Let’s start at the beginning of the sales process. After some CRM actions – such as entering contact and opportunity data – needs analysis comes in the picture. What is it that the customer really wants? Needs analysis is crucial in the sales process because it is the basis for the selection and configuration of the product. But how do you know that you have written down all requirements to simplify the remaining steps in the sales process?
Once you have stored all your prospects’ needs, the next challenge is to translate these requirements into a product variant. This variant should not only meet the needs of your prospect, but the different parts must also match with each other and thus can be combined. In addition, it is important to find out whether a product is feasible. Your company must be able to produce the product and you also need a correct bill of material (BOM). If you are dealing with a customer wish that has not been produced previously ("Engineer to Order"), then it becomes a bit more complicated. In short: how do you ensure that you have a feasible product to offer to your prospect?
Making a quotation
The next hurdle has to be overcome by the sales staff: producing the quotation. How can you make an attractive quotation based on all the requirements? And by ‘attractive’ I mean a document that contains the right information, offers good readability, meets the needs of the prospect and contains matching illustrations and pictures in the right places. How do you do this?
It is possible that your prospect is not satisfied with the latest version of the quotation. He would like to discuss the colour, the configuration or the price, and make changes if necessary. You want to maintain version management of the various quotes so you can document all changes individually and cope with the changing requirements. But how do you manage different quotation versions?
Finally, if an order is placed, as is hopefully the case, the collected data should be transferred to an ERP system. In that way the automated sales process can be completed. But how do you avoid errors in production?
You will see that there are different challenges in the sales process. Each step leads to new questions. That’s why a sales rep must be guided through the sales process. For this reason Sofon speaks about Guided Selling. In my next blog I would like to elaborate on the steps above and I will try to answer the questions that arose. I look forward to your response…
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