Dear Manufacturers: Stop, Please Just Stop Using Spreadsheets

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve walked into a meeting with a prospective manufacturing client to discuss their sales process and been confronted with a tour through their maze of spreadsheets.

It’s incredible how many companies, including large manufacturers of sophisticated products, what we would consider forward-thinking organizations, still rely on clunky spreadsheets to capture product details, pricing, and customer requirements.

However, many of these same manufacturers are starting to realize that their customers are looking for more.

But we like our spreadsheets, why should we change?

Sure, many sales teams within manufacturing companies prefer the tools they know over something new. But there are so many drawbacks to using spreadsheets or some kind of homegrown software that requires constant maintenance.

Consider a few of the primary problems:

  1. Making updates is a highly manual process where errors can be introduced at any time.
  2. Version control is a serious issue as your products, pricing and customer information changes.
  3. Pricing is an obvious challenge, but consider the challenges of pairing discounts, special offers, and other variable pricing models to an evolving product line that may introduce products or service agreements from outside the organization (or your spreadsheet).
  4. This may not be as obvious, but consider the customer experience? Do your buyers really want to have to wait to get a price quote? How do they view your company when that quote ends up riddled with errors and requires revisions?

Okay, spreadsheets present a few issues, but we still don’t want to change.

The header above sums up many of the responses I’ve heard over the years after pointing out the inefficiencies of a spreadsheet-dependent sales process.

The truth is, change isn’t easy. Whether it’s a cost issue, a personnel issue, or a company culture issue in terms of how the business prioritizes and pursues new technologies to drive efficiency, there are always numerous factors at play when undertaking a digital transformation initiative.

At FPX, our experts have been helping manufacturers break the cycle of spreadsheet inefficiency with our Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) solution. Over the years we’ve heard every excuse for postponing an effort to transition from spreadsheets to CPQ, but the evidence in support of making a change makes a strong case.

During a Total Economic Impact of CPQ conducted by Forrester Consulting, manufacturers using CPQ realized significant return on their investment in terms of overall efficiency contributing to top-line growth:

•Decreased overall sales cycle time by 70%, on average

•Overall sales efficiency translates into incremental orders

•Increase in the average deal size through upsell/cross-sell

•40% efficiency improvement for Customer Service/Sales Representatives

•60% efficiency improvement for sales engineers

•Improved customer experience driving higher sales conversion rate

•Increase in revenue for deals transacted through FPX CPQ:

Year 1: 2% Year 2: 3% Year 3: 4%

Additionally, these same businesses saw significant margin improvement thanks to the speed, accuracy and efficiency of leveraging CPQ during their sales process:

•The creation and enforcement of pricing rules and strategies

•Reduction in discounting caused by order/quoting errors

•Increased margin for deals transacted through the CPQ solution:

Year 1: 0.5% Year 2: 0.75% Year 3: 1%

 

Ditch The Spreadsheets And Consider What CPQ Can Do For You

If you’re looking for a good reason to ditch the spreadsheets, look no further than the ROI manufacturers are seeing from CPQ. It’s simple: Sell more by being easier to do business with.

At FPX, we know how to help manufacturing companies get past their outdated sales tools like Excel spreadsheets and deliver an optimal seller and buyer experience with CPQ.

To learn more or to talk with one of our experts, contact us and schedule a quick meeting to share your challenges and discover how we can help you sell more by selling smarter with CPQ.

 

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Sean Hendrickson
ABOUT:

Sean Hendrickson

Sean Hendrickson brings years of B2B marketing, sales and eCommerce experience to FPX. As the Sr. Business Development Executive, Sean knows the challenges facing manufacturers as they undertake digital transformation initiatives and the ways CPQ can help them achieve success.


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