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Experts at work

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Not long ago, a manager at a medium-sized manufacturing company asked me the following: “Say, Mr Moran, why is that software of yours so expensive? All you do is copy it onto a disc for me, surely that costs next to nothing, doesn’t it?” Well actually, it takes considerable investment to develop, maintain, and manage software. Many books have been written about it.

woman jumps into water

CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) is a term often used to denote the sales quote generation process at companies offering a complex range of products and/or services. Other terms that are used in this same context are ‘Quote to Cash’ (QTC) and ‘sales configurator.’

Thursday, 21 March 2019 08:46

And the competition was once again faster...

Torsten Kohnert
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blog tk time

This is something you’ll have experienced! You work on a quotation with several colleagues from different departments for days on end, only to call the interested party and learn that the order had already been placed days earlier. Your quotation was simply too late.

customer needs

Customer needs

Guided Selling is a process that assists a potential buyer in the selection of a product or service, or a combination of both, that meets their functional needs. The software that supports this process functions as a guide to help sales staff direct the customer through the often complex selection and configuration process, ultimately to a purchase.

sm maschinenbau

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had many discussions with companies involved in (special-purpose) machinery manufacture. Although the markets and products were slightly different, there were similar challenges when submitting quotations: customer requirements are often too individual and multifaceted to be met by standard products. This realisation forces the companies into a conflict of objectives involving quotation quality and deadline pressure.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019 11:09

Excel vs. CPQ

Manuel Bäumle
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titlepic excelvscpqTHE ‘SPREADSHEET TRAP’ IN SALES: WHY SHOULD YOU REPLACE AN EXCEL SOLUTION WITH CPQ?

The Excel spreadsheet lurks around every corner of your sales quotation process.
It’s big, it grows rapidly and, beyond a certain complexity, it also presents its unruly side at the expense of the productivity of your sales unit.
Your team has built it up for years and fed it with data, making its replacement or the use of other methods very difficult.

shake hands businessA quotation is the way to answer a customer's questions. Obviously, a customer wants to minimise any risks involved in making a purchase. That applies even more in the case of a customised product or service, such as software-based solutions or machinery. The customer will then have a number of concerns:

  • Will the proposed solution be what I need?
  • Am I paying too much?
  • Will I get exactly what I ordered?
  • And will my order be delivered on time?
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 09:50

How competitive are your sales processes?

Manuel Bäumle
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bottleneck sm enUp till now in my professional career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many interesting companies and industries, for which I am very grateful. Over the years, however, I’ve found that my sales and project management successes are increasingly driven by modern work processes and digital tools which, as an employee, I cannot always influence. For example, I more or less had to learn that companies can lose sales potential and jeopardise market share by taking wrong decisions and investing in processes late.

icebergHave you seen the diagrams illustrating the actual size of an iceberg? Most of it is hidden below the water. Misjudgements can then be catastrophic - as we all know since watching the film about the Titanic or learning about the misfortune involved in the original event. In the following discussion, I would like to clarify the reason why I see parallels to quotation preparation in this respect.

fabric meetingThe solution used as a link between customers, sales and production is called CPQ (Configure Price Quote). Particularly in mechanical and plant engineering, this solution makes it possible to digitally map the business processes, substantially shorten the quotation process, and create ‘clean orders’ by means of error-free configurations.

An oft-heard misunderstanding is that Configure To Order (CTO) leads to a less diverse range of products on the market than Engineering To Order (ETO). The truth is quite the contrary: CTO leads to less internal diversity – fewer different article flows, fewer different engineering activities, and therefore lower costs and shorter delivery times – but to more external diversity. That has everything to do with the working of the human mind; in this case, the mind of sales.

Wednesday, 06 December 2017 08:18

Growth through a two level knowledge model

Peter Bergman
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Interview with Senior Consultant Peter Bergman:
'Sofon provides a hybrid solution for clients with business units in various stages of the modular production process.'
... “The best thing about the job is seeing customers getting excited about the new avenues that my proposed solution opens.”
Thursday, 23 March 2017 08:03

Sales automation in practice

Geert van der Weide
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... “If you take a high-level view, then the issues are very similar”
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 09:45

Value Roadmap in practice

Maurice van Hout
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... „Software should be deployed following a vision“

When I visit our customers, they each tell a different story: they all do something 'unique' with Sofon.“
Thursday, 12 January 2017 07:55

Implementing quotation software

Klaas Jan Riezebos
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..."Client specific, standardized as much as possible"

"I was recently at a company that supplies valves for power plants. They normally receive a request from a power plant and then make a quotation. Creating such a proposal sometimes takes them days, which results in significant costs."