This is an FPX point of view piece by our Vice President Trygve Dahl, Ph.D. P.E., based on his 25 years of experience in the mechanical equipment manufacturing space. Here’s why, after decades in the industry, he still believes niche is best.
Many decision makers may have concerns during the process of selecting Selectors and CPQ software, asking themselves: How can we ensure we pick a solution that will work best for our organization?
Here’s our two cents: go niche, don’t go generic. As we mentioned previously, a Selector and CPQ products require a industry-specific focus to succeed—they must understand your product composition, go-to-market channels, and the nuances of your business with an out of the box offering.
While “No one was ever fired for hiring SalesForce/SAP/Oracle/Microsoft/etc.” may apply to some industries, when it comes to mechanical equipment manufacturers, niche is the way to go. Companies that produce automation solutions for very specific sets of customers—software segments that are purpose-built, industry-specific, niche, whatever you want to call it—deliver greater value to their customers.
Why? Because these niche-driven technology innovators possess intimate market knowledge. Such knowledge—gained from years of experience—often results not only in software that serves their clients well, but also provides best-in-class customer service. The latter is what truly drives sales in today’s digital world where customers expect B2C user experiences even from B2B companies selling highly complex, configurable, engineered products.
Niche CPQ Solutions for the Fluid Handling Equipment Industry
At FPX, we create technology solutions that provide front-end, expert systems for a distinct niche: the fluid handling equipment industry. We provide front-end sales automation solutions to manufacturers of pumps, valves, compressors, motors, filters, actuators seals, turbines, chillers, couplings, fans, gear, and heat exchangers.
As niche specialists in fluid handling and mechanical equipment, we uniquely apply rich knowledge of fluid handling products and the engineering required to select, configure, price, and quote them. We understand flow, head, viscosity, performance curves, and test tolerances as well as our customers.
Our Domain Expertise
My colleagues and I began our professional careers designing pumps and pumping systems for market leaders like Ingersoll Dresser Pumps and Flowtronex PSI. We understand our niche clients because we stood in their shoes as engineers, marketers, salesmen, and CEOs.
Personally, nearly 25 years ago, I saw how tedious and laborious the process was for application engineers tasked with selecting, configuring, and quoting pumping systems. I understood the high costs of errors or—more commonly—the opportunities lost when quoting an acceptable, but not optimal, product. Therefore, I decided to create a pump selector myself.
Our team now collectively applies more than a century’s worth of hard-earned knowledge to our work, meaning our clients see us as partners, not just vendors. They know we wake up every day thinking about how to help them overcome challenges and seize opportunities through technology.
What Niche Focus Means for You
Our intense focus on our domain means we dramatically accelerate the speed of implementation. Our products provide fully-integrated solutions out of the box and can be connected to enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) systems.
This means our clients acquire custom solutions at a lower price, with less risk. It also means they have the capacity to offer a high-value purchasing experience to their own customers.
What’s more, niche software solutions like ours deliver significantly greater functionality and cost-savings over the product lifetime compared to generic software or in-house custom coding. This affords technology decision-makers the best of both worlds: less risk, more rewards, faster implementations, and lower lifetime costs.
Enabling Modern, Collaborative Selling
Our understanding of the various go-to-market strategies and the roles that factor into selecting and quoting a configured product means we’ve built those experiences into our solution. Our platform offers calculation engines presented through a simple, customer-friendly experience that also fosters automatic collaboration, generates leads, and tracks real-time analytics.
Our system captures data the moment it’s entered, not when busy sales people get around to writing reports six weeks later. This helps boost the timeliness and accuracy of in-house business intelligence.
Ultimately, these solutions significantly strengthen our clients’ market position and brand, with the responsiveness and intuitiveness of their customer portals providing them with a competitive advantage.
Individual business units will thrive with tools like FPX CPQ that appeal to their end-users, drive sales, and are built by niche specialists who deeply understand their core business.