In two previous blog posts, we gave an overview of the services a software solution should provide, including a rules-driven process; automating serviceability; costing and pricing across your on-net, off-net and near-net assets; dynamic visibility for who should see what; and an expandable architectural runway to meet your future needs.
It is important to consider that software vendors say they can do a lot, but if they can’t perform the automation described in this three-part blog series, then they really can’t automate telecom quoting.
In this blog post, we expand on the topic of quote distribution, what it is, and why it matters to the user and the stakeholders deciding to buy or build this capability.
What Is Quote Distribution?
Quote distribution is the process of taking finished quotes and getting those quotes into the hands of your sales teams (direct, agent, or wholesale) as quickly as possible. The main components of quote distribution are:
- Proposal: Details the services and pricing for customer
- Sales Order Paperwork: Includes contract paperwork and supporting documents needed for a clean order
- Partner Quoting Portals: Fully automated quote to order workflow for your selling partners
- Interconnected Ecosystem: So that relationship approved quoting is exchanged immediately and automatically
The bottom line is that quote distribution needs to be fully automated so all members of the exchange of services are receiving accurate information quickly. Many businesses claim to be fully automated but in actuality have a cumbersome, fragmented workflow different for each sales channel. To be fully automated, each workflow milestone must be achieved without kicking off a separate process or swivel chair. This automated workflow is what MasterStream delivers for its customers.
Best-in-Class Features of a Proposal and Sales Order Paperwork
In telecom sales, there is a term called "corrupt time" that describes the time a sales rep spends performing administrative tasks versus selling. Here are a few telling stats:
- Direct Sales reps spend 25%-50% of their time in corrupt time.
- Partner Channel-based sales reps spend 50%-75% of their time in corrupt time.
Corrupt time is mostly quoting and ordering paperwork preparation. When using a fully automated configure, price, quote (CPQ) software, this time is cut down in part because a proposal can be instantly generated without a salesperson having to consolidate quotes from external systems or sources. A proposal should not require copy and pasting data into a template.
Features of a Proposal
Instead of requiring manual research and consolidation of information, a proposal should allow for:
- Provider brand and partner brand (if applicable)
- Recipient’s contact information is embedded automatically
- Executive summary (if applicable)
- The quote for services
- Static marketing materials relevant to the quote
A proposal should be created instantly with one click that takes less than 10 seconds to create and send. With the right CPQ, this isn’t just a pipe dream.
Features of Sales Order Paperwork
Paperwork also needs to be fully automated by providing the following features:
- Embedding contact and quote information dynamically without any need to copy or paste data from other sources
- Locking all underlying quote data so that paperwork is 100 percent compliant with the quote it was generated from
- Requiring or suggesting the correct documents based upon the details of the quote
- Adding single and multi-location information without any manual intervention
- Injecting new variables learned at the time of paperwork generation without having to open or edit additional documents
- Verifying with e-signature
- Creating a compliant process by preventing the creation of paperwork and forms that do not match the quote
A fully automated paperwork process ensures that the sales process moves quickly enough to avoid any potential sales loss.
Best-in-Class Features of Quoting Portals
To have the best-in-class quoting portal, each feature needs to be automated and immediate. These features include:
- All products supported by automation or ICB workflow path
- Automated workflow for quotes, proposals, sales order paperwork, and order placement
- Access from outside your firewall
- Robust reporting and business intelligence
- Full quoting visibility for sales engagement
- External notifications for quote submissions and quote statuses attainment
- Auto-assignment of quote tasks with visibility into employee workload
All sales channels—including direct, agent, and wholesale/carrier—need to be supported as well.
Best-in-Class Features of an Interconnected Ecosystem
An interconnected ecosystem does just that: keeps you connected with retail and customers by providing them with the necessary information.
With an interconnected ecosystem, you’ll discover the following:
- Your footprint is available to both retail and wholesale customers.
- Your pricing is available to both retail and wholesale customers.
- You can see all quote requests versus wondering who quoted.
- You automatically get 100 percent at-bats from connected buyers (from all of their sales channels).
- You see opportunities appear in your quote dashboard REAL-TIME including submission source, location, requested service, and more.
- You have access to robust reporting and business intelligence.
- You will receive external notifications for quote submissions, quote statuses attainment, and more.
- The system takes care of auto-assignment of quote tasks for visibility into employee workload.
- You have the ability to take the actions necessary to CLOSE the sales opportunity.
- The ecosystem even supports the ability for connected partners to instantly generate the sales order documents necessary to complete an order.
- You’ll have REST API capabilities to integrate your quoting into third-party systems or your own internal OSS/BOSS/CRM/ERP systems.
If you’re wondering how all of this is possible on a single platform, MasterStream is the carrier access product you need.
The Best Automated Technology CPQ Product on the Market
When buying external or building internal connectivity solutions, it’s important that you don’t settle for a partial solution that’s going to leave you in a dead-end. Many companies claim to be fully automated, but their processes are disconnected and often require multiple manual steps across multiple platforms.
With MasterStream ERP, you have all of the capabilities discussed in this three blog series on a single platform, or integrated into the systems you currently use. Our software products allow you to subscribe to the right platform that automates the portion of your business that needs to be streamlined:
- BandwidthFinder for serviceability
- CarrierAccess for carrier cost automation
- SalesEdge for a fully automated direct, agent, and wholesale channels
Choosing MasterStream means that as your needs grow and change, you have the flexibility to expand at any time to cover the other portions of your business.
Don’t get stuck in a dead-end solution with limited functionality. Request a demo today!