How Quick Start for Agreement Management Empowers Sales Reps

By Zilliant

Oct 25, 2022

The average B2B company transacts 50% or more of its revenue via customer price agreements, many of which are negotiated and managed by the sales team. Unfortunately, sellers often lack deal guidance, automated approval workflows, and a centralized view of active agreements, which generally reside in siloed systems of record. Chronic under-management of agreements leads to margin loss and tedious manual work for sales reps. This day-in-the-life highlights the trouble with the status quo and introduces a better way to manage agreements across the business in as few as four weeks.

How Do Under-managed Agreements Negatively Impact Sales Personnel?

If you are a B2B sales professional, the following scenario is likely a familiar one:

As you go about your day visiting customers and trying to close deals, your phone lights up. You’re getting emails, pings, or CRM alerts from your corporate pricing office telling you, “Costs are going up, so please review all your customer agreements. We need to take price up ASAP, do you have the latest file documenting that agreement? What’s the end date on that?”

You’re busier than ever trying to keep pace with a highly volatile market, so these communiques are left unread and sometimes you never get around to answering them. After all, these aren’t simple requests. Your customer-specific price agreements aren’t centrally filed, some have been set and forgotten years before, and you don’t have time to analyze spreadsheets or Salesforce reports.

The two things you probably dread the most when you have quota to fill: administrative busywork and backtracking to deals you’ve already closed to have the difficult conversation to increase your customer’s agreement price.

Even if you take the time to run reports, track down the latest agreements, compare the new pricing guidance against what you have in market, and identify each agreement line that needs a price change, are you confident in that impending conversation? Does it feel more like a confrontation, one that you are less than prepared to meet head on?

For many field sellers, this is the unfortunate reality. Any price guidance you do receive lacks context and transparency. This further reduces your motivation to jeopardize a long-standing relationship that was important enough to warrant customer-specific pricing in the first place.

Yet the pings keep coming, especially in a time of cost and market volatility, when price changes are the norm and every point of margin counts.

How Do Sales Reps Determine Customer-Specific Prices?

In many B2B organizations, sales reps have the power to set up their own customer-specific agreements. In these instances, the highly unspecific method of gut instinct tends to drive decisions.

Reps may have years of valuable experience in the field selling to their assigned account sector. Yet even the most seasoned sales rep cannot possibly determine the right price in every instance as input costs constantly change nor account for each customer’s unique characteristics. They need price guidance delivered within an agreement execution system as they create and quote new agreements.

Without a mechanism to receive price guidance, inevitably new customer price agreements are set based on anecdotal evidence and rules of thumb. “I sold product x to a smaller customer in the same industry at 20% margin, so I’ll go with 15% for this larger company.”

These decisions lead to margin leakage over time, especially if there is a lack of care put into the length of agreements. Many are even set up without an end date!

Is Proactive Agreement Management Possible?

In a word: yes. The status quo, characterized by reactive, manual, and ad-hoc processes, is unsustainable and on its way out of fashion given the increasing margin pressure B2B companies face.

Zilliant Quick Start for Agreement Management enables companies to be up and running with Zilliant Deal Manager™, the market-leading agreement management application, in as few as four weeks. The application enables sales reps to streamline the creation, management and renewal of customer price agreements.

Deal Manager™ empowers sales reps by replacing:

Emails and pings from corporate with intuitive alerts and contextual analytics within the system backed by price guidance The scramble to track down agreements with a centralized system to house all historical customer price agreements Manual reporting and analysis with the ability to easily identify agreements approaching expiration, create renewal agreements from a previous agreement, automatically update master data and price guidance, and analyze renewal agreement metrics against the previous agreement Tedious line-by-line price updates with the ability to mass edit multiple lines within a single agreement Set-and-forget and “forever” agreements with rules that dictate acceptable margin targets and require end dates to be included in each new agreement Poor initial price setting with inline deal scores using key metrics at the agreement and line levels, including margin, expected revenue and adherence to price guidance Time-consuming internal red tape with an automated approval workflow based on pre-defined business criteria A cumbersome and error-prone quoting process with simple export functionality to create customer proposals

Zilliant Quick Start for Agreement Management provides each of these capabilities out-of-the-box in as few as four weeks and integrates seamlessly with Zilliant’s price optimization and management applications to deliver the right price guidance for every scenario.

Get in touch to learn more about tackling customer price agreement challenges in as few as 4 weeks with Zilliant Quick Start for Agreement Management!

Are you ready to learn how Zilliant can help you overcome your pricing challenges?

Reach out to us today to learn how we can help!