How to use a sales configurator to wow customers
How often does your business get phone calls from customers asking about pricing? And how much time do your employees spend preparing custom quotes? If manual quoting is something you’d like to move away from, you can make dramatic improvements by simply making your website work harder. A well-designed sales configurator saves time for the customer as well as the business.
Price page or no price page?
Pricing is one of the biggest factors when customers research potential purchases. Whether or not you want to share your rates publicly, people will inevitably scan your website for pricing information. Of course, for the average off-the-shelf product, pricing can often be displayed in a simple matrix or price list. But what about more complex products and services, where there is no one-price-fits-all?
Many companies choose to just not display any pricing details at all, instead pushing website visitors to pick up the phone or send a message to ask for a quote – which many simply won’t do. This is where a sales configurator can effectively bridge the gap.
The rise of the sales configurator
Quoting tools have been around for many years but have traditionally fallen into the trap of being either too complex or too simple. However, with modern software technology it’s now easier than ever to set up smart algorithms that pull a huge range of data into a streamlined, user-friendly interface.
A good sales configurator allows the customer to enter their relevant parameters and select features to create a price. It lets them try different options to see how the price changes, which means they can in fact create their very own ‘basic’, ‘standard’, and ‘premium’ price list.
Great sales configurators at work
There are some industries which have really embraced the sales configurator model and created some excellent pricing engines. Many of these can in fact be replicated by almost any product or service. Let’s take a look at just a few examples of how it’s being done!
- Car manufacturers
The car is the perfect product candidate for a sales configurator, as it can be customised in so many ways. More than a decade ago, the automotive industry woke up to the fact that their customers love the idea of ‘designing’ their dream car in the comfort of their own home. People wanted the ability to play around with engine sizes, colours, interiors, and special equipment. The car manufacturers responded by creating online visual studios where you can set up your own specification and simply bring your unique design code with you to the nearest dealership. All the dealer needs to do is process the order – after perhaps doing some final negotiations with the customer.
For many customers, it can be an embarrassing or stressful experience to go to the bank and discuss a loan. This is what makes the online mortgage and loan calculators such a great solution. They let the user look into various loan and repayment options even before speaking to a bank manager, allowing them to take their time comparing different options without having to disclose any of their actual financial information. What’s more, these calculators are often small, simple web apps which can easily be integrated into third party websites such as property search pages or investment sites.
- Interior Design
Similar to the car configurator, there are powerful web apps that help to plan the entire re-modelling of kitchens, bathrooms or other interior areas in 3D. But unlike the car design apps, these tools are often used by – or in collaboration with – the professional interior designer, to ensure the measurements for the 3D design are done correctly. Still, the solution speeds up the process of planning and pricing, as it can quickly create new quotes based on changes of things like floor tiles or cupboard fronts. And the outcome is the same; the customer gets a full design visual complete with costs for their selected options.
The manufacturing industry is increasingly waking up to the idea of online product or sales configurators. Quoting can be time-consuming, especially when it comes to managing various purchased components or OEM equipment where the price might fluctuate with currency or import costs.Many businesses spend time creating custom estimates for customers who never actually end up placing an order (or perhaps order six months later when the original quote has expired and needs to be re-done).
Instead, the solution could be as simple as having a non-committal sales configurator online, which only produces a ‘ballpark price’ that the customer must confirm with the company before placing an order. This allows the customer to get a rough price for comparison purposes, and the sales team only needs to get involved once the customer is ready to move forward.
The website ‘wow’ factor
Regardless of what industry you are in, your customers are looking for ways to save time, effort, and money. A good sales configurator will achieve all of the above – but it can also be a very pleasant, unexpected surprise for the user. If you offer an online configurator and your major competitors do not, users will naturally gravitate towards your offering.
It’s time to stop seeing our websites as virtual business cards and start making them work harder! Could your website be your next top sales resource?