In the not-so-distant past, Sales reigned supreme. But in this modern, digital-driven world, power has shifted from Sales to the modern empowered customer.
Previously, businesses were the distributors of the knowledge and information that facilitated buying and selling engagements. But in this digital age, customers have the resources they need at their fingertips.
According to Forrester Research, 74% of B2B buyers research at least half of their work-related purchases online (article available for free to Forrester subscribers). This means that unless you’re actively trying to avoid shopping online — whether in a B2C engagement or in a work-related B2B purchase — you’re part of this paradigm shift.
How can my business adapt to changing times?
Although today’s B2B landscape is much different from what it was even just a few years ago, Sales organizations shouldn’t worry. Rather than bemoan the death of the B2B salesman, businesses should leverage sales technology to catch up, connect with modern customers, and better map to the B2B customer journey.
What do modern sellers need to be successful? Historically, CRM systems were the tool of choice for many organizations. However, today, CRM just isn’t enough. Truly consultative sellers require:
- The time and flexibility to hone in on truly valuable prospects and engagements
- Messaging and content that drives quality leads
- Data-driven recommendations that enhance opportunities
- Automation that makes it easier to service existing accounts and manage portfolios
In light of the demands of empowered customers, the impulse for many businesses is to pivot toward more self-service channels such as ecommerce. However, there’s still a significant need for consultative sellers, particularly in the B2B space.
Sure, many buyers will begin their journey online, scrolling through reviews, downloading content, and narrowing their choices to a select few. But as the complexity of the service or product increases, the need for an expert to guide a buyer through to purchase, implementation and maintenance, follows suit.
How will CPQ fit into my CRM or ERP solutions?
As sales technology maps to where customers find the most value, businesses must determine where to start investing when it comes to new resources. When you bookend existing technologies, you get ERP at the back of the office and CRM and other customer engagement technologies at the front office. The problem is that these technologies are often siloed.
With deep roots in the back office and a strong presence on the front end, Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) solutions are able to bridge the gaps across enterprise organizations.
Of course, CPQ suites still help to reduce order errors, shorten the sales process and improve margins, but they also offer guided buying and selling functionality while affording users the ability to buy and sell through the user’s preferred channel - direct sales, channel partners and resellers, or ecommerce.
Unlike ERP or CRM, CPQ actually touches every point of the customer journey. Customer and business data are sourced and translated into an invaluable master commercial definition; guided buying and selling empowers businesses as well as customers to get the most out of each engagement; product, pricing and development teams can quickly go to market and make adjustments to offerings based on actual data; and sales organizations can ramp up quickly as each AE is turned into a product expert thanks to upsell/cross-sell and intelligent recommendations.
CPQ developments are only going to help sales teams become more effective
Today’s B2B engagements are driven by user and customer experiences. It’s no longer just about process. It’s about engagement and the quality of that engagement. Are you able to deliver the right solution to the right person at the right time? Is the experience of working with your business engaging, pleasurable and personalized? Can customers find recurring value in working with your brand?
If you’re not answering yes to these questions, there’s a competitor out there who is.
With a modern, holistic CPQ strategy, businesses can deliver on the promise of a better user and customer experience - offering the core functionality to facilitate a digital transformation, improve the buying and selling experience from end to end, and nurture customer loyalty to increase revenues.
Is your business ready to begin its digital transformation with CPQ?
To learn more about CPQ and Experience Management strategies, contact us at FPX. As a leader in the CPQ space for more than 30 years, we understand the ever-evolving challenges facing enterprise businesses.
Reach out, speak with us, and together we can help you take the next step in mapping to the modern B2B customer journey.