Business Thinking

How Technology Enables Near-Time Enterprise Responsiveness

The digitisation of market intelligence, product information and customer requirements enables enterprises to achieve near real-time response rates to customer needs and market changes.

One of the main elements in achieving ongoing success in any market is the ability of the enterprise to respond quickly and accurately to everything from customer price requests to regulatory changes that affect your product, either locally or on a country-wide basis.

Market Responsiveness

Changes in a market vary greatly in impact and effect. Regardless of the type of change involved, the ability to adjust, reposition or respond is critical to the longevity of any product and ultimately any enterprise.

The economics of any product offering are at the mercy of costs and prices within the supply chain that supports the end-product offered. Weather, political instability, competitive positioning and demand associated with others needing the same supply materials or parts all exert pressure on the costs and resulting prices for any product offered for sale.

Configure Price Quote software facilitates instantaneous pricing adjustments to multiple price lists from a central administrative point. These changes can be universal or isolated to specific territories, contract types, product models or other factors.

The same is true for sourcing related changes. Consumer and customer preferences are frequently driven by certain realities within a given market. For example, products fabricated from wood can gain some market advantage by offering “sustainable wood” options. Pricing for these options may be adjusted to reflect additional costs or reduced as an incentive to pick the “green” alternative.

All of this flexibility is greatly enhanced through CPQ and the digitisation of the underlying data that is used to fully specify, configure and describe a given product.

As the configuration and specification requirements are revealed, CPQ offers assorted selections, options and pricing available to facilitate these choices.

Regulatory Responsiveness

Not all changes are optional or subject to mitigation through market message articulation. Regulatory agencies throughout the world at local, provincial or country levels are increasingly using their power to affect what they perceive to be positive change. These may be related to green issues, worker safety, consumer benefit, fair trade or any of many possible areas of concern.

In some cases, companies have the choice of either pulling out of a market or perhaps modifying or adapting an existing product to conform to local regulatory requirements. California-compliant automobiles are one such example.

Within CPQ, there is a facility that guides the input of data about the specific requirements that any given customer may have.  This interactive, scripted interviewing process reveals specifics related to how and where a product might be used. Responses to these questions will automatically invoke the product choices, price list and configuration requirements or limitations driven by regulation at the destination location.

CPQ protects you from shipping a product to Los Angeles that is legal for sale in Wyoming but not in California. This protects customers, it protects your company and conceivably, it protects the public in general.

Customer and Prospect Responsiveness

Despite the clear preferences customers are displaying, to do their own research early on in a given buy cycle, there is still a need to be ready to answer questions quickly and to handle inquires accurately and in a timely fashion.

The same old questions will continue to be put forth by tire kickers and serious prospects alike. How much does this cost? Does it come in green? How long will I have to wait for delivery? What if I want to use it outside?

These questions, along with more technical and complex inquiries, need to be handled quickly, confidently and accurately.  Failure to respond on time or to appear unsure will almost certainly undermine the confidence your prospect may have in your product.

CPQ, powered by the digitised expert knowledge from your engineers and product management, is always ready to guide the sales rep and customer quickly through vast amounts of data to arrive at the correct and accurate answer.

This is what responsiveness is all about:

  • Responsiveness to market changes
  • Responsiveness to regulatory changes
  • Responsiveness to customer needs

CPQ Reduces New Product Risks

Anytime a product is sold, there is some potential risk involved for both buyer and seller. The product’s usage may not be fully understood, or the limits of it performance may be overstated.

This is especially true for new products. Sales reps and wishful customers alike will often make assumptions about a product and its capability that are simply not true.

The digitisation and interview-driven configuration process helps keep expectations in line with the reality of the new product’s capability.

You will not expose your company to any liabilities associated with over-promising what a new product can actually do. Your customer will not be blindly buying a product based on what your sales rep says it can do.

A tight definition of product capability and market will accompany the roll-out of the new product.

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