Has it ever been more difficult to sell? Inflation, unpredictable supply chains and volatile stock markets have left Chief Financial Officers with a headache as they try to keep costs down, maximize margin, and optimize their pricing and offers to attract customers that are tightening their purse strings.
To do these things in 2023, CFOs will need the ability to make decisions and take actions at speed. They must embrace pricing innovation, quote automation, and product configuration using profit optimization technology to win business ahead of competitors.
Yesterday’s tools and solutions aren’t enough to solve today’s problems. Businesses that use manual spreadsheets to manage their pricing or create quotes are being left behind by competitors who are responding in seconds to convert customers with individualized pricing and offers.
“The first quote often wins,” says Grad Conn, Chief Marketing Officer at profit optimization software leaders, PROS. “If you don't get a quote instantly or within minutes or hours, then you probably won't win that deal. And is the quote optimized well? Does the price take into account market conditions? Is the deal even profitable?”
PROS profit optimization technology has become the secret weapon of CFOs at the world’s leading companies. The PROS platform uses artificial intelligence to manage pricing and costs in real time, integrating market factors and providing customers individualized pricing immediately in order to increase conversion, margin and profitability.
Another challenge businesses face today is the complexity of a huge catalogue. For businesses with thousands of SKUs, manually updating pricing in real time would require the dedicated mathematical genius of thousands of staff round the clock. Instead, AI seamlessly integrates with businesses’ CRM and ERP solutions to make sense of the data and maximize the value of every single transaction in an instant.
CFOs are also plagued by a slow sales approval process. Approvals for quotes often require agreement from multiple people in different departments, but by advising and agreeing on target or floor pricing, quote approvals can easily be automated. PROS is helping many companies significantly reduce their quote times, including a global building products manufacturer, who was able to reduce their quote times from over two days to an average of 30 minutes.
The PROS combination of artificial intelligence and automated processes has had a direct impact on the profitability of hundreds of companies. Data from 131 PROS customers revealed an average margin improvement of an average of 200 basis points, up to a high of more than 500 basis points. Revenue also increased by an average of 8% and in some cases 100%. Average operational and efficiency saw gains of 67% and often as high as 96%. A Fortune 100 global IT company tapped into the power of PROS and achieved a 1.9% margin uplift, a 25% reduction in quote cycle time, and a 111% increase in quotes year-on-year.
But just as customers don’t want to wait for the best price, CFOs don’t want to wait for a return on investment. So, how long does it take to see those kinds of results with this approach to profit optimization? A host of businesses have seen returns in the same quarter they integrated the software, while others have enjoyed returns within days. PROS recently helped a global energy company generate +$3 million of incremental revenue in the first six months and +$8 million in the first year.
As CFOs prepare for another year of volatility, fast and intelligent profit optimization will be critical to maximize margin, revenue, growth, and profitability. The most forward-thinking CFOs are swapping spreadsheets for profit optimization software as they undergo digital transformation as required by the buying behaviour and volatility of today’s market. This approach could be the difference between thriving and surviving in 2023.
(Originally published in Raconteur, distributed in the Sunday Times).
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