Price quoting and why it's important
For organisations providing bespoke products and services tailored to the customer's requirements, providing price quotes is essential. A standard price list is often not sufficient when what's being provided varies considerably.
However, clients need information on how much something costs before they can commit to buying.
A typical quotation will include:
Company details and information
An itemised breakdown of costs
Information on variation of timescale
Unlike estimates, which give an approximate price, quotes are more detailed and tend to form an accountable part of the business transaction. The sales quote documentation often includes an agreement where both parties agree to the terms, pricing, and payment.
Often a quotation is only valid for a specific time. The market can change rapidly, and costs may well fluctuate.
Quotes are the first point of contact with a potential customer, so they are essential to building a good working relationship. A detailed and well-thought-out quote can help turn an interested party into an actual client.
What is quoting software?
Like other sales software, quoting software is a management solution that can be integrated into your pre-existing website or internal digital framework. This allows automatic quote generation, accessible by potential customers, staff, or both.
Manual quote generation costs staff time and money, which can significantly impact profit margins for small businesses. It requires the use of spreadsheets and physical price inputting, which can lead to errors and misquotes.
By using quoting software, quoting can become a quick and easy affair; the whole sales process, from initial price generation through to taking credit card payment, and even customer support services, can be dealt with by the quote management system.
Why do you need it?
Quoting software helps your business save time and money during the quote-generation process. Tools such as e-signatures, accounting integration and customer relationship management options can all help make your quotes professional and successful.
Automating your quotation system will reduce the input required from you and your staff, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business. You can utilise template automation to fill in information about clients without any effort whilst inputting and ordering set items and tasks into the quote.
Using management software for your sales quotes allows you to use quality, professional templates that reinforce your business values and create consistency across all proposal documentation.
Proposal software allows you to view all costs in one place, adjusting them as needed, with options to quickly add additional services, making it easier to upsell other products.
You can view itemised rates as you add them, such as staff costs and standard service rates; an integrated product configurator helps with pricing and calculating your profit margin as you go.
Current software on the market
With hundreds of options of quotation software available, and many offering a 30-day free trial to entice you in, it can be hard to decide which of the technology service providers to choose.
You don't want to waste money on poorly performing software, with the impact it can have on customer relations and sales figures.
Some features to consider when choosing quoting software include:
Online or offline - An online solution may provide more flexibility and can be accessed from any location, but relies on external servers and the associated cost. Offline options may be cheaper, but you'll have your own backups without relying on external storage.
Integration - Quality software will integrate seamlessly with other applications you're currently running. Importing price information from other software and databases, using customer information from other sources for field service management, and allowing project management in one place can be very useful.
Payment - Whilst creating the quote is the primary function of the software, it might benefit your business to use software that can take client payment simultaneously.
Including an option for payment by credit card, required to proceed from a quote to a sale, can streamline the process rather than relying on a secondary booking platform to proceed. This payment integration, however, may make the software more bulky and expensive.
Free Trial - Trialling the software to start, free of any subscription costs, can be a great way to see if the product is a good fit for your requirements. This isn't always possible though, especially when you are getting a customised version of the software or a bespoke product.
Product Support - Even the highest-functioning software will require technical support at times. This is something to research when comparing software companies, and it can be a good idea to discuss this with sales reps before signing up.
Read product reviews, as these can be a useful source of information on the type of support you can expect with your quotation management software.
Security - With any type of system that involves taking payment by card, required security features include verification and encryption processes at the very minimum. Is cloud storage used at the providers end? Can all staff access the payment information at your end?
Safety is important for your business and customers, so ensure your software provider has adequate provisions in place.
We've created a summary of some of the most useful features that are included in well-known quotation software. Whether you're a small business or a larger one will determine how useful each feature is for you, as well as your individual business needs and client base.
Automated billing - no need to manually invoice clients or suppliers.
Client overviews - all the information you need provided in one place, often in an importable/exportable format.
PDF export - ensures all quotation documentation is universally accessible in a standard format.
Customer relationship management - information on past purchases, interactions, and individual information in a way that can be applied to increase sales and manage customer support.
Customisable templates - allows consistency with a personal touch to represent your brand.
E-signatures - completion of legal agreements in an automated way to save you time.
Quote acceptance notification - allows you to remain up to date on prospective and confirmed quotations.
Integrated training - allows all your staff to stay up to date with your quotation management system to allow smooth operation.
Calendar integration - allows quotations to be linked to your schedule, to input confirmed client events and to check availability when scheduling new ones.
Product catalogues - to list all your products and services in one place, making adding to the quote much easier.
Analytics - tracking information on approvals, confirmed sales, patterns in sales and more.
Custom vs off the shelf software
There is a large pool of pre-existing quotation software suppliers that can provide products that they have already created. This can be excellent for businesses with a limited budget initially, especially with the option of a free trial, and for those who require a product immediately. But off the shelf quotation software has many limitations.
Unlike options from creative agencies that tailor the product to your specification, pre-existing products may include a host of features that you don't want. This can make the quotation process unnecessarily complicated for your staff, and may even create more work in the long run.
Software packages may have reduced initial costs but usually require ongoing monthly fees, which can eventually add up to a higher cost. Any information collected during your use of the software is retained by a third party on their cloud and will remain in their possession should you choose to stop using their software in the future.
By opting for tailor-made quoting software, you are opting for a unique product that is made to your specifications. It will include every aspect necessary to make your quotation and sales process simple and successful, without additional features that you don't need or want.
Whilst you may not have a product straight away, the extra time ensures a quality product without glitches and issues that may negatively impact your brand.
You may not have the option of a free trial to see if the product is compatible with your needs, but you do have a team of designers building a product that will definitely be compatible with your requirements, providing any adjustments needed to make an end product you're totally happy with.
How can Laracle help?
Laracle is a software development company that specialises in producing bespoke software, applications and systems to meet clients' needs. We can work to a variety of budgets, whilst ensuring a quality product that you won't find anywhere else.
All our products are 100% custom made, fully integratable with third-party software you may already have on your website, and created with you in mind to give unrivaled usability. The software we produce is yours to own, so there's no need to pay ongoing licensing fees.
As we produce the software specifically for you, we can scale and evolve the software as your business grows to ensure it's always up to the task, however big or small.
If you're interested to learn more about how we can help your business with your quotation software requirements, contact us today.