You may have heard of a term called ‘smarketing’ which refers to a business strategy in which the sales and marketing teams are closely aligned to create an integrated approach. But have you heard of ‘sestimating’? No, we haven’t either, but if it did exist it would refer to the business strategy in which the sales and estimating teams in a printing company work closely together in a similarly integrated approach.
Why is a collab between sales and estimating important?
If you work in print, you’ll know more than anyone that every quote your business creates costs money. If that cost per quote is, say, £25, and you create 50 estimates a day, that’s a whopping £1,250 cost per day! So it’s important that you do everything you can to achieve the highest conversion rate possible.
How can a sales and estimating collab help you increase estimate conversion rates?
One of the best ways to increase your conversion rates is to feed as much information as you can to your estimators so that they can come up with the best price for your company, and your customers. We’re not talking stock preferences, sizes or finishing processes here, we’re talking about things like:
Current market conditions for the industry and sector of each particular customer. Is it a buoyant market, for example, and are there any current issues or trends that might affect the price that customers in that sector are willing to pay.
How about typical pricing for that particular customer? Some customers will give the salesperson a steer as to where you need to be, and for those that don’t, the sales person can review previous quotes and steer the commercials accordingly.
What exactly is this quote for? Is it just for budgeting purposes for the future? To brainstorm ideas for a marketing campaign? Or are they desperate and looking for a quick turnaround?
While an estimator can, of course, look at historical pricing, they won’t typically have any snapshot knowledge about the market conditions for each of the industries that you service nor what the right price is for each particular customer in relation to those conditions. But a sales and estimating collab will allow them to take all these factors into account when producing a quote.
Here’s 6 ways you can achieve a collab:
If possible, try and make your estimators part of the sales team in your company structure.
Sit your salespeople and your estimators together when in the office to encourage conversation and collaboration.
Give them a joint team mission that includes both producing estimates and winning orders.
Look for opportunities for your salespeople to be able to create their own estimates and free up your estimating staff to work on the more complex jobs. All MIS solutions are different, but our Tharstern Desktop solution, for example, comes with an intelligent estimating feature that allows even people with limited industry knowledge to create their own estimates and quotes.
Encourage your estimators to update the MIS on the progress of each quote, so your salespeople can identify which ones need following up and your whole team has visibility of what’s going on, in one central area.
Hold collaborative retrospective meetings where the team regularly review lost quotes, discuss the reasons why (more information that the salespeople can glean from the customer and share with their estimating colleagues!) and continually come up with new ways to improve those conversion rates.
The estimating process is incredibly important in any printing company, but it’s only through an integrated approach between your salespeople and your estimators that you will be able to achieve a balanced overview to your commercials and improve your conversion rates.