In today’s fast-paced business landscape, maximizing sales efficiency while delivering more personalized and engaging customer experiences is paramount.
The only problem?
Legacy configuration processes and tools are likely getting in the way of that efficiency and creating friction throughout the sales process.
One of the most common questions we hear from clients and prospects is: Where do I start?
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to changing processes and adopting new tools. However, starting by thinking about your key business challenges and then mapping those to CPQ software features can provide a foundation for selecting and optimizing the right solution. For example, if the current process to generate a quote requires your team to navigate through multiple systems and spreadsheets, a CPQ integration to your CRM or ERP would be a significant driver in consolidating various solutions to drive more efficiency.
If you’re not familiar with this concept, you might want to read our comprehensive guide on What is CPQ? to gain a deeper understanding.
As you begin this journey, there are a few core features that any modern CPQ solution should offer. In this article, we’ll explore the top must-have features, and how they contribute to better ROI.
Intuitive Configuration Interface
A user-friendly and intuitive configuration interface is the backbone of any CPQ solution. Many legacy tools can get the job done, but it requires a lot of manual effort and technical knowledge to customize the solution to your organization’s products and sales process. Business users and IT teams alike should be able to navigate the configurator effortlessly, even without technical expertise. Afterall, the easier it is to use, the faster the internal adoption will be.
Flexibility is key here. The challenges and needs you’ll have to address will organically evolve as your business grows. For example, think about how long it takes to add new products using your existing processes and tools. With the right CPQ solution, you can not only cut down on the time it takes to create all the data you need, you’ll accelerate sales training time.
At Experlogix, we strive to provide a balance between sophisticated functionality to handle even the most complex configuration needs, with our low-code interface. Our rules engine, for example, leverages logic and formulas similar to what individuals would use in Excel.
Rules and Constraints Engine
The heart of a powerful CPQ solution lies in its rules and constraints engine. This feature ensures that all configurations comply with business rules, industry regulations, and technical constraints. Whether it’s maintaining profit margins, enforcing compliance, or, most importantly, ensuring a product can actually be manufactured or sold the way that it was quoted to a customer – a robust rules engine ensures that sales reps can only create valid and feasible configurations, eliminating the risk of inaccurate quotes.
In Experlogix, our rules engine can be configured to prevent incompatible product options from even being selected and uses colored highlights to help sales move through configuration process quickly. This reduces the possibility that an order can’t be fulfilled and that a customer might be misquoted.
You also get a lot of supplemental benefits. Sales training is easier since the rules and pricing are already in the system. The data needed to launch new products is more readily accessible and easier to create, so you can accelerate go-to-market times for new products or configurations. And most importantly, you’ll have fewer frustrated customers.
Real-time Pricing and Discounts
Competitive pricing is a decisive factor in closing deals. A top-tier CPQ solution should offer real-time pricing and discount calculations based on the configured product, quantity, and customer-specific data. Integration with pricing databases and CRM systems ensures that sales reps have access to up-to-date information, allowing them to negotiate effectively and offer competitive pricing while safeguarding profitability.
It’s also important to think about the customer’s experience here. With Experlogix CPQ, for example, it’s easy to show customers multiple configuration options side-by-side, including any pricing or discount adjustments for each option – giving the customer the confidence to make an informed purchasing decision across the options presented.
The customer can then see both their savings and the impact of their choices more clearly, leading to greater alignment across both parties. A true win-win.
Speaking of seeing the impact of their choices, customers don’t always know what they want until they see it. 3D visualization capabilities ensure you can show it to them, even before the order is sent to production. This also improves the quality of quote data you’re able to store in one place, enabling you to easily create and attach technical drawings. In Experlogix, it’s also easy to import CAD files, so you can keep all the information needed for a quote in one place.
Guided Selling and Recommendations
Assisting sales representatives during the quoting process enhances their productivity and helps them deliver personalized recommendations to customers. Guided selling features in CPQ solutions let you build intelligent product recommendations into the process.
In conjunction with built-in reporting and analytics capabilities, guided selling is an especially powerful feature. You can empower your sales team with upsell and cross-sell recommendations based on customer preferences, historical data, and market trends. As a result of this, Experlogix CPQ customers have been able to easily drive up their average deal size.
Automated Quote Generation
Gone are the days of manually creating quotes and proposals. A must-have feature in any CPQ solution is automated quote generation. Once the configuration is complete, the CPQ system should automatically generate professional and polished quotes, complete with itemized pricing, terms and conditions, and customer-specific details. This not only accelerates the sales process but ensures consistency and accuracy in all customer-facing documents.
Document Automation software can raise the quality of your quotes even further. A low/no-code solution like Experlogix makes it easy for business users to create engaging document templates. For quotes, this could mean using dynamic images to make them more engaging or leveraging dynamic content to add personalization to your quoting process.
Ideally, you want to have your document automation and CPQ solution integrated together, so that the process of configuring orders and transforming that information into a customer-ready quote is seamless.
At the end of the day, a lot of final purchase decisions are made after the sales call — when the product champion on the customer’s side must get approval. If you’re not equipping them with the highest quality, most descriptive documentation possible, you’re likely missing opportunities.
A standalone CPQ solution can only do so much. Seamless integration with other essential business systems is vital for an effective end-to-end sales process. The CPQ tool should integrate with CRM platform and ERM systems. This integration allows for seamless data exchange, visibility into customer information, and a cohesive flow of data across the organization.
Analytics and Reporting
Data-driven insights are invaluable in improving sales strategies and refining product offerings. A robust CPQ solution should include comprehensive analytics and reporting capabilities, providing in-depth visibility into key performance indicators (KPIs), sales trends, quote win rates, and customer preferences.
CPQ software also helps bring together the information you need for accurate inventory, demand and revenue forecasting. There are a few key ways that CPQ helps here:
Implementing CPQ in the first place means you have to ensure that the system has access to product and pricing information, and the ability to automatically save orders back to CRM means that your data is always up to date. Armed with all this information, businesses can optimize their offerings, make informed pricing decisions, collaborate more effectively with suppliers and tailor their sales approach to maximize the value of every opportunity.
CPQ: It’s All About the Features
In today’s highly competitive business environment, a powerful CPQ solution can be a game-changer for organizations seeking to drive sales efficiency, boost profitability, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
The must-have features discussed in this article ensure that the CPQ tool becomes a comprehensive and indispensable asset in a company’s sales toolkit.
By providing an intuitive configuration interface, effective product catalog management, a robust rules engine, real-time pricing capabilities, guided selling features, automated quote generation, seamless integration, mobile accessibility, and advanced analytics, a top-tier CPQ solution empowers sales teams to excel and achieve unparalleled success.