Salesforce CPQ quote-to-cash software enables companies to adopt a many growth strategies more successfully. Be that strategy to be focused on getting more clients, larger deals, extended product ranges, complementary subscriptions, or business acquisitions. CPQ can facilitate all.
What Is Salesforce CPQ, exactly?
Salesforce CPQ is a systems quoting solution.
It offers key benefits for sales, finance and administration, by enabling the configuration of complex deals, management of recurring revenues and unification of sales and finance — 3 pillars of sustainable growth. Let’s discuss each in turn. But before that, let’s look at the reality in many companies (not just SMB!) where CPQ is not yet purchased.
Your pre-CPQ reality – Tell-tale signs you need CPQ software
Factual Signs You Need CPQ Software
Your company has
- Configurable products/services.
- Bundles or packages.
- Complex pricing.
- Approval rules.
- Discounting rules.
- Multiple currencies or languages.
- Multiple price books.
- Multiple quote templates.
Other Signs, visually or experienced, That You Need CPQ
Do you see this in your Sales or Finance departments:
- Calculators on desks, next to paper piles.
- Spreadsheets on every computer — means data in silos and thus % not up-to-date.
- Revenue leakage — as the correct bundles are not centrally documented.
- Slow revenue growth or low profitability.
- Lack of insight on how to best grow and manage.
- Difficulty in producing sales quotes that meet customer expectations.
- Difficulty in configuring the exact product specifications cited.
- Long lead times to build and deliver a proposal.
- Frustrated Sales reps with the amount of ‘paperwork’ and unproductive sales time ‘looking for things’.
- Accountants nervous about data security.
- Excessive field fixes.
- Missed delivery schedules.
If this looks familiar, CPQ could bring you
- Alignment with the way your customers want to buy
- Increased effectiveness of your sales channels
- Acceleration of your sales cycles
- Growth of sales and increase margins
- Streamlined fulfilment to deliver on-time and as-promised.
Welcome to the Salesforce CPQ Reality
Now, let’s walk through the 3 key benefits of CPQ: better looking quotes and proposals, better sales experience, and easier, faster and more complete sales with accurate pricing, add ons and subscriptions.
1. CPQ lets you Smoothly Configure Complex Deals with Control
- CPQ software offers a scalable solution – unlike any spreadsheet can do 😉
- Partners & Sales teams become trusted advisors instead of suitors, as they present prospects easy-to-navigate complex product catalogs to develop tailored solutions.
- Quickly and easily deliver said customer solutions easily with preconfigured or customised bundles, packages and add-ons.
- CPQ allows reps to develop deal and scenarios, refine pricing with AI, and automatically print branded quotes.
- CPQ’s advanced quoting approval features allow reps to shorten the sales cycle, while still ensure sales compliance with product rules.
Purchasing Decision Factors for Salesforce CPQ
Decision Factors for purchasing Salesforce CPQ may include:
- Native Solution (particularly if your business already uses Salesforce
- Informed Sales Team
- Multi-division, Sales channel Complexity
- Document Generation
- Approval Management
- Customer Contract Model.
Your CPQ Checklist
- Are you already using Salesforce Sales and/or Service Cloud?
- How complex is your organisational structure in terms of sales channels / divisions?
- Can you stay aligned on open opportunities that go across divisions?
- How many different, separate quoting document tools and set ups do you have (100’s; that really ought to be consolidated to only about 20…, and be shared)?
- How complex is your approval process and the underlying business rules for different level and different type of approvals?
- What is the your customer contract model: is your client account operating as a stand alone when purchasing, or can it take advantage of parent account agreements, or industry- and membership- negotiated group buying pricing (that you are also bound to honour)?
- Product configuration: Can your sales team configure products accurately the first time? What is the turnaround time for a quote to be back in the hands of the customer?
- Data Quality Matters. Everyone has data issues. But when you take the time to cleanse and structure your data around contracts, accounts and pricing and products, your CPQ implementation will go a lot smoother.
- Product-owner role is non-negotiable. Someone from the business who understands what the process looks today, what good looks like, where you like to go, and someone who can pull the resources (people process & technology) together to go there.
- Pilot is critical to success to test if the model is production-ready and also kick tires on your support model.
- Celebrate success, the wins along the way, and communicate that with a larger audience.
- Spend time on the process, but build for the future.
- Change Management: Plan for adoption/training when you’re transitioning from one step to the next. Let users know where they sit in the process.
- — Particularly if everyone in your organisation is excited about implementing a solution that is going to solve everyone’s problem, they all will want to have an input. That’s great. It also means that you must have a system in place to manage the flux of ideas coming in.
- — Balance inspiration with what is achievable. Communicate a plan for implement their ideas, but stick to your plan.
- Mobile first. The world is there. Include Mobile in the solution, not as an extra, but as a starting point. Your sales reps is mobile. Your clients are mobile.
To further enhance your initial CPQ installation, you might like to put some of these more advanced ideas on your roadmap:
- Improving 360 degree view of the customer. The data is not always in a format that the end user can use. So improve that
- Asset driven guided sales: The aim is to improve upsell and on-sell opportunities with product recommendations and product validation, levering the existing asset and install based information.
- Pricing Analytics Insights: Selling on value, instead of on prices. Pricing analysis from best sales rep’s pricing vs. the least performing sales rep, and use that in approvals or coaching, making the entire sales team stronger.
- Quoting with Einstein / Incorporate Einstein in the CPQ solutions. E.g. Identify gaps in the existing contracts. Missing products, missing pricing, where that would be an importunity to improve on for the current contract for the customer. Or to provide product recommendations and suggestions to the reps while they are closing – based on intelligent, predictive analysis and to provide insights to users, based on of what is already bought (asset data), order history and purchase frequency.
- Product Commercialisation Process: enabling technology to manage new product rollouts, including product definitions, approvals and pricing.
- You might even (like to) have a Customer Contract Model: also embraces industry lobby groups and network negotiated deals.
Evaluation Points for Vendor Comparison
Salesforce CPQ, Apttus Omni and Oracle CPQ (Big Machines)
To make vendor selection a bit easier for you, here are a dozen evaluation points to compare CPQ vendors, to ensure you’ll end up with a CPQ vendor that suits your needs now and that you can grow with:
- Does the CPQ software provide guidance for our product selection, configuration, cross-selling, upselling and customer interaction?
- Can the CPQ software be fully integrated with our Salesforce CRM, and with our existing proposal and contract management processes?
- Does your CPQ software support a visual configuration model to help validate the selection?
- Can your CPQ software address both product and pricing configuration and rules ?
- How extensive are your pricing capabilities (e.g. can handle the pricing waterfall, subscriptions, and more) ?
- Does your CPQ software generate beautifully branded quotes and is able to manage file attachments to email sent quotes?
- How scaleable is your CPQ software? E.g. Is there a built-in approval process? Ability to create user teams and parent accounts with its own pricing rules that would apply to all dependent accounts?
- How advanced is the CPQ reporting and analytics?
- Is there multilingual and multi-currency support in the software, and can it handle geographic regions with different VAT and other rules?
- Can Sales reps access your CPQ software via mobile devices?
- What features do you believe sets your CPQ software apart from others in the industry?
- Do you offer 24/7, around the world technical support?
- Is there free training for new CPQ users?
‘B2B Sales teams need to give customers a Seller-Assisted Digital Buying Experience’ — Gartner Research, May 2021
“While 43% of B2B customers prefer to not interact with a sales rep at all, purchase regret for those customers preferring a rep-free experience is 23% higher than for customers who interact with a sales rep. The biggest driver of purchase likelihood in a B2B sale is the degree to which customers feel confident about their own decision.”
The article then goes on to say: “Sellers must be ready to use the technology – the diagnostic tools, customized benchmarking data and solution configuration guides – to interactively help customers dive deeper into the nuanced differences between one solution and another. Within that digital experience, sellers must be prepared to help customers make sense of all the information they encounter, explaining implications, alternatives and undiscovered opportunities in an understandable and compelling way.” This is EXACTLY what CPQ, together with other Salesforce based communication tools, allows you to do.
Hologic Spurred Healthcare Innovation With Salesforce CPQ
“Healthcare companies today are in a state of major transition–climbing out from the web of inefficient and siloed processes that are slowing the sales cycle and inhibiting cross-team collaboration. By integrating CPQ onto their existing Salesforce platform, Hologic, a rapid growth medical device company, is now driving growth through increased alignment between teams, online and mobile tools, and more disciplined pricing. Join us to hear Hologic’s story, and learn how Salesforce CPQ can pave the way for your own organisation’s healthcare innovation.”
CPQ Pitfalls to Avoid
I love this shortlist of CPQ pitfalls to avoid. You company stands to gain a lots from CPQ as said out here today, as long as you don’t make these five mistakes (shortlist by Cincom.com):
- Customers don’t engage independent experts to select a CPQ solution.
- CPQ software buying decisions are flawed.
- Customers don’t do any homework before a CPQ vendor is engaged.
- No process is used to find a suitable Salesforce implementation and integration partner.
- Change management is undervalued.
Actually, this shortlist of mistakes could be said about any serious Salesforce engagement. By involving CloudAnalysts early on in your decision making process, we can help you pave that path for success for you and walk it with you.
What we’ll do with your CPQ internal team is the following:
- Ensure you have adequate resources in your internal team, including an executive sponsor, PM and change management lead.
- Create a long term vision, which is then broken down into a) an MVP to go live with your CPQ software platform and b) a roadmap to build out the elements to reach that long term vision. This way, your expectations can be high, but also realistic. Your team can then set a target Go Live date for the MVP with dependencies explicitly marked, so that the entire project is managed safely from the top.
- Help you create a training plan for adoption, and work with your internal change lead to communicate the benefits and progressive success of CPQ internally throughout the period we’ll work together.
- Configure Salesforce, with you and for you.