What beats a 360-degree view of each customer? A 360-degree view of each sale.

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A big promise of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a “360-degree view of your customers,” and that’s great: who could disagree?

And if you’re in sales, perhaps the most important part of the customer relationship where you really need all 360 degrees is when a customer actually becomes a customer — when they sign their first sales quote.

Strangely, for most salespeople and sales processes, the way the quote signing process is tracked in CRM brings to mind a certain Seinfeld episode: “So, I did the demo, sent the quote, and yadda-yadda-yadda, we now have a new customer.”

If you’re looking for granular tracking capabilities for every sales quote, it’s critical to extend D365 with CPQ (configure, price, quote).

Not only does CPQ include sales proposal templates, and a dynamic product and pricing configuration engine, but it also enables you to track every quote at a “subatomic” level, and spots the pivots and pitfalls that can impact the closing process.

A sales quote isn’t a document: it’s a workflow

A sales quote can be written, edited, and saved as a PDF. It can be emailed, stored, and updated. That makes it a document, right? Sort of. But not really. 

While most D365 systems and users treat sales quotes as documents, it’s far more helpful (and profitable) to view them as workflows, as processes wherein each step should be monitored and optimized.

D365 “out of the box” does a near-perfect job of helping you nurture leads into prospects into opportunities. Every interaction is (or should be) captured. Every follow-up can be calendared or automated, leads sources identified, and more. D365 takes you all the way to “Quote sent…” and then it’s “yadda-yadda-yadda… won/lost.”

But most salespeople know that the amount of moving parts and various steps involved in getting a quote signed are more like a workflow than a document. (There is a document, of course — the actual, physical sales quote — but it’s more like a scoping brief of the customer relationship. “We’ll deliver X amount of product Y by date Z for $$$.” It often serves the same purpose as a contract, presenting terms and conditions in plain English.)

The sales proposal workflow has steps (revisions, additions, additional signatures, incentives, etc.) that should be tracked and analyzed so that a sales team can learn from its failures and build on its wins.

For example, suppose you learn that a quote sent with two “check-in” type follow-ups (“just seeing where we might be, Bob, and if you’ll be signing this week”)  and one “incentivized” follow-up (“Bob: my manager just authorized an additional 20% off if we can get this signed by the end of Q1”) within 10 days led to an increase in closing rates?

That's a data point you would want captured and repeated, and one typically only captured by, and repeatable in, your sales proposal automation system.

That’s a 360-degree view of the sale itself that makes regularly adding to your bottom line repeatable, too.

Got questions about granular tracking of sales proposals? Want to reduce the amount of “yadda-yadda-yadda” in your closing process? Give me a call.

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