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Brad Furie, iQuoteXpress

Proposal automation in your CRM: the top 6 or 7 things to look for

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If you’re like most Dynamics CRM users in B2B sales, you lean on your CRM for just about everything: tracking leads and opportunities, consolidating collateral, contracts, and other documents, tracking events and tasks, storing contacts, etc.

We show much love to these steps and requirements in our sales process.

What’s crazy is that most CRM users don’t show enough love to a most important step: the sales proposal! But CPQ integrated into your Dynamics solution can wildly improve this business-critical process.

Here are six things to look for when you look for when adding CPQ to CRM:

  1. Single sign-on: make it easy, accessible, and “everyday” for your users.
  2. Templates, and more templates: build fast, build smart, build business.
  3. Sales reporting and analytics: if it’s not in a report, did it even happen...?
  4. Flexible product and pricing configuration: an expectation, but we’re calling it out just in case.
  5. Support: focus on your line of business, and choose a vendor that delivers CPQ from soup to nuts.
  6. Scalability and value: ok, so that makes it seven things to look for: ensure flexible pricing (no annual licenses) and know the deeper meaning of value.

Why single sign-on matters

Yes, security. Yes,  simplicity. But in our experience, it’s accessibility as much as anything else. The easier a sales tool is to find and use, the more likely your reps will use it. Single sign-on integration means your proposal tool is in the same “toolbox” (your CRM) as the rest of your sales tools.

Why templates matter

Repeatable processes, cleaner looking proposals, faster creation of proposals. Unless each one your reps is both a gifted designer AND a world class copywriter, try to have the majority of your sales quotes “templated.”

Why reporting — on quotes — matters

Sales is half selling, and half post-game reporting. But if your analytics extend into real-time activities around your quotes (this one needs a reply, that one’s moving along nicely), you can spot bottlenecks and ensure “post-game” is “post closed-won.”

Why product pricing configuration matters

We called out the benefit of flexibility (being able to quickly create and disseminate winning bundles, for example), but it’s also about consolidation. CPQ ensures your reps are all working from the same playbook, no matter where they are.

Why support matters

As with templates, if you have the expertise in-house (in this case, engineers versed in implementing and managing CPQ tools), use it! But as most sales people have expertise in sales over software development, ensure your CPQ partner offers every bit of support you need.

Why scalability and value matter

Seasonal sales, rapid growth, mergers/acquisitions — the business cases for ensuring your business software is scalable are known to all. Re: value — the only thing to remember is that it’s not just a number. A good price is great, but a great partner is better.

Want to get started in automating your sales proposal process? Take a free tour.

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