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Your situation

You produce lots of quotes but you need more orders. Many customers seem to hesitate after receiving a quote and they ask more and more questions. It takes a great deal of effort to coordinate sales, production, service, and logistics to get it right. So it hits you hard when customers and prospects leave you anyway. Because you have done something about improving your quotes, you are actually winning more orders. But the labor-intensive communication hasn’t improved at all. It’s been shifted to take place before you send the first quote and that has raised a new problem: writing a quote sometimes takes so long that prospects lose interest when your rival is able to make a faster offer. But how do you speed up the process without making mistakes? After all, the solutions you provide must obviously be reliable. You have already experienced instances in which your products did not meet the customers’ expectations. And it cost you a lot of money to make the adjustments within the guarantee period. The worst thing about it all was that you lost two good customers. Their business cases were shattered and they are afraid to use you again.

The solution

Sofon enables you to calculate the effects of every solution you offer on the technical and financial aspects, effectively and quickly (within minutes) and in that way to substantiate it. The calculations are detailed right up to and including the maintenance and costs of maintenance during the period in which the product is in use. At the same time, the calculations are part of how the customer solution is applied to what production actually must manufacture.

Your source is the knowledge model that you have drawn up in Sofon (configuration management). In that model, you describe a coherent visualization of all your product options, together with their specifications, the applicable legislation and regulations, prices, and relevant stipulations.

That knowledge can be accessed at a central point, which means it is available to your sales people – including your partners’ and resellers’ sales staff – that can use it to draw up quotes and contracts, using the smart questions you have also recorded in Sofon. Those questions are formulated to include all possible applications of your product because you know your market.

The text in the quotes is always composed in the ‘customer’s language’ to ensure that the customer can understand it and judge whether the solution meets their needs.

The advantages for you

  • Sound calculations will help you avoid risks to yourself and the customer. The risks for you involve excessive costs due to claims and unhappy customers that take their business elsewhere. The customer runs a risk because they can’t be sure your solution will provide the outcome they were counting on.
  • You are appealing as a supplier because your fully detailed quotes in which the effects of all the aspects have been calculated guarantee that your solution is feasible and meets the needs and requirements of the customer, thereby removing the customer’s fears. This is a crucial matter, particularly if your customers are ordering capital goods or investment goods.
  • You will have a stronger position in negotiations because you can describe, with the help of the calculations, why the customer needs the more expensive product and why a cheaper version will not do what the customer thinks it will. All this will generate greater turnover and you will also have an advantage over your competition that try to lure your customer away with cheaper solutions.
  • By using the knowledge model you have recorded as the basis for your calculations, you can make sure your quotes will be as lucrative as possible and stay that way.

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You can improve all the aspects of solution definition as well as your calculations by introducing smart processes: needs analysis, requirements management, solution design, special request definition, and visualization.