Quote management software can save time and increase productivity for managed services providers (MSPs), but, as with any tool, you have to use it correctly.
Innovative MSPs find ways to weave quote management software into their business processes and maximize its value by integrating it with other applications. The most important integration is with professional services automation (PSA). Without that integration, a quote management tool loses much of its ability to save time and increase accuracy.
The Benefits of PSA Integration
When someone emails an MSP looking for new services or solutions, the PSA tracks the communication and generates a ticket for the quote. If the request comes in through the help desk, a technician can create a ticket manually.
Integrated with an MSP’s distributor accounts, Quote management software makes it quick and easy to locate parts, compare pricing, and check warehouse availability, eliminating the need to check various vendor websites manually.
You can configure the quoting tool’s templates to match your brand, offerings, and preferences and streamline the process of generating a quote for a widget or a service. The notes field of a quote template allows MSP teams to streamline processes even further. For example, if an order includes a split shipment, it can be entered into the quote. Those notes are carried over to the PSA, so the dispatcher and procurement automatically have that information.
Quote management software also streamlines the sales process. For example, the software provides clients with an online link so they can view and approve quotes online — and their PSA notifies the rep to follow up.
In light of these benefits, tight integration with your PSA is one of the most important things to consider. Of course, comparing quote management software features is essential, but much of its value is tied to whether it works with your PSA software.
Quoting Best Practices
Although much of the quoting process is automated, drafting quotes carefully is still essential. For example, quotes should be detailed enough to let customers know what you will provide but not so detailed that they could give the quote to another MSP for a competitive bid.
Limit information in the quote to a description of the projects, a high-level bulleted list of tasks and products, but not specific part numbers. To avoid objections, it’s also advisable to create processes that help clients fully understand quotes from your company. For example, your sales rep can conduct a prequalifying call to learn the customer’s needs, including network or risk assessments if required.
Also, if a project is complex, you can present the quote during a meeting rather than emailing it and hoping the prospect understands what you’re proposing. Furthermore, if you ensure PSA-quote management tool integration, you can track the time your team spends on opportunities to factor it into the project’s profitability.
When MSPs launch their businesses, they usually have small teams – or are sole proprietorships. When only one or two people are involved, they may feel that quote management software isn’t necessary. However, processes that ensure quote accuracy and consistency are essential and are even more crucial as your business grows.
Choose quote management software, ensure it integrates with your PSA, and build a comprehensive quote management strategy now to pave the way for increased conversions now and in the future.
About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, VARs and solution providers. The group has over 1,300 members throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members, including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more. In addition, ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs grow their businesses. For more information, please visit www.ascii.com.