By:
July 18 2018

Are you an omnichannel master? Why CPQ should be at the centre of your omnichannel sales strategy

Customer expectations are changing. And there’s no time to lose for manufacturers

Every single one of us is influenced by our experience as consumers away from work. The savvy, self-guided buyer is here, and the expectation of “everything easy, everything available, everything now” is fast making its way into the B2B world.

 

Manufacturers must now move quickly to provide a similar buying experience for their customers.

 

The key to this is a well-balanced and customer-centric omnichannel that’s fronted by a killer online experience. The buyer can then choose their own path to your products, whether self-serving on your website, working with your direct sales team and/or with local resellers or dealers.

 

Meet your customer where they are

The right Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solution empowers your direct and indirect sales channel and also allows you to open up an online window where buyers can engage, configure and visually interact with your products.

 

While buyers of complex and highly configured products such as heavy equipment or production lines still rely on the OEM or a reseller for consultation, demoing, testing and negotiations, the efficiency and global reach of a well-integrated online channel can no longer be ignored.

 

By embedding CPQ with interactive 3D visual configuration on their websites, manufacturers can capture leads and engage their audience on a whole other level. A level that is directly relevant to the customer and their business needs – that meets them where and when they want to be met.

 

With CPQ at the heart of your omnichannel, you can offer a buying experience that will impress your customers, build loyalty and fuel growth, no matter how complex your products.

 

The manufacturer with the best buying experience wins

Consider this scenario. A prospect arrives at our website. They browse through our product portfolio and company information. After a few minutes they will likely have made up their mind about whether or not we could be a potential supplier. At this stage they haven’t engaged, and therefore we don’t know that the prospect is there and actively looking.

 

If all we are serving up online is general information about our products and our company, this potential customer will probably make some notes before swiftly moving on to the next vendor. We’ve been discovered, but we may not have made enough of an impression to stand out.

 

Now consider a different scenario. Our company has embedded an intelligent product configurator with interactive 3D visual configuration capabilities, directly on the website. (Yes, these systems do exist! Read more about visual configuration here) Instead of moving on to the next supplier, our self-guided prospect is invited into the world of our products. They become curious and start entering requirements into the configurator. They soon discover that they can enter and change input as they please – there are no dead ends, no set sequences to be followed. They can go back and change their mind in one area, and the configurator will automatically check the validity of the change against everything else that’s already been selected. If there’s a conflict, the system flags it and suggests the optimal solution. The prospect can even configure visually if they prefer – selecting, dragging and dropping product features and options. It’s easy and it’s intuitive.

 

This is where the magic happens. As our buyer effortlessly navigates the configurator and sees their product evolving on-screen, they are starting to commit our offer and our company to memory. A relationship is starting to form before they have even met one of our representatives.

 

Capture the high-quality leads

And that’s not all. Once finished with the configuration, our prospect is asked if they want a price quotation. As they move ahead, the request is automatically logged in the CPQ system as a lead. A workflow kicks in to ensure the lead is quickly allocated to the appropriate channel, and sales representative. Already informed by the online quotation request, the sales person can now prepare for the initial contact with the prospect. The potential for a fruitful first discussion and for striking up a personal relationship with the customer has increased massively.

 

By using CPQ as a lead generation tool, we now have an opportunity in our pipeline that we would otherwise never have known existed.

 

Selling complex products still requires a personal touch

There is an even more streamlined alternative where a process to support the complete sale online can be implemented. Most high-value equipment manufacturers, and more importantly their customers, are not yet ready for this level of automation, although there’s nothing to suggest they won’t be in the future, as behaviors and expectations continue to shift in this direction.

 

For now – when it comes to complex product manufacturing – a robust omnichannel strategy, where all the channels complement and seamlessly feed into each other, will be the preferred strategic direction for most.

 

With CPQ at the heart of your omnichannel, you can offer a buying experience that will impress your customers, build loyalty and fuel growth, no matter how complex your products.

 

Do you want to make sure that your company is the one setting the agenda and providing the benchmark for the competition? Get in touch. Or why not experience yourself what Tacton can do. Try out the online configurator at Tacton customer Scania.

 

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