What’s your sign?

It’s a confusing question. While you’re out there looking for a sign, consider that your horoscope might not be the only indicator of a need for change. For many businesses, life is made a lot easier when they start taking time to notice the symptoms of an overly complex quoting process demanding simplification.

Quoting is a key part of the sales cycle where an offer is made to a potential customer and they can see how your products and services fit their needs, ultimately solving their problems. At the same time, a lot can happen to derail your quoting process if you aren’t careful. Simple errors, incorrect pricing, incompatible line items, mismatched terms and conditions, and other problems can result from inefficient quoting practices.

Your growing business is changing constantly and this adds complexity to your quotes. You have more products, more pricing, more combinations, more rules to be overlooked and more opportunities for mistakes. These errors put you at risk for leaving revenue on the table by missing out on upsells or even losing a customer altogether when you come off as unprofessional.

A common gut reaction to encountering errors is to attempt to gain control over the quoting process by adding more manual reviews. This only slows down your sales cycle, burdens your approvals teams and amplifies your vulnerability to human error– especially if you don’t have the right systems in place to help navigate and regulate those extra steps.

So how do you know if the complexity of your quoting process has outgrown your ability to manage it? Do you know what signs to look for?

Here are the 5 signs that your quoting process has become too complex.

1. Reviews Are Slowing Down Quoting Times
Adding reviews or reviewers only creates the perception of increased quality and accuracy. Oftentimes, reps just end up spending more time chasing down reviewers, sending follow up emails, and waiting for people to return from vacation. They may even end up bypassing reviews altogether when they become too much of a bottleneck and a hassle.

Without a specialised tool, there is no easy way to manage the review process. Most companies use email which is not designed for follow ups and status updates on in-process reviews. These organizations experience a breakdown when a reviewer is out of the office and often find that reps are going around reviewers to their managers, further complicating the process.

Being that the first quote out is so frequently the offer that gets preference with a customer, you do not want to slow down your quoting times with reviews.

2. Pricing Rules Are Leading to Mistakes
Price lists living in spreadsheets and docs are difficult to control and it’s hard to know if your team is using current versions. Even more complexity is added when discounts need additional approvals, prices are revised, new products are listed, or product names are changed and it can quickly become impossible to manage pricing effectively with these basic tools.

Money gets left on the table when mistakes are made or when reps move forward with discounts that aren’t approved because of pricing complexity and lack of control.

3. Item Combinations and Compatibilities Are Causing Errors
Even simple offerings can become complex once they’re added to a larger order. You need to make sure that colors are compatible and that accessories are appropriate for certain regions. Beyond the product options themselves, reps also need to know details such as whether or not free shipping applies to an order or what the volume threshold for discounts on an item is.

This is one of the areas where more reviews are often added in a misguided attempt to eliminate mistakes.

4. Quotes Are Being Returned from Prospects with Requests for Revisions
Everyone makes mistakes and customers are usually understanding. At the same time, simple errors such as using the wrong template or forgetting to remove another company’s name are embarrassing and can raise red flags with your prospect. Going back and forth to fix small mistakes on a quote is a waste of time and a frustrating experience for everyone.

You don’t want your company to look sloppy. Since details are easy to overlook, you might want help ensuring that your preventable errors are... prevented!

5. You’re Losing Deals
If you are losing deals and you don’t have visibility into your quotes, you’re going to have a tough time figuring out what’s going on. Mistakes easily can turn into lost deals and the more complex your quoting process is, the more mistakes will result from it. Incorrect pricing and discounts or too many revisions make you appear difficult to work with and can lead your prospects to walking away.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and your quoting process is too complex, It’s time to look at automating your quoting system.

Automation helps with tracking, managing, and streamlining reviews. No email threads, no manual follow ups. Everyone will be able to see when and where approvals are required, and they will be able to track status as quotes progress through the approvals process.

Automated quoting also ensures compliance with pricing and discounting rules the first time around. You can specify rules and lock in pricing so it’s accurate from the start. You can forget about out-of-date price lists and reps giving larger discounts than what’s allowed.

The right quoting tool will eliminate mistakes with item compatibility. You can have rules to prevent incompatible configurations or mismatched items and ensure region-specific compatibilities. Automation gives reps only those product and combination choices that are valid for each order as they build their quotes. Set rules and preformatted templates make sure every quote is correct and looks professional, improving quote quality and accuracy. When you get it right the first time, you improve win rates by getting better quotes to your customer sooner. Streamlining approvals get quotes through the process quickly, as does limiting the options reps see to only those that are valid.

It doesn’t take hundreds of line items to create complexity in your quoting process. A few uncontrolled documents and approvals can lead to a level of complication that loses deals.

Don’t worry! Quotes can be made simple and you don't need to look to the stars for guidance. Quoting tools address your pain points by automating your process.

What’s your sign that your current quoting process is too complex?

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