CPQ has been an extremely buzzworthy topic in the Salesforce world for some time now, and I’d venture to say it’s also the trendiest CRM add-on lately. Even a general search for the phrase “CPQ” on the AppExchange yields 161 results of apps related to it, which shows us some picture of its popularity.
We can literally expand the acronym CPQ as Configure, Price Quote. It describes automation systems for sales teams. More and more companies have recognised its potential to revolutionise sales by simplifying and speeding up the process of presenting comprehensive offers to customers. Gaining a competitive advantage from the speed of making an adequate offer is the most important argument for implementing this type of tool.
So what are its advantages?
Above all, sales teams are guaranteed that the offers they make will be accurate and up-to-date, and salespeople won’t get confused about what they’ve offered, to whom, and on what terms. After all, we can’t expect a salesperson in a large organisation to know every promotion in progress and this is where CPQ comes in with assisted selling and workflow rules that streamline the process with offer templates and easily accessible data. Additionally, recommendation rules are able to increase the total value of the sale with up-selling and cross-selling recommendations.
We should start by asking ourselves who our client is and what his expectations are. Is he a commercial entity or perhaps a public institution. Based on the answers to these and other questions, we are able to obtain an appropriate list of products, and CPQ using intelligent rules ensures that the sales team sells related and compatible products. So if a customer wants to purchase an iphone (the main product), complementary products will be filtered out, so for example chargers with a connector other than lightning will be removed.
CPQ is the best source of ‘price truth’. It allows salespeople to focus solely on customers. The sales team doesn’t have to waste time on calculations after applying the discount, because CPQ takes care of all the maths automatically, which is invaluable, especially with large, complex offers. Moreover, we have the certainty that the prices are within the discount limits dedicated to a particular customer.
With CPQ, a PDF file containing the details of an offer can be generated and sent to the client with a single click. Moreover, we have a guarantee that it will be drawn up professionally, aesthetically and consistently with the company’s standards. The offer generation is also dynamic, so if specific conditions are required, they will appear automatically. Add to that an electronic signature and the transaction is faster than ever.
Salesforce CPQ also offers the ability to automatically renew quotes and quotations for subscribed products. The new quote includes updated pricing and, if it does not require editing, can be sent to the customer immediately.
When is it worth to consider when implementing CPQ?
The answer to this question is not clear-cut, as each company’s case will be different and a number of factors should be considered. However, I have come across an interesting statement that salespeople spending more than 20% of their day preparing proposals is a threshold above which it is definitely worth considering automating this process. After all, no company can afford to employ talented salespeople just to enter data into numerous, often inconsistent spreadsheets.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the additional, internal benefits of implementing CPQ in your organisation. By compiling data related to offers and transactions in one place, the execution of contracts is simpler, which also has an impact on how the company reports revenues (making the finance team happy). Also, the service department is a beneficiary of the CPQ implementation, gaining full insight into SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and being able to better prioritise tasks and thus meet customer expectations to a greater extent (thus building greater customer loyalty and repeat business).