30 Oct Why Word and Excel donʼt cut it for sales quotes
If your sales team currently relies on a manual process of configuring price quotes using Excel spreadsheets or Microsoft Word documents, you might be basing your sales quotes on inaccurate data—and you’re definitely wasting your sales team’s time and compromising security.
We’re not saying that a manual process isn’t workable, or that Excel and Word aren’t great applications in their own right. Rather, these applications have shortcomings when it comes to creating sales quotes that close. And using the wrong program doesn’t pay off in terms of accuracy, efficiency, and revenue. Here are some reasons:
- You must start with a blank page and/or create a template
- In Excel, you have to create one or more formulas
- You have to gather information from your price book (uh oh, are you sure it’s accurate and up-to-date?) and then type it into your documents
Why put your sales team through this if they don’t have to? Each of these drawbacks is surmountable, but they feed two more critical issues surrounding manual quoting — the lack of control and the lack of security.
Control Through Automation
An automated application not only gives you the control you require, but if it’s a native Salesforce app, it also utilizes features that are already familiar to your sales team.
Without a CPQ tool, sales managers have little or no visibility into the history of quotes their reps or channel partners send to prospects. Each time they manually make a change to a quote in Excel or Word, the possibility of human error exists, threatening accuracy.
The chances of accidentally attaching the wrong quote number to a Word document, transposing dollar figures, or mistyping a formula in Excel are great, even for the most diligent members of the team. These mistakes result in calculation errors that are not only hard to locate further down the process road, but that could also negatively affect your bottom line.
And we can’t have that.
Security Builds Reputation
Security issues that present themselves when using Word and Excel can spell disaster for your sales team and even your organization as a whole. Manual price quoting means that your reps, channel partners, and resellers are sending numerous (and virus-susceptible) documents to prospects after the original quote. The back-and-forth is, of course, a result of revisions made throughout the process. Now, consider the effect on your reputation if you deliver sloppy quotes and/or accidentally give prospects a peek into your process.
Every quote your sales team creates influences how prospects perceive your brand. CPQ tools allow you to control the process and standardize quote appearance, so your reps make a great impression every time. Word offers no piece of mind in this area because there exists very little security control over document creation or editing.
Automate for Peace of Mind and Accuracy
An automated CPQ presents an excellent solution to these risks and pain points by offering a customizable template, automatically populating your quote with account details sourced from Salesforce, and listing the products available that are associated with the opportunity. The product list eliminates the need to cut and paste and can be filtered by product code, product type, product family, or bundle. Discounts, too, are calculated automatically!
After you configure your automated quote, you can get a handy, summarized view of your quote and then generate a customer-facing, un-editable pdf with just one click. Unlike a Word document, a pdf ensures that your sales quotes are standardized, accurate and secure. One more click generates an email that’s conveniently attached to the main record, providing you with a SOX compliant audit trail.