“Where Are The Orders?”

Bob Schultek

Bob Schultek

“Why aren’t we converting more of our quotes?  Our biggest investment last year is failing…I’m concerned.”Last year, Sam’s company launched a new product that they were convinced was a winner.  But after six months of losing more orders than they were winning, Sam’s frustration is peaked and his team is discouraged.

The new product was developed with customer input and has the potential to produce unique benefits for their customers.  But even a couple of the customers who had contributed suggestions to the development have passed on the opportunity to try Sam’s new product.

Why?

Sam forgot that the economy is transformed.  Technology has provided his customers with options and the independence to buy from anyone.  Commoditization is now driving the economy.  Customers don’t care about his product…they only care about how it produces value for them.

Sam’s company launched their new product using the traditional business model.  They promoted the product’s generic benefits, citing how it was better and faster than the competition.  The sales team started quoting the new product, encouraged by a company quota-busting contest.

But no one actually engaged each customer to learn how the new product would specifically produce value for them.  No one sought to understand and communicate how the new product would make money for the customer, or how the customer’s competitive advantage could be strengthened by the new product.

The same transformed economy that provides choice and independence for customers also heightens their vulnerability, and that is where Sam must focus to gain preference with his customers.  Along with their needs and goals, each customer also has concerns and fears.  Engaging with the customer uncovers both sides of their circumstance, allowing Sam’s team to validate how their new product’s performance will exceed customer expectations.

Instead of trying to “sell” his new product to customers, Sam’s team recently began engaging them, positioning Sam’s company as customer-centric and enabling the new product to demonstrate how it produces quantifiable value for the customer.

The new product is performing well.  The number of quotes produced is lower, but the quotes-to-order conversion ratio is rapidly improving, so Sam is breathing a little easier.

Is your quote-to-order ratio too low?

How much time and effort are you investing to engage with your customers?