Selling complex products and solutions with CPQ

To improve sales, organisations need to pay a close attention to their
pre-sales processes

In B2B e-commerce, selling complex solutions and products can be challenging. From extensive product lists, multiple manufacturers and resellers management to inconsistent user experiences across vendor sites, we see more and more and restrictions in creating unified solutions. This ultimately results in lost efficiency, slower customer response times and missed opportunities.

Businesses need motivated internal sales teams with great IT knowledge. The more bespoke the customer requirements are, the more knowledgeable the sales people must be. Job titles in sales now vary from technical sales, subject experts, solution consultants to sales engineers and technical consultants.

Sales people are often expected to learn a new product or feature fast. It would be great if people could upload thousands of product lists and learn endless configuration possibilities in their mind like they do in The Matrix – that would be a dream. But reality is cruel, and no one can have that level of knowledge or expectations.

We might not be in The Matrix, but we have certainly progressed with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to the point where these configurations can be done in a matter of seconds. Anyone can do it, no matter the level of knowledge, you just need to know what you want to buy. Have a look at the video below to see how easy and fast it is to configure, price and quote a complex IT solution.

What are the main pre-sales challenges?

  1. Locked domain expertise

    To build domain expertise in a complex area like Information Technology can take years. When companies achieve this in their sales teams, they have locked domain knowledge. That means if the expert in a field decides to move on, the company will have to quickly replace and train the new person which can result in loss of time and money.

  1. Conversation struggles

    This challenge usually appears either at the begining or in the middle of the conversation when sales rep can’t anticipate the customer’s needs. In many cases, even getting to this stage can be a struggle because very often customers come back with questions and the sales person might have to wait for answers or information from upper management.

  1. Trust issues

    There is a level of trust that needs to be established when discussing complex solutions. It takes time to do that, and nowadays customers are more interested in doing most of the research themselves before speaking to a sales representative. Forrester expands on the role of self-service in e-commerce and shares that nearly 75% of B2B buyers now prefer to buy from a website and do the research themselves than buying from a sales rep. Virtual advisors have been the preferred choice of businesses who want to engage their customers.

  1. Lack of technical skills

    Not knowing enough information about products and services will affect the way you deal with custom quotes. Nowadays, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying and they also turn to the sales people with questionss. They need to feel confident to make the purchasing decision, therefore it’s crucial for salesmen to be knowledgeable.

  1. Understanding individual needs

    Great salesmen excel at identifying opportunities, understanding customers’ needs and dealing with their problems. This helps tremendously because customers feel like they are listened to and their needs are being met.