VARs now want to invest more in technology to reduce their sales cycle. They do not want to rely on manual processes like collecting data from multiple sources (customer requests, product catalogs, etc.) as well as creating separate presentations (e.g. Excel workbooks) to demonstrate unique customer requirements. Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software streamlines your quoting process to reduce the turnaround time.
Cloud-based sales quoting software solutions are game-changers. You just need an internet connection to log in from any device. This means you can access the software at any time and from any location.
It also eliminates the server costs because the software is cloud-hosted and not on-site. The only expense is the monthly subscription – which varies depending on the number of users and features required.
However, it is not easy to find the best sales quoting tool for VARs. There are several features you need to consider before choosing one.
12 Must-have Features in a Sales Quoting Software for VARs
If you’re a VAR or MSP, you know the importance of having a cloud-based CPQ solution to help you win new businesses.
But what makes a great CPQ solution? Here are the top seven must-have features:
1. Multiple Quote Templates
Sometimes, the best deals are lost due to a lack of good presentation and professionalism. What if your sales quotations look unprofessional and messy?
Quoting software for VARs should have templates to create sales quotes with a clean and professional look even for the most complex orders.
B2B customers order a range of products and services. It is a challenge for VARs to create clear and straightforward sales quotations for complex products and large orders.
The template feature should have the ability to set templates according to the type of customers. For example, you can fix specific templates for a range of clients including small-scale startups to corporate houses and government agencies.
The right template for the right customer is a step ahead to close the deal.
2. Pricing and Inventory
B2B selling is about mindful pricing for each customer. Your sales quotation software should support different pricing strategies and requirements. Here are a few of them to look for-
- Multiple price options – A good quoting solution should allow you to offer multiple price options for each product or service. This gives you the flexibility to offer different pricing tiers based on volume or other factors, while still giving your customer choices!
- Rule-based pricing – You should be able to create rules for your pricing based on various factors like the type of customer, customer location, product type, etc. This feature allows you to generate accurate and customer-specific quotes faster.
- Compare prices with other platforms – Customers’ buying journey starts from search engines. They search for the same products on different platforms like Amazon and eBay and compare prices. The best pricing wins!
The sales quoting software with a price comparison feature helps you create those winning sales quotes. Now you can compare prices while creating quotes, offer your best price, and close the deal.
- Pricing history – It is your reference guide for every item sold in the past. With this feature, you should be able to see when and why prices have changed over time. Also, it helps you understand how competitive is your pricing as compared to other vendors.
- Real-time pricing – Your sales quoting software should automatically update the prices in real-time with the changes in the market. The integration with multiple distributors’ catalogs tracks the changes in pricing and divulges this vital information while creating the sales quotes.
3. Tax and Freight Calculation
To make sure your price quotes are accurate, the quotation software should calculate taxes and freight costs automatically. This ensures that customers get a clear picture of additional fees or charges when they receive their quote.
Let us understand this with an example.
If the total tax component is 15% of the bill amount, it forms a big number when it comes to large transactions. Such a number should either be included in the sales quote or “additional charges for tax and/or shipping” should be mentioned at the end of the quotation.
It builds trust between you and your customers by showing them what they’ll be paying for and how much. Anything contrary to this affects your brand.
When you are quoting a customer, they should get a sense of what they are buying, especially if they have never bought from you before. One way to do this is by customizing their catalog experience based on their needs or preferences.
- Presentation of catalog items on the quote – When you’re quoting, you usually want to show everything at once — the hardware and software, as well as any upgrades or add-ons. That way, the customer can see what they’re getting and how much they’ll pay for it all at once. If a customer wants more information on a particular product or service, you can easily show them additional details by opening up related tabs within the quote document.
- Upsell and cross-sell – Any efficient quoting tool must ensure that you don’t leave money on the table during every deal. That’s where upsell and cross-sell suggestions come in handy. Upsell and cross-sell suggestions improve the average order value and boost overall revenue by 5-40%. This feature helps VARs to suggest additional products and services to their customer once they have been quoted on a product or service.
- Bundles and Configurators – Bundles are another great way to offer multiple products together at discounted rates — especially if they work well together (i.e., desktop computer + monitor). Configurations allow you to configure the product based on their needs and requirements. For example, if you sell printers, you could offer a configuration that includes an extra paper tray or memory card reader at an extra cost.
5. Item Grouping
Item grouping allows you to group similar items into a group and create distinct pricing for each group. This is useful for products that require custom configurations, and multiple pricing. For example, if you sell laptops with various processor speeds and hard drive sizes, you can create an item group called “Laptop configurations” with the following items:
- 17″ screen (Intel i7 processor)
- 15″ screen (Intel i5 processor)
- 12″ screen (Intel i3 processor)
You could then create a new quote for each of these groups with different prices.
The ability to quickly pull up your customer’s information and quote them on the spot is essential for a VAR who’s constantly on the go.
Mobile Quoting App – A mobile app is a quick fix when you are between the sales calls and on the move. You can access the platform directly without logging in every time through a mobile browser. You can create, view, and track quotes through your mobile.
Cloud-hosted – Cloud integration allows you to access your data from anywhere at any time. It enables you to take advantage of new technology without having to invest in hardware or software equipment. Cloud integration also helps reduce IT costs by eliminating the need for additional server space.
Collaborative Feature – Sales quotes often involve multiple people in the business. For example, if a customer wants to buy a new computer with both hardware and service, both may be handled by different people in your business. You’ll need a quoting tool that lets you work together on quotes so everyone involved knows what’s going on at all times.
7. Approval workflows
Approval workflow ensures that there are enough checks and balances in place for any document that goes out of the company. This can be especially important in terms of insurance policies or warranties. The approval process should be clearly defined so that everyone knows how long they have to review a quote before it’s sent out.
You can set up approval steps for each stage of the process so that no quote can be sent until an authorized person gives the go-ahead.
This helps avoid embarrassing mistakes and lets you know who’s responsible for what part of your quoting process.
8. Tracking and Follow-up
The ability to track your leads is essential for successful salespeople. An efficient sales quoting tool will allow you to track quotations every step of the way.
Reps can also track which prospects have received the quotes and read them. The quoting tool should also have the auto follow-up feature in the form of an automated mail. Tracking and automated follow-up reduce the sales reps’ workload. They are updated with information and do not overwhelm the customers with frequent calls and messages.
9. Quoting for contracts
The government contracting industry requires a unique set of quoting features. The government contract has a specific agreed-upon catalog called the contract catalog. There is an agreed-upon pricing structure called catalog pricing.
If you are a VAR who deals in government contracts, your sales quoting software should have features to incorporate both contract catalog and contract pricing.
Many contracts require approval before quotation. As a part of its functionality, your quoting tool should be able to send automatic approval requests for such items.
10. CRM Integration
One of the biggest challenges for VARs is keeping track of customer data, especially if they have multiple sales reps and offices. An efficient quoting tool should allow you to automatically import and sync customer information from your CRM system into the quoting platform.
Add notes and follow-ups – When it comes time to quote a project, there are dozens of details that need to be considered before sending over a proposal.
Contact management – The ability to store and manage customer data allows you to track customers’ interests, needs, and previous purchases so that you can provide them with more personalized service and recommendations.
Sales Forecasting – A quotation requires the sales team to estimate the amount of profit they will generate. An integrated quotation software provides sales forecasting tools that help project future revenues based on historical data.
Coordination between sales reps and office staff – The CRM integration should allow both groups access to the same information at all times – whether they’re working from home or in an office environment.
Lead management – If a buyer is requesting a quote, chances are they’ve submitted their contact information through an online form or email. It is crucial to manage this information to keep track of potential clients who could become paying clients in the future. The cloud-based CRM quoting software automates the process of quick quoting with just an email address.
11. Reporting and Dashboards
The reporting feature allows the sales team to pull reports based on various criteria such as revenue, the number of quotes entered, and an average quote value. Reps should also be able to filter these reports by date range or location, so they can get an accurate picture of what’s happening in the business at any given time.
Dashboards also play an important role in helping businesses make decisions by presenting complete business information in an easy-to-digest format. The best quoting tool comes with an informative dashboard that displays all the company’s key metrics in one location so that everyone on the team can see what’s going on at any time.
12. Additional Features
- Copy quote – You can copy an existing quote, making it easier to create new quotes with similar configurations.
- Multiple versions – Create different versions of the same quote with different configurations, such as prices or delivery options. This is helpful when you want to compare different products or services.
- Import external line of items – Import product information from other sources such as your ERP system, other quote software, or other websites. This feature makes it easy to integrate with your existing systems and processes.
- Include Ad Hoc items to the quote – Include additional items (such as warranties) that are not part of your standard offering into quotes at any time during the sales process, without affecting your pricing model and configuration management policies.
Close Deals Faster With VARStreet Sales Quoting Software
The spread of cloud-based SaaS systems has enabled the development of application software and services with powerful, integrated functionality, which is attractive to SMBs looking for less time-consuming and cost-effective solutions. VARs who deploy VARStreet’s Quoting Software can free themselves from the hassle of exporting and uploading quotes into a system that isn’t integrated with it. The 12 features highlighted above make it easy to create an efficient and effective quote, get that quote in front of your customers quickly, and ultimately close deals faster.