Sales configurators and product configurators are like the dynamic duos of B2B product marketing. They're the go-to tools when it comes to giving customers what they want and streamlining the sales process.
So, what makes these configurators so special? Well, sales configurators are all about sealing the deal. They're the secret sauce that helps businesses make those sales pitches irresistible. On the other hand, product configurators are all about turning dreams into reality. They let customers personalise and customise products to their heart's content.
But wait, there's more! These configuration tools are more than just handy helpers. They're game-changers! They supercharge efficiency, create unforgettable customer experiences, minimise errors, boost sales, and even open doors for upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
Now, you might be wondering, what's the big difference between sales configurators and product configurators? Hang tight, because we're about to spill the beans!
What are Sales Configurators?
A sales configurator is a software application used during the sales process to customise and configure complex products or services. It allows users to select and personalise various attributes and options, providing real-time feedback on the final configuration. By streamlining the sales process, reducing errors, and improving customer satisfaction— sales configurators facilitate interactive product customization and generate accurate pricing information and proposals. It is the tool that is ideal for sales teams, empowering them to boost sales.
This configurator is a lifesaver tool for sales teams dealing with complex products or services. The tool guides sales reps through all the configuration steps using a super easy-to-use interface. It even visually represents the product so that salespeople can pick options and customise it to fit the customer's needs perfectly. And the best part? It allows for real-time adjustments and collaboration, making customer interactions a breeze. Plus, it generates instant and accurate quotes and proposals, saving everyone time and preventing pesky errors. It simplifies the sales process, amps up customer engagement, and ensures you always have the right pricing information. It's a win-win situation!
Key Features of Sales Configurators
A sales configurator offers a range of features that can greatly simplify the work of sales teams handling intricate products, making their lives easier in the process — be it light-weight luxury dive watches or 10-ton pieces of factory equipment:
A sales configurator provides an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easy for sales reps to navigate the configuration process.
Visual Product Representation:
It visually represents the product being configured, allowing salespeople to see how different options and configurations affect the final product's appearance and functionality.
The configurator allows sales teams to select from various customisable options, such as colours, sizes, features, accessories, or service levels. This enables salespeople to tailor the product to match customer requirements.
Based on the selected options, sales configurators perform real-time calculations for pricing, discounts, and additional costs. This ensures accurate and competitive quotes are generated instantly.
Integration with CRM and ERP Systems:
Sales configurators can integrate with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to access customer data, product information, and pricing details. This integration streamlines the sales process and ensures data consistency.
Proposal and Quote Generation:
It automatically generates professional proposals and quotes based on the configured product and pricing information. This saves time and ensures consistency in the sales documentation.
These features of a sales configurator enhance usability, visualisation, customization, accuracy, integration, and efficiency, empowering sales teams to deliver a personalised and streamlined buying experience.
What Are Product Configurators?
A product configurator is a software tool that allows customers to personalise products based on their preferences. In the sales process, a product configurator is crucial in guiding customers through the available options, features, and variations, helping them make informed choices.
Key Features of Product Configurators
The features and functionalities of a product configurator may vary depending on the specific tool and industry. However, here are some standard features typically found in product configurators:
Analytics and Insights:
Configurators provide analytics and insights on customer preferences, popular options, and configuration trends. This data can be used to optimise product offerings and enhance the customer experience.
Collaboration and Sharing:
Configurators often include features that allow customers to save, share, or collaborate on their configurations with others, such as friends, family, or sales representatives.
Integration with Product Catalog and Inventory:
Configurators integrate with product catalogues and inventory systems to provide up-to-date information on available options, stock levels, and lead times.
Some product configurators offer advanced 3D visualisation capabilities, allowing customers to rotate, zoom, and interact with a virtual representation of the configured product.
In complex product ecosystems, configurators can check compatibility between different components or parts to ensure they work together seamlessly.
Product configurators offer a range of customisable options such as colours, sizes, materials, features, and accessories. Customers can select and combine these options to create their desired product configuration.
Sales Configurators Vs. Product Configurators: What’s the Difference?
The distinction between a Sales Configurator and a Product Configurator lies primarily in their usage, although the underlying software may be the same. A sales configurator enables sales teams to generate tailored quotes for customers, whereas a product configurator is a user-friendly tool that empowers customers to personalise products on their own.
Focus and Objectives:
The main focus of sales configurators is to optimize the sales process by targeting sales teams. They are designed to streamline and enhance the efficiency of sales operations. They guide sales representatives through configuring and pricing complex products or services. The key objectives of sales configurators are to enhance sales efficiency, improve accuracy in quoting and proposals, and provide real-time pricing and discount calculations.
On the other hand, product configurators are customer-facing tools designed to empower individuals to customise and personalise products according to their preferences. The focus of product configurators is on engaging customers in the design process and providing a personalised experience. The main objectives of product configurators are to enable customers to select from a range of customisable options, visualise their choices in real-time, and actively participate in creating their ideal product.
Sales configurators are primarily designed for sales teams within organisations, targeting sales representatives or professionals responsible for configuring and pricing products or services. These configurators provide user-friendly interfaces and tools to streamline the sales process, including generating accurate quotes and proposals.
Product configurators, in contrast, target end-customers or consumers who seek to personalise and customise products to their preferences. These customer-facing tools enable individuals or businesses to interact with various options and configurations. With real-time visualisation, users can choose and create a tailored product that meets their needs and desires.
Scope of Customisation
Sales configurators focus on configuring and pricing complex products or services within predetermined constraints defined by the organisation. The scope of customisation in sales configurators is limited to the options, features, and pricing parameters the company sets. They enable sales teams to guide customers through available choices and configurations within these predefined boundaries, tailoring the product or service accordingly.
Product configurators offer broad customisation options directly to customers or consumers. They provide a wide range of choices, including options for features, colours, sizes, and other customisable elements. With greater flexibility, product configurators empower customers to personalise the product according to their preferences and requirements. This extensive customisation scope allows users to create highly tailored products that align with their needs and preferences.
Integration with Backend Systems
Sales configurators must integrate with backend systems like CRM and ERP to access customer data, product information, pricing, and inventory details. This integration ensures sales teams have real-time information to configure products and generate accurate quotes. It also synchronises customer information, providing a complete view of their journey and supporting effective customer relationship management.
Product configurators integrate with manufacturing and production systems to validate selected options against manufacturing capabilities. This integration ensures feasibility and compatibility. By connecting with backend systems, product configurators can check inventory levels, lead times, and production capacities, giving users accurate information on availability and delivery times. This integration streamlines the order fulfilment process and reduces errors by aligning customer customisation choices with manufacturing capabilities.
Advantages of Sales Configurators
As a handy assistant to your sales team, a sales configurator offers you the following advantages:
Streamlined Sales Process:
This tool helps simplify and automate the sales process, making it more efficient and reducing manual effort.
A sales configurators can handle various product configurations, making them suitable for businesses with diverse product offerings.
Personalised Sales Interactions:
It enables sales teams to interact with customers more personally, tailoring the product to their specific needs and preferences.
Improved Customer Experience:
Configurators visually represent the configured product, helping customers understand and visualise their customised solution.
Consistency In Pricing:
The tool also ensures consistent pricing by automatically calculating costs based on selected options and configurations.
Advantages of Product Configurators
By enabling your customers to co-create products that suit their desires and tastes, product configurators provide the following advantages:
Faster Lead Times:
By integrating with manufacturing systems, configurators provide accurate information on availability, lead times, and delivery estimates, helping customers make informed decisions.
Product configurators validate selected options against manufacturing capabilities, ensuring feasibility and compatibility.
As customers make selections and modifications, product configurators provide real-time feedback, allowing them to see how choices affect the product, its features, and pricing.
Enhanced Customer Engagement:
Configurators engage customers in product design, fostering a sense of ownership and satisfaction.
Increased Customer Satisfaction:
With the ability to customise products to their preferences, customers experience higher satisfaction and perceive greater value in their purchases.
Examples of Sales Configurators
Many brands host the services of a sales configurator and have used them to ease up their processes. Here are some examples:
Sofon is an excellent example of a sales configurator; it calculates sales prices, margins, and costs. It also creates product descriptions and, when needed, three-dimensional visualisations. Additionally, it generates detailed bills of materials and production steps. Sofon works alongside ERP or CRM systems to help businesses configure and calculate complex product or service configurations. It can be easily accessed during the quoting or ordering process, and the results are instantly sent back to the ERP or CRM system.
Use Dynamics’ sales configurator works to ease and customise a hierarchy of items specifically for a sales order line. One can add order-specific details to the sales order line, which will be inherited throughout the entire item hierarchy. The app handles the creation of purchase and production orders and offers helpful features for planning optimization.
DriveWorks is another brilliant example of a sales configurator; the software that helps manufacturing companies provide custom products. Customers can easily configure their desired product, get a quote, and know when it will be delivered, all with a simple click on any device. The features include guided selling, interactive 3D visualisation, seamless integration and automatic document creation.
Examples of Product Configurators
Many brands have realised the importance of product configurators and have implemented them to enhance their sales processes. Here are a few examples:
Montec Wear has an excellent online configurator. It's an interactive outfit builder where customers can create their complete winter outfit, including jackets, pants, beanies, facemasks, goggles, and gloves. The configurator is fast and responsive, with quick-loading images and transparent pricing information. It's easy to preview products and complete the purchase journey. Another cool feature is the ability to save and share one’s creations, making it convenient for gifting or future viewing. This configurator is used as a sales tool by the brand to gain a competitive edge.
Globe-Trotter's product configurator tool provides a wide range of customisable product options in an easy-to-use interface, making it effortless for offering briefcase personalisation. The configurator provides a 3D model of the case, allowing customers to examine interior and exterior details. A standout feature is the ability to share a link to their configured case, which enables them to pick up where they left off or conveniently share it with someone else. This makes it an ideal tool for gifting purposes. Using this product configurator tool, customers can have an interactive experience.
Oui, By Jean Dousset
Oui, by Jean Dousset, offers a highly interactive 3D product configurator, allowing customers to adjust various aspects of the ring, such as carat weight, stone type, stone shape, metal type, ring size, and engraving. This 3D product configurator stands out in its vertical by providing an extensive range of options. One notable feature is the "hand view" toggle, which lets their customers visualise the ring on a skin-tone match, providing valuable insight. This product configurator software allows the brand to not only meet customer expectations but also fulfil customer demands.
How Do You Select The Right Configurator?
Selecting the suitable configurator for your business involves considering several key factors:
Consider Your Business Goals And Customer Requirements:
Understand what you want to achieve with your business and your customers' needs. Figure out how much customisation is needed, your products' complexity, and the experience you want to offer.
Identify Budgetary Constraints And Scalability Needs:
Determine your budget and compare the cost-effectiveness of different configurator options. Decide if you need an off-the-shelf solution or a custom-built configurator. Also, assess whether the configurator can grow with your business and adapt to future changes.
Evaluate The Complexity Of Your Products:
Evaluate how intricate your products or services are and what configuration options they require. Consider the number of choices, variations, and limitations involved. Build a configurator that can handle this complexity and provide a smooth experience for both customers and sales teams.
Compare The Level Of Support:
Assess the level of support and maintenance provided by the configurator vendor. Ensure they offer prompt technical assistance, regular software updates, and ongoing support to address any issues that may arise.
Implementations of Sales Configurators
While there is no limit to where you can implement sales configurators, there are a few common areas of applications preferred by businesses, such as:
Sales configurators can be integrated into partner portals or B2B platforms, allowing distributors, dealers, or resellers to configure products and place orders on behalf of customers. This simplifies ordering and enables efficient collaboration between manufacturers and their distribution network.
Sales configurators can be integrated with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, providing sales teams with a comprehensive view of customer interactions and customisation preferences. This integration ensures seamless communication and personalised engagement throughout the sales cycle.
Sales Team Tools:
Sales configurators can be utilised as tools for sales teams to streamline the quoting and ordering process. Integrated with backend systems, sales configurators provide real-time product information, pricing, and inventory data, enabling sales representatives to configure and generate accurate quotes on the spot.
Implementations of Product Configurators
Just like sales configurators, product configurators can also be applicable in countless areas, but are mostly used in the following ways:
Product configurators can be deployed on interactive touch-screen kiosks within physical retail stores. Customers can use these kiosks to customise products, visualise different options, and place orders in-store, bridging the gap between online and offline shopping experiences.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR):
Advanced configurators can utilise VR and AR technologies, allowing customers to visualise and interact with customised products in virtual or augmented environments. This immersive experience enhances product understanding and assists customers in making informed choices.
Configurator functionalities can be incorporated into mobile apps, enabling users to configure products on their smartphones or tablets. This provides convenience and accessibility, allowing customers to personalise products.
Sales and product configurators significantly improve customer experiences and streamline sales processes. They contribute to personalised and engaging customer interactions while enabling sales teams to handle configurations and generate accurate quotes efficiently. The choice between these configurators depends on specific business needs and objectives, but implementing the right solution can lead to enhanced customer satisfaction, increased sales, and improved competitiveness in the market. Whether you decide on a sales configurator or a product configurator, Exhibit 360 can provide the solution you need to achieve sales growth. Want to know more? Reach out to us today!
What is a product configurator?
A product configurator is a tool that enables customers to customise and personalise a product according to their specific preferences and requirements.
What is a sales configurator?
A sales configurator is a tool used by sales teams to configure and price complex products or services based on predefined options and constraints.
Are sales configurators and product configurators the same?
No, even though sales configurators and product configurators utilise similar software, they serve different purposes. A sales configurator assists sales teams in creating customised quotes by guiding them through product options and pricing. It streamlines the sales process and improves accuracy. On the other hand, a product configurator empowers customers to personalise and customise products according to their preferences. It provides an interface where customers can choose from available features and options to build a product that meets their specific needs.
What is product configuration in sales?
Product configuration in sales refers to the process of customising a product or service according to a customer's specific needs and preferences during the sales process.