Why Do Manufacturers Need Purpose-Built Selectors? Our Experts Answer

In the “Our Experts Answer” series, our experts chime in on both the common and tough questions people want answers to regarding CPQ tools and the lead-to-order process.

When looking for a sales and quoting solution like a Selector or CPQ, how can you know what you’re considering is actually purpose-built for your industry and that it will meet your needs?

First and foremost: the vendor you’re considering should be able to add an S onto the front of that CPQ initialism—this will let you know they are committed to providing selection capabilities specifically for your unique needs.  

In this series, we’ll go through the lead-to-order process in depth, identifying and diving into the specific Selection-Configuration-Pricing-Quoting and other capabilities mechanical equipment manufacturers require from a sales and quoting solution.

Let’s get started with that S: the selector or selection process.

“We already have a selector.”

This is the most common pushback we hear when talking with potential customers who we have introduced to the concept of SCPQ. They often have something they’ve built themselves or use a generic CPQ solution. 

This is how these more generic solutions usually work: Oftentimes, the selector these customers are referring to isn’t baked into the actual CPQ tool, meaning both tools are separate entities that aren’t tightly integrated with one another.

What does this mean? At its worst, these two tools can’t even talk to one another, meaning the customer has to deal with disconnected tools that slow down the entire quoting process—costing them opportunities to close deals. At best, they may be able to build an integration, but that requires time and money and still doesn’t necessarily guarantee a tight integration that truly solves the problem.

This is why when we hear “we already have a selector” from potential customers we immediately respond by asking: “Is it integrated to your configuration and quoting tools?” Because oftentimes, these customers don’t know there’s another, better option out there.

The Perks of a Baked-In Selector

As we recently discussed in our post “What is SCPQ and How Does It Differ from CPQ?”, when it comes to customers in industries like mechanical equipment manufacturing, the selection process is a lot more complex.

Given this, do you trust your sales people, distributors, or even a customer to select the right pump or piece of equipment and start configuring? Probably not. That’s because just one even seemingly tiny error in a pump’s or motor’s configuration can have major consequences down the line. It’s not enough to just select a pump, because there are hundreds of variables to account for. This is why customers in these industries usually only trust experienced reps and—even then—will likely require engineers to ensure the right equipment is selected and configured properly.

When a selector is purpose-built for the industry it serves, it already has accounted for all of these variables, allowing it to automatically sift through hundreds or thousands of options simply by having the user enter the conditions of service.

By having this functionality already built into an SCPQ tool, meaning the selector and CPQ tool are one and the same, the processes that need to come after—the configuration, pricing, and quoting—are much easier to work through for the user. Not to mention, they’re much more efficient and effective, meaning your quotes are ultimately out the door faster.

Who This Benefits

Having a selector purpose-built for your industry already baked into your CPQ tool doesn’t just benefit your bottom line—meaning your CFO will love it—but it can also make life easier for direct sellers, distribution partners, and many others involved from lead, to quote, to order.

Let’s take your sales team, for example: a purpose-built selector helps sellers ensure they’re quoting the most optimal products at the right price, every time. Furthermore, your IT managers will need fewer customizations and therefore enjoy a lower TCO for the solution.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a selector that’s purpose-built for your industry and tightly integrated to the configurator and quoting solution; it simply makes the entire lead-to-order process run more smoothly.

Trygve Dahl, Ph.D. P.E.

Trygve Dahl, Ph.D. P.E.

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