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Quote solutions are definitely one of our most popular ways customers use Conga Composer. Quotes are also a huge time suck for many sales teams, but they don’t have to be. After my last post detailing four tips for effective account plans, I thought I’d share some strategies for creating a quoting solution that not only works, but also one that your sales team will love.
While Conga doesn’t have a sales team, our business analysts can vouch that these four strategies save time and make their job of sending quotes to prospects much easier. Before I dive in, I’m assuming for this post that we’ll generate quotes from the Opportunity object. However, all of the strategies can be implemented when creating quotes on the Quote or even custom objects.
1. Create a One-Click Quote Solution for Sales Reps
To save time busy reps won’t bother entering data into Salesforce until they absolutely have to – many times this means they will work deals and send quotes without updating Salesforce until right before or after the deal closes. I don’t blame them. Whatever they enter in Salesforce, they’ll just have to type again in Word for a quote anyway. However, I recognize a few big problems with this logic. First, it deprives the business of vital sales forecasting data. Second, it condones performing key business processes outside of Salesforce, which leads to lower adoption rates.
Since busy reps likely already have a system they use to create quotes, we need to give them something that provides significant improvements to their day-to-day – like being able to generate a quote in seconds. Composer’s background mode enables reps to click one button in Salesforce to create and send a quote to their prospect. When it’s this easy, reps see the value in entering their opportunities earlier and taking the time to make sure the data is accurate. In addition to improved Salesforce adoption, management also gains visibility to quote generation activity.
Use the background mode parameter to instruct Composer to skip the user interface and simply generate and email the quote to the pre-defined recipient – by default this is the primary contact. If your organization does not use contact roles, you could use a custom lookup field to a Contact or Lead record with &EmailToId. Remember to also define the correct quote template and email template with &TemplateId and &CongaEmailTemplateId (&CETID for short).
Alternatively, you may opt to give the reps a chance to personalize the email message before sending the quote to the prospect. A quick change to the background mode parameter value accomplishes this.
Composer also integrates with eSignature providers, and background mode can be configured to use an eSignature delivery method instead of email. Check out our documentation for all of the options available.
2. Lock Quotes to PDF to Eliminate Errors
Salesforce gives you an incredible ability to standardize business processes and automate checks and balances. For sales teams this means standard product pricing, opportunity approval workflows, permission-based discounting and more. But what’s the point of all of these standardizations if your sales rep can just type whatever he wants into a Word-based quote before sending it to the prospect?
That’s where Conga Composer comes in – enabling reps to quickly generate a PDF quote from the opportunity record, while also giving the management team piece of mind that the quote is accurate and correct. Composer can create a PDF quote with products, pricing and terms that match the Salesforce opportunity exactly.
When you want to ensure the file output is always a PDF, use the “force PDF” parameter.
You could also use the default PDF parameter; however, users would have the ability to change the output back to the template’s format. Using &FP0 removes this choice for the user.
3. Leave No Quote Behind with Automatic Follow-Up Reminders
Even with the hottest prospect, the deal can stop short due to lack of timely sales follow-up. Did the quote end up buried in the prospect’s email? Does the prospect have questions on the products quoted or need an additional quote to fine-tune the products proposed? With all that sales reps have on their daily to-do list, it’s easy to send a quote and forget to follow up with the prospect. Fortunately, Composer can help keep deals from falling through the cracks by automatically creating Salesforce follow-up tasks each time a quote is generated.
Use the “activity control” parameters to create a follow-up task with a predefined owner, dynamic subject and a due date one week in the future. I recommend incorporating the Account or Opportunity name in the subject line to make it easier for sales reps to scan their follow-up tasks. Don’t forget to turn on activity logging with &AC0.
By default Composer will assign follow-up tasks to the user running the Composer solution. There may be cases where the task owner should be different than the user generating quotes. For example, the sales operations team is responsible for sending quotes, but the sale rep should call to follow-up. To achieve this use an additional “log” parameter to define the Opportunity owner as the owner of the task.
4. Give Your Prospects Easy to Understand Quotes
Ambiguous or confusing quotes cause unnecessary delays in the sales cycle. Sure the primary contact may understand an unsorted list of products, but will the person who will actually approve the quote understand it? Make your quotes as easy as possible to scan and approve by grouping products in a logical fashion.
Instead of lumping all products together:
Organize products in logical groups to make it easy for the prospect to understand:
To display products grouped by product family, add a row to the beginning of a table, merge all of the cells in the row and insert the Table Group merge field.
Do you have a quoting process that your sales team loves? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!