As ecommerce continues to become a necessary delivery channel for B2B organizations, it’s important for businesses looking to add or expand upon an existing ecommerce solution to consider the most pressing challenges their solution will address.
For manufacturers — discrete and industrial manufacturers, auto and transportation, high-tech, med-tech and numerous others — that typically deliver their products and services through a vast network of partners, vendors and value-added resellers, an enterprise-grade ecommerce solution means providing more than just a digital shopping cart.
These organizations require a powerful, flexible solution that can complement existing technologies, extend the capabilities of ecommerce, and deliver value to direct sales teams, vendors and resellers, as well as make it possible for direct buyers to begin and complete their buying engagements online.
Enterprise CPQ Makes it Possible for Manufacturers to Deliver to Online Buyers
ecommerce for B2C companies has driven many of the features and functions we’re starting to see become the standard for B2B. However, the day-to-day sales process for these manufacturers introduces complex configuration, pricing, discounting, bundling, and thousands, even millions of other variables that go well beyond the capabilities of your basic B2C platforms.
To properly manage, source and accurately deliver these configurations, manufacturers and their resellers require Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) capabilities that can handle these incredibly complex solution offerings while plugging and playing with ecommerce solutions, CRM, and back-office ERP.
Numerous third-party technology analysts have forecasted this rush toward B2B ecommerce and the need for CPQ solutions enabling omnichannel functionality — primarily ecommerce. As Gartner Inc. notes in its 2016 Market Guide for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites:
As companies look to improve selling and customer experience across multiple customer-facing channels, more CPQ application suites will add digital commerce offerings.
A key word for manufacturers taking their business online is “experience.” This is where CPQ can be the difference maker between offering a static online product catalog and a fully-functional ecommerce solution that delivers value to all users.
An enterprise CPQ solution is much more than just a quoting tool for direct sales. By supporting a B2B ecommerce solution with CPQ, manufacturers can achieve:
1. Faster conversion cycles
With CPQ tied into the ecommerce solution, direct buyers can configure products and services on their own, send a quote to the dealer or vendor, make revisions to that quote with the help of a sales representative, and complete the transaction in minutes as opposed to days, weeks or even months.
2. Higher quote, order and sales rates
With features like up-sell, cross-sell, guided selling and guided buying, all based on data sourced and managed from across the organization, sales representatives are able to make intelligent recommendations to buyers. On the other side of the coin, direct buyers are guided through the process to configure a solution that best fits their needs.
3. Lower cost to train and support sales representatives
Core CPQ features like guided selling make it possible for B2B organizations to train and support sales teams quickly. By creating a master commercial definition of your business’s data within your CPQ solution, you eliminate the confusion and inefficiencies of outdated product and pricing catalogs, disconnected CRM solutions, and reliance on tribal knowledge of an aging sales team that is quickly being upleveled with new hires.
4. The ability to profitably service smaller customers
By moving smaller customers online, B2B manufacturers can profitably service these customers by empowering them to buy products and services without having to commit direct sales resources to maintaining a relatively low-value account.
What’s the Goal for B2B Manufacturers? To Attract and Retain Modern Buyers.
The game has changed in B2B sales. A space that was once dominated by direct and indirect sales relationships has gradually and now drastically shifted toward an ecommerce experience.
The buying and selling process is not a linear pathway. Today, buyers and sellers engage with one another through multiple channels at various points throughout the sales and customer lifecycle.
With enterprise CPQ built for manufacturers, businesses have the ability to span all channels, deliver the features and functions that facilitate a pleasurable experience to all users and buyers, and ultimately generate more revenue, improve margins, cut costs and achieve greater user adoption as well as customer loyalty.
FPX is Enterprise CPQ for B2B Buyers and Sellers around the World
At FPX, we have been helping manufacturers become more powerful and agile with our CPQ solution for more than 30 years. To learn how our platform-agnostic solution complements and extends the capabilities of leading technology solutions, including CPQ for ecommerce, complete our online contact form.