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Brad Furie, iQuoteXpress

Good, better, best for sales quotes in Dynamics 365

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There's more than one way to create a sales quote in Dynamics:

  • Good: You can make one with Word or Excel.
  • Better: You can use some built-in tools to create a PDF quote (but it's still basically built on Word templates).
  • Best: You can add configure, price, quote (CPQ) software to Dynamics.

 

Why is adding CPQ best? Three reasons: CPQ creates 1) a simplified process to create quotes that 2) have optimized product and pricing configurations and also 3) look great (making a better impression on prospects and a better case for your business).

Simplifying sales proposals in Dynamics

First, I must admit that I'm biased. I work for an ISV (iQuoteXpress) that creates a single sign-on solution for CPQ integrated with Dynamics 365. And the fact is that what comes standard in Dynamics for creating proposals may be enough for individual sales reps with the time and talent to create professional-looking, accurate sales quotes.

Most of us, though, simply don't have time (let alone the expertise) to quickly and easily make sales proposals that stand apart from the crowd.

But CPQ simplifies that process, even for someone who has never made a sales quote before. You simply select a proposal template (not a Word template, but a sales proposal template with preconfigured fields, engaging imagery, branding, vertically targeted info, etc.), point-and-click to add products/services, and send. Simple.

Optimized products & pricing

I said "point-and-click to add products" and that's what's at the heart of the best CPQ systems: a product and pricing configuration engine that's centrally administered to ensure reps are always and only selling your best products at the best possible pricing.

A sales manager can create and control bundles of products and services, pricing, upsells, and upgrades, and can also manage discount structures — and customize all of the preceding for each individual rep.

And a rep never has to think about what the best pricing is or how low they can go with discounts or other incentives, because products and discounts are all essentially hard-coded into the CPQ system (as far as a rep is concerned, anyway). A sales manager controls the pricing in the system, a sales manager controls what's shown in the system, and a rep just clicks the products they want to add to their proposal. An optimal solution for all!

Looking good, closing often

Appearances matter. You wouldn't pitch a prospect on a new Dynamics implementation while wearing shorts and a t-shirt, right? So why would you send that same prospect a sales proposal that looks like it was made in 1984 on a Commodore 64?

Any CPQ system worth its salt comes preloaded with professionally designed sales proposal templates that capture attention, speak to vertical markets, and build a brand.

But I recommend a small investment in a professional designer. For a few hundred dollars (or less) you can populate the CPQ solution integrated into your Dynamics system with sales proposal templates that were professionally designed for you.

Imagine a proposal that looks less like a Word template and more like an advertisement for your company. More importantly, put yourself in your prospect's shoes and imagine a stack of sales proposals in front of you: which are you going to read first? The black and white one that looks like a spreadsheet, or the full-color proposal that looks like a work of art (ok, slight exaggeration: that looks like a glossy, customer-friendly brochure)?

Send your best, always.

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