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The Quoting Conundrum: Balancing Speed and Accuracy with AI-Powered Quoting

Your salespeople want to get quotes into the hands of their prospects quickly. That’s good because it’s 50% more likely that the vendor that responds first wins the deal. But the reality is salespeople are spending a lot of valuable time on mundane tasks like searching for product information, trying to figure out pricing and discounting, getting stuck in long approvals, creating proposals, and then circling back to update their sales pipeline in their CRM. 

There’s a better way.

PROS Smart Configure Price Quote (CPQ), part of our Profit & Revenue Optimization Software platform, automates all those activities and puts everything salespeople need at their fingertips so they can be more responsive. This includes AI-powered pricing recommendations that are most likely to win the deal and real-time collaboration capabilities that empower salespeople to close the deal quickly. 

Here are five questions to ask as you’re looking to make quoting easier and more profitable for your business:

#1 How easy is it for your newest salesperson to find the right product? 

With AI and automation in the CPQ process, even new hires facing a huge catalog and complex configurations can quote with speed and precision. Normally, this might take six months to a year to get up to speed on all the different product offerings, and still the process can be cumbersome. PROS Smart Configure Price Quote, which is conveniently accessed from your CRM, features step-by-step guided workflows during the configuration process and the ability to optimize for different scenarios. The solution then automatically populates the right components for that specific build. And it even lets the salesperson know what's compatible and what's not, with guardrails to prevent quoting mistakes. 

#2 Are discounts based on data or more of a guessing game?

PROS Smart Configure Price Quote can pull in pricing information from PROS Smart Price Optimization & Management, so salespeople will see the optimal floor, target, and expert prices that are appropriate for a particular customer and deal—no more spending hours in meetings with multiple departments to figure out how to profitably price a deal. The pricing is based on willingness to pay at the individual customer level, so the salesperson is offering the right product at the right price in real time to every customer. Plus, deal insights during the quoting process enable them to visualize profitability, analyze quote performance, and know which prices are auto approved to keep the quote moving forward quicker. 

#3 Does negotiating a deal create one long email chain?

Real-time collaboration capabilities in PROS Smart Configure Price Quote enable salespeople to collaborate with their customers, making adjustments together, to close the deal quickly. For example, a customer can open a link and make edits such adjusting quantities. PROS makes it easy for both parties to provide instant feedback on the quote, which streamlines the process.

#4 Are you spending hours jumping between applications? 

Once a salesperson finishes a quote, all the information is synced from PROS back to your CRM, including the margins, approvals, and any other information. Since PROS Smart Configure Price Quote is an embedded experience in your CRM, it enables salespeople to work in one centralized location, where data gets updated in real time. 

#5 Can customers order from eCommerce platforms?

PROS Smart Configure Price Quote technology can be leveraged outside of your CRM and ERP environment, such your eCommerce and partner portals. You’ll be able to extend your configurations and quoting capabilities to your partners and eCommerce channel, creating the same great experience wherever your customers choose to buy.

. . .

The PROS Platform removes the complexity and barriers between the sales, pricing, and eCommerce with game-changing automation and AI. This is how companies like Manitou are transforming their sales experience and business performance. 

How Manitou reduced quoting from 30 days to just one day 

Before PROS Smart Configure Price Quote, Manitou Group sales agents were using a bulky paper catalog to communicate options to customers and place orders. Salespeople placed orders or gave information verbally or by email. These non-digital processes introduced a multitude of problems as the company grew. First, catalogs were only sent periodically, but product listings were updated throughout the year. The paper catalog contained quotes from the time of publishing and didn’t have real-time prices to give customers accurate quotes.

Product listing updates often didn’t make it to sales before the next catalog was published, leaving them in the dark about changes in pricing, options, and upsells, resulting in longer order times. Extra time was spent waiting for communication between sales and engineering, and the out-of-date catalog caused customers to miss out on new offers that could be beneficial to them. Plus, the sheer size of the product catalog and complexity of requests also made it easy for salespeople to make errors in orders sent to manufacturing, further delaying the sales process. And the paper catalog and manual ordering process provided little visibility into the dealers’ pipeline, meaning that Manitou Group was missing most of its customer data.

PROS Smart Configure Price Quote integrated into Manitou's ERP systems provides a seamless order-to-production transition. This enables the dealer self-service process to work more fluidly and allows them to be 100% accurate through that process as well. As a result, they reduced the average quotation time from 30 days to just one day. Manitou also increased the average order revenue through automated upselling and cross-selling, leveraging the AI capabilities inside of our quoting platform. To read more about Manitou’s success story, click here

Are you losing deals to competitors who are beating you to the quote? 

Learn how PROS can help you achieve speed and accuracy—even with highly configured, complex products and huge line-item quotes. We’ve helped businesses of all sizes deliver game-changing operational efficiency, faster quote turnaround time, and tailored processes. And we’d love to help you too.

Learn more:

  • Watch the full recording of the webinar
  • Talk to an expert about how PROS can help you take control of the CPQ process to drive sales performance and profitable growth

About the Authors

Jerome Cahuzac Headshot

Jerome Cahuzac, is a Principal Smart CPQ at PROS, bringing over 25 years of CPQ expertise to support the sales, alliances, and marketing teams. He plays a crucial role in shaping future CPQ products and integrations, drawing on his extensive background, including a significant tenure at Cameleon Software in Toulouse, France, where he transformed a CPQ solution into a modern cloud service. Relocating to Chicago in 2007, Jerome has successfully led the delivery of over 20 CPQ implementations across the Americas and ANZ, showcasing his leadership in professional services. As a resident of suburban Chicago, Jerome enjoys a personal life enriched with family, high-performance driving, golf, and volunteer work with the Sports Car Club of America.

Jorge Garza Headshot

Jorge Garza, is a seasoned Strategic Consultant at PROS, specializing in CPQ, pricing, and revenue optimization solutions. With over seven years in the field, he has empowered businesses to enhance their sales processes, optimize pricing strategies, and accelerate deal closures through data-driven insights and advanced CPQ technologies. Jorge's work helps companies of all sizes achieve superior performance by establishing efficient, accurate quoting mechanisms that drive profitability.

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