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ICT VAR Manager: Here are questions to ask when choosing a quoting solution

Looking to improve your ICT quoting process, make it faster, more efficient?  Ready to move on from Excel-based number crunching to an advanced quoting tool?  There is a wide variety of available tools to choose from.  Here is a list of questions you should ask the quoting tool vendor before deciding on a solution:

1.  Is the solution fully integrated with Cisco CCW and CCW-R?

Cisco’s pricing sources (CCW, CCW-R) are published according to their own proprietary format.  It’s important to choose a quoting solution that accommodates this format and automatically integrates with the pricing source, providing you with up-to-date Cisco pricing information – without having to perform copy/paste operations.

2.  Does the solution interwork with Disti?

For ICT VARs, it is crucial that your quoting solution is fully integrated with the pricing sources provided by Cisco, Ingram Micro, and TechData, for example.  In addition, your solution should allow you to directly import Disti quotes.  This will help you to eliminate copy/paste operations, and the frequent errors that they cause – not to mention the endless cycle of checks and reviews.

3.  Does the solution provide you with up-to-date Cisco VIP rebate calculations?

Cisco changes its VIP rebate programs often. It is critical that Cisco VARs have access to this information in real time, in order to quickly respond to new opportunities. A quoting solution that provides up-to-the-minute access to the latest VIP rebates will allow you to react quickly and close more deals.

4.  Can your salespeople – located anywhere in the world – access the solution in order to generate accurate quotes within minutes?

Cisco and ICT VARs need to be able to provide on-the-spot quotes – accurately, from anywhere at any time.  Under pressure to deliver quotes, your account managers may resort to copying information from “stale” Excel sheets – and hope that the information is still valid.  Easy access to pricing sources will eliminate this risky practice.

5.  Does the solution allow you to import BoMs directly into your CRM and generate quotes in the CRM?

Rather than importing BoMs into a spreadsheet and then manipulating the data manually (and then checking for errors), your solution should allow the importation of BoMs directly into your CRM system.  Solutions such as these prove to be highly scalable, as they need to support the importation of thousands of line items.

6.  Does the solution provide management with visibility regarding the state of the quote?

The VAR management team needs real-time access to a comprehensive view of critical business data – down to the SKU level – including quotes, VIP rebates, profitability, and historical data.  These insights are crucial in driving business decisions that are aimed at improving the bottom line.

7.  Does the solution support quoting of equipment and services from multiple vendors and distributors in the same quote?

ICT VARs and Cisco Partners must frequently offer equipment, software, and services from multiple vendors and distributors.  So it is critical that your quoting solution is integrated with the pricing sources of each vendor/distributor.

8.  Does the solution support quotes using multiple currencies?

Your quoting solution should support true multi-currency capabilities for a range of functions – including pricing, forecasts, reporting, and taxation.  It should support multiple currencies in quotes imported from Cisco/Disti, and in customer-facing quotes as well.

9.  How scalable is the solution?

Your solution should be able to seamlessly handle quotes containing anywhere from 1000 to 20,000 line items.  This is crucial for Cisco Partners that have a mix of SMB, mid-size and enterprise-scale customers.

10.  Can the solution generate personalized quotes for a specific customer?

Your quoting solution should offer customizable templates that can be used to personalize quotes for specific customers.  The content, look-and-feel, organization, and format of the quote should be flexible and modifiable.  In addition, the solution should support dynamic templates that allow you to hide columns, rows, or sections of rows.

Want to ask a StrataVAR representative about our PqW quoting solution?  https://www.stratavar.com/contact/

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