You can represent pre-sales business processes in the system using the functions for inquiries and quotations. Customer inquiries and quotations to the customer can be entered and monitored.
For example, a customer inquires whether you have a certain product in your warehouse, how much it will cost, or whether the product will be available for a certain date. The inquiry is therefore a request from the customer for you to provide him with a sales quotation.
A quotation presents the customer with a legally binding offer for delivering a product or providing a service within certain fixed conditions.
The data you store in sales queries forms the basis of subsequent documents and, if you wish, sales analysis.
Creating and maintaining this kind of data may be useful under, for example, the following circumstances:
- You want to evaluate your pre-sales processing with reports and analysis. For example, you want to compare the value of a quotation against the value of subsequent sales orders and invoices and then evaluate the effectiveness of your planning process. Or you want to evaluate the success rate of quotation-to-order conversion by salesman or sales group.
- Your sales organization deals with government agencies or large organizations and institutions who routinely send out for bids and requests for proposal. You want to record the entire sales cycle.
- Your sales organization sells a wide range or low value products (for example, consumer products with a high turnover) but you wish to fix certain data for the presales phase if you are negotiating for larger contracts.
A company sends out quotations for equipping intensive care rooms in hospitals. The equipment can vary, depending on the hospital and other factors, but 40% of the components are standard. The company's sales staff copy the standard components into quotations from master data, along with standard texts (standard clauses, for example). Whenever possible, the staff copies the remaining components from existing quotations that resulted from similar queries. Alternatively, the staff can copy data from product proposals.
Before you can use sales queries, you must maintain the following:
- Master data for order probability by customer and document type
- Relevant sales query document types
- Copying requirements for document flow
- Master data for alternative items (material determination)
You maintain document types and copying requirements in Customizing for Sales and Distribution. For more information about these functions, see the online Implementation Guide.
Sales queries let you enter and store all the important, sales-related information you use during sales order processing. Queries that are not complex can be entered quickly in the initial entry screen. The query can be entered from scratch or can be copied. For example, when the customer decides he wants a firm quote, you can copy a previously entered inquiry directly into a quotation.
The inquiries and quotations entered in the system can be displayed and evaluated in a list. You can use selection criteria to limit the list which will give you a more selective display and processing. For analysis purposes, you can list all the quotations you processed during the last six months and examine those that were rejected and for what reasons.
You can maintain a validity date in sales queries by which time the query should have been answered. The documents can then be monitored and evaluated according to this validity date, which then allows you to evaluates the queries on time. In this way you are able to plan and implement the necessary subsequent activities according to the deadline.
Instead of a material number you can also enter a text description of the material if, for example you can’t assign the materials to a customer call straight away.
In one quotation for a material, you can offer the customer several options with differing pricing conditions and shipping times. If the quotation leads to a sales order, you can select an alternative item according to the customer’s requirements.