Investments in CRM and CPQ have resulted in tremendous productivity gains for B2B sales teams, but today’s buyers no longer want a salesperson to assist them with every step of the process. They want a self-service ecommerce experience when they know what to do, and a salesperson assisted CPQ experience when they are stuck. CIOs and CFOs need to work together to support a more digital sales motion, while managing costs and complexity to continue driving profitable growth.
Learn from Chief Product Officer of PROS, Sunil John, Virginie Dervite, and Vincent Blanchet of Groupe DEYA as they share their journey towards a more collaborative B2B commerce experience.
Sunil John: Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for working with us as we got set up, but it's a pleasure to be here in front of you today. Hope you're having a great time at Outperform....
I'm really excited today to share the stage with two wonderful leaders from Groupe DEYA. My name is Sunil John. I'm Chief Product Officer PROS, and with me on the Teams chat, is Vincent and Virginie Vincent, Virginie, would you please introduce yourselves?
Vincent Blanchet: Hi, everybody. I am Vincent Blanchet, CPQ manager at Groupe DEYA.
Virginie Dervite: Hi, everyone. I'm Virgine Dervite, marketing manager at DEYA.
Sunil John: I'm really excited to be here in front of you today for two reasons. One is it's been about four years since we've had a face to face event, so it's great to connect and reconnect with so many of you that we haven't seen each other in a long time. And second, we've been working on some really exciting innovation in CPQ. It really takes our perspective of how CPQ can be a much more collaborative experience, and it brings that to life.
And what I'll do is let me begin with a few observations as to how that perspective was formed.
So to to many of you who live in the day to day reality of sales, it's not gonna be a surprise that a lot of B2B buyers prefer a salesperson less experienced. That's not gonna be surprising. You know, in fact, in twenty fifteen, the surveys indicated that about fifty nine percent of B2B buyers indicated a preference for a rep free experience.
Sunil John: In the years since, that's grown to about three out of four people. So the question that we begin asking selves as we looked at this data was why? Why is this experience so desired? And so we started looking through a couple of things.
One is, It's not because salespeople have gotten, you know, complacent and they don't want to deliver a great experience. Sales people always wanna deliver a great great experience because that's how they continue to drive success for their own careers, for their companies, That's not it.
Is it because we just stopped investing in sales training? No. So what what changed? And in our conversations with customers, in our research, the thing that changed was buyer expectations.
The expectations of a buyer with respect to how comfortable they are doing things on their own, increased dramatically. The expectations of the buyer on how and when and where they wanted to interact with a salesperson, changed a lot as well.
These are two sides of the same coin, and it led to buyers really shaping a new perspective on how much assistance and if some assistance was needed from a salesperson and when. And if you started peeling back that, even a little bit more, one of the things that we observed is why. What why did this dramatic change happen?
One, I think as sales organizations, we've done a great job of putting content out for buyers that's really rich and buyers have done a great job of consuming that content. So when they enter a sales journey, they're already fairly educated on the products, the services, they formed opinions on which products and services work best for them, and they don't want to be educated again when they interact with the salesperson. The last thing that somebody wants to hear when they go in and interact with a salesperson is stuff that they already know.
Sunil John: The other thing that changed is a high degree of comfort with these interactive experiences shaped a lot by their personal lives. Especially over the pandemic, everything became digitally accessible. So from that point of view, they draw a sharp contrast with the experience they have in a typical B2B sales process, all of the mechanical steps that need to be walked through in often a way that takes a lot of steps it's sometimes via email, it's sometimes via phone, and it's sometimes via face to face, there's a lot of delays between steps, and they feel like a lot of this is just due to the fact that they don't have access to the systems that the salesperson has access to. Again, a frustrating conclusion for a buyer to draw.
So if you just stopped right there, you would think, hey, this is easy. Let's set up a digital sales channel. Let's just turn it all over to the customer, they're on their own, they'll be happy. Lots of people have tried that, but it still hasn't really drove the customer satisfaction in the direction that we want. So why is that?
Let's look here at a typical sales process. Can you advance a slide for me, please, Virginie?
Sunil John: So, a typical sales process, you know, from choosing products or services to constructing an offer, to all the reviews and approvals that are needed, to placing the order until you've come to a receipt of the good or service, there's a lot of interaction that happens.
Sure, buyers are educated when they enter the sales process, but there's always nuances, especially when you have a complex set of products, when you have a solution that you're assembling from a lot of different products, from a lot of different vendors, there's a lot of questions that can't all be covered in content that you put out there.
Sunil John: As an example, let's say you're a builder, and you're constructing a series of homes and you've got some underlayment that you want to put on the roof, okay, it all works, but given the timing of when the roof's going to get on, is it okay for this underlayment to sit out in the sun and take all the UV rays for ninety days. The spec says ninety days is okay. What if it goes into one hundred and twenty days because there's a delay? There's all these questions that need to be answered because they're very nuanced. And the same thing happens, buyers can construct their own quote.
They put their carts together all the time. But there's an expectation that they're going to tailor these quotes from a product customization to the products and the prices and terms to shaping it to their own company's needs.
And this continues step by step. There's internal approval. There's approvals by the buyers organization. There's approvals by approvals by the selling organization.
There's a lot of interactivity that needs to happen, and this is difficult for a pure digital experience to capture in totality. So if this is the case, we arrive at a little bit of a conundrum.
Sunil John: Buyers want to do this process on their own, yet they want support and assistance when they want it. So how do you marry these two together? And in fact, I think what we come to see is that Next slide, please?
What we come to see is that when buyers have these concerns, they need them resolved. They need them to resolve fairly quickly because if these uncertainties linger, research indicates that when a buyer has a medium or a high concern, the chances of sales closing drop by thirty percent. And if it's a considered product, a considered purchase, a premium product, the chance of completion in a self serve world is about fifty eight percent. So salespeople are really valuable.
They help buyers overcome these concerns, and really the challenge becomes how do you enable salespeople to do the best that they can and inject themselves into the points of the most acute moments of uncertainty. How do they engage with the buyer in a way that they form a fine line. Next slide, please.
They form a fine line because if they don't, you switch from being helpful to being annoying. A lot of you will be familiar with the Dunder Mifflin sales process.
And if they don't, if buyers, if sellers don't engage, in these most acute ways, where these moments of uncertainty, what happens is that that three out of four buyers that prefer a self-service experience twenty two percent of them end up regretting it.
So we have to marry these self serve experiences and the salesperson assisted experiences together. And so that led us to, next slide, please, to conclude that neither digital self serve or salesperson assisted, on their own, are gonna be enough to overcome the hurdle of getting to a good point of buyer experience, buyer satisfaction.
Sunil John: What you need is a way for sellers to engage when the buyer needs it and stay out of the way the rest of the time.
So when we looked at how we can help solve this problem, to help all of you sell and deliver the best customer experience for your customers, We explored two approaches. One was we can set up a lot of integrations between digital self-service channels in our Smart CPQ, or we could take all of the work that you've done to tailor Smart CPQ for your needs for your salesperson, and extend that over into a collaboration portal. And we opted for the latter because when we do that, the integration concern goes away. The catalogs are always in sync.
The configuration engines are always in sync. The pricing rules are always in sync. The quoting models are always in sync. The document generation rules are always in sync. And this gives a really, really strong experience so that when a buyer calls in and they need some support and help, the salesperson has all the context they need to deliver that help. And when they're done, the buyer can go on their own again.
And so this is the the vision and the perspective we were sharing with some customers and Vincent, Virginie, I'll turn it over to you because, you know, it's when we when we engage with you last year to begin this journey, It was wonderful how strong of an alignment we had on a shared vision. So, Virginie, Vincent, let let me turn it over to you. To share a little bit more about DEYA and your journey.
Vincent Yes. Thank you so unfortunately, today, we are not just a long time partner with PROS. We are also long distance speaker and be sure that with Virginie, we feel very sorry about it. Please note that for once, it's not because of a French strike. Whatever, we are very sad for not being with you today in Denver, but as Sunil said, we work closely with PROS. So, let's share our experiences.
Now the question is why PROS is the partner we need to make a B2B project of success. In order to explain it, we're gonna first introduce you quickly, our company and our activities. DEYA is a French industrial group funded in nineteen fifty three, who is Sebastian Prehaut, our CEO, is the first generation of a one hundred percent family shareholder. Since seven years, they have grown internally and externally, generating for many years a various organic IT system. But we'll come back to this later.
It's now about six hundred employees with four manufacturing sites in France. With one hundred million euro turnover. The products we offer are many wood and steel technical doors and frames that you can combine each other's of which ninety nine percent are fully customizable, which represent billions of combinations.
In addition, since almost fifteen years. We also, for sliding frames and doors, are customizable too.
As a leader, the finishing work of the building market, DEYA works with many types of companies from several countries. And with many customers profiles from the carpenters to the B2B retail facilities, for example. And now I'm going to let Virginie to lend you a little bit more about them and about our selling process.
Virginie Thank you, Vincent. So despite of the many different profiles that have been introduced, we had a customer survey a few years ago. And there is one major reason why customer want to work with DEYA. This is our technical support and our expertise. Especially about regulation and guidance through all the many options that we offer on our product. We observed the customer purchasing journey is punctuated by regular bargain force with many different contact in DEYA but in their own organization too. The same survey established that forty four percent of the customer require sales support. But as Sunil said, not at any time and for any type of product.
In fact, this rate increased to ninety percent of the customer will request sales assistance before sales and for all the technical and complex products, while there are only twenty six percent to require assistance after sales no matter the product. So where are we now?
Now we already have single, unlimited digital services, a service based on delivery tracking. It is provide via our customer platform, which is called my DEYA. From now, we want to be fully digital at each touch point of the customer journey.
But regarding what just is said and the way we're doing business daily. We couldn't think digital without without thinking about collaboration. All those orange arrows are it's such a essential to our project and to it’s success.
From now, we will expanding my data with different digital services and mainly with the B2B platform. This service will have to simplify the customer journey for basic purchasing. It means to be simple and at the best of the UX design of your B2C website.
For that, we benchmark its website service, we have services like Amazon or Lowa Merla in France. This service will have to focus sales people on high value touch point. It means the omni channel in the sales process. This is where collaboration system will be the key of the success.
And finally, It will have to make customer confidently purchase technical product. This is where an economy and information details will be important. All the link between the IT application of DEYA will be we have to be in real time.
So Vincent, you like challenges you and your team?
Virginie: Thank you. So please tell us. Thank you very much.
Vincent: Thank you for all the goals and for your always creative ideas. Sure. Like I told you a few minutes ago they had an system.
But for the last five years, we worked on a project with PROS with marketing teams and customer services teams in DEYA Which main goal was to deploy a single solution to save our codes from our codes and orders from all of our many catalogs.
Now they asked to maintain it. They asked to maintain a friendly UX for a complex offer, one hundred percent set up and fully interfaced without production systems in order to drive them without any human intervention.
I said complex offer because of the complexity of our products, the many catalogs of the different brands that we offer and many customer specific pricing for each server catalog. Moreover, having billions of combination possible for customized products. They make the purchase very complicated for some of our customers. So we'll have to make them confident if we want them to be able to pass others by themselves. To reach those goals, we based our strategy on three axes.
The first one is to deploy a B2B portal as a logical continuation of our ecosystem, which means that we have to have and manage less new interfaces as possible. And most of all, we have to be able to reuse as much as possible every data structures we've already deployed. I think about CPQ objects. I think about pricing grids. I think about catalog products. Etcetera.
The second axis is to give customers confidence step by step. It means providing the B2B sales as an add on to our already existing customers platform, my DEYA. And then allows them to order configured converted products more and more complex over time.
And the third axis is to allow collaboration naturally integrated into our existing selling process.
Many B2B offers consisted by adding portal plus new products catalogs. New codes, new reports to generate etcetera. But thanks to PROS, we'll have a plug and play solution ready to satisfy all our goals.
This integration into the upfront office because the portal will be open angle from our application myDEYA. Don't need to create anything. Every actual objects will be reusable with the PROS B2B portal.
Our serial rules already used will also be this one hundred percent searchable. And last but not least, PROS allows others to collaborate on the codes with our customers online in a real time. But enough talk, I think Sunil, would you please show us how it works?
Sunil You bet I'd be happy to.
Sunil: Okay. Let me What an open quote for you? So what what I'm gonna show here is our smart CPQ product. This is one configuration of it. It's got a certain set of columns. This is the experience that a salesperson interacts with. When they log in and they began constructing quotes for customers.
I've already got a quote constructed. I'm going to go ahead and add an item from the catalog just so that you see also some of the capabilities we have in the catalog portion of this. I'm gonna add a metallic door. You'll notice support for different languages, different units of measure. It's very conducive to a global sales organization. And let me go ahead and had a couple of these doors. Live software.
So here, I've got a set of items right here, I've got integration with our price optimization technology, so that if I wanted to understand what is the appropriate discount to give on any one of these, I see what the issue is right here. Let me move this back to There.
So, if I move this over here, now I can go back and go use my price optimization recommendations to move these discounts to target. I can I can manipulate the quote and add and add products and do all the normal things I was going to do so far? You're familiar with our Smart CPQ, I haven't shown you anything different than what has existed for a while. Typically happens now at this point is the salesperson uses the data in the quote to construct a document, and they send this document as a PDF or a Word document via email. There's back and forth that happens there. At some point, the quote is updated because of these conversations that happened back and forth. So here we're going to do something different. I'm gonna invite.
And so I'm gonna go ahead and put in an email address right here. If if there's any volunteers, happy to take any email address if you wanna follow along. Any takers? Okay. Well, Virginie, I'm gonna add your email to it so that we can show everybody how this works. So it's gonna it's gonna launch my my local email client.
Vincent: Can you send it to me, Sunil?
Virginie: Maybe not to myself because my computer is not very well.
Sunil: You bet. You bet. You bet. So, you know, through a normal interface here, we've constructed a link that takes you to a customized collaboration portal.
And I've got the link here that I copied, so I'm gonna go ahead and open it up. And you can see right here that it reflects the exact contents of the quote, all the line items are there, all of the quantities, all the information that you want to share with your end customer, can be made available here. If it's a column or some piece of data that's available in the quote, you can share that with your customer.
Now typically what we expect is there's gonna be some limited set of columns that you actually want to share with your customers. There may be some some different data fields that you don't want them to to know, like like margin, for example. Right?
But a couple of things have happened right here. One is there's an exact representation. So any changes that I make to the quote by the salesperson are going to be reflected here, any changes that are made here on the portal are going to be reflected to the salesperson. So there's a real time collaboration that's involved there. As an example, let me just change this quantity of the second line item to fifty seven.
You can see right here when I go back to Smart CPQ, it's changed immediately. In fact, Vincent, I sent you the link, were you able to bring up the site?
Vincent: Yes. I’m on it.
Sunil: Okay. Why don't you change one of the line items the quantity of one of the line items?
Vincent: You change the second line?
Sunil: Change the second line. Sure.
Sunil: So you can see you changed it back to one right there. And if I look right here. Can can you change that second line again, Vincent, to something, the the the quantity, please?
Vincent: Of course.
Sunil: So here again, imagine a real time interaction. He just changed it to five in the second line, there was no browser refresh. So we use some innovative technology involving web components, and that's what we're able to to drive this real time interaction back and forth. And so this facilitates this collaboration perspective that we were talking about a little bit earlier is that when the salesperson needs to step in and help, they can, they've got full context of exactly what the customer had done on their own, vice versa, if the customer wants to make changes the salesperson's aware, so this collaboration stays in sync the whole time. And we're able to do all this without having to set up any costly, complex, hard to maintain integration between the catalogs, between the configuration, rules between the quote models, between the pricing rules, all of that is maintained automatically.
In fact, if you've got smart CPQ set up and ready to go if you're using smart CPQ. Really, this is a matter of going to a designer that we have, and selecting maybe some subset of the data that you want to do, and adjusting your styling.
The colors and styling that you want. In fact, I'll show you what this looks like right here. Here's our collaboration portal, designer.
And you know when I go to one of these, you can see that there's a little bit of a wizzywig type of interface right here where You can change a variety of fields. You'll see it reflected on the right. You can activate this. This becomes live on the site. When I go to quote details if you wanted the summary pane.
The other thing I wanted to show you is that this is this is a responsive site. If you were looking at it on your phone or on your tablet, what would happen is the UI would automatically respond to the size of the screen, and so now you can enable a mobile experience if your customers wanted to interact that way. So all of these are things that we've really brought to life with this perspective of driving collaboration in CPQ, and this is this is what I wanted to share with you today what I'm really excited to share on behalf of the team.
So with that, Virginie, can you share the slide again, please?
Virginie: Yes, it was probably share, I'm going to do it again.
Sunil: Oh, sorry. I was sharing here. So you actually didn't see the demo.
Sunil: Yeah. Go ahead. Go ahead and click into the next slide. Everyone here saw the demo.
Virginie: It's most important. Yeah.
Sunil: A couple a couple of points here. You know, like I said, with Smart CPQ already in place, we can set up the collaboration portal, and it's really a function of how much styling you want to play with, but it can be deployed in minutes. And that's really amazing. It's been a big focus of ours as a product philosophy to drive value as quickly as possible through a lot of use of strong defaults.
There are several degrees of freedom on how much interactivity you want to enable your customer to do. It could be as simple as just seeing the quote in an interactive way. It could be just changing quantity, soon by the end of Q2, you're going to be able to add items themselves, so the customers can add items that they're familiar with there. And we're going to continue to, to progressively add more and more capabilities right now. This is going into preview next week with our with our customers. And what we like to do during the previews get a lot of feedback and we really want to dial in the user experience for both the customer and the salesperson, so this interactivity and this this feeling that you're really collaborating in real time becomes really, really strong.