Why Manufacturers Need Guided Selling for CPQ

Aug 19, 2022 12:37:24 PM | CPQ Why Manufacturers Need Guided Selling for CPQ

With a higher level of complexity and nuance than most industries, manufacturers have the most to gain from properly structured guided selling for CPQ.

No matter what industry you find yourself in, a proper configure, price, quote strategy can help you architect an environment that makes sales easy, accurate, and enjoyable for both front and back-end users to engage with. 

But manufacturers in particular have unique, complex needs that align with the nature of their sales and production flows, especially as they begin expanding into eCommerce environments. CPQ can help with dynamic configuration, real-time pricing updates, generation of sales bills of materials, and more – but you may not want to rely on CPQ alone if you’re looking to set yourself up for present and future success.

We wanted to know more about how well B2B manufacturers are currently architecting their eCommerce environments. Find our illuminating results in our State of the Market, available on demand at https://learn.logik.io/state-of-b2b-ecommerce. 

Incorporating guided selling techniques into CPQ-inclusive tech stacks opens new routes for both direct sales representatives and self-guided eCommerce buyers to identify, configure, and order exactly what it is they’re looking for in a manufacturing environment. 

So, why is it that manufacturers should turn to guided selling for CPQ to get them there? Leveraging guided selling is one of the easiest, most direct ways to start seeing your business sell more, sell faster and maintain less – the Logik.io way. 

How Guided Selling Works

In simple terms, guided selling software is an interactive tool that gathers buyer input through questionnaires, surveys, or the like, and then uses that input to parse through inventory and identify the most closely-matched options to present. Guided selling can also lead buyers to appropriate product bundles, add-on items, or upsell opportunities with ease, all based on their end goals.

More and more, buyers are showing preferences for solution-based shopping experiences, as opposed to item-based environments. They know the problems they’re looking to solve, or the quality of life improvements that can come from the right purchase, but they won’t always know how to find the perfect answer. The space in between what buyers want and what they need to buy is what guided selling exists to bridge.

Overall, it reduces the amount of pre-existing knowledge a buyer needs regarding your products, and further leverages the base knowledge, or logic, already incorporated into the CPQ setup. You should be the expert on your products – not your buyers – and the experience they face should reflect that level of expertise and nuance.

And, if being utilized by sales reps, guided selling software also reduces the amount of training required to get sellers up to speed. Instead of having to memorize a full catalog’s worth of inventory, or break away from strong conversations to do further research, they can re-invest that time into responsive clients, growth outreach, and soft skills development.

When it comes to configuration, you have two choices: product-based or attribute-based. Want to know which will best serve your business and buyers? We have the answer, available for free, in our downloadable Configuration Guide at https://learn.logik.io/configuration-guide. 

Let’s imagine a scenario in which a buyer is on the hunt for a new car, and decides to order one built to their family needs. On just about any major car manufacturer’s website, you have the option to configure aspects of your chosen model – exterior paint, interior seat material, and so on.

Without guided selling, our buyer in question would have to independently assess every single point of configuration, make a decision regarding which to select, and hope that the final product fulfilled their overall goals. 

With guided selling, though, just a few simple questions presented to the buyer at the onset of their configuration experience can get them to a manufacturer-recommended, optimized final rendering with far less effort and time.

Though most aspects of designing a car may seem simply aesthetic in nature, there is a lot of utility and reason behind each available option that guided selling can help bring to the surface. 

A guided selling questionnaire gives the opportunity for our buyer to quickly note that they have both children and pets that will be frequent passengers in the car, plan on taking multiple substantial road trips per year, and cannot drive stick shift. 

With this information, the guided selling software can then direct our buyer to more spacious cars with leather seats – easier to clean than fabric in the case of spills or accidents – and automatic transmissions. Hybrid or electric models will be prioritized, to help keep gas costs down on those longer treks, and the cross-selling capacity of the software can also throw in recommendations for sun shades, seat protector spray, and tire chains.

By contextualizing use and intent through the guided selling prompts, our buyer now has a completely personalized car ready to go, without having to sit down and try to build it out on their own. They feel personally taken care of, and submit the order happily.

Already, you’ve sold more, and sold faster, simply by incorporating guided selling. 

Meeting Expectations with Technology

As we’ve monitored market trends and buyer preferences in the manufacturing sphere, we’ve consistently found three elements that constitute the strongest customer B2B eCommerce experience

It shouldn’t be a surprise that guided selling made the list, along with ease in pricing and submitting customized orders, and the presence of usable, dynamic product configurators.

Across the board, manufacturers are showing to be very early on in their digital lifecycle. For most manufacturers, websites and eCommerce offerings fell below direct, traditional sales in brick-and-mortar stores in terms of priority. That is, until the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shift to online environments in recent years.

As buyers were exposed to a much richer digital sales environment, they began to exhibit “consumerized” behavior in B2B settings. Consumerized buyers have been accustomed to hyper-personalized, streamlined B2C eCommerce settings for years, and now carry those same expectations to newer, less developed B2B spheres – like manufacturing. 

The easiest, most direct way to start satisfying those expectations is by incorporating the three elements outlined above. But, such an uplift takes time, money, bandwidth, and buy-in that can be difficult to make happen all at once. Guided selling, while an implementation of its own, has positive ripple effects that impact order submission and configuration, as well.

With guided selling, the final cart a buyer submits for order has a higher likelihood of being complete, correct, and most optimally priced thanks to the interaction between buyer input and CPQ software. When it comes to configuration, guided selling takes some of the manual effort off the buyer, by narrowing the range of items and modifications presented to the buyer. 

Guided selling also requires very little on the maintenance side of the equation, and can be augmented with new questions, inventory, or points of logic easily. Manufacturers, with so many balls in the air, need their tech stack to make their lives easier – not add more stress. 

With just a bit of thought and a decision to pivot, you can bring guided selling into your sales architecture and establish yourself as one of the leading, most engaging names in B2B manufacturing.

Blake Grubbs

Written By: Blake Grubbs

Blake has successfully helped several high-growth tech startups build and scale marketing over the past 10 years. Held marketing leadership roles at Seismic, Drift, Alyce, and Simplr, all who successfully doubled and tripled ARR bookings during his tenure. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Management from Boston University's Questrom School of Business.