Each additional day spent on preparing a pricing for your potential client is a cost for your company. This cost can be reduced in several ways:
- by shortening the time spent by a specialist on valuation,
- by speeding up sending an offer to a potential client (because, for instance, in the meantime the competitor will be able to complete his offer, and convince the client who is in a hurry),
- by limiting the time invested in communication between the client, the seller, and the specialist creating the pricing.
Pricing can take from several days to several weeks. Every day you save means lower costs for your company and a greater chance of getting a client, so it’s worth considering what I can do to provide estimations faster?
Create a key information checklist
How many times during the last quarter has your colleague complained that it would be difficult for him to prepare an estimation based on the information he got? And yet, it is the same data that your trader gets from a potential customer. Therefore, make sure that your traders know what information is necessary for the estimation to be created quickly and efficiently. Of course, it’s not always possible to get 100% of the information required, but traders need to be clear about what they should ask to maximally shorten the time needed to obtain information from a potential customer. A checklist prepared by a specialist will come to their help, on the basis of which the seller will make sure that he has provided all the data that was necessary to prepare the estimation.
Build a team for pricing
How often does it happen that a specialist was waiting two weeks for a estimation that was created within two hours? Sometimes the problem is not the complexity of the valuation, but the block of time that a particular specialist has to find to prepare it. Once it’s found, he is often able to quickly prepare expected information. Two things will help shorten the time needed to create the estimation: the time reserved for its creation and awareness of why the speed of creating them is important.
It is worth determining what part of the working time in a week of the indicated specialist must be spent on creating estimationss. The time blocks booked earlier and included in the terms of cooperation will help ensure that the completion of the offer is not perpetually “postponed”. Start with 2-4 hours a week.
As a rule, industry specialists prefer to work on the implementation of the project rather than its estimation. It makes a lot of sense, because in this way they work on the client’s success. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that thanks to the valuations they can then carry out ANY projects. In addition, the sooner you provide an estimation, the easier it will be for salespeople to fight for projects that programmers love the most.
Involve a specialist at an early stage
Are you able to point out when the valuation takes longer than usual? Or it’s more complicated than most projects? If even before a long conversation you know that a particular project may be more complicated, consider taking to a meeting / teleconference a specialist, who will personally get to know the needs of a potential client, and ask the right questions. An hour invested in a meeting can save everyone even a dozen or so days needed to exchange questions and answers.
Make sure the client has defined the project goals well
How many times after a long conversation with a potential client have you noticed that… they don’t really know what they need? It might happen that pricing is not possible because project expectations are not researched and specified. Then, instead of valuating the overall vision, it’s worth focusing on supporting the customer in precisely defining their needs. That is why companies, in addition to the main service, offer workshops, business analyses, preliminary user needs research or paid audits – which are designed to help determine exactly how to help the customer.
Valuation is a process that should be constantly optimized. The more optimized it is, the lower the cost it will generate, while its shortening will limit the risk that the client will in the meantime decide on a competitor, who was faster. Speeding up the pricing shouldn’t reduce its quality, so at the beginning you need to distinguish between the waiting time for estimation and the time needed to create it, and then determine:
- Is it possible to create a valuation in this particular case? If not, it is worth organizing workshops / auditing / consulting,
- Should a specialist take part in the meeting with the client? If so, their participation will save several / a dozen or so days needed to complete the information,
- Do the sellers know what information they should complete? If not, then you need to prepare a precise checklist,
- Do specialists have time reserved for creating valuations? If not, then you need to budget it,
- Do specialists understand why creating estimations fast is important? If not, then you need to make them aware that quick valuations help win prestigious projects.
The time a company needs to prepare an estimation reflects the level of communication inside it in the eyes of the customer. If customers see your sales process and preparing an estimation as scrambled, chaotic and unpredictable – they will also think that about a vision of cooperating with your company after signing the contract, and that doesn’t build trust.