The basics of B2B selling may apply across sectors, but salespeople will always be responsible for handling the specific nuances of their industry. Reps at professional services organizations have to deal with resourcing and scheduling, while those in the manufacturing space need a firm grasp of real-time inventory. And despite the infinite availability of cloud-based software, sales teams at tech companies can’t escape certain unique challenges — how to quote complex bundles, for instance, or track and follow up on license contracts.
But if tech companies aren’t immune to industry-specific issues, neither are they excluded from using a CRM like Salesforce to solve those issues. Below, we’ll cover a few key ways the platform can help sales reps successfully overcome the hurdles of selling software.
2 ways Salesforce helps sales teams sell software:
1. Automating license renewals
Once upon a time, software was a one-time purchase — you bought the latest version, and it was yours forever. Today, however, most digital applications have transitioned to a subscription-based model, from music streaming platforms (think Spotify and Apple Music) to the Adobe suite of products. In a B2B environment, that means sales reps are responsible for selling new licenses to first-time customers and license renewals to existing ones. That might sound like twice the work, but with Salesforce, it doesn’t have to be.
Let’s say a sales rep wants to reach out to every customer 30 days before their licenses are set to expire. To do this manually would involve sorting through large databases or spreadsheets on a daily basis, taking note of which contracts are due to end in a month’s time. While this might produce value from a sales perspective, it certainly isn’t the most efficient activity.
The right Salesforce setup, on the other hand, could automate the entire process. Imagine this: Instead of needing to browse through all that data, the sales rep could simply check their most recent opportunities, where records are automatically created for every contract 30 days before they’re set to expire. Think about how much time this sales rep would save every day.
Using this strategy, a sales team could essentially automate their entire renewal pipeline, allowing for much better forecasting and decision making. And while it would take some time to create such a process — possibly involving custom code — the long-term results could very well justify the up-front costs.
2. Configuring complex quotes
If a company’s products always cost the same amount, no matter what, configuring quotes would be quick and easy. Multiply the cost of the item by the number ordered and that’s it — you’re done.
In reality, however, it’s never that simple. Volume purchases often result in varying discounts, and custom bundles must pass necessary compatibility tests before the sale can go through (extra large football helmets shouldn’t be sold with extra small chin straps, for example). These issues tend to be especially pertinent in the software industry, where customers commonly require customization at scale.
Manually configuring complex quotes can eat up valuable hours, and leaves sales reps prone to making mistakes. That’s why Salesforce CPQ can be such a powerful tool — it automates the quoting process in ways that save time and reduce the risk of errors. The platform can automatically calculate correct discounts based on license volume, and preconfigured restraints can prevent a sales rep from putting together a bundle of incompatible products. In fact, the entire quote generation process can be built around a series of questions answered by the sales rep, where specific responses are used to appropriately customize the quote. CPQ also makes it easier to handle other add-ons a tech company might offer, like different tiers of customer support, or hardware to go alongside its software.
All of which is to say that sales reps will be able to spend less time thinking about and configuring quotes, and more time selling.
Have questions about how Salesforce can support your tech company’s sales team? Let us know. We’d love to chat.