For years we have been asked about creating an easy-to-use, front end to the System Integrator application to help make it easier for sales people to put a simple quote together for their clients. Of course, as part of that conversation we have looked at many areas of the sales process and have come up with what we believe will be a very useful app for our customers. As we prepare for the release of our first IOS-based companion app to the D-Tools System Integrator platform (we’re in Beta now and we are planning to release in early April!), I wanted try and clarify a few things about the app and set the table for what the app will help facilitate – getting to a budget number and an agreement to move forward with the customer.
First and foremost, Mobile Quote is NOT D-Tools on the iPad®. WHAT? That’s right. Mobile Quote is an app that is meant to facilitate the basic sales discussion with a potential client (or existing client). What this means is that instead of engineering a complete system and presenting it to the client (which is what SIX does really well), it actually allows for the two most basic questions around any sale:
1) What does the client want/need (Scope of the project)?
2) What should the client expect to pay (Budget)?
So you may be asking yourself (or me for that matter), “Well, isn’t that a part of every sales discussion?” Well it certainly should be, but I can tell you from experience that it is often not the case, and right now that part of the sales process is done outside of the D-Tools SIX workflow.
What Mobile Quote will provide is a way for our customers’ sales teams to work with a client onsite, and have a discussion about their needs, and then get to a budget number that should be accurate based on the scope of the project. This will of course be based on some basic project concepts that are used within the SIX project workflow: Locations, Systems, Equipment, Labor, and Packages.
SIX 2013 – Mobile Quote Workflow:
Anyone who is familiar with D-Tools understands that the workflow is based on product data. This data is used to generate an accurate proposal based on setting a price and applying an associated labor rate to get to an estimated install price. This results in an accurate proposal that specifies exact pieces of equipment that will go into a project. Often, the sales process is aided by the engineering teams who will design the system (utilizing specific manufacturers and product model numbers) and then generate the resulting documentation (which includes client-facing documents (Proposals, Contracts, etc.). This workflow is very specific and is based on a detailed system design.
Mobile Quote actually introduces a new concept to the D-Tools workflow in terms of the sales process: and that is the concept of starting with a general product category or sub-category (such as flat panel TV or in-ceiling speaker) and a general price range for that category, and building out a quote for the customer. Much of the basic SIX workflow is in place – such as creating Locations (where the gear is going to go), what type of System (if desired), associating Labor, and even the concept of Packages (groups of products that constitute a pre-engineered system). Pricing ranges are available and can be associated for each product category or sub-category – so a sales person could add, say in-ceiling speakers in the $500 price range, make a note that the customer prefers “X” brand, and when this is sent to SIX it will give the option to select in-ceiling speakers in the $500 price range from the SIX catalog.
This allows a sales person to meet with the client, walk through and discuss what might go in each room or location, and get an overall budget or target number, get to an agreement with the client, then send the resulting quote over to D-Tools – where a proper D-Tools project can be created and the actual detailed work can begin. Basically what this means is that a sales person will be able to do what they do best – sell – then let the engineers and designers determine the best equipment and products that will meet that budget, and generate a detailed proposal to present to the client (this time with the actual products to be included in the job).
From there all of the other work associated with a project can begin and the sales team can go after their next sale. For more information on the Mobile Quote app please check out our FAQs here.