One thing is crucial for successful sales work: offer management. But what is important here? What mistakes should not be made under any circumstances? And what is behind the term "offer management" anyway?
Find out the answers to these questions and why useful software and online tools can help you decisively with your offer management in this article.
Offer management - definition and key facts
As a central component in sales, quotation management is the important link between external requirements and internal measures. This means that quotation management includes all tasks and processes that are in some way related to inquiries, (potential) orders, and the associated work steps and services.
In general, supply management can be divided into two areas:
- commercial offer management: preparation of offers, calculations, offer processing and financial accounting
- technical offer management: concrete execution of the individual aspects of the offer in practical everyday sales situations
The typical supply management process
Every (potential) customer is unique and so should every offer be. Nevertheless, there are three fundamental aspects in the entire process that are always the same or very similar. What these are is shown in the following illustration of a typical offer management process:
1. the preparation of the offer
Before you set out on your journey and knock on the customer's proverbial door, a very decisive basic step should have taken place: preparing the offer. This includes:
- first customer meetings
- Needs assessment
Proposal preparation lays the foundation for your optimal proposal management and for your first impression with a potential new customer.
2. the preparation of the offer
After the initial discussions with the potential new customer, you know their "needs" and what solutions will help them. Now it's time for the second step of offer management, the preparation of the offer. But what should be in the offer? You'll be on the safe side if you consider these four aspects:
- Specification of the solution
- Price calculation
- Preparation of a written offer
- Sending the written offer to the customer
3. the follow-up
Once the offer has been sent out, you may not hear anything at all for a while. In any case, give the customer some time to read everything in peace and let your suggestions sink in. If you still haven't received a response after two weeks, the follow-up phase of offer management begins. This includes:
- Follow up with the customer
- Price negotiation
- Adjustments to the offer, if necessary
- Contract conclusion
Common supply management mistakes
At first glance, offer management seems very clear and feasible. Nevertheless, there are a few mistakes that can creep in again and again - and which are avoidable.
The rash offer
First customer meeting and it's already clear what the needs and solutions are? As a rule, this is not the case. Because this only leads to rash offers in which the customer ultimately does not find himself.
Meaningful offer management works differently. The key to success is proper preparation. Research everything you can about the person you're talking to beforehand, think about where their "needs" might lie, and prepare your conversation as well as you can. The important thing is to let the customer talk. Ask questions and listen. This conveys a sense of interest, respect and professionalism. And these, in turn, are necessary in order to carry out an optimal needs assessment and create a custom-fit offer.
The 08/15 offer and the overloaded offer
In general, the following applies to the preparation of quotations: Choose a healthy middle ground. This means that completely overloaded offers that extend over several pages and break down every point to the smallest detail are just as unproductive as offers that only contain a few key data but leave a lot of questions unanswered. Make sure that the customer gets as much information as possible, but at the same time as little as necessary.
On the one hand, they should find their needs well reflected in the offer, but on the other hand they should not be overwhelmed by too much information. This is absolutely essential for target-oriented offer management.
The offer that the customer can not accept directly
This can also happen in offer management: You think your offer is top-notch, but the customer just can't accept it. Why? Because you created the offer far too quickly. Because even if the customer has already requested it in the first meeting, that doesn't mean that you already know all the necessary aspects that will really help the customer.
The product has no benefit for the customer/bad preparation of the seller
Another common mistake in offer management is that the salesperson has not prepared sufficiently for the potential customer. In the worst case, the product/service being sold has no benefit at all for the customer. Why should he then accept your offer?
The offer comes to nothing
Perfect offer management also means that you follow up after some time if the customer does not get back to you on their own. In this way, you not only show that the customer is important to you (customer loyalty), but you can also clear up any ambiguities or questions directly and adjust the offer again if necessary.
Software for better supply management
Precisely tailored supply management does not happen on its own. There are too many aspects to consider. In order to maintain an overview and organize all processes as efficiently and effectively as possible, it has great advantages to manage the complete offer processing using software.
The market already offers a number of software solutions that are versatile and can be flexibly adapted to the requirements of sales. Whether classic CRM, customer service or other sales areas - with the right tools, you can combine your entire sales business in one system and reduce the complexity of offer management to a minimum. The best-known tools for digital offer management include HubSpot, SAP CRM and ActiveCampaign.
If you are looking for the all-round carefree package for your offer management, SeaTable is an optimal, cost-effective alternative. With the functions of this tool, you can automate all sales processes and easily collect all data using an integrated web form. For solving customer problems, answering inquiries and sorting feedback, this is a big plus.
With SeaTable, you can manage CRM and customer support as well as supply chain management centrally in one place and make them available to all employees without any additional effort. This way, everyone always knows the current status of each offer. And: using a timeline and Kanban board, you can easily visualize and meet deadlines. This is how you lay the foundation for truly successful sales work.
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