If you’re doing something that software can do, you’re working too hard.
It’s never been truer than it is today when a wide variety of solutions are at your disposal. And, with growing demands on your businesses to provide a greater variety of services and solutions, using quoting tools to streamline and automate the proposal process has never been more critical to efficiency and competitiveness.
Standalone Quoting Tools Have Value, But There’s More to the Story
Managing quotes and proposals manually is time-consuming. It requires looking up the customer’s information and past purchases, availability and pricing from distributors, and typing the quote in a Word or Excel template. If reps send quotes for approval before submitting them to the client, the paper-based process can take even more time, especially if every rep takes their own approach to formatting a quote. Moreover, even with review, errors can slip past that can cut into profit.
Quote management tools streamline processes, enforce rules for quotes and proposals for greater consistency and accuracy, and make the approval process easier. Some tools even track progress and remind your sales team when it’s time to follow up and enable the client to review and approve the quote online. These tools also often have a reporting feature that helps your team track key performance indicators (KPIs) and identify trends and top customers so that you have deeper insights that can help you close more deals.
Some managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) use a standalone quoting tool or one that simply interfaces with other software. However, you can increase its value by integrating it with the other tools you use to create one comprehensive system that allows you to automate and optimize your operation.
Create an Integrated System
Consider the potential time-savings that integrating a quoting tool with these applications can provide to your business:
When a client or prospect asks about new solutions or services, a professional services automation (PSA) tool can generate a ticket to initiate the quote, assign the task to specific team members, and track the time they spend on quotes.
Integrating customer relationship management (CRM) with a quoting tool means that the two applications can share information, auto populating fields in quote templates with accurate customer information. Integration will also ensure the CRM is updated with information about the quote, keeping accurate records about interactions with the customer, and a quick view of the quotes they accepted or rejected.
Accounting and quoting tool integration reduces bookkeeping errors, saves time for your administrative staff, and establishes scalable processes for growing businesses.
- Email and Collaboration
Once your team generates a quote, they need efficient ways to send it—and you need visibility into those communications. Integration with Microsoft Office365 and Exchange or Google Workspace and Gmail enables a rep to send a quote or create a shared document without opening new windows, and your quoting tool can track the day and time the quote went out.
Enabling a customer to sign a quote electronically provides convenience and gets signed quotes back to you more quickly.
The Value of Integrating Your Quoting Tool with Distributors’ Systems
Integrating your quoting tool with distributor systems often results in the biggest time-savings for MSPs and VARs. Instead of checking with each distributor to see if products or components are available, the warehouse location and the price, the quoting tool does it for you automatically.
You may also have the option of integrating with a leasing company so that terms can be accurately included in the quote and with a delivery company to enable you to accurately calculate costs based on item weight or arrange for split shipments. Additionally, with a fully integrated system, that information can also be shared with your PSA tool.
As you build an integrated business system to streamline in-house operations, it’s also smart to consider payments integration. It can provide your clients with the convenience of paying online or setting up recurring payments. Moreover, for your business, it can mean better cash flow and less time spent on collections.
Follow Your Own Advice
As a trusted advisor, you tell your clients that integrated systems provide the greatest efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Are you providing your own business with those advantages by integrating your quoting tool with your other business systems?
For information on quoting tool integrations, see our Quote Management Software Product Comparison.