As a technology company, Oracle is always looking for new ways to bring value to our clients. Sometimes the best ideas are to improve upon what’s already available. Take the bicycle for example. Its origins are disputed but early adaptations look aesthetically similar to what you and I would recognize today. But the first versions of the bicycle are missing essential components we would deem necessary today. Through revisions and updates the modern bicycle eventually gave way to the modern motorcycle. Replacing human foot power with mechanized power was a logical next step in the evolution of two wheeled transportation.
At the end of 2013 Oracle announced it would acquire configure, pricing and quoting (CPQ) industry titan Big Machines. In 2014 we began the dizzying work of integrating Big Machines with the rest of the Oracle Customer Experience suite, including Oracle Commerce (ATG). In 2015, we announced a brand new commerce solution - Oracle Commerce Cloud (OCC). While building on our nearly 20 years of experience with ecommerce through ATG, OCC was architected from the ground up with the new realities of a cloud first world in mind. Having previously integrated Oracle CPQ cloud with the on premise version of Oracle Commerce we now get to announce that we have out-of-the-box integration with Oracle Commerce Cloud. During the early releases of the new Commerce Cloud we focused primarily on retail and direct to consumer clients. Now, after about 15 updates in a short 18 months, we are expanding out to support more B2B clients. Each Oracle Commerce Cloud release brings meaningful updates to the platform but CPQ integration is perhaps the best yet.
Here are 7 ways support for online configuration multiplies value within your sales organization.
Saves money – Some B2B sellers are seeing a 90% reduction in cost to serve their clients by enabling advanced online self-service capabilities.
Enhances buying experience – Today, B2B buyers don’t want to talk with a sales rep unless absolutely necessary. In fact, 74% of buyers now do a majority of their work online. A 2015 Forrester survey shows that price negotiation is the biggest driver for talking with a sales rep. If buyers can configure complex products at their contracted rates without assistance from sales or technical support, you’ve just made your customer a little happier.
Grows revenue – Complex products have levels of quality and accessories all driven by compatibility rules. Having a rules driven configuration engine behind your ecommerce experience allows you to up-sell through embedded marketing. Seeing a higher quality configuration presented at a discount while configuring encourages the buyer to “step up” to the next level. Similarly, embedding advice based on current configuration (e.g. your current configuration will have 43% more efficiency by selecting option x,y or z) builds knowledge, trust, and empowerment.
Enforces existing contracts and margins – Manual quoting and discounting has always been a touchy subject. Sales reps are incented to close the deal and their biggest lever to influence has typically always been the discount. CPQ enabled commerce experience ensures that quotes are on contract and that the rep maintains the required margin. Nothing erodes your brand value more than deep discounts.
Reduces rework and reverse logistics – Spreadsheets can be great but also error prone. If a customer or sales rep misconfigures inside the spreadsheet everybody is unhappy. The customer didn’t get what they need and you have to handle the reverse logistics. Intelligence that guides the configuration process and limits configuration options based on current selections leads to 99%+ order accuracy.
24/7 availability – Sales reps get busy. So do B2B buyers. When a customer wants to look at pricing for configurable products they shouldn’t have to wait around until a sales rep can call them or make an on-site visit. Online configurations are available anytime.
Renewed sales focus – There is, rightly so, a tremendous focus on sales efficacy today. Sales reps spend less than 40% of their time actually selling. Administration, paper work, reporting and logging activity take up the majority of their time. At the same time, your clients are looking for their vendors to take a more significant role in partnering with them. The new role of sales reps is to education and demonstrate value not take orders. Everything that prevents them from developing deeper relationships with clients should be automated. Configurations and quotes are no exception.
See how Oracle CPQ Cloud and Commerce Cloud work together to deliver an enhanced buying experience that encourages online sales: