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.

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.

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