By: Patrik Skjelfoss, Tacton
September 20, 2017
There are plenty of CPQ solutions on the market today, but not many can claim to be powered by an intelligent constraint solver. In this post, we’ll explain what a constraint solver is and how it can help your business.
Imagine you work for Zippy-Zappy Electric, a manufacturer of electrical equipment and the enclosures that protect this equipment. Your company has quite an impressive product catalog and even wants to expand its offering, and management is starting to contemplate growing its operations abroad. Sounds great, right?
But lately you’ve been noticing that your sales reps, especially the new hires, have been running out of zip. Spreadsheets are flying. Phones are ringing. And the reps are spending more and more time on administration and poring over complicated product catalogs than on selling and nurturing customer relationships.
You know that a configure-price-quote (CPQ) solution helps you more easily configure complex products, produce custom quotes and get approvals. What’s less obvious is that the type of “engine” that powers the configurator in a CPQ solution can make a huge impact on your business: how quickly you can create accurate product configurations, how easily sales teams can discount, price and sell the products, how much time and money you’ll spend on future maintenance and, ultimately, how confident your customers feel about buying from you.
How CPQ with a constraint solver can charge up your sales
Not all configuration engines are created equal. Tacton’s intelligent configuration engine – a “constraint solver” in geek-speak – enables companies to configure and sell sophisticated products in a flexible yet completely accurate way. Here’s how.
Back at our fictitious company Zippy-Zappy Electric, a sales rep is working together with a customer to configure a custom solution based on one of its machines, the Z Machine. The rep is using guided selling with a rules-based configuration engine. The first product configuration questions define the power of the electrical equipment, which defines the size of the machine. After sizing the machine, the enclosure needs to be configured. But at this point, the sales rep realizes that there is a conflict between the machine size and the enclosure, and based on external size restrictions the sales rep can’t increase the volume of the enclosure either.
In a conflict like this one, the sales rep will need to go back and change the answer to the initial questions about power, and then confirm that all other questions leading up to the volume are still correct. This, in turn, may lead to new conflicts. So, your sales reps will become experts – not in selling, but in manipulating the configurator to give them the right answers.
By contrast, the constraint solver in Tacton’s configurator does not depend on sequence or order because each constraint states an independent fact. Customers can answer as many or as few questions as they like, in any order they prefer, and change their minds during the process. The solver validates their choices and automatically finds the optimal solution based on any incomplete answers. Using this kind of intelligence, the sales rep can drive the selection process based on specific customer needs. The solver will “solve” the complete solution space after each selection, minimizing the risk of order errors and speeding the entire sales process. By optimizing, weighing and prioritizing different criteria, the constraint solver finds the solution that promises the best chance of winning the deal.
With a configuration solver that’s truly constraint-based, our rep at Zippy-Zappy Electric can ensure a streamlined, tailored customer experience that presents only the most optimal products and options. No conflicts, no errors, no waiting around.
The smart, sales-friendly CPQ solver
In short, with Tacton’s constraint solver you can:
- Produce totally accurate, validated configurations, every time
- Automate the sales process and spend more time on winning business
- Slash the time needed to create and maintain configuration rules
- Gain your customer’s confidence and trust (and, hopefully, repeat business)
The constraint solver never presents any alternate facts – just real-time product and pricing data that provide a fact-based starting point for fruitful sales negotiations. It enables Tacton CPQ to automatically generate fully priced, accurate sales quotes and BOMs containing many thousands of components – helping keep your business a super-charged sales machine.
Contact Patrik to learn more about Tacton CPQ and how it can help solve your own business challenges.