Selling their products has never been more challenging for industrial equipment companies. In the new era of software-driven, smart, connected offerings, a single core product can be configured in multiple variations. This creates challenges all along the B2B sales funnel. Demand from buyers for hyper-personalization is another side of the same coin. And particularly now, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is even more pressure on digital channels and platforms to cope with huge surges in demand.

There’s a race on to reinvent B2B sales. And it’s being given added urgency by the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing and travel restrictions that limit traditional high-touch sales processes, Industrial equipment companies need to move fast to enable “low touch or contactless” selling and build out scalable digital commerce capabilities that can handle the huge surge in online demand. The good news? While adding new layers of complexity to the sales process, technology also provides the answer through Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solutions. These can be used to help customers navigate the escalating trend of self-service/online business – and to help companies improve the buying experience and equip their sales reps with vital new skills.

Reinventing the B2B buying experience

B2B customers don’t just prefer the convenience and user-driven experiences they’ve grown accustomed to in the B2C world, they demand them. It’s a step-change in customer expectations that Accenture calls “industrial consumerism”. Until now, however, these demands have not been met by industrial equipment companies.

Buying from them continues to be far from straightforward. Multiple interactions are often required, sometimes over a period of weeks, or even months, to get a quote, order a product to the right specifications and have it delivered and operational.

It is vital that CPQ is seen as a business driven initiative – not solely an IT project.

Our research shows 74 percent of industrial buyers now research at least half their purchases online and 20 percent of all industrial purchases will take place online by 2025.

In an ultra-competitive market, the industrial equipment companies that thrive will be the ones that can transform the buying experience into something more closely resembling the consumer centric B2C marketplace. It’s why CPQ solutions have such a powerful role to play – opening the door to a new, connected and convenient world of B2B commerce for customers and sales people.

Rewards of CPQ solutions

There are clear benefits for companies that deploy advanced customer engagement platforms like CPQ solution:

Enhanced customer experience

CPQ responds to customers’ demands to buy more online and enhances customer experience through seamless integration into CRM and PLM processes.

Value-add from sales

Instead of transactional sales, teams can devote time to supporting more complex sales. CPQ can help boost sales by up to 7 percent and increase margins by 1–2 percent.

Reduced time to sale, increased quote accuracy and higher win rates

Estimates indicate up to 40 percent faster handling time and 30 percent increase in quote accuracy via these new platforms.

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Making a success of CPQ

As they make their selection of the right CPQ solution, companies must take various factors into account.

Clear vision and stakeholder buy-in

Know where you are and where you want to go. Define the future vision and secure senior stakeholder participation throughout the implementation.

The solution is as good as the data it runs on

All data must be current, accurate and verifiable. Have processes documented and ensure availability of robust customer and product data.

A journey, not a "one and done" implementation

CPQ is a huge step and not just another tool. With the advantages it can provide, implementation can be a journey so change management is crucial.

Flexibility is essential

With customer needs changing constantly, agile implementations will require flexibility.

Training is essential

A rigorous training program incorporating innovative techniques can help secure the full benefits of a CPQ solution.

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The right time to start CPQ is now!

With no lack of choice in the CPQ marketplace, every industrial equipment manufacturer needs to carefully select a CPQ solution that meets its needs. But when it comes to timing, there’s much less flexibility. To address the challenges, they face now and in the future, companies need to join the race to reinvent B2B sales today.

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