Winning new customers is no easy task. Between branding, advertising, pricing, customer service and countless other factors, it's safe to say a lot goes into attracting new clients—some of them easier to control than others. One thing that businesses do have full control over, though, are their own sales processes, and that's where quoting software comes into play.
With quoting software, businesses can improve sales processes by streamlining and automating the creation of proposals and sales quotes. Software features such as e-signature, quote creation and CRM help ensure that not only will you be able to serve your customers better, but you'll also be able to complete routine sales tasks faster.
In this Buyer's Guide, we'll explore the various features offered by quoting software that can help businesses respond to customers better and handle sales processes more efficiently.
We'll cover the following topics:
Quoting software is a type of configure-price-quote (CPQ) software that places a stronger focus on the proposal and request for proposal (RFP) stages of the sales process. These software systems automate the creation of quotes and proposals to generate them more quickly and with fewer errors.
With the software, quotes and proposals are generated in multiple file formats and can be shared through multiple channels. The software also allows quotes to be converted into invoices and affords users the ability to handle contracts using e-signatures and digital agreements.
Quoting software allows businesses to spend more time focused on clients and other strategic tasks instead of on manually maintaining paperwork and proposals, which means faster quotes, smoother sales processes and, most important, happier customers.
Here are some common features of quoting software:
|Quote creation||Lets users create and send quotes and proposals by leveraging integrations with other tools to access data such as contact lists, inventory and sales pricing.|
|Custom quotes||Offers prebuilt templates that can be populated with details about customers, branded logos and other specific information to result in a professional and accurate quote that represents your company.|
|Status updates for quotes||Helps you stay updated about which quotes have been sent, viewed and accepted. Some vendors also give clients the ability to accept/decline and comment on the quote, removing the need for email follow-ups.|
|Turn quotes into invoices||Pulls details directly from quotes and creates a separate, brand new invoice. This makes sales even smoother as well as reducing the potential for human or clerical error.|
|E-signatures and online payments||Speeds up the process of closing sales by making it possible to complete tasks—such as online acceptance and payment—within the quote.|
Quoting software could be useful for many different types of retailers, but here are a few types of businesses that will get the most out of these types of systems:
Creative agencies. Creative agencies should opt for quoting software with a variety of options to customize proposals and quotes. Vendors that provide interactive and mobile-friendly web pages to replace traditional PDF proposals would be a great fit for these organizations, which would want to show off their innovation and creativity.
Manufacturers. Quoting software for manufacturers should specifically focus on product configuration, real-time pricing and the capability to deliver proposals on the spot. Some manufacturers might also need bid packages and CAD (computer-aided design) engine to visualize their products effectively.
Landscape industry workers. For individuals and businesses in the landscape, fencing, irrigation and roofing industries, some additional, specialized features might be worth considering. For example, a self-service widget customers can use to measure their properties in order to get more accurate quotes.
Business sales reps. For sales reps in any business, look for quoting software that includes functionality to support upselling and discounts.
There are many advantages of using a dedicated quoting software system, but here are a few of the biggest to consider:
When deciding which quoting software system best suits your needs, here are a few important considerations to be aware of before making a purchase:
Cloud-based vs. on-premise software. Cloud-based quoting software offers greater flexibility, which makes it a good fit for businesses with multiple locations or employees who sit in different offices or cities. On-premise software is hosted on your own server and typically sold in single license fees rather than monthly subscription fees. This type of deployment can mean a bigger spend upfront, but may end up costing less over time.
Security. You'll want to evaluate quoting software that adheres to the latest industry standards. One thing to ask for when speaking to vendors will be documentation that states clearly what security protocols their product provides to protect customer data as well as your business's information.
Integrations. Choose quoting software that integrates well with other business systems you are already using. This makes it easy to share data between the programs, which saves you from double data entry and streamlines the quote creation process.
Multichannel communication. Having integrated communication channels to engage prospects and close deals is always a plus. You can do away with back-and-forth emails or phone tag and spend quality time on strategic initiatives.
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