What Makes a Copier Quoting Tool So Unique?

When evaluating which software product to adopt for your office technology business, consider the value of an industry-specific platform.  There are numerous advantages to devising and running your sales workflow with a quoting tool that is designed exclusively for the capital equipment machines and services industry. What is it that makes this type of quoting tool so unique? Here are four reasons to consider.

Office Equipment is Often Financed – But Not Always

Major capital equipment expenditures are pricey, especially for small businesses. Financing options that fit a company’s needs are available. Dealers must be in a position to offer these choices and incorporate them into their quoting documents. They should be prepared to point out the following advantages of financing equipment to their clients:

  • Leasing is financially more viable for many small businesses. Copier leases are written up with monthly payment agreements that are lower than the cost of an outright purchase of the equipment. SalesChain offers integrations to major finance companies to streamline the workflow for these deals.
  • A lease agreement typically lasts for three or four years, during which time the copier manufacturers are busy designing and releasing models with upgraded features. At the end of a lease term, a business has the opportunity to choose a newer model, allowing their business to exploit the latest in technological improvements, rather than owning an older machine outright.
  • A lease agreement can be coupled with a service agreement. This provides businesses with the advantage of a trained staff from a factory-authorized dealer to handle ongoing maintenance and repair, if necessary.

With this in mind, a pricing tool designed for Copier dealers needs to have robust capabilities in the realm of financing, both in terms of offering pricing options as well as in offing transparency into the customer’s history.

Copier Sales are Cyclical

The cyclical nature of copier sales means that competitive equipment/opportunity tracking is critical, along with maintaining your own lease portfolio. Automating your tracking with software ensures that sales representatives will never overlook a chance to check in with current and potential customers in their territory, lessening the chances of their competitors reaching out to them first. For example, SalesChain’s software lets you choose the workflow timing, so you don’t miss a client’s lease expiration date. Having the ability to track these competitive opportunities with lease expiration dates and as much data as possible can help break your competitor’s cycle and give you the opportunity.

Focusing on these opportunities for repeat business can be of tremendous benefit to your company. Since you already have an established professional relationship with them, they are going to be easier to sell to.  This reduces the larger cost outlays associated with acquiring new customers, as well as the cost of marketing. Repeat customers are more likely to spend more money with you, especially if you offer the opportunity to use lease financing tools. SalesChain’s lease desk gives comprehensive views of each lease, including meter reads and usage data to help close that deal again. Satisfied customers are loyal and will promote your business. Customer retention will increase your company’s profitability. You can even track the health of your customer base using SalesChain’s data and analytics dashboarding tool.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

Other Services are Likely (Nay, Guaranteed) to Go Along with Copier Sales

Today’s office environments leverage many different tools and services to maximize business efficiency. For office technology companies, these include many different choices beyond mainframe copiers and printers, such as IT products, IT services, print products, print services, document management and scanning services, and maintenance and supply services. Dealers are looking to be a one-stop-shop for these services for their clients, both to help them streamline their operations and to encourage a continued partnership with repeat business for the dealer. This is especially true for their smaller customers, who don’t have the infrastructure, employees, or time to manage these other services.

Having the capacity to offer bundled solutions to their clients gives a competitive edge in this increasingly complex market. SalesChain software allows dealers to sell different types of products individually or as a bundle, using bi-directional integrations to tools such as ConnectWise, e-Automate, and Etilize. As dealerships expand into these diverse offerings, sales teams need more product and service-specific details.  SalesChain’s order breakdown CPQ tool allows different sales teams within dealerships to tailor-make blended solutions packages for their clients and allows managers to better track progress and trends.

Catalogs are Vast and Dynamic

With so many products to choose from, it’s hard for small dealerships to keep up. A quality software tool is vital for collating the enormous manufacturer catalog databases. The SalesChain software platform includes a cohesive, comprehensive, and readily searchable database of catalog entries for use by  sales representatives. Our catalog marketing and maintenance team is committed to continuous updates which include the latest models, as well as machines that are still available for sale as refurbished units or off-lease options. With integrations to Ingram Micro, Supplies Network and TD Synnex, SalesChain also imports major IT product distributor catalogs into SalesChain’s proposal and order pricing tool daily.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

What Makes a Copier-Centric CRM So Unique?

Industry-specific software has been gaining popularity in recent years. Why is that?

While the ubiquity of widely adopted software from big companies means that it can be implemented across many industries and fit into wide standards, it also means that custom work may have to be done to make it fit the mold of your business. Smaller businesses don’t always have the resources to manage this level of customization, as it often takes a full-time resource.

As an industry-specific software provider, we at SalesChain have done a lot of thinking about what makes sticking with just one vertical so valuable. Over and over, we’ve concluded that it is the nuances that come with the industry that make our product great.

So, what exactly makes a copier-centric CRM so unique?

A Big Emphasis on Leasing

Twenty years ago, SalesChain was founded as a lease portfolio management business. That emphasis is reflected in every tool we have made since then. Our lease portfolio management utility is integrated into our entire platform, giving users quick access to data required to efficiently service accounts.

This is especially important in capital equipment sales due to the cyclical nature of lease renewals or upgrades. Since roughly 90% of deals made in capital equipment sales involve a large enough contract to require financing, sales representatives have a unique opportunity to manage repeat business, just by keeping track of the recurring revenue possible from lease renewals and used equipment resales.

This competitive advantage is part of what SalesChain is designed to manage, by storing important metrics and creating automatic workflows to help sales representatives keep track of the sales cycles for their clients. To use an old cliché: it’s always easier to keep a repeat customer than to go and find new business.

Intentional Workflow Automation for Fulfillment Processes

Workflow can mean many things for different industries. It’s important that the workflow tool your business implements aligns with the goals that you have and meets or exceeds your business’ needs.

SalesChain has developed a software platform uniquely aligned with the office technology industry. We are familiar with the industry, including the latest technological innovations and expansions into related products.

Your business needs a workflow that automates all the steps in the sales cycle, including fulfillment, in an intuitive and easy-to-learn format. We work directly with our client companies to clearly define their specific needs. The result is an automated workflow system within the SalesChain platform that supports all aspects of your business sales cycle: from prospecting for leads and new opportunities to pricing, documenting, and delivery of products and services. SalesChain allows you to define customized workflows that best represent the working steps needed to fulfill each type of product or service that your business offers.

SalesChain’s delivery workflow automation system is not only a comprehensive set of tools to organize and automate your sales cycle. It also had embedded tools to measure the efficiency of your fulfillment processes. Advanced business intelligence tools provide easy-to-read metrics for sales and management to evaluate effectiveness and promote growth.

The SalesChain platform also has tools to integrate with other core systems like leasing companies, e-Automate, or ConnectWise Manage. Throughout the sales cycle, each step of assignment and completion is time-stamped so that the timeliness of your process may also be evaluated. Your whole team will be better informed and able to perform tasks more efficiently.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

Relevant Integrations to Industry Standard Software

Integrations to industry standard platforms are essential in modern software, more so now than ever before. With the overall goal of complete digital transformation becoming more prevalent, some companies prioritize having the largest number of integrations while failing to have the very precise integrations that a specific industry might need.

Pre-packaged software products are built to communicate well with “outside” software to fill the gaps in their own functionality, however, these are still ultimately disconnected products. Your company needs integrations that interface with the day-to-day functions of your organization and address your user base.

The SalesChain platform is built with your industry in mind, including integrations to common marketing and ERP tools. For example, SalesChain’s integration to ECI e-Automate allows sales representatives to create sales orders in e-Auto with the push of a button rather than requiring that a staff member allocate time to manual data entry.

Focused Support

Any software tool, including industry-targeted products, is only of value if it can be used consistently and effectively by your employees. Purchasing software should not be the end of the relationship between your business and the vendor. Ongoing support services for training, troubleshooting, implementation, and improvements should be readily available and approachable.

You need an industry-specific product that comes with a focused support staff. When your organization partners with an industry-specific software solution, such as SalesChain, you’re presented with a set of tools that are specific to the functions of your business, as well as support personnel who are trained and operate in the same industry that the software serves. This naturally engenders a much higher level of competency and service.

SalesChain prides itself on its service. Our help desk staff is trained on our system, from its most basic functions to its most advanced utilities. They can help employees at our client companies with any issues they are facing. Our professional help desk staff is US-based, English-speaking, and trained in the intricacies of the office technology industry.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

What is Document Generation and Why Is It Important?

What exactly is document generation?

The sales cycle in the office technology industry is inherently document rich. In other words, from the moment a sales representative turns a lead into a sales opportunity, there is data that needs to be recorded, collated, stored, shared, and even signed electronically. Deal generation, pricing, processing, delivery and follow up all require documents containing customer and deal-specific information.

Although parts of this process are common to any type of sale, many documents contain customer-specific information, that requires the customization of standard industry sales templates. Populating these templates with information that is stored in a database rather than manually filling out paperwork for each deal is known as document generation, or docgen.

It is important to note that any tool which can help to automate the process of generating sales documents is both efficient and economically important for your business. The automatic creation of nearly identical, but ultimately customer-specific documents are the goal of docgen tools, which can be programmed within a CPQ (Configure Price Quote) system or generated via an independent software application.

In the most efficient processes, document generation is often a built-in and ongoing part of business workflow, allowing users to create and update document templates at any time.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

Why You Need Great Document Generation

It Saves Your Team Time

A bottleneck anywhere in the sales cycle slows down your entire team. If employees are waiting for necessary documents to be generated, a deal cannot move forward. For example, errors may occur at the stage of document design. Often, businesses employ their development team to create document templates. They must use their time to coordinate with the sales representatives using the documents to handle revisions, updates, and corrections. Automation of docgen within a software platform can help to alleviate this slowdown. A quality automated document generation system speeds up multiple processes, including designing, editing, generating, and importing documents. This frees up valuable human resources and reduces the need for co-opting the development team to generate and troubleshoot the process. – Windward Studios

It Reduces Errors and Omissions

Any opportunity to automate processes that require multiple manual data entry steps inherently reduces human error. The same is true for sales document generation. When an intuitive system is available within the sales platform to create quality documents easily, employees learn faster and can produce documents of consistently higher quality.

It Creates Consistency in Your Branding

Part of successful company branding is creating and using a consistent look and feel in all business communications. This is true not only for marketing materials but for all your company’s electronic and hard-copy documentation as well. Using a quality document generation system allows employees to create output that is highly customizable to a particular client while maintaining a consistent corporate look.

It Leads to Happier Customers

Investing in any infrastructure improvement that speeds up the sales process is well worth considering. Opportunities to streamline document generation certainly would be included in this category. “Your customers deserve documentation that is easy-to-read and well-organized.”  – Windward Studios

Generate Documents with SalesChain

SalesChain’s document generation system is built right into our system. That means no populating information across disparate systems or manual data entry. Using the information your team populates into our software, we intelligently generate precise documents for every step along the way.

Users can generate legally binding paperwork with ease and close orders with confidence! Learn More Here.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

Why Are Integrations So Important in Modern Software?

What is System Integration?

Companies routinely run their business operations using a variety of sophisticated, industry-specific software programs, designed to streamline workflow and avoid costly manual data entry errors. It is common to rely on more than one such program, which often creates compatibility issues between products. The solution to this challenge is system integration.

System integration is designed to facilitate communication between different software systems by creating electronic connections between applications that are required to sync together to pool and analyze data. The goal is to create one unified platform. All the sub-systems (or integrations) are associated and function together, and may include IT systems, services, and software. Integrations are built on APIs (application programming interfaces) facilitating the flow of information between cloud-based or on-premises business applications.

Why Are Integrations Important?

System failures are time-consuming, costly, and may even result in loss of client business. Companies need their operating systems to work automatically, reliably, and synchronously. This automation can be achieved with system integration, thereby increasing productivity, decreasing both material and human resource consumption, and reducing operational costs. System integration also generates a higher quality of business analytics, providing administrative personnel with critical information to make decisions more quickly. “Systems integration promotes consistency, agility, and innovation.” – XpandIt

Integrations expand business operation functionality by using connections to important third-party applications. This can free up employee work time by automating such tasks as syncing customer data between different platforms. This automation is the key to enhanced productivity. Gone are the days when employees spend hours manually entering data into cumbersome spreadsheets.

Integrations can also include features not available in the original company systems, thereby automating a much wider range of tasks. This creates a linked workflow. Departments are no longer siloed and can more easily collaborate. “Integrations are a way of streamlining your systems and centralizing the data your business needs to make informed calculated decisions.”  -BabelQuest

Most importantly, system integrations create a culture that is customer-centric. Enhanced customer interactions are possible when employees can focus on clients rather than manual data maintenance. All stakeholders, from help desk professionals to upper management, can quickly access a comprehensive view of customer interactions throughout the sales timeline to optimize customer experience and success.

Disadvantages of Not Integrating

System integrations are not mandatory but choosing not to implement them in today’s modern business environment certainly comes with significant disadvantages. As stated above, tedious manual data entry and database maintenance reduces employee productivity and wastes time which could otherwise be spent on servicing customers directly.

There are inherent issues with syncing data in real time when multiple software systems are used. Incomplete or multiple records corrupt business intelligence dashboards and prevent managers from obtaining accurate and timely views of business performance metrics.

Separate software systems require separate maintenance and upgrade schedules. Aside from being costly, these schedules may result in unnecessary operations shutdowns and monopolize the IT department resources. Upgrades can also result in new compatibility issues between systems.

SalesChain Integrations

Here at SalesChain, we are proud to offer numerous integrations that matter for the office technology industry. Our platform includes integrations to key industry software products that streamline your workflow. Categories include sales and marketing integrations (Microsoft Outlook, Hubspot, Google Mapping, and RingCentral), operations integrations (e-Automate, CEO Juice, Connectwise, Microsoft, ECI, Printfleet, Forza), data Integrations (Zoominfo, Infogroup, EDA, DNB, and GFK), leasing integrations (DLL, Great America, CIT, LEAF, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Canon, Marlin, and GFC), and catalog integrations and partners (TD Synnex, Ingram Micro, DM Supplies Network, Canon, HP, Xerox, Brother, Ricoh, Savin, Sharp, Kyocera, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Toshiba, Epson, Lanier, Fujitsu, and KIP). Contact us today to see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

Should I Diversify My Business Offerings?

Why Diversify?

Flexibility is key to remaining relevant and profitable in any market.  The more reliably company managers monitor what is happening in their industries the more quickly they can respond with sound business practices, such as exploring expansion opportunities.  Product diversification is one realistic response to changes in market trends. Vigilance will help identify opportunities to grow existing product lines as well as branch out into new ones.  This is referred to as product diversification.

Types of Diversification

There are four different types of product diversification methods that businesses may wish to consider:

  1. Horizontal Diversification – Horizontal diversification is the addition of a product or service not available in the company’s current market. These new products or services complement the existing product line and are designed to attract your present customers.
  2. Concentric Diversification – Concentric diversification is when a company adds additional products or services to the existing business, similar to what the business already has.
  3. Conglomerate Diversification – Conglomerate diversification is the introduction of a new product or service that is completely unrelated to the businesses’ current line.
  4. Vertical Diversification – Vertical diversification, also called vertical integration, is when a company moves up or down the supply chain by adding new stages related to production and distribution. – Mantec

Why Is Diversification Important?

Product diversification can be viewed as both a risk-reduction strategy and a market growth strategy. “Product diversification can help expand the current market of a product and help companies grow the presence of their brands.” -Indeed It also provides alternative revenue sources to hedge against a downturn in a particular market sector and allows businesses to exploit new technologies which make newer, more efficient, and effective products and services available.  This can protect profitability and increase a return on investment.

What are the Challenges of Diversifying?

It is important to take a measured approach to product diversification in order to avoid common pitfalls, such as entering an already saturated or outdated market or spreading financial and personnel resources too thin.  Harvard Business Review suggests considering the following questions carefully as part of a product diversification strategy.

  • What can our company do better than any of its competitors in its current market?
  • What strategic assets do we need to succeed in the new market?
  • Can we catch up to or leapfrog competitors at their own game?
  • Will diversification break up strategic assets that need to be kept together?
  • Will we be simply a player in the new market, or will we emerge a winner?
  • What can our company learn by diversifying, and are we sufficiently organized to learn it?” 

Another way to approach the challenges of product diversification for your business is to consider the “Hedgehog Concept”. This idea is developed in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great and stresses fine-tuning a niche by finding the intersection of the following three ideas:

  • What are you deeply passionate about?
  • What can you be the best at?
  • What best drives your economic or resource engine?

A careful review of your company’s mission statement and solicitation of input from all stakeholders will offer guidance in answering these questions and ultimately defining your business diversification goals.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

Reasons To Diversify

Post-pandemic challenges have impinged on virtually every business and industry.  Supply chain issues have resulted in production delays.  Product diversification can expand the original market scope and reach new target customers, allowing businesses to pivot to a wider range of products and services and work around a stagnant or troubled market sector. This provides a level of protection and stability to the business.

Other advantages of product diversification include:

  • Avoiding an industry collapse in a certain sector.
  • Gaining a lead against competing companies.
  • Increasing flexibility during economic downtimes.
  • Smart use of excess cash flows.

Along with risk mitigation, product diversification may help a company bolster brand strength. Well-advertised, multiple product lines generate brand recognition and loyalty with customers.  – Mantec

Reasons Not to Diversify

Product diversification may not be the best strategy for all businesses to bolster growth and ROI. The following may be reasons to forego diversification in the short term:

  • Your business is strong in one area only
  • You have partners to fulfil other offerings
  • You own other businesses which can offer supplementary offerings
  • You’re a content hedgehog 

What is the Role of Diversification in the Office Technology Field?

Product diversification is becoming increasingly necessary, as office technology dealers focus on offerings that are compelling for WFH and hybrid offices. This undoubtedly requires providing a comprehensive combination of print and IT products and services. Post-pandemic changes to the office equipment and technology channel are driving this need to be flexible to remain relevant. The most successful companies will be the ones that position themselves for a quick pivot in their offerings to their clients. (SalesChain.com)

Currently, many office technology dealers employ separate software tools to handle sales in imaging (printing hardware, solutions, accessories, and machine leasing and sales), IT (products and services), and management functions (forecasting, analytics, and commissioning). These require separate data entry workflows which can slow down the sales process and increase the chances of user error. SalesChain solves these issues by offering “One System, One Solution” technology.  Our linked software tools and industry-leading integrations help dealers track the presales and sales process, price proposals and generate documentation, fulfill orders, and expand analytics capabilities.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

What Does it Mean to Sell Bundled Solutions?

Today’s office environments leverage many different tools and services to maximize business efficiency.  Having the capacity to offer bundled solutions to your clients gives you a competitive edge in this increasingly complex market.

For office technology providers, SalesChain allows you to sell different types of products individually or as a bundle. This could include IT products, IT Services, print products, print services, document management and scanning services, or some combination of these. Using bi-directional integrations to tools such as ConnectWise, e-Automate, and Etilize, SalesChain helps dealers leverage items of work across different platforms to maximize business efficiency and give you complete, actionable data.

What Do We Mean By “Blended Solutions?”

SalesChain’s business automation software solution provides the help dealers need to sell any combination of print, service, IT products, managed services, telephony, and mailing systems, using a single, cohesive platform.  As dealerships expand into these diverse offerings, sales teams need more product and service-specific details.  SalesChain’s order breakdown CPQ tool allows different sales teams within dealerships to tailor-make blended solutions packages for their clients and allows managers to better track progress and trends.

Does this mean Diversifying Your Offerings?

Inherently, yes.

Product diversification in the office technology field is becoming increasingly necessary, as dealers focus on offerings that are compelling for both work-from-home and hybrid offices.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

What are the benefits?

Futureproofing – Office technology dealers must be willing to target expansion to reflect the changes in the industry or risk becoming irrelevant.  Merging all their offerings into one comprehensive quote has many benefits.  It connects all the separate processes required to do business into a single price, which helps to avoid confusion and indecision when offering many different services to a customer.

Customer Retention – Dealers can also experience increased customer retention with their clients when selling blended solutions. It’s easy for a business to replace a dealer who provides their copiers or their IT. But when a business relies on their office technology provider for copiers, IT, managed services, the help desk, and their phone systems, replacing all of this would come at great expense and with great challenge.

More Sources of Revenue – No matter the approach or the offerings, companies are in business to make money. Diversification of revenue streams is a no-brainer when it comes to securing your business’ revenue and protecting it against market volatility. Dealers who had significant IT offerings at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, reaped significant benefits as their client base continued to utilize and even expand in these areas. Having multiple streams of revenue helps to ensure that no matter what changes in the world, your business is set up well to continue being successful.

What are the challenges?

Building or acquiring an MSP is expensive – Expanding into other offerings, through acquisition or through expanding your own business, is expensive. Costs that factor into building an MSP from the ground up can be staggering. MSPs have extremely high costs for employees, as IT staff are in higher demand than ever. In addition, MSPs that make a help desk available after hours, or even 24/7, come with the inherently high operating cost that comes with keeping people on call.

IT equipment costs have been volatile and are especially subject to vulnerabilities from global supply chain issues, chip shortages, and rising costs due to inflation. Equipment maintenance costs are ongoing, and if MSPs choose to outsource their compute to the cloud via AWS, Azure, or others, this ongoing expense is inherent.

Many dealerships with capital at hand have opted to buy an existing MSP, acquire its clients and staff, and keep it running smoothly rather than taking on the challenge of building one from scratch. This is a valid and keen strategy that avoids the several years of investment it takes to start fresh.

It is a very competitive market – Aside from the expense, the MSP market in general is much more saturated with small, passionate startup companies than the print market, which is currently experiencing increased M&A. This poses both tangible and intangible challenges.

From a tangible perspective, having more competition in the market makes it harder to stand out initially. Building trust in a fresh brand image in a completely new field in a saturated market… well, we won’t take too much time to dive into why this is a challenge.

From an intangible point of view, you’re competing from a business perspective but also on a personal level. Peer recommendations are one of the most powerful sources of business growth, and the amiability of ownership, technicians and other employees plays a big role. In simple terms, making a good impression in a saturated market is even more essential.

Why employ a CPQ Capable of selling Blended Solutions?

In one sentence: The adoption of a ubiquitous system for your business significantly increases its value as compared to maintaining separate systems for your different offerings.

Having all your business data at your fingertips allows both front and back-office staff to communicate efficiently and save valuable time.  Sales teams can get multiple iterations of blended solutions to clients quickly, generating more profit. Managers are better able to analyze data and identify important metrics, regardless of what product team they represent. Workflow automation is streamlined for the entire operation, with constructs for tickets, projects, and opportunities. Ultimately, companies can futureproof their services and grow intelligently.

SalesChain, for example, alleviates the need for office technology providers with diverse offerings to invest in multiple software systems by combining all the required tools into one complete toolbox. This single system can manage the presales and sales process, price proposals and generate documentation, and fulfill orders in every segment they serve, which makes it a more economical choice.

Schedule a demonstration today to see if SalesChain is right for your business.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

Benefits of an Industry-Focused CPQ Tool

Manual data entry and maintenance are too cumbersome and error-prone to be practical for modern B2B companies. This is especially true when providing sales quotes to potential clients. Deals will ultimately be won by those competitors that can generate accurate and compelling quoting documents in the least amount of time. This is made possible with the implementation of CPQ software platforms that eliminate the typical bottlenecks and errors inherent in manual quoting. “Being able to deliver the first quote will give you huge leverage in negotiations.” – Plexus

This blog outlines some key CPQ tool advantages that can lead to greater process efficiency and ultimately a better revenue stream.

Industry-Focused Features and Fields

Industry-specific software has the advantage of directed functionality without the added costs of a custom-built platform.  It fits the sales niche of the business better than an out-of-the-box product. It may even include features that the business was unaware of that could optimize operations.  You can mold the software to fit your business, rather than the other way around.

When it comes to implementing an industry-focused CPQ tool, attention should be paid to advanced features which streamline the quoting process.  SalesChain’s specific industry-focused features include a comprehensive, built-in product catalog, a customizable proposal wizard, fully integrated e-signature functionality, integrated service pricing and IT service pricing tools, and a document management and scanning utility.

Shorter Learning Curve

“Humans are creatures of habit, and most employees grumble at the thought of having to learn something new.” – Visco CPQ systems are built with rules that guide and automate proposal generation. Your sales team can utilize them to become adept at designing and building even the most complex solutions. This shortens the learning curve for users, enhancing confidence in the use of the software. It is learned quickly and becomes an intuitive part of the sales representatives’ job. This is particularly helpful if you want to encourage cross-selling and up-selling of items that your sales team may not be familiar with.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

Consistency of Approach Across Different Offerings

With an integrated CPQ workflow that connects the steps in the proposal generation process, all users are prompted by the same system and are using the same corporate document templates and brand logos. Managers can program their unique best business practices, to ensure consistency. New employees with less technical competence will be prompted by the system to produce the same high-quality and timely proposals as everyone else, with the greatest likelihood of closing the deal. Even if your organization has particularly complex configurations and unique solutions, CPQ tools can streamline the generation of accurate prices and quotes for everyone.

Enhanced Brand Image

It is a proven fact that recognizable brand imaging leads to greater revenue.  Potential clients will gravitate toward products they recognize and have heard positive things about.  The more consistently a business can brand every step of a sale, the more well know their market image will become. CPQ platforms automate presentation consistency in the quoting process, allowing all team members to generate compelling, easily understood documents in a timely manner.  An enhanced perception of brand image can even lead to a justification of higher prices with buyers. – Xait

Work With a Vendor That Understands Your Business

Ideally, you should work with a software provider that has an intuitive understanding of your employees’ needs and can communicate in a way they are comfortable with. SalesChain is proud to offer a comprehensive software platform that is custom-built for the needs of the office technology industry. We understand the unique needs and challenges of the industry, so our industry-specific tools provide maximum functionality without the need for expensive customization. Intentional workflows that anticipate next steps and generate reminders for the whole team increase efficiency over the entire life cycle of a sale. There is no need to buy additional tools, as SalesChain includes relevant integrations and industry specific modules.  Our manned support desk personnel are experts in the industry as well as our software.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

What is CPQ?

Savvy sales representatives always strive to maximize their interaction time with clients by streamlining the other parts of their job. They rely on electronic tools for optimal efficiency in handling what traditionally was a paperwork-centric workflow. Using a CPQ tool for administrative tasks allows them to be customer-centric rather than being bogged down in back-office follow-up. CPQ software is designed to automate product configuration and pricing, and quote generation for the customer.

What is CPQ?

CPQ software applications are powerful tools that automate and streamline the process of generating product pricing configurations and customer quotes. They are especially useful in situations where sales representatives need complicated product configurations, including potential discounts, customizations, optional features, and multiple product combinations. They are often run in tandem with CRM and ERP platforms and use a pre-programmed rule set, which greatly increases accuracy as well as the speed of proposal generation. CPQ software is seen as the newest wave in sales optimization tools.

How does CPQ Software Work?

The three components of CPQ platforms include the features that are part of the configuration (C), pricing (P), and quote generation (Q) workflow. Users may create, modify, send, and track documents accessing data from integrated CRM and/or ERP software

Configure

The first step in brokering a sale is designing the customized solutions that clients have come to expect. The configure function of a CPQ system provides the flexibility to create unique combinations of products and services, using stored business rules such as pricing and product compatibility. Some systems even allow project-centric solutions to be built.

Price

Multi-product, complex solutions require complicated pricing structures. Sales reps want to offer the customer options, but without CPQ software they must go digging through spreadsheets for the right pricing rules to create the quote. Customizable products must be configured with a unique price for each quote. Using the programmed business rules, CPQ software facilitates electronic pricing from simple catalog price book quantities through more sophisticated models such as value-based, outcome-based, or tiered pricing. These systems can also streamline the approval process where business rules are exceeded.

Quote

The quote function of CPQ systems is the most important one for generating customer documents in a timely manner. Once configuration and pricing are set, a final, accurate quote must be sent to customers immediately to minimize lost sales opportunities. Often these customers are requesting quotes from multiple vendors. Automating the quote generation and review process will also create consistent and compelling documents that make it easy for customers to compare options.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

Benefits of CPQ Software

Implementing CPQ software can optimize quote generation time, approval time, deal closing time, and employee efficiency. When a sales representative builds a quote, the software collates all possible scenarios and provides a customized template. This can be electronically routed to all involved stakeholders, shortening processing time. Pricing is consistent and controlled. Workflow tasks associated with repeat business, contract/subscription renewals, and add-ons can be automated. Collaboration between normally siloed departments can be facilitated – sales, management, finance, legal and marketing are all communicating more easily. Finally, CPQ software can provide business analytics useful for tracking sales trends.

The Importance of Integrations

The most powerful iterations of CPQ software include integrations to CRM and ERP platforms. This expands CPQ functionality beyond the sales department, and provides consistent pricing, marketing, and client communication across operations. Every step in the sales process, from quoting, purchase, manufacture and delivery to new deal trends and product design can be monitored quickly and accurately. The result is a company working as a team to make better, data-driven decisions.

Does My Business Need a CPQ System?

When evaluating whether your business would benefit from a CPQ system, consider the following factors. Are you/your employees:

  • relying on outmoded systems for configuring sales quotes?
  • noticing a repeating pattern of inaccurate quotes sent to prospects?
  • spending valuable time correcting and resubmitting paperwork?
  • losing revenue due to inconsistencies in pricing structures?
  • experiencing slow turn-around time on quotes, resulting in a higher churn rate?
  • processing portions of your sales workflow tasks manually?
  • able to share sales process data across departments?
  • experiencing growth beyond the capacity to manage sales operations manually?
  • looking to expand your analytics capabilities?

To explore this further, check out this post here. 

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

SalesChain’s New Bundled Lead Screen: What You Need to Know

SalesChain is proud to announce a major overhaul of our lead entry screen. We’ve replaced our existing form with an all-new bundled solutions selling lead screen. This updated version includes significant enhancements aimed at helping dealers with diverse offerings sell all the different products and services they offer right from SalesChain’s order breakdown CPQ tool.

In this article, we’ll cover the reason for these updates and give you a summary of the features that have been updated.

Why Build a New Lead Screen?

Quite simply, the purpose is to create a tailor-made experience for the different sales teams that work in today’s complex dealers. As dealerships continue to expand into more and more diverse offerings, it’s likely that specialists in each different segment of the business are looking for more product or service-specific details.

It’s clear from industry feedback that users selling IT products and services don’t want to use a software product that is designed exclusively for those selling copiers. In response to this feedback, SalesChain has created a single platform with lead and opportunity management processes for imaging hardware and services, IT products and services, document management and scanning services, VoIP systems, and more. This allows salespeople to work in their way with their vernacular, and it allows businesses to better sell and track blended solutions.

Why Focus on Blended Solutions?

As we elaborate on in this recent article,  product diversification in the office technology field is becoming increasingly necessary, as dealers focus on offerings that are compelling for WFH and hybrid offices.

The problem is that there are currently separate software ecosystems to accommodate sales in imaging, IT products, and services, as well as management functions like forecasting, analytics, and commissioning.

What we have created instead is a single, unified system that seamlessly connects all the separate processes required to keep your business running. The merging of these separate worlds can help dealers with diverse offerings get more of their product offerings to their customer base to future-proof their services and grow intelligently.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

What’s Different?

New Look and Feel – SalesChain’s new lead screen has received a facelift and now matches our updated user interface look and feel. Large font and buttons indicate the most important pieces of information to convey while details are clearly organized for the user’s review.

Tabs for Specialists – Each offering that your business has can be configured as a tab for your respective specialists, giving them familiar fields to enter information. Users can switch between tabs or view the “all” tab to review the details of the entire blended solution.

Simplified, Tailored Selling – We have segmented the lead screen to allow specialists to show only the information which is relevant to their portion of the forecasted deal. A VoIP specialist can navigate to the VoIP tab, for example, and view only the information which is most important to them.

ConnectWise Manage Integration – We have added the ability for users to request help from IT specialists working in ConnectWise Manage by creating tickets right from the lead view. This integration can help leverage the efforts of teams working in different systems to improve the CPQ process overall.

Purpose Built IT Forecasting

Along with this updated lead screen, we’ve added a new blended IT solutions forecasting tool to complement our existing six options. This focused forecasting tool lets users compare revenue from IT services, IT products, IT setup fees, hardware, and service without getting bogged down by the segments of business outside of the IT realm.

SalesChain has featured our category-based forecasting tools for many years as the standard for tracking revenue across a dealership’s separate offerings. Segmented forecasting can help dealer owners understand which offerings are being leveraged to their maximum potential, and which might need a boost in the form of incentive programs or blitzing campaigns in order to see their full potential.

Want to Learn More?

This new lead screen will be available to all SalesChain Gold and Platinum subscription holders. SalesChain users interested in this feature can contact the SalesChain help desk for more information at (203) 262-1611. If you’re interested in the SalesChain System and are not currently a user, you can schedule a discovery call with our team here.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

Do I need a Quoting Tool?

The Importance of a Quoting Tool

Optimizing all steps of the sales cycle is essential to generating as much revenue as possible for your business. Sales proposals require accurate quotes; however, these often are a bottleneck in the process of presenting a package to a potential client. Inefficient business processes mean that salespeople are bogged down in the monotonous tasks related to creating a quote that meets potential customers’ expectations. Investing in automation can help prevent the loss of sales due to this inefficiency. Is your company ready for this software?

Here are five signs that you need a quoting tool:

01) You/your salespeople spend hours every week putting quotes together.

Wouldn’t it be great to generate quotes with the click of a button? (Bonus points for saving time by tying basic information into the quotes with integration into your CRM.) Collating and including information such as product/service descriptions and pricing, automated pricing updates and special deals from an updated database, and automatically formatting and emailing the proposal can all save substantial amounts of salespeople’s time. Because of this expediency, they can spend more time personally following up with clients, building valuable relationships, suffering fewer communication breakdowns caused by manual errors, and spending way less time on paperwork.

02) Your quotes look slightly different every time.

Consistency is the key to professional branding. Both the content of your quote and how you present it are important. A professional look reflects well on your company brand and overall image. Visually pleasing, and easy-to-read templates as well as personalized business logos are programmed into a quoting tool and can be used to help maintain consistency. Quoting tools also help to standardize content, giving the salespeople the ability to pre-program useful values like taxes, post-processing costs, delivery fees etc. while having the flexibility to manipulate the monetary terms of a sale as needed for individual cases.

03) Your pricing is inconsistent between different proposals.

Automation is one of the core functions of the best quoting software. Quoting tools link to pricing databases that can be standardized and vetted to prevent inconsistencies. Salespeople no longer must enter data into complex spreadsheets from catalogs each time they want to generate a new proposal. Quoting tool software can also be integrated with real-time inventory management databases, to prevent proposal rewrites due to product substitution. Automated software can keep track of other pricing factors, such as current taxes, and changes in shipping rates.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

04) You lose track of the quotes you send out.

Without having your quotes online in a central location, it can be hard to keep track of your different files or versions. Worse yet – you could end up sending your customer an incomplete, old or inaccurate version. Often, multiple colleagues contribute to and need to access a quoting document during the sales cycle. The use of a shared quoting tool with multiple permissions keeps everyone on task and editing an accurate working proposal document. In addition, many quoting tools feature workflow software components that send alerts and reminders, so that everyone completes their jobs promptly and the customers are kept in the loop via electronic communication.

05) You’re losing sales for one or more of the above reasons.

When considering a change to the way your company generates proposals, the key factors to optimize are speed, consistency, and accuracy. If you are missing out on business for any of these reasons, an electronic quoting tool can expedite the process and be the deciding factor in winning a sale with a time-conscious buyer. Automating workflow reduces time spent manually entering data and improves communication between departments and clients. Cloud-based software means documents can be accessed easily, are free from manual entry errors, make the presentation of multiple custom quotes simpler, and have the option of being electronically signed and mailed to all parties.

Quoting tools for Imaging Dealers and MSP’s

SalesChain’s deal pricing software integrates a robust quoting tool into a complete business automation system, streamlining all aspects of your company’s sales cycle – from lead discovery to fulfillment. We service dealers of both imaging systems and MSP’s. Schedule a discovery call today!

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.