Most companies competing for the deal are multi-national global players, with experts often spread out throughout the world. Their efforts need to be coordinated to minimize selling costs and deliver quotes on time.
2) Too many meetings and countless communications – Negotiating these deals can be a lengthy process. Often, the negotiations undergo alterations to technical aspects required by the customer. Sometimes one alteration to a component can impact numerous other aspects of the project, changing not only the price, but also the basic terms of the negotiations.
3) Heavily loaded with technical aspects, many variables and many dependencies between the parts.
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the sales process is the sheer variance of the products, equipment, and installations. Since no 2 clients are the same, many require customized solutions. Configuring the products to fit their needs is a challenge on its own.
HOW CPQ DISRUPTS THE SELLING PROCESS
Most Customer Relation Management (CRM) software have done a great job at improving efficiencies around connecting and coordinating global teams. Traditional CRM tools, however, lack the ability to cope with the technical aspects of the negotiations.
“Here is where a Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solution that integrates to your CRM and ERP system can transform the sales process. It improves the quote accuracy and make the negotiations more efficient, and therefore more effective.” – Matti Stoor
A CPQ solution aims to simplify the handling of large amounts of technical data, models, and metadata. This applies especially for high-variance, complex products such as Gas Turbines, distribution grids, or even entire power stations. In this industry, CPQ software needs to be robust enough to cope with infinite variances, combinations, and constraints. And the faster and more accurately it is, the better.
As Matti Stoor points out, the benefits of a CPQ solution for companies in the Power Industry are many. What’s more, when a CPQ solution is cloud-based, integrated to all major CRM and ERP systems, and based on a powerful AI-engine, it makes it a true game changer.
This may not be the place to discuss all the benefits that a CPQ brings to the Power Industry.[to learn more about how other industries have benefited and read some concrete examples click here] However, we think it’s worth highlighting here the top 3 advantages to incorporating CPQ into your sales arsenal.
TOP 3 ADVANTAGES OF USING CPQ IN THE POWER INDUSTRY
1) Time/resource savings
Today there isn’t a software in the market that doesn’t promise to save you time and resources. However, when it comes to CPQ, the time saved is in a different order of magnitude from other software solutions. The time it took for changing an existing quote could go from weeks to minutes. The savings are also based on costly engineering resources. The AI-powered configurator not only ensures each new configuration is accurate, complete and reliable, it also opens the possibility to respond to customer specifications faster, and in real time. Read more about how Siemens was able to reduce quoting time by 99%.
2) Bandwidth – Handling of infinite variance
When it comes to variables and technical complexity, few industries compare to the energy production industry. Companies quoting for a specific project need to also consider the client’s specifications, current environmental regulations, and all regulatory compliance variables. Negotiations and quotes are even dependent on market forces such as the price of gas, tax laws or foreign exchange rates. A robust CPQ solution would be able to make it simple for the sales team to account for all these variants confidently.
3) Reliable information and ability to configure remotely
In large-scale projects, such as a new power generation station, competing companies rely on expert teams that are spread around the world. A company might have local representatives on the ground that don’t have access to the lasts price information or that can reconfigure the quote. Since a CPQ reduces the dependency of scattered/precious engineering resources, the negotiating team on the ground can confidently prepare complex quotes using reliable, updated information. This means that sales negotiations can progress smoothly, without the need to refer to remote teams located half-way around the world. It is not about eliminating the need for experts, it’s about lightening the load for those experts so that their interventions can be more strategic.
Image Courtesy of The American Power Association
These 3 advantages are just the tip of the iceberg when implementing CPQ within your sales tools. Overall, a CPQ solution enables companies to save time and resources. These saving can then be better spent focused on ensuring your clients’ needs are met and all other activities are optimized. In an industry that prioritizes efficiency, CPQ will give your sales team the efficiency that is necessary during the most lengthy and difficult negotiations.