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Ideal steps to the ideal deal « Zoho Blog

This is a guest post by iQuoteXpress (IQX).

Guided selling may sound like a buzzword, but we proactively assure you—with every paradigm shift in our heart—that it’s not.

Surprisingly, guided selling is exactly what it sounds like: tools, technology, or even just techniques that guide a buyer or seller to the perfect purchase or sale.

B2C guided selling  

In a nutshell, B2C guided selling is The E-Commerce Experience: the software guides the consumer towards products that fit any data the seller may have on them.

Then, the entire purchase is guided to both ensure the customer’s satisfaction and optimize the seller’s revenue. For example, guiding a shopper to an ideal upsell or cross-sell is a win-win: maybe they didn’t know those flowers would look majestic in a porcelain vase (win for them!) that concurrently drives average order value up by 20% (win for the seller!).

Most e-commerce websites are, in fact, guided selling machines (think of every step Amazon shows you on your path to the cart). We simply take guided selling for granted in the online B2C experience. It’s in B2B where guided selling “jumps ship” and presents the right steps for the seller instead of the buyer.

B2B guided selling (where CRM and CPQ flourish)  

The steps to automate for B2C guided selling simply don’t apply to the B2B world. B2B customers are typically looking for a long-term strategic fit (via a purchase of business technology) rather than to satisfy a short-term need. Sellers must contend with longer sales cycles, more specific requirements, requests for proposals (RFPs), RFP replies, sales proposals, meetings, follow-ups, and so on. It’s simply not a fit for e-commerce styled guided selling.

However, there is a fit for guided selling in the B2B space, and you are in the right place for it. It’s using the lead capturing and relationship building tools of your Zoho CRM system with the deal-closing tools of a configure, price, quote solution (CPQ), such as iQuoteXpress.

In this definition of guided selling, it’s not the purchaser who is being guided, but the seller. All a B2B sales rep needs to nurture a lead into an opportunity is presented in CRM. A rep is guided by tasks and forecasts, and presented with next steps at every turn. These components of the guided selling process in B2B are taken to even greater heights when you add lead nurturing and targeting tools.

Once the rep reaches a point where the prospect is ready for a sales quote, the CPQ system guides them from “RFP reply” to “closed deal.”

Built-in to the CPQ system are professionally designed sales proposals that a rep only needs to populate with products and pricing. And how do they know which products and pricing to use? The system guides them to the right ones with a dynamic product and pricing configuration engine that only presents optimal offers.

Following the guided creation and delivery of the perfect proposal, the CPQ system then guides the rep through the next steps. This is a “nurturing process” not unlike moving a prospect from Lead to Opportunity, except in this case you’re moving a quote from “sent” to “signed”.

To sum up, in B2B, guided selling is as much a platform as a process. Yes, you could simply write down on an index card the steps you want a rep to take to close deals. Or you could build a system that has every guided selling step baked in.

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