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FORVIA HELLA improves quoting efficiency with Conga CLM

5 min read
Man taking notes looking at machinery

Documented processes are an important part of efficient business operations, but process alone can only take you so far. That’s especially true when your processes are overly complicated, and employees don’t follow them consistently.  

Global automotive supplier FORVIA HELLA was buried in complex, manual quoting processes that left them open to significant financial risk. They found their solution in Conga CLM. The end-to-end contract management platform allowed FORVIA HELLA to streamline quoting, leading to: 

  • 80% improvement in quoting efficiency 
  • 100% user adoption of the Conga software 

Ben Cohen, Vice President of Strategy, Sales Excellence, & Marketing, shared the story of FORVIA HELLA’s transformation journey with Conga. Let’s dig into that story now, starting with a little background on the company and the circumstances that led them to implement a contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution. 

Background and challenges  

While FORVIA HELLA might not be a household name, there’s a good chance their products are part of your everyday life. This 125-year-old global automotive supplier started out as a simple lamp manufacturer. Today the company supplies lighting and electronic solutions—including headlamps, interior lighting, vehicle access systems, energy management components, sensors, and more—to leading car manufacturers around the world. 

OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) like FORVIA HELLA rely heavily on quote documents to dictate the terms of a deal, much like sales contracts in other industries. As a result, they contain key terms and conditions related to warranty, logistics, inflation costs, and more. Getting those terms right every time is critical. For example, a quote with incorrect warranty information could end up costing the company millions of dollars—even years down the road. 

FORVIA HELLA’s standard quote template was comprised of pre-approved language that could be used without legal review. However, because every auto manufacturer has their own unique requirements, they also developed an extensive series of customer-specific quote templates. To handle these varied quoting needs: 

  •  A business services team had to create and manage 45 different quote templates, many with only minor variations on the standard approved language 
  • Sales had to understand and follow the 40-page guideline on quoting. 

The quoting process was extensively documented, but the extreme complexity made it difficult to follow consistently. To make matters worse, quoting at FORVIA HELLA was completely manual. Sales reps created quotes using Microsoft Word and were able to store them on their local hard drive—which provided no visibility, no efficiency, and no security.  

The team recognized this situation was not sustainable. They needed to automate the quoting process and bring everything into a single system.  

Seeking a partner for unusual document needs 

As Ben and the team began to assess FORVIA HELLA’s needs, two primary requirements emerged. First, because they were already using Salesforce throughout the organization, seamless Salesforce integration was non-negotiable. Second, they needed the ability to quickly update templates and push those updates out to sales reps immediately. 

The FORVIA HELLA team explored various technology options, but it quickly became clear they would need a creative solution. Although they were looking to automate the quoting process, traditional CPQ (configure price quote) software didn’t have the right functionality to meet their needs.  

FORVIA HELLA eventually selected Conga as their technology partner. Not only did Conga meet their integration and flexibility requirements, but the team was also “nerdy” enough to recognize that complex quotes are really no different from contracts—which led to the unconventional idea of using Conga CLM to automate the quoting process. In addition, Conga’s X Author plug-in allowed FORVIA HELLA sales reps to continue working in the familiar Microsoft Word environment, while leveraging the power of Salesforce and Conga CLM.  

“We really enjoyed the ‘nerdiness’ of the Conga team, because they actually understood our problem and helped us find a solution that uses their products in a really creative way.”  

Ben Cohen, Vice President of Strategy, FORVIA HELLA 

FORVIA HELLA realized to execute a project of this magnitude they would need strong collaboration between the business and IT. Anika Pinnell was instrumental in guiding this collaboration both internally across all the FORVIA HELLA stakeholders and externally with Conga.  

The team collaborated extensively with Conga’s Professional Services team, to explore both the capabilities and the limitations of the Conga CLM solution. Because they were going to be using the tool in an unorthodox way, they needed to understand exactly what modifications were possible—and what might break the system. Working together, they were able to configure the solution to meet FORVIA HELLA’s unique requirements. 

Overcoming objections to achieve successful adoption 

Of course, choosing a solution is only the first step in successful software implementation. Sales reps were initially resistant to the new CLM-based quoting process, because they only saw it as a change from what they were used to. The massive benefits weren’t immediately obvious. 

Ben and the team put together a presentation for sales leaders, showing the current process side-by-side with the new process—and what they would gain by adopting the CLM-based approach: 

  • Time savings: No need to read through every 25-page quote to make sure it includes all the right terms and conditions. 
  • Improved accuracy: Updated terms are automatically incorporated into every quote template. 
  • Automated approvals: Every quote is automatically routed to the right person for approval with relevant information highlighted—cutting approval times from hours to seconds. And ensuring the process is followed without having to memorize the process. 

Once sales leadership was on board with the change, they became advocates for the new process. Sales reps gradually came around and eventually embraced the change as well. To help with the transition, Ben and his team also implemented extensive onboarding assistance—including in-person training, online courses, knowledge articles, and a virtual helpline for support any time. The end result? 100% user adoption of CLM-based quote management. 

“Change is scary, no matter who you are or where you’re from. But once they got into it, they realized it’s not so bad—and now I often hear, ‘I can’t even imagine doing it the old way.’” 

Ben Cohen, Vice President of Strategy, FORVIA HELLA 

A fully automated quoting process with Conga CLM

With Conga CLM in place, FORVIA HELLA has automated the entire quoting process within the CLM tool. Every step is clearly defined, and each step must be completed before the system will move a quote into the next phase. By eliminating the manual work that previously powered their quotes, FORVIA HELLA has increased overall efficiency by 80%. 

“That time savings allows salespeople around the globe to actually do their job: learning the products, talking to customers, and selling.’” 

Ben Cohen, Vice President of Strategy, FORVIA HELLA 

The automotive industry requires both internal and external audits, and sales functions are one area that gets audited regularly. With a fully automated quote process, it’s easier to show an auditor exactly how quoting and approvals work, how the documentation is generated, and how records are stored. 

As the FORVIA HELLA journey illustrates, the right solution can streamline complex processes, no matter how unusual the challenges may seem.  

Ready to learn how Conga CLM can transform contract management for your organization? Get a demo today! 

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