How to address supply chain pain points with CPQ software
The pandemic forever altered the supply chain, causing disruptions that harmed businesses worldwide across a broad range of industries. These aftereffects are still felt today, driving organizations to proactively seek ways to make their supply chain processes more resilient.
Supply chain disruptions can result in a 3 to 5% increase in expenses and a 7% decrease in sales, making them a leading consideration for any business looking to optimize its operations. These disruptions particularly affect MSPs in their push to deliver effective solutions to their clients.
Lingering supply chain challenges have sent many MSPs searching for meaningful solutions to help increase their operational efficiency when it comes to pricing, product sourcing, and order fulfillment. Thanks to its powerful automation and integration capabilities, configure, price, quote (CPQ) software has emerged as a powerful solution for modernizing and optimizing supply chain management for MSPs.
This article will explore how CPQ software can be leveraged to address supply chain pain points, allowing your business to improve your end-to-end sales and procurement operations.
Common supply chain pain points for MSPs
From product availability to rising costs and inflation there are no shortage of factors that can impact your ability to conduct business efficiently while keeping your customers happy. In order to overcome common supply chain challenges with actionable solutions, MSPs must first understand the root of these issues.
Greater client demands for custom offerings
Several global factors, including the shift toward remote work and the increasing adoption of cloud technologies, have contributed to rising customer demands and more complex IT requirements. With fewer one-size-fits-all solutions meeting the mark, MSPs can leverage automated software solutions to help consolidate product sourcing and vendor information into a single platform.
Service delivery delays
The uptick in supply chain disruptions post-pandemic has created an environment in which it is common for reliable vendors to have lengthy backlogs and wait times for critical, routine items that your business may rely on. And in a world where the Amazon effect and other factors have pushed customer expectations to new heights, the struggle to meet these service standards can present challenges for small to midsize businesses. Being prepared for these natural ebbs and flows in demand can help you proactively plan for and manage the impact to your supply chain.
Lack of visibility
Time is your greatest currency when navigating supply chain disruptions and finding workarounds. While traditional ERP systems are designed for supply chain and inventory management, the workflows often occur in silos and are not well-integrated with the sales process. Gaps in pricing and inventory data between you and your distributors and vendors can ultimately lead to quoting errors or fulfillment challenges if pricing changes or a sale takes longer than expected.
How CPQ software helps with supply chain issues
CPQ software leverages the power of automation to streamline MSP operation across sales, procurement, and finance. From automating time-consuming and manual tasks to enabling real-time visibility across order stage and department, here are just a few ways integrating CPQ software into your tech stack can help alleviate common supply chain pain points.
Improves quoting accuracy
Manually sourcing product pricing and availability across your supply chain is a time consuming and error-prone activity. And mis-quoting can make or break a client relationship.
CPQ software supports efficient product sourcing by enabling side-by-side product comparisons and real-time pricing and availability from your top distributors and vendors in a single quote. Comparing pricing and availability across top partners in a centralized platform helps save time, while ensuring your sales reps are quoting the right product at the best price. In addition, catalog management functionality ensures you’ll be able to securely access product data from your on-prem or cloud-hosted servers anytime, anywhere.
Integrating CPQ with PSA software presents new possibilities for streamlining operations across sales, customer management, and supply planning. Once a sale is finalized, a purchase order can be sent directly from your CPQ to your PSA for procurement. This automatic transfer of information ensures data removes the need for manual data entry, reduces the risk of human error, and accelerates the purchasing process. What could your sales team do with this time back?
With integrated CPQ and PSA, you can also push orders directly into distribution partner systems and configure the order to be automatically emailed as well. From there, subsequent order updates in the CPQ can be linked and carried over to the customer record in your PSA tool.
Increases forecast accuracy
When integrated with your CRM, CPQ features like real-time intelligent quote tracking and automated sales notifications to ensure your sales reps don’t miss a beat. Approval workflows can be configured to expedite customer response times and internal review cycles, accelerating your time to close, while advanced reporting features can surface pipeline health metrics and friction points in the sales process. When all departments from Sales to Support to Finance share the same view of what is happening and when, you can mitigate issues during the sales handoff and prevent supply chain issues before they start.
Protects your margins
Like any MSP looking to increase profitability, you’re probably hyper-aware of service discounts and special pricing. CPQ allows you to implement automated pricing rules to help make sure you hit your target margins and better predict revenue, while providing your customers with a competitive quote. Real-time product information and the ability to integrate seamlessly with a variety of distributors and vendors can keep your data up-to-date across millions of products.
Supports a better customer experience
The benefits of automating quoting and product sourcing processes extend beyond your internal teams. If you can’t quickly get your customers the quotes and competitive pricing they demand, they’ll seek it out from the competition. And while the ability to quickly generate personalized and accurate quotes can make or break the sale, failure to fulfill an order due to poor planning and supply chain management can hurt your bottom line— and your reputation. CPQ software can help ensure speed, accuracy, and consistency from quote, to order fulfillment, to automated renewal reminders.
Streamline your business operations with CPQ software
As we’ve discussed, rising customer expectations, an increasingly diverse distributor base, and growing IT project complexity are just a few of the factors contributing to MSP supply chain pain points. Luckily, automating processes and workflows through modern software solutions can help relieve these stressors, and more.
ConnectWise CPQ is a game-changing solution for MSPs looking to improve end-to-end business operations, improve service delivery, and drive profitability. When leveraged together, ConnectWise CPQ and PSA software can help businesses manage the customer life cycle more effectively, from quote and proposal process to sourcing and order fulfillment.
For more information on how automating your business systems can help fuel your business growth, start an on-demand demo of ConnectWise CPQ today.