Harnessing Synergies in Industrial Sales: How to Achieve a Successful Partnership!

Adapting one’s own solution and its distribution to evolving customer needs can already pose its fair share of challenges. What happens when the solution is the result of two companies? Is chaos inevitable – or?  

Together with Manfred Mayer, Head of Sales at KiM GmbH and Byron Wells, Solution Manager for CPQ and e-commerce solutions at Plan Software GmbH we delved into this question and discussed the opportunities and challenges of such a “sales symbiosis.” For over 25 years, these two Saarland-based software service providers have been working hand in hand to develop innovative, tailor-made solutions. While Plan Software sets standards with cutting-edge CPQ software, B2B e-commerce systems, and forward-looking IoT solutions, KiM is known for excellent 3D visualization, geometric CAD modeling, and innovative communication solutions such as virtual and augmented reality applications. With their years of industry expertise, both companies have won over renowned customers such as SIEMENS, Würth, Hörmann, HAWE, and R. Stahl.

What significant changes are you currently observing in the market, and how are you addressing these challenges?

Manfred: Depending on the digital orientation of our customers, there are those who increasingly prefer comprehensive solutions from a single source, while others are specifically looking for services that can be integrated into their individual IT landscape. Where clear boundaries could be seen in the past, there is now a fluid transition. B2B and B2C customer demands are converging further: Everyone is aiming to relieve their own IT, increase customer satisfaction, and optimize user experience. With our offerings, we provide both options.

Byron: I completely agree. E-commerce and CPQ solutions are also converging more and more. To address this trend, we offer service portals that merge both areas. Users can configure, place orders, view their order history, and utilize the service offerings of the provider in these portals. What’s exciting is that we are increasingly implementing solutions where sales and customers collaborate to develop products or projects in a collaborative configuration.

How will configuration solutions for the industry evolve in the future, and how can the collaboration between Plan Software and KiM contribute to meeting these future requirements most effectively?

Byron: The trend of convergence will continue to grow. In the future, our customers will have the opportunity to receive a comprehensive solution from a single source, whether they desire a portal, design, configuration, 3D, BIM, or e-commerce solution. .


'Through our collaboration, we cover both the visualization and configuration sectors, allowing us to provide customers with a more comprehensive portfolio than our competitors in the market.'

What new sales opportunities arise from the collaboration between KiM and Plan Software? Are there any challenges in terms of joint sales processes as well?

Byron: Customers are seeking services, and our partnership allows us to offer a broad portfolio. The customer receives tighter integration between our configuration solution 3PQ® and KiM’s parametric 3D configuration CADClick®. This opens up various possibilities for engineer-to-order approaches and provides a wealth of functionalities such as BIM, photorealistic images, and dynamic dimensional drawings. The greatest opportunity that arises for both parties? Through our collaboration, we can, on one hand, address specific requests and, on the other hand, provide comprehensive support with our all-in-one packages.

Manfred: In summary, it can be said that the diversity of customer needs is multifaceted, and together, we are highly adaptable. KiM and Plan Software have been cooperating for over 25 years. Our solutions are established in the market and provide customers with a high level of investment security. As two independent companies, some issues have been addressed redundantly in the past. The challenge lies in growing together efficiently. As a company grows, it must organize itself better and coordinate areas together. To achieve this, we consolidate developments and other areas, become more efficient, and can harness our potential optimally. Our customers also benefit from this.


'Together, we aim to grow and make the sales processes of industrial companies more efficient. This can be achieved through a comprehensive e-business solution that simplifies processes and saves resources.'

How does the acquisition process from initial contact to contract completion work exactly?

Byron: Of course, every customer is prepared differently for their project, and we must adapt individually. In general, after an inquiry, there is an initial introduction in an online meeting where we discuss the product vision, goals, and pain points. Following this, after assessing readiness, there is either a scoping or an initial specification phase. In this phase, we first describe the current challenges and work with the customer to derive goals and requirements in the form of a user story mapping for the new solution. To add more substance to this, there is a UI/UX phase where we collaboratively create a visual, clickable UX prototype with the customer. This makes all workflows, functionalities, and user stories visually accessible, providing many advantages for both our customers and us.

Manfred: We follow a similar approach here: In an initial meeting, we aim to understand from our prospects what their specific challenges and goals are. Based on existing customer examples, we then address these requirements as precisely as possible and present possible solutions. If there is an agreement that our solutions align with the requirements, we offer a demo or an initial workshop. Typically, a second introductory meeting follows, involving technicians from both sides. This is because it’s not only us who need to understand what our customer wants, but the customer should also gain a basic understanding of how our software works and how to achieve their individual goals with it.


assistant corporate development


solution manager for CPQ and e-Commerce solutions at Plan Software GmbH


head of sales KiM GmbH

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