Guided selling is a term originating from B2C, but is becoming more and more important to B2B. Guided selling is a method to guide your in-house salesforce, your dealers and even your end-customers to choose the products to their needs. Especially companies that sell complex products experience tremendous benefits from guided selling. In this blog, you learn all about guided selling.
Wikipedia provides us with the following description:
“Guided Selling is a process that helps potential buyers of products or services to choose the product that best suits their needs, and hopefully activates the customer to buy. It also helps product sellers to actively guide their customers to a purchase decision and as such increase their conversion rate.”
Guided selling software enables companies to move end users at the center of sales processes. If you don’t know what guided selling is, you probably ask irrelevant questions to your customer. Questions that are very technical and not focused on how the customer is going to use your machine or product.
With guided selling, you no longer ask irrelevant questions to end users. This means you no longer ask a farmer looking for a new potato harvester whether he wants a haulm chopper with side discharge and hydraulically adjustable support wheels. Instead, you ask him the right questions so you can advise him about the best haulm chopper fitting his needs.
But, how do you achieve a sales process where your sellers and buyers can walk through a questions-and-answer game and arrive at the right product configuration? First, you want to digitally capture and secure your product structure. And make this knowledge available to everyone who needs these details. To reach this, software is required. Software that can be used by your internal and external sales. Software that is easy to use. Very simply stated: guided selling is a way to use available data to sell more.
Guided selling software fits into a larger scheme in which digital techniques play a significant role. These strategies are used in a variety of ways to assist prospective buyers in making the best decision, hence reducing any stress associated with the process. Another instance of achieving this is by using a visual configurator.
In order for guided selling to be successful, is that all recommended possibilities must actually be something that can be built. As a result, you must develop a sales model that has been validated by engineering. You do this by establishing rules that indicate when a certain answer to a functional question leads to a certain technical specification.
For example, you sell industrial packaging machines. Your customer needs a conveyor to connect two packaging machines. Normally, you would ask an engineer if a light or heavy frame would be the right choice for this customer. With guided selling, you are able to figure these things out for yourself. By entering these details you are able to find the answer to all questions. You would stop offering the option for a certain frame if the items that will be transported by this conveyor hit an overall weight exceeding 300 kilos. As the light frame would not be able to handle this weight, the heavy frame is automatically picked.
This brings us to a number of advantages that come with guided selling tools.
The biggest advantage of guided selling is that the end user gets the feeling they are in the center of the process. Not only because they finally get exactly what they need, but also because you are asking questions that can easily be answered. This builds a trusting relationship and a positive feeling, which will more easily convince them to buy from you.
Let’s go back to the conveyor with a light or heavy frame. Imagine your salesman makes a mistake in his calculation and sells the light frame. The weight that will be transported will be up 300 kilograms. The light frame can’t handle this amount of weight. This means you are producing something that can not be used by the customer. You will have to deliver a heavy frame for the cost of a light frame, as this obviously is not the customer’s fault. Using guided selling tools, you prevent these kinds of problems.
Manually capturing every composition would be a time-consuming option. Once the light frame is improved and can support 320 kg instead, you will need to review all potential solutions again and make the necessary adjustments. Using software that automatically saves the logic behind various options is a better alternative. In that situation, changing the maximum weight that the light frame can support would just require changing one variable. After that, everything would be able to proceed as usual.
You kill two birds with one stone by taking efforts to automate your advising work and capturing your sales model in rules. You simultaneously record a lot of information during these procedures. Facilitating and speeding up the onboarding of new salespeople. With the right software, you can immediately put fresh insights into practice and make them accessible to all of your salespeople, dealers, or customers.
Remember that one R&D expert you hired to further develop your products? They are solely focused on sales because of the full order portfolio. Until you start implementing a guided selling solution. Your R&D team can return to their original duties because the sales process runs much more smoothly. For instance, the rest of the products can be organized in certain modules so that they can be added to your guided selling configurator.
Imagine you’re creating a cooling system for trucks and vans. They allow butchers to distribute their goods without worrying about the goods going bad. A butcher would typically contact a car dealer and select the van he feels is necessary. The topic of whether a cooling system can be fitted in the van is unanswered by the auto dealer. He doesn’t sell cooling systems; he sells cars.
It can be done differently. The car dealer can choose the ideal cooling system with ease and speed thanks to sophisticated guided selling software. He does this by asking a few straightforward usage-related questions. For instance, the type of car already defines the required cooling volume. We can find out about the cooling capability by inquiring about what needs to be cooled. Additionally, we determine how much cold is lost by asking the end user how frequently the door opens and shuts each hour. All of the questions are rather straightforward, but the result is stunning: the software identifies the cooling system that best satisfies each request. Another possibility is that a heavier engine will be required as a result. The system will then display that as well.
In short: you don’t ask technical questions a customer might not have an answer to, but concrete questions which they can in fact answer. Smart software then translates these answers into technical details, with which the underlying logistic process can be directly started.
Guided selling can be applied successfully with the use of CPQ (configure, price, quote) software. There are obviously many different CPQ packages available, so we have created a list of the top 5 features that are essential and will make your company both scalable and future-proof.
We believe it is important to address the drawbacks of guided selling tools in order to provide you with a complete and honest picture. But to be honest, we struggle to come up with many. It does take effort to pan out the model entirely, and to capture it. Thinking of and predefining the accompanying logic between different questions. And yes, that takes time. But once your guided selling solution is well-designed, we guarantee that this time may be quickly regained. Similar to the financial commitment required for high-quality software.
To cut a long story short, guided selling software represents an excellent economic potential for many companies. It does its part, especially when selling complex products. Your engineers’ and salespeople’s jobs both become easier and more pleasurable with guided selling technology, and you provide your end users with more satisfaction. What is there to dislike?
Empower your sales team with Elfsquad.
An excellent way to get started with guided selling is Elfsquad. With Elfsquad you empower your sales team with state-of-the-art software. Try it yourself during a 30-day trial. You can experience all the top features of the Essential account for 30 days.
Elfsquad removes all worries from your pre-production process. With Elfsquad as backbone, we realize the digital factory that smart industries have been trying to find for so long. We do this through a product configurator, with integrated solutions for marketing, sales, and operations.