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Thursday, 14 March 2019 12:18
Published in Experts at work

Levels of configuration – Guided Selling compared to Product Configuration

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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.

Essential to Guided Selling is that the customer requirements/needs are taken as a starting point enabling sales to propose the best solution based on the actual functional needs plus the up and cross sell possibilities that fit today’s or future needs; possibilities and alternatives that the customer was not yet aware of. Guided Selling provides the ability to present a series of questions to customers and quickly analyse your entire product catalog, including product logic, based on their answers. In this way, it can identify and filter only relevant products to present to customers based on the answers to those questions. Accordingly, a full set of conditions, extra services like a maintenance contract, installation costs and so on, can be offered based on the chosen solution. Changes in one of the choices automatically has influence on the whole quote, which always leads to a reliable solution. If Guided Selling is implemented properly it will decrease onboarding time for new sales team members. With Guided Selling, an optimal solution is automatically provided to a customer, giving a new sales employee the confidence to sell like an experienced one right from the beginning, without the need for specific product knowledge.

Configured product only

In case of pure product configuration, the product itself is taken as a starting point. Sales people have to have a lot of actual product knowledge and experience and must interview the customer to find out which configuration, options and features fit. In a world with quickly changing products, quickly changing product logic, differentiated price settings, government regulations and client specific wishes, this is almost impossible and certainly very time consuming. This process results in a clean order of a configurable product which can be delivered by logistics. But this does not insure the best solution for the functional needs of the customer. Furthermore, sales will often sell the products they know the best and have had successful deals with in the past. This leaves the possibilities for other opportunities, unaware of the ‘state-of-the-art’ product developments, at the same customer off the table.

Designed by Sofon

The Sofon solution is by its nature designed to be able to support Guided Selling. The heart of the system contains both an advanced constraint-based and rules-based engine. The constraints-based approach allows the user to be guided to a valid result by answering functional/application questions while eliminating the risk of ending in a deadlock situation. The rules-based approach allows the system to generate any valid combination of BOM, Routing or other parameters based on the answers to the functional/application questions.

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Mike Moran

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