Quotes in SAP eCommerce
In many B2B markets, quotes form the backbone of the sales process. They allow B2B companies to negotiate pricing with their customers and store that information in SAP for a specified period of time. But how should quotes look at your company? And can you enable quotes in your SAP ecommerce platform?
Yes! Taking quotes through SAP ecommerce is a great way to speed up your quoting process and remove friction for the customer. The key is to understand your business needs and map them to a quote workflow that’s ideal for your market.
In this article, we’ll look at use cases for quote workflows and how best to set them up. But first, let’s go over the personas who may need the ability to place or modify quotes.
Personas who need access to quotes
Not every business will need all of these personas. But at a high level, here are the types of users who generally need access to quotes in SAP and/or the web store.
|Customer Service Representative
At this point, you may be thinking, great—but we don’t let sales reps approve quotes! Only sales managers can do so! That’s the beauty of Corevist Commerce. Your SAP users are mapped 1:1 to their ecommerce profiles, with permissions intact. Set up permissions how you want them in SAP, and they’ll appear that way in the ecommerce store.
Any or all personas above can have a role in actual quote use cases. It just depends on your business needs.
Let’s get to those use cases!
Use Case 1: Quotes as a proxy for demand
In this use case, a customer puts together a request-for-quote for a product that needs to be assembled, manufactured, or finished according to custom specifications. The product doesn’t exist before the quote is placed, or it exists in a non-finished, non-customized state. Sometimes, the manufacturing process doesn’t even start before a quote is placed.
But all of these scenarios have one thing in common: they use the quote as a proxy for demand, and they allow a quote to drive the manufacturing process to completion.
There’s a trend in the industry to protect the ERP system from having visibility into these types of quotes. In other words, the trend is to manage these quotes externally, outside of the ERP system. In this scenario, the quote only hits the ERP once it’s been finalized into an order.
Honestly, that’s not such a great thing. A quote is essentially a proxy for demand. Every player in the manufacturing process should have visibility into that. That’s the whole point of the ERP, right?—to integrate the supply chain and make information-sharing totally seamless.
Use Case 2: Quotes for insurance authorization
In this use case, a vendor creates quotes so that they can generate paperwork for external routing before the quote has been converted into an actual sales order. The paperwork goes to a third party, such as an insurance company who either authorizes or denies the order (which is tied to an insurance claim).
For example, a medical equipment supplier might encounter this quote use case. A dealer submits an RFQ for a wheelchair on behalf of the end user (a patient). The customer needs to submit the pro forma invoice for that wheelchair to the insurance company to validate that they’ll pay for it.
Here, quote functionality supports the complex approvals workflow that the medical manufacturer must go through to make a sale.
Use Case 3: Quote as pricing standardization across complex business relationships
In this use case, a manufacturer contracts with corporate accounts but fulfills orders through distributors. The corporate accounts do business with the distributors—but the distributors need to be aware of the fact that the manufacturer has negotiated a contracted price with that account. It’s in everyone’s best interests for the distributor to honor the negotiated price.
This one really illustrates how quotes can simplify complex business relationships. The manufacturer isn’t just negotiating prices with the distributor. They’re negotiating prices with corporate accounts for that distributor to fulfill. The manufacturer enforces the contract pricing by asking the distributor to place an order against a quote that exists for that account.
Here, quotes make life simpler for everyone. The distributor doesn’t have to keep track of who gets what pricing—they receive that pricing as a mandate from the manufacturer via the quote, which is kept on record and has a fixed timeline. When the quote expires, the manufacturer goes out and renegotiates the contract.
The flexibility of quotes
Every company needs something a little different when it comes to quotes. Some companies use quotes as one-time events that guarantee price and availability (or, at the very least, price alone) for a given period of time. In this case, once an order is placed against the quote, the quote is no longer available for future orders.
Some companies use quotes as a way of handling contract pricing (as described in Use Case 3). Here, the quote is available for a longer period of time. The customer can order again and again off the quote until its time frame expires.
Of course, all of these parameters for quotes are defined in SAP. The beauty of Corevist Commerce is that whatever your quote rules look like in SAP, those are the quote rules we can carry forward to your web store (via a real-time integration to SAP). There’s no need to program your quote rules twice. Whatever your quotes look like in SAP, that’s how they’ll look in the ecommerce store.
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