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Published in Experts at work

Guided Selling step 2 - Product configuration

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Guided Selling schemaAs you saw in our latest blogs, there are different challenges in the sales process. Each step leads to new questions. That’s why a sales rep should be guided through the sales process (Guided Selling). In this blog I would like to elaborate on the second step in the sales process: product configuration. How does a good product configurator guide your sales reps (or dealers) through the sales process?

A good product configurator

However important personal relationships, contract selection and marketing may be, the essential factor in ensuring a successful sales transaction is a complete, correct and feasible product. Unless the right tools are available, many products can only be configured by specialists. A good product configurator enables you to configure complex products in no time and with a minimum amount of product knowledge. How is this possible?

From needs to product specifications

A good product configurator should offer the user (sales office, sales representative, dealer, end user) a clear questionnaire. By answering questions from the questionnaire the product is put together and the user is guided through the sales process: from translating needs into a complete product specification. Presented in a way that enables the prospect or customer to assess the description and configured in such a way that the bills of materials and routings can be used directly in production. In this way an error-free configuration leads to an error-free product.

Easy to maintain

A configurator should not only be extraordinarily powerful. It also has to be particularly easy for product specialists to maintain, without the need for in-depth IT knowledge. This means that product specialists can directly maintain product rules, prices, texts and illustrations. No knowledge transfer between product specialist and the IT department is necessary. This prevents duplicate work and miscommunication. Long cycle times (for e.g. processing changes) become a thing of the past.

Quotation version management

Product models or versions change rapidly. Version management ensures that information relating to successive models is stored. If a quotation has been produced based on an old model and your customer requests a new quotation, the old quotation can be checked against the new rules. You do not need to re-enter critical data. A check is carried out for any conflicts between the old and new rules. If options that were previously chosen are now no longer available, the relevant questions are asked again, enabling you to make a new choice when necessary.

Simplifying and speeding up the quotation process

At Sofon, product configuration is only a part of Guided Selling. Rather than offering countless tabs on which you have to search for the questions that remain to be answered, Sofon guides you through a questionnaire. In this way, you are never forced to revise your answers because they do not fit within subsequent choices. Nor are you constantly reminded of questions that you still have to answer. Any unnecessary questions and answers are not shown. The Sofon approach speeds up and – for complex configurations in particular – simplifies the process.

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Paul Kimmel

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