Is Your Sales Team Blocking Your Company Out of Transactional Business?
25 April 2018 | Norm McConkey
In the good old days, if a buyer asked for you to “send a quote, so I can review, it” it was usually the kiss of death for a sale. Rather than tell salespeople they are not interested, a quote allowed buyers to at least have something on paper that they could use to work over the current supplier. Today, however, sending the customer a quote is a good thing, here’s what’s changed.
Let’s take a quick step backwards; there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. If your organization has feet on the street, use them. In a world where Amazon and CDW can send out products to arrive next business day, your sales team is a critical differentiator. It’s also important that you try to get as much of your products and services contracted (managed IT services and managed print services) as possible.
Enter the digital quote. The opportunities start off with a conversation like “do you guys have a… or does your company also sell…” These questions are gold. You want them all day long. The disconnect today is that your sales team is programmed to respond in two ways here:
Neither response is ideal. Buyers looking for a quote on a specific product are already far along in the process. If the rep tries to book an appointment, they will likely fail. Buyers can get almost everything you sell, online from a competitor. If a buyer knows what they want, an in-person meeting will add little value, and only serve to prolong the purchase. In short, it will make the buyer’s job harder.
The second response happens every day at almost all of the dealers I speak to. Buyers have likely given your company many opportunities in the past to get more business, and quote on transactional sales, but your process may have been deemed cumbersome because:
1. Your sales rep wants to meet every time the buyer requests a quote
2. Your sales team ignores the quote a few times and the buyer “gets the message”
3. You provide a quote but the time it takes, and the buying process is cumbersome
Many dealers do not consider how difficult they are to buy products from. On one extreme, you have Amazon, search, click, and buy. How do you compare to that? The other extreme is a completely manual process where human intervention is needed on every sale. Buyers value the ease of use of Amazon, but they likely place a higher value on your relationship and subject matter expertise. You don’t have to be Amazon, but you do need to be easier to get a quote from than you are today.
A good quoting system should enable a sales rep to provide buyers with a list of the products they are looking for, and a link to be able to buy those products—online. A good quoting system should enable a sales rep to build a quote from scratch in 3-4 minutes. Compare your workflow for transactional quotes today, with how it works for MPSToolbox customers. Let’s talk.
About the Author
Norm McConkey has been involved in the print, imaging, and software/tech business since 1993. Holding executive level positions in a number of emerging technology firms, he founded PrintFleet in 2003, and Tangent MTW in 2009. A founding member of the MPSA, an award winning author and presenter, Norm has spoken at various industry events around the world including the Lyra Imaging Symposium, Photizo confernece, ITEX Tradeshow, Regional BTA conferences, Remax Europe, and World Expo. He has been contracted to consult and build go to market and sales training programs with several OEM manufacturers such as Canon USA, and HP, and distributors such as Parts Now and Supplies Network, as well Resellers including Office Depot. Norm’s current project, MPSToolbox (www.mpstoolbox.com), is a software platform which helps technology dealers develop and maintain e-commerce websites.