Synchronize Your Distribution Channels With CPQ

April 2, 2015 Russ Chadinha

The No. 1 challenge companies face with a multichannel selling approach is synchronization.

By synchronization, we’re referring to the ability to simultaneously provide product information, pricing, operational support and a consistent customer experience across all your channels. That synchronization must apply to your existing and new products, and your existing and new customers.

In a synchronized offer, customers have the option to buy your product directly, through your distribution partners or online in an e-commerce setting. While the experience must be consistently good, that doesn’t mean the channels are identical. You might purposefully create different experiences in your different sales channels based on allocation or supply constraints. Some channels may offer bulk pricing, for example, or faster delivery, which may require you to tailor and manage sales assets for each channel.

Configure, price, quote (CPQ) solutions are a great way to synchronize efforts across all channels and dramatically increase sales productivity, according to research by the Aberdeen Group.

Here are five ways to empower your sales and marketing organization to deliver an efficient synchronized offer across your sales channels using CPQ tools:

1) Configurability: When you’re rolling out a new product or service across all your channels, it’s more efficient to coordinate efforts with a single tool than trying to juggle multiple platforms. CPQ’s configurability ensures that your sales team and partners are able to use that same tool to meet a wide range of customer requirements.

2) Efficiency: When you’re using a single platform for all of your channels, it’s highly efficient. You create the product catalog once, for example, and use it in a variety of contexts. With some CPQ tools, you have to get IT involved to make certain changes, but others are set up with business users in mind. This way, you’re able to update and publish information instantly across all channels without needing additional technical help.

3) Consistent experience: When you integrate your CRM, ERP and CPQ systems, you’re able to ensure consistency across your channels. If you don’t have CPQ synchronizing your channels, the customer may get a different experience depending on whether they buy online, call your direct sales team or go through your channel partners.

4) Sales effectiveness: Ideally, all of your sales channels should be able to provide a high quality, comprehensive solution that’s tailored for each customer. When you’re using CPQ, you’re able to achieve a standard competence level by providing guided selling capabilities for all of your sales reps and partners. In addition to ensuring consistency in the sales process, this guidance is also a great way to drive cross-selling and upselling.

5) Proactive sales approach: Setting up automated alerts in your CPQ tools is a great way to be proactive about customer retention and contract renewals. An alert might let a rep know that their customer’s contract renewal is coming up, and trigger an automated workflow that allows the rep to quickly reconfigure contracts or make a new offering for the customer, preventing competitive entry.

For most organizations, synchronizing multiple sales channels is a major challenge. A CPQ solution offers one highly configurable tool that allows you to quickly provide product information, pricing and operational support across all of your channels, helping to ensure a consistent customer experience.

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