Sales personnel now do “big quotes in a day instead of weeks”

At the annual January sales kickoff meeting, the Fortune 500 CEO made a bold promise: to revamp a decades-old sales quotation application used by the worldwide sales force.

And to have it launch at next year’s sales conference, the following January.

This was not an insignificant commitment for a world leader in consumer transaction technologies that provides thousands of hardware, software, and electronics products to customers worldwide.

Critical Internal Business Application

Configure Price Quote (CPQ) is a critical internal business application used by all its salespeople to construct quotes, present them to customers, then link the accepted quotes to an ordering system.

For years, the number one complaint from sales has related to this tool – with user challenges and duplication of effort across opportunities and orders being the top stumbling blocks.

Largely because of its UI/UX expertise, local presence, and disciplined Agile development approach, MATRIX was chosen to drive all phases of the SDLC for the UI/UX design and front end development - from discovery through testing. The goal: to bring a re-imagined, consumer-like experience that is modern, efficient, and across every device - desktop, tablet, and mobile.

MATRIX Practice Lead Darryl Allardice and his team recommended using a new Single Page Application (SPA) development platform called Angular 2. SPAs use AJAX and HTML5 to create fluid and responsive Web apps, without constant page reloads that slow users down.

“This application is ~50K lines of code and contains ~200 UI components,” Allardice said. “We believed that the new Angular framework would be more than capable of providing a great user experience in a component-based UI using tools that make for a well-organized and maintainable codebase for a large application.”

“Thank you for building these tools to help us in the field. It’s the best-looking tool I have used for managing my business creating quotes in many, many years.”

Territory Account Manager, Retail Solutions Division

A Disciplined Process

The discovery phase included interviewing users from the U.S., Australia, Serbia, Germany, and Argentina, and documenting their expectations and needs.

Talking about the complexity of the process, MATRIX UI/UX Team Lead Ryan Wright said, “There must have been ten different personas we defined, all within the sales function. The sales closer has different needs than the field salesperson, their manager, or the admin management. We had to accommodate all of them.”

In the construction phase, the development team put together the architectural foundation and the skeleton of the Angular 2 application to demonstrate the look and feel.

Feature sets were built on top of that foundation including process flows, diagrams of user workflows, and the UX design. “The main artifact that makes up the UX has 130 screens to it, said Wright. “Plus, 20 pages of process flows, style guide, and graphical asset library for these designs so they could be reused for other internal applications.”

Wright added that it was important for his UX team to work hand in hand with the front-end development team. “Whenever we delivered mockups, we included Darryl and other team members as well,” Wright said. We wanted to make sure we produced everything that the stakeholders had agreed to.”

Visual QA provided a final check. “We looked at the revised final screens, then we looked at the working application, and if something wasn’t pixel perfect, we could call those out and fix them,” he added.

The Final Product

The application went into full system test in September, and was launched in early January, just in time for the sales kickoff. The new application provides the user with an "integrated" quote which includes both Products and Services, unlike the old systems where the user was required to use two different applications to provide customers with quotes that covered both. Relevant information is surfaced for each screen, streamlining processes and making workflows more intuitive. Sales personnel report that they can do “big quotes in a day instead of weeks.”

The modern look and feel has elevated the brand and provided a roadmap for future applications.

The CEO has become a hero to the many salespeople whose jobs have become easier.