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Choosing the Right Quoting Solution for the ICT VAR

In today’s dynamic and competitive market, the VAR faces many challenges. One of those challenges is providing customers and prospects with timely, accurate and detailed quotes. This is a challenge that most VARs have felt at some time and some are even feeling now. 

The CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) solution market is flooded with quality solutions, some excellent, and some less than. A mistake that many organizations make, we learned, after speaking to many of them, is that they did not choose a solution that fits their needs. Therefore, they miss out on many of the benefits that the right solution offers, two of the most glaring, being the elimination of Copy/Paste operations and an immediate increase in end-customer satisfaction.

Choosing to invest in a Quoting solution can be a big step. For that reason, we’ve compiled a short but robust 10 Point checklist. We did this so you can put any quoting solution to the test. Be sure to add  your own requirements, and get that pen and paper ready! 

We hope it helps in defining your System Requirements.

Feel free to leave a comment on your experience choosing a quoting solution at your company.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #1]

Does the solution fully integrate with Cisco’s CCW and CCW-R?

Cisco’s pricing sources (CCW, CCW-R) are formatted in a way unlike other ICT pricing sources. It is for this reason you need to choose a quoting solution that understands this and comprehensively integrates with that pricing source, empowering you to benefit, the most prominent, being saying goodbye to the pain of copy/paste operations, while providing you with unfettered access to the most up-to-date Cisco pricing information.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #2]

Does the solution provide you with current Cisco VIP Rebate information?

Cisco changes it’s VIP rebate programs often. It is critical that Cisco VARs have access to this information in real time during any outstanding opportunities. A quoting solution that provides up to the minute access to the latest VIP rebates, would allow you to think on your feet and close more deals.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #3]

Does the solution integrate with Disti?

For ICT VARs, it is super important that a quoting solution integrates fully with the pricing sources of Ingram Micro, TechData, and Cisco, for example. This is sure to take any guesswork out of providing quotes. If you’ve been blinded by the constant pain that copy/paste operations cause, you know what is being referred to.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #4]

Does the solution allow your local, national, or multi-national sales force, access anywhere they are, to provide streamlined accurate Cisco Quotes within minutes?

For Cisco and ICT VARS, it’s key that the ability to quote can be done from anywhere at any time, producing an accurate quote in minutes, fueling a rise in end-customer satisfaction. 

Faced by pressure to deliver quotes, that may or may not be correct, Account Managers as well as Account Execs tend to copy/paste information from stale excel worksheets, putting it into a quote, and praying that it will be correct. 

The elimination of the pain that is caused by quote and pray is a major benefit for sales forces, both at corporate and working remotely. As the current global crisis has shown, remoteness seems to be with us and it’s not going away anytime soon.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #5]

Does the solution enable you to import BoMs directly into your CRM?

Importing BoMs into a spreadsheet and then manipulating the data manually does not work and leaves much room for error. You need a solution that imports BoMs directly and allows you to edit them directly in your CRM. Human manipulation of as little as ten items to excel spreadsheets that include tens of thousands of items should be a thing of the past.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #6]

Does the solution empower management with timely access to actionable reports?

Management needs visibility on real time data such as historical analysis, providing a unified view of critical business data down to the SKU level including quoting, profitability and rebates (VIP). Without visibility it’s like driving in a thunderstorm with no windshield wipers or headlights.

Driving business decisions spawned by these insights is a key benefit to the business, ROI and the bottom line.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #7]

Does the solution provide Multi-vendor quoting capabilities?

Occasionally ICT VARs and Cisco Partners don’t only deal with one vendor, but multiple ones. It is for this reason that it is critical that a quoting solution be integrated with those pricing sources. Gone are the days of you having to make an excuse for not being able to quote a certain vendor product from one you have no access to.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #8]

Does the solution provide Multi-currency Capabilities?

ICT VARs and Cisco Partners need true Multi-currency capabilities for pricing and taxation purposes and more. Your organization has the opportunity to implement the ability to use multiple currencies in opportunities, forecasts, quotes, reports, and other functions.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #9]

Is the solution scalable?

Any quoting solution needs to be scalable, so that whether you are working on a 10 item or 10,000 item quote it should be transparent and should seamlessly get you the quote you need. This is especially beneficial for Cisco Partners that have a mix of SMB, mid-size and enterprise level customers.

[Quoting Solution Checklist Item #10]

Does the solution provide you with the ability to personalize a customer quote?

Once you checked that your Quote is correct, you need to present it in a clear way. A quoting solution should offer you a few customizable templates that you can choose to deliver that quote.

Just Imagine
Follow the checklist, add your own requirements, and you’ll never need to copy/paste any data you need from stale spreadsheets again, while maximizing customer satisfaction.

  • Imagine that your employees are not wasting time buried under the weight of repetitive, boring and useless data. 
  • Imagine that your employees don’t need to copy and paste information from spreadsheets that may or may not be updated with the most current Cisco or Disti pricing data. 
  • Imagine your employees spending their valuable time, improving the end customer experience with a streamlined quoting process that prioritizes speed and accuracy and keeps their focus on the real issues.
  • Imagine the smart decisions that Sales management can make based on the accuracy of information.

  • Imagine the reduction in stress related to guesswork and late night excel manipulation.

Finally, imagine what the implementation of the right quoting solution can do for your business. Jot down some of your own requirements, use this checklist as a  guide, do your due diligence when choosing a quoting solution, and you’ll realize a huge savings in time, efficiency and most importantly a maximized ROI and BOTTOM LINE. 

As we said earlier in the post, the Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software market is filled with some great choices that enable your business to prepare a price quote. In the best scenario, it would leave your sales force free to deal with even more customers. However, when you’re a Cisco Partner or an ICT VAR you are in a niche market and need something that is custom tailored to fill that niche.

Choosing the right quoting solution will grant you time to concentrate on more important things, such as driving your CISCO partnership/ICT VAR business forward. To speak to a StrataVAR quoting expert, click here.

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