The future of selling: supercharge your sales process with AI and machine learning

This blog was authored by Colin Masson, Director, Manufacturing Industry Solutions, Microsoft Cloud & Enterprise Group

As a manufacturer, you are pulled in many directions. Imagine how different your day would be if you had someone constantly helping you get more done. Someone who takes care of administrative legwork and does things you would not have even thought of doing. That kind of support would free you up to make the most of your time and focus more on customer relationships. Thanks to advances in modern AI technology, this type of assistant is now readily available. In manufacturing, you often see technology breakthroughs on the factory floor. But behind the scenes, AI is revolutionizing the sales process.

With the right artificial intelligence tools, your team can sell complex products more quickly and intelligently. Apttus, one of the leading providers of quote-to-cash software for manufacturers, recently launched the world's first Quote-to-Cash Intelligent agent, called "Max" built on Microsoft Cognitive Services & Azure. The Apttus Quote-to-Cash (QTC) solution provides a single system designed to help manufacturers manage the entire sales process—from quoting to contracting, approvals, ordering, billing, and renewals. QTC's revolutionary Max user interface simplifies and improves how sales professionals configure solutions, prepare quotes, update contracts, and manage discounting and pricing. Using voice command, text inputs, augmented reality, and embedded machine learning, Max makes the Quote-to-Cash process easier than ever and gets smarter every day.

Turn every aspect of the Quote-to-Cash process into a simple conversation

The process from quote to invoice usually involves a lot of clicking, copying, pasting, and manual data entry. Max boils down these time-consuming tasks into a simple conversation. Users can instruct Max to complete tasks via voice command or chat, without even logging in to the Apttus application. With Max's help, sales professionals can streamline quote creation, contract updates, invoice generation, and more. Automating mundane, repetitive tasks adds up to faster, more efficient, and more profitable sales teams, while helping to ensure widespread adoption.

Make configurations real and interactive with AR capabilities

Not only does Max help save time, but it also provides an exceptional tool for engaging customers in augmented reality environments. Companies can use Max to render 3-D product configurations in augmented reality using Microsoft Hololens. Imagine that you are selling an airplane engine, and your customers want to explore the product before they purchase. Max helps you to create a 3-D holographic configuration that can be shared with anyone in the world via Hololens. In the augmented reality, customers can check out complex product configurations up close and evaluate the quote at the same time. In an industry where customer engagement is becoming as important as the product, an interactive quoting process stands out from the competition. 

Take advantage of machine learning to get better results without trying

Max gets even smarter by working with Apttus machine learning to predict outcomes and recommend relevant, intelligent actions. For example, Max learns from historical sales data to recommend optimal price and discount levels for each deal and customer, while also explaining why the recommendation was made. Max arms sales teams with cross-sell and up-sell recommendations based on analysis of past purchases and similar customers. It also shows how an action will affect a user's commission, and notifies your sales force of new opportunities. When Max and machine learning combine, Apttus automatically facilitates smarter decision-making throughout the entire sales process.

Leverage QTC to optimize every deal on every channel

Max further enhances the sales productivity to be gained from the Apttus Quote-to-Cash solution. Apttus Quote-to-Cash for Manufacturing connect the dots from quote to invoice for a true 360-degree understanding of your customer. From product and service configuration, pricing, quote creation, contract negotiation and execution, to invoicing, billing, orders, revenue recognition and renewals, the Apttus QTC solution helps you manage all steps in one place and gain the competitive advantage. QTC breaks down silos among legal, sales, finance, and marketing departments to expedite the review process and enable companies to quickly configure, price, and quote even the most complex products and services. The proof is in the pudding—customers report a 7% improvement in sales on average.[1]

“Our partnership with Apttus enabled us to launch an innovative engineering application that reduces the cycle time of configuring custom processes from days to minutes, improving our responsiveness to customer inquiries and reducing manual mistakes.”

King Qu, Sr. Director Systems and Solutions, Global Foundries

Try it today

Use Apttus Quote-to-Cash for Manufacturing to help you sell more intelligently, outsell competitors, and raise your performance in the marketplace. Apttus is recognized as an industry leader by multiple analyst reports, including earning the top score for its offering and market presence in the most recent Forrester Wave report. Try the solution for yourself on Microsoft AppSource today.

Learn how Apttus Quote-to-Cash can help you to grow your business at a Microsoft Digital Transformation webinar. Register for the "Discover Quote-to-Cash: Create sales and revenue efficiencies fast" webinar now.

[1] Apptus Quote-to-cash Impact Study, 2017