Common B2B Quoting Challenges and How to Solve Them

By Moira McCormick on March 9, 2016

Quoting in B2B can be complex - there are many challenges to navigate before the deal is finally sealed – and the nature of B2B does create some special difficulties when it comes to quoting. Lets look at some of the challenges you may currently be facing, and see how they could be resolved.

 

Challenge 1

Managing Percieved Risk

No matter how persuasive you are, someone with authority in the client’s organisation is bound to express concerns about the perils of selecting your product or service – which causes you delay and frustration.

 

Challenge 2

New Decision Makers Entering the Fray

New decision makers (or influencers) can throw you off your game and cause delays. You can make it easier to meet this challenge if you predict and prepare for new decision makers - look beyond your key client contacts to their peers and superiors in the organization. Ask yourself, will your offer affect them and in what way? Will they participate in or benefit from what you’re proposing? If yes, you should expect one or more of them to take part in the decision-making process at some point.

 

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Challenge 3

I'm Having Trouble Managing My Pricing

As companies and their product/service lists grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage product pricing, identify great upsell opportunities, and keep track of deals being offered by your competitors. Configuring a quote can be a time consuming task, especially when critical data is not easily accessible in real time. Incorrect prices may be supplied and your branding may not be consistent.

 

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Challenge 5

Quote Errors

Your company could be losing a significant amount of profit every year due to errors on a quote or unnoticed margin-cutting practices exercised by the sales force. Have you ever shipped the wrong products to customers?

 

Challenge 6

Time

Your quote creation and approval process takes too long because it's manual (in wordpressing and spreadsheet tools or over email). Sometimes, even if there are standard templates for consistency, these are not followed. On top of this, sales reps aren’t given up-to-date pricing information on your products, leading to lost opportunities and slower quote times.

 

What can I do?

  1. Use your interviews and sales meetings to pinpoint your buyer’s perception of risk. Create a communication approach that provides compelling evidence for how you will address each specific area of concern. Offer relevant examples of the ways others have successfully managed similar risks.
  2. Always be ready to offer any new decision maker a briefing on your proposal, focusing on the value of your offer to their organization.
  3. Consider Software to solve your manual processes.

 

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Where to Start? 

Consider the following when you begin developing your quoting requirements:

  • Document your current business process - identify where you are willing to make changes

  • Identify where you won’t/can’t change in order to minimize impact to your organisation

  • Determine what details are needed to make a pricing decision. e.g. is the customer existing or new?

  • If it is an existing customer, are they a primary or secondary customer?

  • What is the frequency/volume of customer purchase?

  • Decide on the type of quote style to suit your business

These are just some of the items to consider. As always, there will be trade-offs around cost of development, feasibility, impact to your organisation, etc.

 

Conclusion

When you have a single, consistent view of your quotations, every part of your business benefits.

Everyone in your organisation works with the same information: sales staff can be granted real-time access to quotations in seconds. Tasks such as quotation approvals are easy and quick - and can be carried out from any connected computer. Quotes can be created, revised and copied all with a few clicks. This makes your staff more efficient, and gives them more time to talk with your customers and close deals, rather than spending valuable time building quotations. An automated quoting process can make all the difference when it comes to increasing order conversions.

 

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