For B2B companies, a primary function of their sales organization is creating quotes. More quotes leads to more opportunities, more orders and increased revenues.
This simple truth is what drives businesses to invest in software that makes the quoting process faster and more efficient. This application category is called Configure, Price and Quote (or CPQ) and it enables sales teams to automate and optimize creation of quotes and orders.
Smart companies combine CPQ software with digital experiences to drive more quotes into the pipeline. They build self-service tools optimized for external parties like customers, partners and resellers. They offer these tools on their websites and portals which frees up sales people to focus on the big deals.
Self-service quotes, partner commerce, partner quoting… whatever your company calls it, it’s about reducing the cost of sale by empowering people outside your organization to create quotes on their own without needing to interact with another person.
This article shares three user experience (UX) strategies to increase the volume of self-service quotes generated through your website.
Volvo’s online configuration tool is leading example of high-quality self-service quotes
#1 - Offer Real-Time Pricing
The ideal self-service quoting experience empowers the end user to achieve a desired outcome without needing help or depending on another party. There isn’t a more effective way to dampen UX and kill a self-service quoting experience than not showing accurate real-time pricing.
There is a difference between “requesting” a quote, and “creating” a quote. Requesting a quote implies you submit a request and then wait for a sales rep to create your quote and get back to you. There’s waiting time involved.
A true self-service experience eliminates waiting. There’s instant gratification and the end user can achieve a desired outcome right here, right now. Real-time pricing is a must-have capability to deliver a true self-service quoting experience.
#2 - Implement CPQ Software
Installing a CPQ solution provides the core backend tooling that drives a self-service quoting experience. It’s where the product data, pricing matrices, business rules other subcomponents of a quote are stored. A self-service quoting tools needs this data and other information to work.
The leading CPQ solutions will support the creation of quotes through a self-service digital channel. Here’s a list of five of our favorites; all of which made the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites (January 2018).
#3 - Offer ‘Save For Later’
The third UX strategy to increase self-service quotes is to give the quote-builder a way to save their in-progress quote. The ability to save a quote and return to complete it later enhances the usefulness of the tool.
There are many reasons why someone could be pulled away from a quoting session before they’re done. Phone calls, texts, meetings, your spouse yelling your name… these are all good reasons why you should give your customers the option to save their work.
Personal transportation leader ClubCar (www.clubcar.com) is an example of a brand that gives its users the option to save their in-progress quotes. ClubCar prominently places a ‘Save’ button near the top of the sidebar where the customer chooses options like number of seats, wheel type and paint color (see Figure 1).
After saving the quote, an email is sent with a code and link where the user can pick up right where they left off, finalize their quote and ask to be contacted by a partner reseller. This level of convenience and usability drives higher quote creation rates.