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Stop Quoting This Way (Unless You Like Wasting Time)

The Onset of Dread

Don’t you hate it when you walk into work and, before your morning coffee even has a chance to settle –

BOOM

You’re inundated with tasks, and by the time you’ve come up for air, it’s already lunchtime. And, you’re still grinding away.

As part of a sales organization, you might be used to fast-paced work and doing lots at once, but it starts to lose its luster a bit when it feels like you’re just treading water…

At ZBrains, we hear this story so many times per month, even per week – but, it’s never worse than when we hear of a business sending tens – or hundreds – of superfluous quotes out every day. That’s because in those situations, business owners and salespeople alike might not even KNOW they’re wasting time and literally leaving money right on the table.

Think about it: Most of the time, quotes aren’t so easy to make. They have to be compiled, customized, revised, then sent out. Sometimes the process isn’t even integrated with the CRM. So, imagine when we hear that someone’s sending out fifty of these per day, and they get…one accepted quote. That’s one sale. Or, zero. No production for the day on a sales cycle that’s…less than a day long?

The time lost every day on something like this is enough to make you really sweat.

Especially as a salesperson, when time is money.

It’s also very interesting because, most of the time, business representatives don’t contact us because they’re sending out too many quotes per day. Rather, they contact us because there’s a more general issue, like sales figures being down since adopting a new business process, or knowing that their CRM use could be a little better, but they just aren’t sure what to change. Most never think they’re wasting time in their own business process…

Which is why something like quoting the wrong way can be so harmful to you.

So, what to do if you have this problem?

Many Means, One End

If think you’re having massive troubles at the level of quoting, you’ll want to examine exactly what goes into creating a quote. It actually encompasses a lot more of your business than you might realize at first. For example, your sales coming from quotes could be lacking because:

1. Your leads aren’t qualified. A qualified lead is someone who has been contacted and has been shown to be an ideal (or at least adequate) customer for you. If you spend all of your time selling to unqualified leads, you’re basically just treading water, and any sales you make are purely luck. Unless you’re in a line of business that necessitates cold-calling from lists of unqualified leads, you’re better off forcing your leads to conform to your process or your numbers will simply be stagnant.

2. Your leads are qualified, but your quotes take forever to make. Maybe you’re an expert in the CRM, but your quoting process happens outside the CRM…and you’re using a spreadsheet to calculate everything manually, and you copy and paste gobs of info from the CRM into this external sheet. Then, there’s the matter of copying this spreadsheet into your clients’ folder for reference. With just a few steps, you already have a 15-30 minute process, and in your fast-paced environment, you probably get pulled away more than a couple of times a day. What happens if that quote doesn’t get to your customer by EOD and your ideal sales cycle is less than a day? You can kiss that one goodbye.

3. Your sales team puts up piddling numbers compared to the top sales rep, who absolutely slaughters everyone else. It’s great to have a star on your team, but if the rest of your crew doesn’t understand the sales process your star follows, or aren’t motivated naturally the same way the star is, your situation will never change – until your star takes off for greener pastures, and then you’ll be in a world of hurt. And, you can’t reasonably depend on that NOT to happen – it’s just the way of the world.

So, you probably get that none of these situations are good. But, how do you rectify them?

It’s Not You. It’s…

You’ll be happy to know (and perhaps you were even anticipating the notion that) all three of these issues can be treated just by changing what you’re doing in the CRM. That means your business model is NOT, in fact, flawed. But, it means you may have a bit of work cut out for you. Try these suggestions on for size:

1. Instead of offering a quote to everyone you contact – or even everyone who contacts you – change your CRM to make it necessary to properly qualify a lead before they are allowed to advance to the quoting stage. At ZBrains, we have something like this already in place! For example, if someone calls us asking for Zoho consulting, we speak to them further, but if they call ZBrains asking for a cup of coffee, we point them next door. This is a very basic example focused on need, but what about authority? Required budget? How about timeline? All four of these are areas about your prospect to consider before ever sending them a quote, and if you’re sending quotes out without first gathering this information and making sure it conforms to YOUR business model, you’re doing too much work.

2. Instead of using an outside system to create and customize your quotes, bring it under the Zoho umbrella. Whether you’re using the CRM’s own Quotes module to send out templates with HTML markup or you’re using a third-party integration or completely custom CPQ tool, anything is possible, and (nearly) anything is better than doing it manually and spending 30 minutes on each one. The CPQ tool, for example, is great for very customized quotes with many possible options, and you can even integrate it with your website, making it so prospects can basically assemble their own quotes – and pay for their products – right there on the spot.

3. Instead of praying the rest of your staff can catch up to your golden calf, standardize a sales process using Blueprint and workflow automation. Chances are your top salesperson has a process that works, so it may do you good to sit down with them and see what it is they do to be successful, then make it imperative that the rest of your crew follow that very same process. Implementing Blueprint in particular means your salespeople have a clear path to follow on each lead and each deal, and makes it so they spend less time THINKING about what they need to do and more time doing…because the required actions are right there in front of them.

Up a Creek

It’s one thing to teach a man to fish, and quite another to outright give him the fish. In this case, we’re talking about different fish restaurants, but we haven’t even decided where to go yet, and on top of that, you’re probably not even sure what kind of fish you want either way.

To rectify this fishy situation, we’d like to talk to you and hear about where your inefficiencies are, and then take some time to totally understand how you do business. That way, we’ll know exactly where the problems lie, and you’ll know exactly how to fix them.

Call us toll-free: (888) 207-4111 and mention “Quote Smarter” for a free 1-Hour CRM Consultation to get the ball rolling for you.

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