Old School versus Technology

When it comes to estimating, why not both?
By Ben Velker, Edgenet
November 29, 2016
THE TALK... | Sales & Marketing

One of the most important precursors to landing a sale in the window and door industry is providing a good price estimate. Unfortunately, giving any price at all can be a monster feat.

When paper-based catalogs are the exclusive pricing tool, salespeople curate at least a basic understanding of how much different elements of a window or door treatment could cost. They’re likely able to ballpark a price or price adjustment based on product criteria alone. Even if these loose figures can’t be used as a formal estimate, they can help customers navigate options to make a thoughtful purchasing decision.

Now, when technology enters the equation, sales teams no longer have to rely on cumbersome paper to generate a quote. But, when technology is used as a crutch, it can also leave a salesperson blind to subtle pricing nuances. I.e. a salesperson using technology to configure the quote who hasn’t spent years digging through catalogs and working in the back-end of an estimate may not pick up on pricing patterns that could provide a roadmap for cutting costs without compromising what the customer values most.

The solution is not to turn a cold shoulder to technology, but to use it wisely, not blindly. Keeping a finger on the pulse of industry pricing—even if it’s not a required element for generating a hard number for an estimate—will help salespeople know that, say, modifying the number of lites from nine to six could cut costs by “x” dollars, but retain most of the customer’s design and functionality desires.

Digital configuration tools are incredibly simple to master and can save sales teams hours and days. When technology is used in conjunction with industry pricing aptitude, sales teams can process quotes faster and still be able to quickly get customers a window that fits their needs and their budget.

Leave a comment, review the results of this week's poll or email with your thoughts.

Survey Results for 11/30/2016: Does your sales team use digital estimating tools?
They use a combination of the two
They use digital tools exclusively
They use the pen-and-paper method exclusively

Ben Velker is Senior Vice President of Growth at Edgenet, a Software as a Service company that provides industry-leading retailers, distributors, websites and suppliers with the ability to manage and improve their product content. Before joining Edgenet, Ben spent more than a decade in window and door sales. 


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