Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software can revolutionize the sales quoting process and empower salespeople to do their jobs more effectively. But, it’s important to go into implementation with a great strategy and integrate the software with your systems as well as your organization.
In this post, we’ll offer some tips and tricks to ensure CPQ software implementation goes successfully. Yes, we already have a basic CPQ implementation guide. We wanted to take things a step further, though.
This blog focuses on advanced strategies and the nuances of CPQ implementation for more complex scenarios.
- CPQ software solutions boost sales productivity, necessitating seamless integration with CRM systems and ERP software.
- Advanced CPQ implementation focuses on scalability and flexibility, complex system integrations, and strategic long-term software optimization.
- Effective CPQ deployment involves utilizing data analytics, implementing agile project management techniques, and promoting user adoption for sales team efficiency.
Revisiting CPQ Implementation Fundamentals
Let’s start with a quick review and address frequently asked questions like, “What is CPQ?”
CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote. CPQ software allows sellers to produce accurate quotations for configurable products and services. When used correctly, CPQ software improves the sales team’s efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
CPQ implementation involves configuring CPQ software so an organization can utilize it and integrating it with key systems like CRM and ERP. This process includes setting up product rules, pricing structures, and quoting processes.
The CPQ implementation process can be divided into these primary steps:
- Defining primary goals
- Implement key out-of-the-box features
- Assemble the project team
- Optimize your quote-to-cash process
- Manage data
- Appoint a change management team
- Document the sales process
- Ensure post-implementation support
Once you’ve mastered the fundamental aspects of CPQ implementation, you’ll be ready to transition to more advanced strategies.
Advanced CPQ Implementation Strategies
Speaking of advanced CPQ implementation strategies, let’s get into some more in-depth techniques you can use to get more out of your CPQ software.
The following are some examples of advanced considerations and approaches that can cater to different business sizes and types:
Ensure Scalability and Flexibility
Your company’s CPQ solution must be able to adapt as your business’s needs change. A lack of scalability and flexibility can hinder your ability to grow your business efficiently.
To avoid this issue, make sure you consider your company’s short- and long-term scalability requirements. Starting by implementing CPQ for a small sub-set of products or services helps you get running quickly, while giving employees an opportunity to learn the platform. Once the initial foundation of data and logic is there, it becomes much easier to expand your use of CPQ software over time.
Consider Integration Complexities
A successful CPQ implementation strategy requires seamless integration with your business’s other systems, such as your customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and e-commerce platforms.
If there are incompatibilities or errors, you may not have all the functionality or data you need to use CPQ effectively.
Consider your current integration needs, as well as needs you may have in the future. For implementation, this means starting to think about the team that can manage implementation most effectively. You want to have someone with a deep knowledge of your technical systems involved early on; it’s also important to bring together product and sales process knowledge into the process so that business needs can be translated into project requirements.
Focus on Long-Term Optimization
It’s not enough to think about how you’ll utilize your CPQ software right now. You must also think about long-term optimization. What kinds of features will you potentially need in the future? How will your product ecosystem expand or evolve over time?
This is another situation in which scalability and adaptability are essential. It helps to go into CPQ implementation with a mindset of continuous improvement — you don’t want to try configuring everything at once, but you want to have a strategy for updating and expanding your usage of the system over time.
CPQ Best Practices: The Next Level
You know standard CPQ best practices like integrating with CRM and ERP systems and providing regular training. When you start getting into more of the details of the implementation process, though, there are some additional things to consider. Here are some of the major factors to keep in mind:
It’s great to have a CPQ solution that provides you with robust analytics and actionable insights. If you don’t use those analytics and insights to make data-driven decisions for the future, though, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to improve your sales results.
You want to make sure that the data from your other systems can be used to generate tangible insight. This is a great time to re-evaluate your key performance indicators. How can we adjust KPIs to take advantage of the efficiency benefits of CPQ software? Should we be tracking any other metrics?
The visibility that CPQ provides also means that it’s possible to get a more holistic view of sales performance. For example, you may find a particular combination of products or services work as great cross-sellers. This insight could be the basis for configuring guided selling within your CPQ solution, so that your entire sales team reaps the rewards.
Adopt Agile Methodologies
Agile methodology is a project management framework. It breaks projects down into a series of dynamic phases (sprints), with the goal of gathering feedback and providing tangible results throughout the process.
When you take this approach to implementing your CPQ solution, you can quickly adapt your approach as situations change without interrupting the workflow and slowing down your team. An agile approach also encourages collaboration and keeps all members of your sales team (as well as other teams, like the IT department) working together.
Ensure User Adoption
Ensuring user adoption is a critical component of CPQ implementation. After all, what’s the point of investing in CPQ software if your sales team doesn’t use it? As we mentioned previously, ongoing training plays a vital role in adoption, but it’s also about having support from leaders within the company.
Identifying users and leaders who can help to champion a new solution goes a long way to encouraging others to pick it up, especially if they can see the benefits compared to the old processes and tools.
Tailoring CPQ Requirements for Complex Sales Models
Customization and flexibility are vital in the implementation of CPQ solutions, especially when you start dealing with more complex sales models that involve configurable products with many different components, or a blend of products and services.
The following are some examples of advanced CPQ features that can help you simplify complex product configurations and better navigate dynamic sales environments:
Research shows that nearly 60 percent of web traffic comes from mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. Sales teams can benefit from mobile solutions, too, as then they have all the tools and information they need while on the go. An advanced CPQ product should allow quotes to be displayed on mobile devices with varying screen sizes.
Guided selling can be configured to provide suggestions for cross-sell and upsell opportunities during the sales process. This empowers sales team members to make expert recommendations, even if they’re still relatively new. It also prevents everyone from wasting time sifting through guides, spec sheets and other materials to find important product information.
When you’re dealing with complex sales processes, any kind of shortcut you can find helps, and guided selling is a particularly good one.
The best CPQ systems will give your business an opportunity to enable recurring payments and charge clients consistently.
You can use a recurring payments feature to automatically configure charges and create and send quotes to customers regularly. You can make sure they can update and cancel existing subscriptions, too.
Document Generation and Automation Support
CPQ and document automation form a powerful combination. Many CPQ solutions have basic document generation capabilities — that is the “Q” in CPQ, after all. However, document automation software goes a step further and allows you to really take your quotes to the next level.
Comprehensive document automation tools also support automation for related workflows, such as delivery and e-signature. This can help to provide more information for the customer, decrease deal closure times and increase overall customer satisfaction.
CPQ Strategy for Business Growth
A well-executed CPQ implementation strategy has the potential to drive business growth and customer satisfaction. During the CPQ implementation process, be sure to align it with long-term business objectives by following these tips:
- Clarify Long-Term Goals: While it’s important to keep short-term goals in mind, you need clear long-term goals to get the most out of your CPQ strategy. Create a plan for rolling out CPQ to more teams or expanding the functionality of your solution. Always take time to review and clarify your objectives and consider how implementing a CPQ solution can fit into and help you achieve those goals.
- Avoid Data Siloes: Look for opportunities to consolidate data sets for multiple applications. It’s vital that your data be synchronized across the organization, as this prevents inconsistencies and ensures everyone is working with the same information.
- Establish Proper Data Governance Practices: Your CPQ system is only as good as the data it has access to. Take the time to establish and evaluate your data governance practices and look for ways that automation can help. For example, CPQ solution reduce manual data entry by making it possible to automatically store order information and quotes wherever they need to go.
Real-World CPQ Case Studies
At this point, you’ve read a lot about how to get the most out of your CPQ project, especially in more complex situations. What does it look like to utilize CPQ software in real life, though?
Here are some true client stories that exemplify a successful CPQ implementation:
Kelly Roofing is an award-winning roofing contractor that deployed Experlogix CPQ with Microsoft Dynamics 365 to deliver accurate project quotes to clients more efficiently.
Since implementing Experlogix, the team has seen an increase of more than 300 percent in their top line and more than doubled their bottom line.
Ken Kelly, the president of Kelly Roofing, says that revenue has increased because the company is delivering options in its proposals now, allowing customers to choose upgrades that help them buy a roof that meets their needs and budgets.
Reliance Home Comfort experienced quoting challenges, in part, because of the extensiveness of the company’s reach — across four Canadian provinces.
By working with Experlogix CPQ, they were able to experience $250,000 in annual savings by improving process efficiencies and reducing errors. As a bonus, they have also seen an enhanced customer perception of their sales agents’ professionalism.
UNICOM’s sales staff was using a wide range of tools, making it difficult to ensure everyone was working with up-to-date information. By transitioning to Experlogic CPQ, the team was able to streamline their sales process and experience significant increases in efficiency and productivity.
They noted increased quote and order accuracy and consistency, as well as more flexibility, which their sales team members greatly appreciated!
Understanding and following advanced CPQ strategies can play an important role in achieving successful implementation and driving business growth. Use the information shared in this guide to build upon your fundamental CPQ knowledge and gain the confidence you need to take your CPQ implementation to the next level.