The quoting process has always been a critical function of any company’s sales department. Not only does it provide information to the client, but it’s also often the first step in building a lasting working relationship.
Quotes provide the basic fee structure and overview of products and act as an excellent starting point for discussions with a new client. With this information, clients can decide which option will best suit their needs, while the company can adequately prepare for incoming orders.
When smaller companies improve their quoting procedures, their sales may increase in a similar manner to how a large company would. However, Statista has identified an increasing trend of outsourcing some office functions, including customer-related positions that could work with the quoting process. This is due to the fact that that these outsourcing services use software and techniques that improve a quote’s professionalism.
Without a proper quoting process, the business may struggle with delays, duplications, dissatisfied clients, operations bottlenecks, and communication breakdowns between team members and clients. These reasons should be motivation enough for companies to rethink and improve their customer quoting process, and below are some of the ways to do just that:
- Impress clients from the first contact
Clients will often base their entire experience on their first impression of a company they want to do business with, whether online or in person. Their ideas will start to form as soon as they read the product or service information online and continue to shape when they begin to communicate, which will often be through a request for a quotation.
Even services like electricians and plumbers would need to impress their clients with a professional-looking quote that will grab their attention and give them the information they need. Using plumber estimating software, for example, will elevate the smallest plumbing business to new heights when customers receive and open their quotes via email.
- Identify and address client concerns
New clients may have many questions, wants, or needs to share with the person who initially contacts them. On the other hand, they may take out their frustrations on the company if they don’t get a response to their queries within one or two days of initial contact.
According to Entrepreneur, most business owners don’t exactly know what their customers want, even if they believe they understand them. Therefore, before sending the quote, ensure that all the client’s concerns receive attention and that the quotation encompasses their needs.
Businesses could start the conversation by asking if the client received the quote and if they have any further questions they would like answered. When clients feel heard, it sets the stage for negotiations and opens the door for building the necessary trust that will have them investing in your company above others.
- Use technology to your advantage
Aside from the fact that quoting software will improve the look of a quote, it has other handy functions that will impress the client. Some applications can link to a company website where the client can request and receive an automated response.
Furthermore, the software can schedule an automatic follow-up with clients that haven’t accepted or responded to the quote they received. It will thus make the quoting process more streamlined and effortless for the client and the company, and clients are easier to convert into paying customers when they receive fast effective service. An article by HubSpot highlights the importance of quick response, citing a statistic that 90% of customers prefer immediate interaction.
- Ensure the entire team has access
Companies with dedicated departments like sales, customer service, operations, finance, and others will require a method to stay informed about their various clients so that everyone is kept up to date throughout the client journey.
One of the most cost-effective ways of doing so is to employ technology to transform these departments. Should a client phone for a customer service query, a problem with their account payment, or the delivery of their goods, all these teams should see where in the process the client is.
If there is an accepted quote on the system, each department can do its part to ensure that the client receives the help they need. Therefore, they could all play a vital role in the customer’s journey by having access to one central quoting system.
- Stay in contact with the client after delivery
Clients will sometimes request a quote, review it, and then get back to their daily tasks without thinking about sending a response. For this reason, companies should always follow up constantly, even after the client receives their first delivery.
Research by Salesforce reveals that 69% of highly successful companies have adopted artificial intelligence to automate these mundane tasks. AI solutions can assist to send automated email messages to clients that haven’t been in contact with the company recently, thus improving the connection between the company and the client.
Converting more quotes to sales has a higher success rate when companies keep in contact with their clients after building their trust. With follow-up questions like whether they were happy with the service received or if everything was as expected, companies will maintain the trust they worked hard to attain. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to pitch a new idea to the client, sending a new quote and thus repeating the process.
Sealing the deal
The quoting process has become the link between sales and customer service, with many of the critical principles overlapping between these two departments. Fortunately, there are software solutions to generate professional quotes and improve the customer’s experience across the board. Realizing the value of enhancing the quotes process is something every business owner should thus strive to achieve with a bit of help from technology.