MORE THAN TWO YEARS after the start of the global pandemic and months into an inflationary trend, channel pros face a variety of IT procurement challenges. According to the 2022 QuoteWerks Trends in IT Procurement report, they are meeting them by expanding their supplier networks and utilizing tools to speed the quoting and approval process.
No surprise that almost 50% of respondents cite supply chain or sourcing delays as their biggest hurdle in the quote and proposal creation process. Other pain points include product availability (19%), obtaining prices from vendors and distributors (9%), and creating configurations or determining what to quote (10%).
Sourcing options have expanded with the rise of online marketplaces and vendor-direct websites, the report notes, and channels pros are taking advantage of that to mitigate pricing, availability, and delivery issues along with shifting customer requirements. Half of the survey respondents currently work with four or more distributors, and nearly 20% leverage at least six suppliers. Only 11% work with just one to two.
Despite all the options, 68% are sourcing their IT products from distributors, followed by e-tailers (39%), brick-and-mortar stores (6%), and vendors (4%).
More than half (53%) of the respondents say the quoting process requires approximately one hour on average, but 25% say it takes more than three hours.
A majority (60%) of respondents employ automation to manage customer RFQs, while one-third use email and 2% present quotes and proposals in person. Moreover, approximately 80% of respondents report using a PSA to automate sales and procurement activities, including integrating with quoting applications.
The report notes that channel pros who generate and deliver quotes faster than the competition have a better likelihood of a successful close. Given that 56% of the respondents procured more than $500,000 in hardware and supplies over the past 12 months, and 25% secured between $100,000 and $500,000, there is plenty of incentive for expedition.