How long does it take to create a new quote for customized services and get it approved and accepted by customers?
If your answer is more than a few days, there is a significant opportunity to streamline your service quote-to-order process. The service quote-to-order process includes all the activities and tools required to convert a customer need into an accepted proposal.
Service sales automation, development of a service catalog and sales training can save hours of time per new service quote and accelerate the service quote-to-order process reducing cycle time from days to minutes.
Here are 5 Practices to Accelerate Service Quote-to-Order:
#1: Increase Sales Awareness of Service Offers
Issue: Sales Does Not Know What Services are Available
When a customer expresses a need for a service Sales must be able to respond quickly with an answer about the availability of the service, its price and any specific terms and conditions the customer may need to know to make an informed decision.
The lack of familiarity with available services will delay the time Sales can respond to customers with a quote and may even result in a missed opportunity to sell a service the customer needs.
Fix: Maintain Your Service Catalog
Maintain an up to date catalog of service programs. Make certain that Sales is familiar with the service catalog and can easily access it to find information about current service offers. Access to the service catalog and supporting materials will allow Sales to accurately respond to customer needs and increase the likelihood of converting a lead to an order.
#2: Guided Service Selling and Sales Enablement
Issue: Sales may not know what to sell or how to position services
As the complexity of the service catalog increases, Sales may not always know how to select or position the right services. If Sales needs help from a deal desk or service team resources to configure new quotes it will slow the time it takes to get proposals to customers.
Fix: Increase the Services IQ of your Sales team
Provide your Sales team with knowledge resources to help them sell and position services. Include training resources and service positioning guides. Consider guided selling practices and configurators to help Sales align customer needs to appropriate service bundles and defined service outcomes.
#3: Automate Service Sales Automation and Service CPQ
Issue: Creating Service Quotes is a Manual Process
Service statements of work can be complex. When services are manually configured it can take days or weeks to gather customer requirements, align with service offers and develop a customized statement of work.
Fix: Implement Service Sales Automation
Provide tools and processes to automate the end-to-end service sales process. Implement tools to scope and capture customer needs; automate service configuration, pricing, quoting practices (Service CPQ); define and automate approval process; generate customer ready sales documents.
#4: Establish and Enforce Service Pricing and Discounting Practices
Issue: Sales has the discretion to apply discounting to service deals
Service pricing must be protected from unrealistic discounts that cut into margins. When Sales has discretion to discount services new service quotes can be held up by deal desks or in the inboxes of executives that need to approve new deals.
Fix: Establish Centralized Service Sales Pricing and Discounting Practices
Establish standards and controls for pricing and discounting services and clearly define approvals required for exceptions. Minimize exception handling and develop skills and resources to address customer pricing objections. By reducing pricing approval and exception handling quotes will get to customers sooner.
#5: Automate Customer Ready Quotes
Issue: Customer-ready Service Sales Documents are Created Manually
When statements of work, terms and conditions and high-level estimates are created manually, without standardized templates or terms and conditions the time to prepare new proposals increases, as does the risk for errors.
Fix: Automate Customer Ready Documents
Generate customer ready documentation based on standardized, branded templates with up to date terms and conditions, that live in one system of record.
Accelerate Service Quote-to-Order Process
Services and the means to sell them are imperative. With the right resources Sales can quickly and accurately discover, understand, configure, price, and quote services. Service Sales Automation, with defined Service CPQ processes are fundamental to selling services quickly and efficiently.
When companies lack the means to configure and sell the services customers need, product adoption and achievement of successful outcomes is inhibited. When adoption and success is impeded, the potential for customer churn increases placing recurring revenue at risk.
Service sales can be complex and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and processes selling services can be quick and efficient.