By:
April 16 2020

How to Collaborate with your Remote Sales Prospects

In remote sales, submitting a complete quote to a customer is vital. Here's how you can collaborate remotely with your customer to co-create a successful deal.

This is the 3rd installment of our “Remote Selling for Manufacturers” series. Past posts included “5 Tips to host a video sells meeting” and “How to demo products remotely”.

Over the past couple of months, many commercial teams, including those working for global manufacturers, have gotten used to working remotely. While you may have found ways of keeping your customers and prospects engaged, chances are that many on-going sales process were stopped from one week to the next. Today, many organizations are embracing the latest technologies to carry on with their sales processes remotely. Until recently, manufacturers selling complex products lacked the sales tools to enable remote sales.

The most critical moment of a Sale

Submitting a complete quote to a customer is one of the most important moments of a sale. This moment captures all the previous engagements, meetings and discussions you had with the customer and is a testament of how you plan to meet your customer’s needs.

Given the complexity of B2B deals, it is common for an initial proposal to be submitted only to be returned with corrections and suggestions form the customer. While no side wants delays, all parties understand the need to ensure every last detail is correct before an agreement is finalized. The fewer these backs and forth, the faster both parties can get what they want.

In the past, the process of getting the quote just right would be carried out over days or weeks, by means of a back and forth (typically in writing). While e-mail, and document sharing services have managed to speed things up from the days of the fax, the process remained slow and cumbersome.

Don’t just communicate, COLLABORATE!

The process of “coming to an agreement” used to involve the back-and-forth “dialogue” between two sides, each trying to get their needs met. Today, any B2B salesperson understands that it’s never a good idea to see the other party as an adversary (win-lose), rather as a partner with a common goal (win-win). In other words, if you want to be effective today, you need to actively collaborate with your customers and help them achieve their goals.

While many may agree to this win-win approach, in theory, many organizations struggle to put it into practice. Fortunately, today there are new sales tools and software solutions that make it easier to embrace collaboration with your customers while working remotely. Here’s how.

2 Ways of collaborating with customers during the sales process

1)      Crafting a quote together, step by step, during the same sales call

Imagine if it was possible to be on a video call with your customer. As you are listening to the needs of the customer, you are able to create the quote so by the time you hang up, the quote is already sitting in their inbox. This is exactly what happens in this video.

The video was created by one of our product managers working from home, who enlisted the help of his neighbor to play the role of a buyer. This is yet another example of how we are adapting to this situation.

Here you see how within a call, the salesperson is able to make adjustments to the quote in real-time. If you watched to the end, you can see that the quote will be ready “in a few minutes”.

This is an ideal example of what collaboration with your customer looks like. The customer feels understood and feedback if acted upon right away.

2)      Asynchronously: Handing the keys to the customer

While configuring the quote at the same time might be ideal. There are cases when your customer is working half-way around the world and having a clear video call at the same time is just not feasible. To remain collaborative in these situations, you need to give the customer part-ownership of the process. There are many benefits to allowing your customers to co-create the quote with you, including tapping into what’s known as the IKEA effect.

In this 2-minute video, we can see how a prospect received a detailed quote and, like in the above video, he is able to visualize the product using AR.

Here, you can see how the customer was not satisfied with the original quote. Rather than “sending it back” to you, the customer is empowered to log in directly to a limited quoting environment and reconfigure the order to match their needs.

All that is left to do, is for you to observe the changes made and proceed with the quote.

(BONUS) The Hidden Benefits of Collaboration

We've just highlighted some of the practical benefits of collaborating with your customer, especially when it comes to working remotely. There are, also some additional benefits to working in a collaborative way.

1) Shorter sales cycle: The easier it is to make alterations and adjustments, the quicker both sides can come to an agreement.

2) Reduce quoting errors: With its AI-powered configurator, every quote is technically 100% error-free. This reduces the need for sales engineers to correct any order errors.

3) CPQ quotes and proposals are directly linked to Salesforce (or other CRMs) and with your ERP

4) Configured product orders from CPQ are seamlessly transferred to the PLM or other production software.

remote collaboration agreement

 Image credit: Idea vector created by stories - www.freepik.com

Is your organization still stuck on a back-and-forth sales loop? We’re here to help. Click here and request a personalized demo with one of our specialists.

Check out our Resource page where you can read customer success stories, and experience live customer demos.

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