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Navigating Complex Sales in B2B Ecommerce with CPQ Software

Navigating Complex Sales in B2B Ecommerce with CPQ Software

8 mins Read
Navigating Complex Sales in B2B Ecommerce with CPQ Software

Qualifying a B2B lead is a process that requires a longer sales cycle and often includes conversations with multiple stakeholders. Additionally, enterprise-level sales typically come at a higher price point, which often requires more time to help reduce perceived buying risk.

As a result, you need knowledgeable and experienced sales representatives who can effectively engage potential clients, understand the client’s industry-specific needs, and who can adapt to changes in the industry quickly.

CPQ solutions help businesses streamline and manage complex B2B sales by automating the configuration, pricing, and quoting process. With a simple and intuitive interface, CPQ tools enhance your accuracy, efficiency, and compliance with regulations. So sales reps can close complex product deals quicker and with fewer bottlenecks and errors.

CPQs in Complex B2B Sales

Complex B2B sales require a salesforce that is knowledgeable about your customers’ industry and pain points so they can provide relevant, persuasive, and valuable information.  After all, these sales hinge on offering tailored solutions, not just products. The sales team must deliver accurate, high-quality information that addresses each customer’s needs.

Salespeople often face some common challenges when trying to navigate this process, including:

  • Interacting with Multiple Stakeholders. When making complex sales, you often have to talk with multiple stakeholders. These decision-makers may have different roles, priorities, and perspectives, making it challenging to navigate the diverse group of individuals. It’s essential that teams have clear communication both with the different decision-makers and among team members, especially if different people are involved in the sales process.
  • Varied Pricing Models. Complex sales in B2B ecommerce can involve a wide range of pricing models, including tiered, subscription-based, custom-based pricing, and more. Team members need help managing the different pricing models to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Contractual Obligations. Complex sales typically involve detailed contracts and agreements that outline terms, conditions, and service-level agreements. Your sales team must ensure that contracts are negotiated, created, and managed effectively to meet both parties’ needs.
  • Regulatory Compliance. Most industries have strict regulatory requirements, including data privacy regulations and industry-specific standards. Additionally, these rules and standards can evolve and change quickly. Sales teams must understand, be aware of changes, and adhere to regulations to avoid legal issues and build customer trust.

CPQs in Action: Industry Case Studies for Medical,

Medical Equipment CPQ

McKinsey’s analysis indicates that U.S. health expenditure may grow at a 7.1% rate from 2022 to 2027 — potentially exceeding economic growth and causing issues with affordability.

This high demand and competitive market is likely to create challenges for medical equipment companies and healthcare providers. Therefore, it’s essential for sales teams to create accurate pricing strategies, understand the industry’s pain points, provide a smooth sales process, and deliver quality products and services.

As a result, many companies are turning to CPQ software to help their sales team and support self-service options. CPQ software can streamline and automate the sales process, including helping configure products and services, ensuring accurate pricing, generating quotes, and building contracts. This sales tool also helps the sales team provide a better quality customer experience, increases accuracy by reducing human errors, and saves the sales team time — and can even speed up the sales cycle.   

Simplifying Regulatory Compliance

Medical equipment technology is changing quickly, resulting in shorter product life cycles, with items needing to be updated or replaced more frequently. Additionally, these technology changes also impact regulatory compliance, causing sales teams and manufacturers to have to stay on top of updates and rules.

CPQ software can make it easier to stay up-to-date and adapt to regulatory compliance changes. It simplifies the process of updating configuration rules so you can ensure your services and products comply with data privacy regulations, industry-specific standards and certifications, and tax compliance.

Easier Customizations

Medical equipment and devices often push the boundaries of technology. These high-tech tools are often unique and may need to be tailored to perform specific jobs.

As such, medical equipment manufacturers and their sales teams must provide and explain complex, specific modifications, customizations, and even made-to-order products. This can result in a complicated ordering experience and sales process.

CPQ software can streamline this process, making it easier for your sales team or self-service options to provide accurate information that addresses customers’ concerns and provides a consistent, high-quality buying experience.

For example, CPQ software gives your sales team access to up-to-date information and data to address customers’ questions and requests, including pricing, timeframes, availability, requirements, and customization options. Using this information, sales representatives can confidently provide quotes efficiently with less risk of mistakes, even when dealing with complex customizations.

Additionally, CPQ software provides a collaborative system that streamlines the go-to-market process across your whole organization in one platform. This ensures everyone from the sales team, engineers, back office, and more are on the same page. So you provide correctly configured, accurately priced products delivered as expected.

The software also makes it easier to ensure all team members understand the products, options, and customer needs, allowing even less experienced sales members to feel confident. As a result, customers have a positive buying experience.

For instance, the software typically provides an easy-to-follow sales process, including access to offers and pricing and the ability to provide custom quotes. It also often includes places for experienced sales representatives to share notes with others, allowing everyone to benefit and making training new members easier.  

Manufacturing CPQ

Manufacturing CPQ solutions streamline the manufacturing of complex configurable products. So you’re producing and selling accurately and efficiently. Additionally, many CPQ software platforms can also help create the documentation and data needed for manufacturing.

Design Customization

Product complexity continues to increase to meet customer needs. As a result, your product configurator must handle various attributes, restrictions, rules, dynamic pricing, and visual renderings. Additionally, it’s critical that custom designs are valid permutations of products.

CPQ software can help ensure that designs can be manufactured by:

  • Processing rules efficiently and effectively
  • Accounting for subtle changes
  • Establishing predetermined boundaries, especially for made-to-order businesses
  • Assisting with pricing and quotes

Additionally, businesses can use this information to help ensure their sales team is well-informed or to help with self-guided selling strategies. So, buyers can explore options on their own without needing lengthy sales calls.

3D Visualization

Providing customers the ability to explore and see customizable products in 3D can help shorten the sales cycle, increase customer confidence and satisfaction, and increase sales.

Interactive 3D visualization tools allow buyers to customize products and see what they would look like in real time. Augmented reality technology can also help them see how products will look or interact in their environment. This facilitates the sales process, so your sales team or self-guided selling strategies are more efficient and effective — resulting in a shorter sales cycle, reducing quote time, and increasing sales.

These tools can also improve customer satisfaction because they have more control over the customization process and can better understand what they’re creating. This can also lead to fewer mistakes and returns.

These tools can be set up so any rules and boundaries are accounted for, so customers can only create valid solutions.

Case Study: B/S/H

With a portfolio boasting renowned brands such as Bosch Home Appliances, Siemens, Thermador, Neff, and Gaggenau, B/S/H aimed to elevate product navigation and discovery across their digital channels to meet the growing trend of online appliance shopping.

Their initial approach involved developing in-house discovery experience solutions. However, this method proved unsustainable and needed more sophisticated product content to create customer-centric product discovery experiences. They needed something scalable and flexible.

B/S/H leveraged Zoovu’s capabilities to create semantically enriched product content, launching hundreds of discovery experiences such as AI assistants and visual product configurators, including their Kitchen Planner experience.

This feature allows customers to customize an entire kitchen. Furthermore, Zoovu’s platform empowers the company to effortlessly update, duplicate, and modify experiences based on regional variations and market-specific product availability.

See Also
B2B CPQs for Ecommerce

Zoovu’s reputation as industry leader and trusted partner to leading retailers and other home appliance brands stood out as we looked for the right solution to scale discovery experiences.– B/S/H

Challenges in Complex Sales

Here are some common issues and how CPQs can help.

Enterprise-Level Integration

Enterprises often have a variety of systems and data sources, which can be challenging when integrating new software. For instance, different enterprises may use various customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, enterprise resource planning (ERP), inventory management solutions, and more. Sometimes, these systems don’t communicate efficiently with each other, leading to data silos and inefficiencies.

However, CPQ software can help with:

  • Integration capabilities. CPQs are designed to integrate with existing enterprise systems. This integration facilitates real-time data exchange, so sales teams have access to the most up-to-date product information, pricing, and customer data.
  • Unified data repository. CPQs provide a centralized repository for product information and pricing. This can streamline the quoting process, reduce data fragmentation, and ensure your sales team works with consistent and accurate information.
  • Automated workflows. CPQ systems provide automated workflow processes that can simplify the sales cycle, reduce manual work, and minimize errors.

How to Increase Sales Team Adoption of a CPQ

Incorporating new software can be challenging, involving a steep learning curve. This can lead to resistance by your sales team, especially if the software is seen as too complex, not providing enough value, or as a burden.

However, most CPQ solutions are designed to be user-friendly to make it easy for sales teams to adopt the new technology and see the benefits of using the system. For instance, look for CPQ software that has:

  • An intuitive interface. This makes it easy for your sales team and others to learn and use the system.
  • Training or onboarding process. Many CPQ providers include a training or onboarding process to help users learn how to use the software efficiently and effectively. This can increase satisfaction and reduce resistance.
  • Customization. Often, these systems can be tailored to meet the needs and preferences of your sales team. For example, sales representatives may be able to customize their dashboards and workflows to help enhance their experience and productivity.
  • Clear data visibility. The CPQ solution should make it easy for users to visualize and follow the entire sales process, allowing sales teams to track quotes and customer interactions. This can save them time, increase communication among members, and enhance accountability.

Data Quality Management and AI-Driven Enrichment

Maintaining high-quality product data and customer information is essential in complex B2B sales. However, data can be prone to inaccuracies, missing information, or inconsistencies, resulting in errors in quoting, pricing, and more. This can negatively impact the sales process and customer satisfaction.

However, CPQ solutions can help with:

  • Data enrichment. Leading CPQs use AI and machine learning to automatically enrich customer data. For example, AI algorithms can analyze existing data and pull in additional information from external sources, enhancing the accuracy of customer profiles.
  • Data validation. Many CPQ solutions include data validation tools to help ensure your data is accurate, complete, and adheres to preset standards. This process can help reduce data errors and incorrect quotes.
  • Product data management tools. CPQs provide a centralized product data management solution so businesses can maintain and update product information consistently. This can help prevent discrepancies in product catalogs and pricing. It also can help ensure every member has the same information.
  • Integrated guided selling. Complex sales involve more complicated options and customizations, which makes the selling process more challenging. However, CPQs incorporate AI tools that can help guide the customer or the sales team through the configuration process, increasing efficiency and ensuring the most relevant and profitable products and options are explored. For instance, it can use historical data and customer preferences to help guide the sales process.
  • Accurate real-time insights. AI tools in the CPQ can provide businesses with real-time insights into their customers’ behavior, helping sales teams tailor their approach and provide information, quotes, and proposals that meet the customers’ needs.
  • Predictive analytics. The CPQ software can also use AI tools to help provide sales teams with predictive analytics that identify trends and opportunities based on historical data. As a result, representatives can make better-informed decisions during complex sales processes. 

A Zoovu and SAP CPQ Success Story

Bosch Power Tools faced a significant challenge when customers were overwhelmed by the vast array of power tool accessories and structured to find the tools that best met their needs. Recognizing the need to streamline the customer experience, Bosch Power Tools committed to simplifying the purchasing process.

To tackle this challenge, Bosch Power Tools leveraged the capabilities of Zoovu’s Semantic Studio, transforming complex technical specifications into a language that customers could easily understand. This strategic move not only reduced the burden of product data management but also laid the groundwork for creating effective product discovery experiences.

The introduction of AI assistants marked a pivotal advancement. By posing a series of simple questions, these AI assistants were able to guide customers to the ideal power tools and accessories. 

The impact of these initiatives was profound. Bosch Power Tools witnessed a staggering 98% increase in customer engagement across more than 25 global markets. This surge in engagement was a testament to the effectiveness of the AI assistants and the Bosch Accessory Advisor.

Furthermore, Bosch’s commitment to enhancing the user experience extended beyond their own digital storefronts. They successfully deployed these AI-driven discovery experiences in over 36 of their key markets, including retail partners, thereby ensuring that their standard for exceptional user guidance was consistently met, regardless of the purchase point.

Simplification is one of our key strategic pillars. Whenever we can use technology to achieve this goal, we do it. The Bosch Accessory Advisor built with Zoovu simplifies the user journey.

As an AI product discovery platform, Zoovu stands out as a leader in this space. By choosing Zoovu, businesses can not only enhance customer engagement and satisfaction but also drive conversions and maximize order value. Request a free demo today.