As most technology resellers are painfully aware, product prices are changing constantly. Especially when the calendar ticks over to a new month, distributors release thousands of product updates.
The excitement of a new order is quickly replaced with the dread of being underwater because your cost is higher than your selling price.
How can you stay on top of it?
Setting the initial price for a quote can be tedious business. Technology equipment sales for products like laptops and printers are highly competitive. If you source these items from various distributors like Ingram, Tech Data or Synnex, the prices vary. Often one distributor has you set at a different price level, or sometimes another distributor has a higher cost, but they are the only ones with inventory (funny how that works).
Looking up SKUs by logging into multiple distributors takes a lot of time. Let’s say you find a product, then you rely on the sales rep to “do the math” and set a price. Who checks the math? Well, the quote is eventually given to the customer.
How? Via a PDF in an email? Now the quote is “out there” in a form that easily enables a customer to shop from another provider. The quote often comes with a disclaimer that this quote is valid for X number of days, but there is no way that quote lines up with the distribution price changes which are random.
This is an unworkable system.
Compounding the issue is that customers have no patience to call or email a sales rep looking for a price, then waiting to receive it in a quote. E-commerce has rendered that process anachronistic—from a bygone era. If an IT person is given a task to outfit a new employee with a set of technology (monitors, computers, phones, software, printers), why would they ask for quotes and sift through responses when they can find it online—immediately?
MPSToolbox integrates with over two dozen technology distributors. Some of those distributors update their prices and inventory files EVERY SINGLE DAY. With all the logistical issues from shipping to parts to inventory and availability, you need a dynamic solution for customers to find and order products that are in stock, and at the right price.
Table stakes today, as a technology reseller, is e-commerce.
While these customers may wish to do business with you, time is money and let’s be honest, technology people should use technology to sell/buy products. Asking sales reps to use an email quote process, one where they have to invest a lot of time for a low probability chance of winning, and that win comes with a small(ish) margin, is a tough sale. They often pass on these opportunities. The customers stop requesting the quote, and you come to a conclusion: we can’t win at technology.
You can’t give up like that. If you really feel like you can’t win, if you’ve decided that your business can just ride off into the sunset of office printing, you owe it to your employees and shareholders to step aside and let some new people with new ideas take your place. This is by definition complacency.
Here’s how we automate this process.
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