Many organizations invest in tools like Salesforce CPQ because it’s been shown to increase sales, close rates, sales rep efficiency, and speed up the velocity of the sales cycle. For many industries and business models, a CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote) tool is a smart and strategic investment. Saa-based providers, manufacturers, and distributors are industries where CPQ adoption has been high because they need to support flexible pricing models, high-volume sales, frequent discounts, and packaged products. CPQ technology is becoming increasingly popular across all industries. Construction, education, professional services as well as recruiting are all industries where CPQ has helped scale and meet the growing demand for their products and services.
So, how do you know if Salesforce CPQ is a good fit for your business? If you manage quotes by spreadsheets and word documents, that’s a strong indicator that Salesforce CPQ should be on your radar. There are numerous other indicators that can help you determine whether Salesforce CPQ would be a good fit for your sales team, such as the complexity of your product configurations and how discounting is managed throughout the organization.
With more than 25 successful CPQ implementations completed across 10 industries, from simple implementations to complex ecosystems, we’ve seen first-hand how dramatically CPQ can positively impact businesses. Below, we ask one of our CPQ experts 5 import questions worth considering when evaluating Salesforce CPQ.
As a Solutions Architect, Marcus Romero is responsible for driving success and adoption within our customer base through governance, COE and salesforce.combest practices. He has developed and implemented infrastructures to further enhance and support sales team operations, including sales quoting, customer resource management, sales analysis, sales administration, and sales compensation.
1) Is CPQ a good fit for all businesses? What are some example of great fits and not so great fits?
“I think it can be a fit for all businesses. CPQ does many things related to the selling process and not all customers utilize all parts of the application. Whether you are selling ‘widgets’ or ‘services’ (or both) there is a use case for CPQ – the application is extremely flexible and can easily be customized to fit an organization’s needs.”
2) Timing is a frequent obstacle many businesses face when making infrastructure changes. Is there a right time to implement CPQ?
“Change can be difficult anytime Today the vision for a company or the processes in it can change very quickly. Often times we see change born from company growth, changes in leadership, or frustration with a current tool (like an Excel worksheet) so, it is nice if you can plan for the change by enlisting an executive sponsor, developing a budget, and gathering SMEs to round out your implementation team. Timing doesn’t always work that way, and if it doesn’t, the key implementing CPQ is to prepare yourself with all the information you can gather on your current processes, involve stakeholders in the project, and trust in the path your Consultant is preparing for you – it’s our top priority to look at the big picture and provide best practices on how to get there, even if they may be different than what you are expecting.”
3) What are top measurable returns you see with CPQ? What other impact have you seen that may not be measurable?
“The returns we see most often include 1. fewer errors in pricing products (this is due to the automation and configuration of the products and pricing/discounting in CPQ), 2. more visibility into the quoting process (including this as a stage in the Opportunity process), and 3. more upsell during the Opportunity process (upsell products can be presented to users without them having to search or even know about them).”
4) When have you seen a CPQ implementation fail? How can business leaders ensure their implementation will be successful?
“Not fail, no, but definitely not be as successful as they could be. For example, I began a CPQ implementation and mid-way through the project the person who owned the project on the customer side informed me he was leaving the company in a week. To a Consultant, this means that someone new is coming in and they will have their own ideas about how the project should go and what will make it considered a success. The project still was successful because I was sure to always have other key stakeholders and the customer involved in the project, but it did affect the flow. To ensure success, business leaders should be prepared, be flexible when the Consultant offers other solutions than the one you may have in mind, and be actively involved in the project (always have a clear understanding of what is going on and share that with your teammates).”
5) What is the biggest piece of advice you can give a business leader who is interested in automating their sales process with CPQ?
“Do your homework before starting the project. Your consultant is going to ask you MANY questions around your product configuration(s), pricing, discounting, Opportunity process(es), and approval process(es), just to name a few topics. You don’t need to be an SME in each area, but you should have an understanding of how these work in your company – if you don’t, invite that SME to the discovery session covering that topic. Help to set your consultant (and your project) up for success – if your company has a specific vocabulary they use, share that info with the consultant as soon as you can so they may learn it and get used to using it; if you have identified potential roadblocks to the project share that information with the consultant (they may be able to help you avoid them); and keep an open mind when discussing the future state of your application – the consultant sees what is going on across many customers, let them bring some new ideas to you that you may be able to use!”