For a job shop, estimating quotes is a big deal and usually a laborious process. Estimating and providing quotes is the ultimate way you keep your business afloat, so it can be thought of as the lifeline of your business. The more quotes you win, the faster you can expand your customer base and scale your business. Therefore, it is crucial that you have the necessary capabilities to estimate quotes fast, accurately, and strategically.Custom parts manufacturing is a fast-growing market, as many industries require precise and unique parts for highly specialized projects. Within custom manufacturing, sheet metal fabrication is an area where there is a high level of need for flexible and consistent pricing due to the high degree of variety in the products and services created. Without the software to automate the process, machinists could end up spending too much time on estimation tasks, preventing them from focusing on their main job; production.
Constantly facing intense competition, sheet metal manufacturers have an urgent need to digitally enable themselves in order to estimate and deliver quotes fast and consistently. As customers are becoming increasingly more aware of quoting software to see and compare prices for different products with greater speed and convenience, there is a tangible expectation for manufacturers to offer these digital services on their websites. Otherwise, they will shoot themselves in the foot by failing to be future-ready.
Why do online quotes matter?
Although providing a quote does not mean a guaranteed sale, it is the first and most important step in that process. Primarily because your customers will have less of a tendency to speak to sales representatives to get information about prices. They typically want to be self-sufficient in their product research and have little willingness to wait for months to get a quote, which would be the case without a quoting software. Therefore, the lack of an automated sales channel is a major bottleneck in the sales funnel, as it is your very first touchpoint with the customers.
As B2B buyers expect digital services that are customer-centric, like those offered by B2C businesses, it significantly boosts the overall customer experience to generate quotes. While traditional quoting involves ongoing dialogue that can take months, a digital quote should reasonably be provided within a couple of days.
Providing quotes faster would facilitate the buyer’s decision to move forward or not. You can sell to a willing customer faster and realize the revenue. You also don’t want to spend months working on an estimation only to learn that the customer is not interested, so you would also find that out sooner than later.
As manual quoting is time consuming with the added risk of human errors, manufacturers risk losing money from an underquoted order and going back to fix the mistakes would delay the process, which is enough to make the customer second-guess your credibility and change their minds. Digital quotes, therefore, not only allow you to get your customers’ orders right but also build trust in your brand.
Faster quoting leads to more revenue for your business
To make a sale, you have to provide a quote first. More frequent quotes increase your chances of making more sales and bringing in more revenue. Therefore, a quoting software would maximize your sales potential by shortening the quote-order cycle and possibly increase your lead-to-customer conversion rate.
The availability of digital quotes highly influences a customer’s decision to order. Customers would most likely choose a shop that is faster in clearing out the uncertainty about the ultimate cost of a production project. With digital quotes, you can transparently inform your customers about every process and display all costs related to material and usage time. No matter what happens, you and your customer are always on the same page.
In addition to receiving an online quote, your customers can also interact digitally with the model and have a real-time engagement with the machines during the production process. After reviewing the process, customers are enabled to place an order and check out with a simple payment procedure. Quoting, design, e-commerce, and production are all unified in the same place.
Online quoting eliminates spreadsheets and overcome silos in sales
It is common for traditional manufacturers to estimate quotes by using antiquated ERP systems or Excel. Instead of being organized and updated from a single source, these files can have unsynchronized versions held by multiple departments within the same organization in the form of spreadsheets. This situation creates a siloed sales process.
Without a quoting software, there are extended periods of consultation that go back-and-forth between manufacturers and customers. Quotes may get revised multiple times until a sale is finalized, which is extremely inefficient and costly for the producer. These risks arise naturally from a lack of automation. Since files of parts are exchanged over email rather than uploaded to a software, keeping track of all changes throughout a customer’s sales cycle tends to get messy and error-prone.
Instead of having an estimator manually enter data on an ERP or use referencing on an Excel sheet, the software can geometrically analyze different parts and assemblies that are submitted by customers in the form of CAD files. The software then validates the feasibility of the parts and proceeds to estimating a price based on the parameters selected by the customer. This approach minimizes errors and streamlines your sales. It enables the customer to work directly on the machines, review the design models, and you avoid the risk of losing business.
Online quoting enables you to focus on high-value customers
With online quoting you can increase your win rate with each customer, and also focus on jobs that come from those customers that have the highest value for your business. In addition to generating quotes, you can also manage quotes in terms of prioritizing deals from customers that bring you more potential revenue.
For instance, a customer that has a history of not moving forward after requesting quotes from you does not have the same expected value as one that accepted quotes from you more than half of the time. Therefore, with a quoting software you can build long-term relationships with your best customers instead of chasing low-value leads.
Improve customer experience and win repeat business
Online quoting increases your chances of making a one-time sale with a customer become a repeat business that develops into a long-term relationship. By investing in customer experience through an online quote software, you can spend more of your energy building the custom parts desired by your clients.
Buyers are interested in faster quoting with less interaction with sales reps and a seamless digital experience. The better your sales channel walks through a customer through the digital sales process, the better you’ll be able to fulfill their unique order. The sense of satisfaction that your customers get will drive your chances of getting more orders from the same customer in the future, hence increasing your retention rate and maximizing the valuation of your business.
Use Oroox Quote to Empower Your Sheet Metal Manufacturing Shop
Oroox Quote is a secure quoting software built to streamline the quoting and ecommerce tasks of contract and custom parts manufacturers. It supports a variety of manufacturing processes including CNC milling, sheet metal processing, profiles & tubes.
You can create more consistent quotes faster driving the overall volume of quotes and reducing your sales cycle. Meanwhile, you also decrease estimation costs and maximize the overall productivity of your shop. Oorox eliminates overhead costs and tedious data entry tasks involved with creating multiple quotes for a series of quantities.
We build the capabilities that make you ready to embrace the future and survive the wave of digital disruption that is sweeping across the manufacturing industry. With Oroox, manufacturers can focus on providing a better service to their customers and get higher profitability from the work they are doing, which makes investing in new technologies even easier. A flexible and consistent quoting software will give you the flexibility that you need as a sheet metal manufacturer to handle the great variety of customized products and services needed by your customers.