Children are highly savvy with technology and digital media. Between the ages of 2-3 you can give them an iPad or phone and they know how to navigate the device to find their shows, movies or games. I didn’t receive my first cellphone until I was in college and I still haven’t splurged on an iPad, yet all my nieces and nephew have their own personal devices. I am convinced their parents use the iPads as babysitters sometimes.
Today’s children have a firmer grasp of technology at a young age than many adults do. It may be an extreme example of how things have changed, but let’s bring this a little closer to home. We’re in a technology era where digital, social, and mobile access are the norm. If we need information, we go to google or Wikipedia; if we want to diagnose an ailment we go to WebMD; if we want to find “how-to” videos, we go to YouTube; if we want to buy something we go to Amazon. The list is endless. This accessibility is fantastic for us as consumers because we can find whatever we need at our fingertips and quickly take action. The downside is that we have become impatient and intolerant when we can’t find what we need fast. More important to note is that this behavior is moving to B2B sales environments.
Buyers today expect their B2B experiences to be as good or better than their B2C experience. They want quick access to information regardless of their preferred sales channel and are intolerant of poor interactions. So companies are scrambling to transform their business to support these new types of buyers and many feel they can compete based on overall market experience. However, exceptional experience is more than trying to build a relationship by taking customers out golfing or to dinner. Most buyers do the majority of their research online so most of the purchasing decision is already made before that buyer engages a sales person.
Many companies believe that adding a B2B eCommerce portal will give buyers the accessibility they need, thereby improving the customer experience. While this is a good thought, providing an inferior eCommerce experience can be detrimental to your business. In fact, the majority of buyers will leave a supplier after one poor buying experience regardless of where the blame lies. What’s astounding is the number of companies that still aren’t getting this right today! This is why companies must adopt a modern commerce approach to the customer buying experience.
Modern commerce demands fast, personalized and transparent engagements, regardless of a buyer’s preferred sales channel. Many companies create friction in their selling process with slow quoting processes, impersonal offers and inconsistent products across their sales channels. Being able to provide the right products and prices in real time through all your sales channels removes conflict, improves transparency, and increases sales responsiveness and the ability to influence buyers. CPQ tools simplify the configure, price, quote process for sales teams, empowering them to get quotes to customers quickly. However, while it greatly accelerates sales responsiveness and automates your sales processes, a CPQ tool by itself will not drive your win rates up.
You need to deliver analytical insights that serve as a directional map to help your sales teams close more deals — insights like getting custom configurations tailored to a customer, or presenting them with product and service recommendations, or even getting a relevant price at the right time for that customer. Sales teams without insight into what products or services a specific customer is most willing to buy and what price they are willing to pay will continue to recommend products that aren’t tailored for their customers and rely on gut instinct on price, leading to unnecessary price concessions that leave money on the table.
However, empowering sales teams with these insights will drive more meaningful and personalized sales interactions. In short, it will help you power your modern commerce experience. In the Forrester Wave™: Configure-Price-Quote Solutions, Q1 2017 report, Forrester notes that “PROS excels at leveraging first- and third-party data to provide intelligent recommendations to sellers, and its customers cite seeing a few percentage points improvements in margin directly as a result.”
Companies shouldn’t stop with direct sales enablement, they must also mobilize partners and even self-service eCommerce portals with these same capabilities. That’s how you successfully transform your business to consistently provide a modern commerce buying experience for customers. For more information on how PROS can help you personalize your selling process, visit us online at www.pros.com/smartcpq.