You have 48 hours to get out a multi-vendor quotation with multiple scenarios for discounts, margins and markups, where your standard turnaround time takes up to 5 working days. How do you remain competitive and relevant to your customer?
Till some time back, ICT VAR’s struggled with this exact scenario on multiple occasions when it came to providing quick and accurate quotes to its customers. The customers were frustrated with the slow turnaround time and often went to a competitor who provided a quote faster. Sales team would spend hours manually merging the different vendor/distributor quotes into a single output, which was prone to errors and delays. This impacted turnaround time to quote, causing them to lose potential deals to their competitors. Thus, ICT VARs realised the need to improve their speed-to-quote to stay competitive, but they were struggling to make it happen. If they did close the deal, errors in pricing and coordination would have a very heavy impact on the slim margins.
But is there a need to consult multiple vendors in the first place? VARs connect with multiple vendors to provide better solutions and increase their chances of winning deals. Other reasons include:
- Product Availability – Often, a single vendor/distributor will not be able to provide all the products and areas of expertise a VAR’s customers may need, so a multi-vendor approach helps create a single quote to share with their client.
- Competitive Pricing – VARs can compare and negotiate pricing from multiple vendors & distributors to offer the most competitive pricing to their end customer
- Mitigating Risk – Relying on a single vendor creates a risk of dependency, hence VARs connect with multiple vendors to spreads the risk and ensure options if one vendor experiences issues
To manage these requirements and avoid this nightmarish scenario, an ingenuous solution emerged – where they could feed an entire stack of BoM’s (quotes) from multiple vendors & distributors to an intelligent system which then tracks all the quotes for a specific opportunity and provides the perfect proposal to share with the end customer in seconds. What at one point seemed like a pipe dream, many ICT VARs have discovered that it is no longer the case today. Integrated quoting tools have been built to solve this very problem and more.
One of the biggest challenges of multi-vendor quoting is the need to integrate quotes with different markups/margins from multiple vendors & distributors into a single unified format. Each vendor had its own pricing structure, format, and delivery mechanism. VARs found themselves spending hours manually merging quotes and double-checking the final output.
Another challenge faced was the need to adjust pricing to meet the needs of VAR’s end customers while maintaining profitability. They needed to be able to adjust margin, markup, and customer discounts quickly and easily. This required a tool that could allow them to easily calculate the expected profit margin for each quote.
This is exactly where integrated quote management solutions come to the rescue. VAR’s sales teams are able to adjust pricing based on customer needs while also ensuring profitability. The tool helps improve the accuracy of multi-vendor quotes and reduce the risk of errors that can erode profitability.
Integrated quote management solutions are built to provide visibility into the overall profitability of a multi-vendor quote. This allows the sales, operations, finance & senior management to make informed decisions about pricing and margin, providing an easy way to view the overall margin/profit from a multi-vendor quote.
The investment in a quote management solution not only improves the company’s speed-to-quote but also reduces the risk of errors due to manual processes. It allowed the sales team to focus on selling instead of spending hours merging quotes. This results in increased customer satisfaction and improved profitability for the company.
In conclusion, mastering multi-vendor quotes is critical to improving speed-to-quote in the IT procurement industry. These tools help integrate different vendor quotes into a single unified format, while simplifying the adjustment of pricing components based on customer needs. Providing an overall view of the margin/profit expected while reducing the risk of errors caused by historic manual processes, which are also essential components of these solutions. A proven track record shows that investing in a quote management solution with multi-vendor/multi-distributor functionalities can help simplify the overall quoting process and improve turnaround time to quote, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and improved profitability.