Using Digital Tools to Expedite the Sales Process
If there is one process that is worth the effort of refining it would be the sales process. Many of our clients don't have cut-and-dry pricing models and have developed processes for providing quotes to their customers. Even for us, creating turnkey pricing for many of our products or services is an enormous challenge that at times seems nearly impossible.
Developing efficient production processes and reducing labor costs are always things we seek to improve, but we often neglect paying the same attention to administrative or sales processes. It pays to "go lean" across the board, and we can learn a lot about this from Toyota.
Toyota started implementing their lean-systems approach to manufacturing as early as the late 1940s, and although it wasn't widely adopted for many years, it was one of the most revolutionary process innovations to hit manufacturing since the creation of the assembly line.
The best part about the system is that it can be adapted to just about any process in any industry. At first glance it seems like a process model, but in essence it's a management philosophy. A brief visit to Wikipeida will bestow you with more information about the Toyota Production System than you will ever need to know. The same can be said of a supplementary trip to the page about the seven types of waste a lean-systems approach seems to minimize, but I can sum up why you should care with two words:
Designing processes and implementing systems to save time will ultimately save you money, but it can also (either directly or indirectly) help with quality control, customer satisfaction, conversion rate optimization, and even turnover.
So how can we reduce lead times and improve the sales process? One of the most efficient ways to do this is with an integrated product configurator or quote calculator. We come across a lot of websites that have a menu that looks similar to this:
When the user clicks the "request a quote" they are taken to some variation of this quote form:
That is a ton of information to throw at a prospective customer that could easily scare them away. Attention spans are lower now than ever, and the best way to combat this is to use a foot-in-the-door technique. Nonprofits use this technique often to get donations; if you give $1, they ask for $5, and you are significantly more likely to say yes.
This is a great strategy to use for a quote calculator or configurator because it keeps the user engaged. A long contact form is much easier to bounce off of than an interactive tool designed to keep people engaged.
An equally important benefit of a product configurator or quote tool is that it provides your sales team with a lot of useful information. In the above contact form, your salesperson would only have the address of the lead and some very vague information. With a custom quote tool, you have the capability to capture much more relevant information. Many of the quote processes can be automated, freeing up your sales team to chase more viable leads. Integrating these tools into your existing CRM software can make this process even efficient.
You can learn more about product configurators and quote tools here. Our team of developers, designers, and strategists are here to provide you with a custom solution that will not only deliver you more, solid leads, we'll make the process easier and cost-efficient for you. Contact us today to learn more.