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How CPQ Can Help B2B Businesses Level-Up Their E-Commerce Efforts

Posted by Michael Bauer 10/09/2017 Categories: 2D Product Configurator 3D Product Configurator Guided Selling Virtual Reality

Client Using a 2D Product Configurator on a B2B E-Commerce WebsiteThanks to the rise of the internet and fast-paced technological innovations, the customer journey has undergone a dramatic shift.

Now, consumers conduct their own research, turning to search engines, review sites and social media to influence their decisions.

They want and expect a quick and easy shopping experience. As a result, e-commerce is a huge part of doing business these days—and not just for B2C companies, but for B2B, as well.

However, many B2B businesses find it extremely difficult to take advantage of e-commerce possibilities. Let’s face it. Many of these businesses offer complex and highly-customizable products and services, and typically experience a far longer sales cycle. So, how can they create the ultimate "shopping" experience for their clients?

The answer? CPQ software solutions. Below we detail exactly how configure-price-quote software (CPQ) can level-up your B2B e-commerce business.

Create Exactly What B2B Clients Want

For B2B companies with complex products that often come with hundreds of possible configurations, like custom built data centers or office equipment, it’s hard to determine exactly what your client needs. And to leave a satisfied client with a great experience, you cannot afford to get their preferences wrong.

To determine exactly what your clients need and eliminate any communication errors, CPQ solutions offer guided selling software. This allows you to guide clients through the ordering process with a behavior-driven questionnaire, and once clients provide the answers to your questions, you can deliver the product configuration that fits their exact needs. By educating, informing, and supporting clients throughout the ordering process, you are creating a seamless buying experience for clients and sales reps that increases client satisfaction and loyalty.

Deliver Accurate Quotes in Real-Time

When your clients are building a custom product, they may wish to add an accessory at an additional cost. And instead of needing a sales rep to communicate the price change, CPQ software automates the quoting process and delivers accurate quotes in real time. The automated process frees up your sales reps so they have more time to build relationships and close sales, instead of the taxing process of updating and managing quotes.

As a part of quoting automation, CPQ software allows you to manage your entire revenue generating processes, including products, services, pricing, and quote creation, from one easy to access location. The software also has margin-based discounting thresholds to ensure you deliver accurate pricing at the highest possible margin each time. In the end, CPQ software streamlines the lead-to-cash and quote-to-cash processes, increasing operational efficiencies and reducing order cycle time.

Shorten Your B2B Sales Cycle

It’s a well-known fact that B2B companies have longer sales cycles. Where some B2C businesses may have a sales cycle of a few seconds to a couple weeks, B2B businesses can have sales cycles from 10 to 240 days, if not longer. When you’re selling products that can cost thousands of dollars and mean big shifts for the businesses that buy them, it’s no wonder that it can take a while to convert a lead. The fact of the matter is that B2B products and services are complex, adding on to the length of the sales cycle.

CPQ software takes all of the complexity out of product configuration, quoting, and ordering, reducing the sales cycle for B2B companies. With rules-driven automation, obstacles like product bundling errors, miscalculated costs, and quoting turnaround time are removed and the sales cycle is dramatically shortened. In fact, an Aberdeen Group study found that CPQ software can reduce quoting versions by 13%.

Allow Clients to Visualize Their Product

Plane and Airline 3D Configuration SoftwareIn today's marketplace, clients are used to instant gratification. You order something on Amazon, and in some cases, your order will arrive that very same day.

Even if it doesn’t arrive that same day, you are treated to several real-life images, or even a video, of the product to make sure it’s what you want. Images aren’t only for consumers, though.

Visual representations can help take the complexity out of hard-to-understand products in the B2B space as well.

With 2D product configuration, 3D product configuration, and even virtual reality configuration experience, CPQ software offers many different visualization options for B2B e-commerce sites. With visual configurators, clients can take the product into their own hands and watch their customizations come to life in real time. By allowing clients to see their products as they’re built, they have the ability and the confidence to order what they want and how they want it. Plus, the sophisticated CPQ rules engine won’t allow clients to build outside of your capabilities, minimizing bundling errors and increasing client satisfaction.

Ready to Learn More About CPQ Software?

Find out if CPQ is right for your business by checking out how product configuration boosts customer service and sales in four different industries. Or, take our crash course in CPQ software, CPQ 101.

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