As a Director of Sales, creating an efficient approval process for quotes is crucial to ensure that your team is producing accurate and timely quotes for customers. In this blog post, we’ll walk through the steps of how to create an approval process for quotes that incorporates forecasting, collaborative forecasting, CPQ and forecasting, product catalog, product SKU, product configuration, product quote, multiple products on quote, and quote synchronization.
Step 1: Define the Approval Process
Before implementing an approval process for quotes, you need to define the process itself. This involves outlining who needs to approve the quote, what criteria the quote needs to meet, and how the approval process will be managed. Typically, the approval process will involve multiple stakeholders, including sales reps, managers, and executives.
For example, the approval process for quotes may be as follows:
- Sales reps create quotes in the CPQ system for products and services requested by the customer
- Quotes will be automatically routed to the appropriate sales manager based on the products and services included
- Sales managers will review and approve quotes that meet the following criteria:Quote amount is within the approved discount range
- Quote includes all required products and services
- Customer information is accurate and complete
- Quote is consistent with company pricing guidelines and policies
- Approved quotes will be automatically sent to the customer, while quotes that do not meet the criteria will be returned to the sales rep for revision.
Step 2: Incorporate Forecasting and Collaborative Forecasting
Forecasting is essential for determining demand for your products and services, which allows you to plan production, inventory, and staffing. Collaborative forecasting involves working with your team to collect data, analyze trends, and create forecasts. By involving your team in the forecasting process, you can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences.
Forecasting can be helpful in creating product bundles. By using forecasting techniques, companies can gain insights into consumer demand and behavior, which can inform their product bundle strategies. For example, if a company notices that certain products are frequently purchased together, they may choose to create a bundle that includes those products. Additionally, forecasting can help companies predict future demand for certain products or bundles, which can help them make informed decisions about inventory management and production planning. Overall, forecasting can be a valuable tool for companies looking to create effective product bundles that meet the needs and preferences of their customers.
Step 3: Utilize CPQ and Forecasting Software
CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) software is designed to streamline the sales process by automating the configuration, pricing, and quoting of products and services. This software can also help with forecasting by providing real-time data on product availability, pricing, and promotions. By integrating your CPQ software with your forecasting software, you can create accurate quotes that reflect current market conditions and customer demand.
Step 4: Create a Comprehensive Product Catalog and SKU System
To create accurate quotes, you need to have a comprehensive product catalog that includes all the products and services that you offer. Your product catalog should also include product SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) to enable easy tracking of inventory levels. In addition, you need to have a product configuration system in place that allows you to configure products and services based on customer requirements.
Step 5: Develop a Robust Product Quote System
A product quote is a document that outlines the details of a sale, including the product or service being sold, the price, and any terms and conditions. When creating a quote, you need to ensure that all the details are accurate and reflect the customer’s requirements. If a customer is purchasing multiple products, you need to create a quote for bundle that includes all the products and services being purchased.
The primary goal of a Product Quote System is to make it easy for users to generate accurate quotes quickly and efficiently. To achieve this, you will need an advanced CPQ process that involves automating and customizing the entire quotes generation process based on a variety of factors.
You will also need a CPQ data model that underlies the data structure to support the CPQ process to ensure the quotes generated are accurate and consistent with the company’s business rules.
Step 6: Streamline Approval with Multiple Products on Quote
If a customer is purchasing multiple products, the approval process for the quote can become more complex. To streamline the process, you can create a single quote that includes all the products and services being purchased. This can simplify the approval process but also makes it easier for the customer to understand the total cost of the purchase.
In some cases, a bundle may include products or services that the customer does not want or need, which can create confusion and lead to additional questions and requests for clarification.
Ultimately, whether or not product bundles simplify the approval process for quotes will depend on the specific situation and the preferences of the customer and approver. It’s important to carefully consider the needs of both parties and tailor the quote accordingly to ensure a smooth and efficient approval process.
Step 7: Ensure Quote Synchronization
Finally, you need to ensure that your quotes are synchronized with your other systems, such as your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and your accounting software. This synchronization ensures that all the data is up-to-date and accurate, reducing the risk of errors and increasing customer satisfaction.
In conclusion, creating an approval process for quotes involves several critical steps, including defining the approval process, incorporating forecasting and collaborative forecasting, utilizing CPQ and forecasting software, creating a comprehensive product catalog and SKU system, developing a robust product quote system, streamlining approval with multiple products on quote, and ensuring quote synchronization. By following these steps, you can create an efficient and effective approval process for quotes that meets the needs of your team and your customers.