CRM and CPQ: 5 Reasons You Should Be Integrating Them To Lower Costs and Drive Better Efficiencies

Customer relationship management (CRM) software wears many hats. It allows stakeholders to report on progress and sales staff to nurture leads and close deals. But, like anything, it has its limitations. It’s a useful, unified space for sales staff to unlock customer data, but it often struggles to create a streamlined sales process.

Many sales professionals still use Word and Excel to write up and deliver quotes—a process that feels particularly clunky given how much tech we have at our fingertips. This slow, laborious activity can lead to lost deals during the quoting phase.

Having two separate systems for managing customer relationships and the configure, price, and quote (CPQ) process means sales teams often miss the mark. But every sales cycle needs both to work in tandem.

While CRMs organize and manage contacts, CPQ software homes in on the pricing process to deliver fast, personalized quotes. Integrating the two stops salespeople bouncing from one tool to another and lets them quote and negotiate directly within the CRM.

1. Shorten the Sales Cycle

A CRMs main purpose is to manage interactions with customers and prospects. It stores contact information, communication history, and relevant data points for each prospect so sales teams can quickly send personalized touchpoints.

CRM is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s a necessity. 91% of companies with 10 or more employees use a CRM system.

A CPQ, on the other hand, quickly generates accurate quotes. It focuses on the quoting phase of the sales cycle so that sales teams can send and negotiate quotes from one central place without juggling multiple spreadsheets. This is particularly beneficial for organizations that offer custom product configurations, have volume-based pricing discounts, or are often rolling our new products and want to bring them to market quickly as a CRM solution is not natively designed to handle this level of complexity.

The CPQ software market is poised to grow by $1.49 billion between now and 2025, so it’s safe to assume CPQ will also become a necessity for sales teams that want to shorten the sales cycle and optimize their quoting process.

2. Nurture Leads On Autopilot

As well as storing up-to-date customer information, CRMs often have automation capabilities that allow salespeople to nurture leads without manually sending emails. In one study, 45% of companies said using a CRM increases their sales, and companies that implement a CRM can see a 300% increase in conversion rates.

Integrating a CRM and a CPQ lets you see what products and solutions a customer has explored or purchased in the past so you can tailor your follow-up accordingly. You’ll be able to suggest similar products at similar price points based on previous CPQ data to create a highly personalized and efficient sales process.

Here are some of the core features of CRMs and CPQs that drive sales efficiency:

  • Contact management. Store, organize, and manage customer contact information to avoid email bouncebacks and ensure you’re pitching the right person.
  • Reports and dashboards. See results from each sales pro, including where each lead is in the sales cycle and how many deals have been successfully closed.
  • Sales analytics. Identify the most qualified leads to ensure sales reps spend time and effort on the most promising prospects.
  • Workflow automation. Send personalized messages at the right time on autopilot to keep leads warm and move them through the entire sales cycle.
  • Sales forecasting. Gain insight into what your best leads look like and use past data to predict your future performance.

For a company like Lexmark, which has complex product requirements and configurations, a CRM and CPQ integration helps sales teams streamline the quoting process while also tracking what product configurations a customer is interested in. Using Experlogix with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM solution lets the sales team visualize and track the entire customer journey.

3. Reduce Time to Quote

It’s still quite common to see salespeople using Excel to quote, but manually generating individual pricing guides for each lead is time-consuming and can dramatically slow down the sales process.

When not using a CPQ, it can take sales teams 73% more time to produce an accurate quote. Case in point: it used to take FotoFinder 25 minutes to write up and deliver quotes to leads. After implementing CPQ software, it now takes the team just two minutes—a 92% reduction in admin work for the sales team who can now focus on finding more leads.

It’s a similar story for others. Implementing a CPQ has made quote generation 10 times faster and has led to a 95% reduction in approval time.

The proof is in the numbers. Research shows that companies who use CPQs enjoy a 105% larger average deal size and a 28% shorter sales cycle (taking the average cycle from 4.7 months to 3.4 months).

4. Enjoy a High Return on Investment

Implementing CRM comes at a cost. It’s not just the initial investment either, there’s usually a learning curve involved and it can take time and money to bring sales teams up to speed on a new software.

However, implementing CPQ with their CRM makes it easier for businesses to onboard and scale their sales teams with helpful modules that walk teams through the quote-building process. Features like “guided selling” use built-in rules and logic to ensure sales people aren’t selling something that can’t actually be manufactured or produced.

This obviously contributes to the return on investment (ROI), since it empowers a tenured salesperson to sell even faster and a new salesperson to sell like they’ve been at the company for years, shortening the timeline to when they are revenue-productive. On top of that, everything is quoted accurately, reducing manufacturing errors that can cost the organization thousands of dollars to correct.


5. Secure Larger Deals

Sales quotes involve a high-level understanding of your lead’s needs and require insightful, open-ended questions. You then have to prepare a clear, customized quote based on the pain points you’ve uncovered, all while demonstrating your value proposition. It’s a lot.

But implementing technology that speeds up the quoting process (and moves sales reps away from outdated spreadsheets) frees up time teams can spend sourcing new leads or nurturing existing customers. Just look at the stats above that show how much quicker quoting can be with a CPQ and how it can help secure larger deals.

Additionally, when businesses integrate CPQ into their CRM process, they gain visibility cross-sell or upsell opportunities on a given product or service to drive up the average deal size. Sales teams can also do side-by-side product and pricing comparisons with a customer on different order options, while 3D visualization can help win business by showing prospects their custom-configured product in real time. None of these are things that sales teams would be able to do with a standalone CRM solution.


The Results: CRM vs. CPQ in the Field

To win a deal today, you have to be fast but you also have to get to the bottom of a lead’s deepest needs. For most, that means understanding pain points and delivering a personalized (and exceptional) customer experience at every touchpoint—from the initial contact, right through to quoting, negotiations, and closing the deal.

Just one part of the process functioning poorly can bring everything to a grinding halt. If you’re taking too long to get quotes out or your quotes are riddled with human errors, it can put leads off. Implementing CPQ and CRM seals any gaps in the sales cycle and provides a unified space for sales teams to access customer data and use it to create quick, accurate sales quotes.

While a CRM can drive sales efficiency by nurturing leads with personalized communication, a CPQ can increase sales quotas by speeding up the time it takes to quote. In the excess time created, teams can source new leads or focus on building deeper, more profitable relationships with existing customers.

“CPQ helps walk a salesperson through that process to make sure they’re quoting the thing their customer really wants and that they’re doing correctly and at the right price,” says Bill Butler. “The idea with CPQ is it’s a hub of all the information and all the ways you can sell all your products so sales can mix and match the products and the way it’s being sold.”

When connected to the CRM, a CPQ can use past customer data to ensure sales teams send aligned and competitive quotes.

How Brands Are Increasing Revenue With CPM and CPQ

Balanced Body increased revenue by 5-10% year-over-year

Pilates equipment provider Balanced Body has tens of thousands of complex product configurations—something its previous archaic CRM and tedious manual process couldn’t handle. “Our CRM system only had a pricing and quoting engine with no bill of materials or routing functionality,” says Adam Endelman, Director of Business Intelligence at Balanced Body.

The sales team would create the configuration manually and it would show up as a line item on the sales order. “After the sales order was submitted, someone in the production planning department would manually create the custom BOM.”

Balanced Body quickly realized that CPQ was the missing link to fully automating its sales process. Since implementing a CPQ alongside a modern CRM, the company’s revenue has grown by 5-10% year over year and orders have increased.

Learnings: replacing manual spreadsheets with CPQ software can cumulatively increase revenue, but it also automates the entire sales process. Where Balanced Body was once stepping out of the automated sales cycle to manually create quotes—which is jarring—the process is now entirely streamlined, saving the team time and money.

Strongco Corporation enjoys total visibility into the sales cycle

It was a similar story for Strongco Corporation, a Canadian mobile equipment dealer in the manufacturing industry. The company has more than 600 employees spanning 27 branches. Pre-CPQ, the sales team manually created Excel cost sheets, which led to inconsistencies across branches.

“We wanted to enhance pipeline visibility for everyone in the sales chain,” says Anna Sgro, Vice President Multi-Line Division at Strongco.

As well as making customer quotes available to management and sales coordinators, Strongco needed to stay on top of machine warranties and expiration dates. Since integrating CPQ into its existing CRM, Strongco has consolidated its rules and pricing into a single, intelligent system. It no longer needs to maintain cumbersome spreadsheets.

“Having a centralized and updated configurator system reduces the risks of pricing/quoting errors. The integration gives everyone along the sales chain a forward view of the potential sales pipeline,” adds Srgo.

Learnings: integrating a CPQ with its CRM meant Strongco could provide consistent pricing information across its multiple branches and create total visibility across the sales cycle.

Decision-Making Time: Balancing CRM and CPQ in Your Business

Integrating CPQ and CRM in your business gives your sales team a digital catalog of products at their fingertips and built-in logic to guide them through an error-free quote generation process. While using existing customer data from the CRM, such as relevant touchpoints, past communications, and contact details, CPQ software helps reps to modify product offers to meet customer needs using intelligent sales techniques.

Strategically combining both software creates a seamless sales process without the need to piece together manual and automated tasks.

Do you need a CRM, CPQ, or both?

Insert quiz to help readers determine their needs.

Could include questions like:

  • Does sending quotes take longer than 10/20/30 minutes?
  • Does your sales team struggle to understand your entire product catalog?
  • Are there a lot of touchpoints in your sales cycle?
  • Is your sales team using Excel to quote?
  • Do you struggle to get total visibility into the sales cycle?

If you answered “yes” to three or more of these, you could benefit from a CRM and a CPQ.

5 Actionable Ways to Integrate Your CRM and CPQ

  1. Unified Data Management: consolidate data from disparate sources into one centralized dashboard. Combine information from your existing quoting tool and CRM to share relevant, complementary data points.
  2. Automated Workflow Creation: build automated and on-demand nurture sequences that take leads through the sales cycle. Incorporate CPQ into this process so sales teams can send personalized product information and pricing on autopilot.
  3. Customized Integration Solutions: work with a specialized implementation partner to ensure your CPQ and CRM work together effectively. You want data to travel seamlessly from one software to another.
  4. Cross-Training Teams: provide training and development opportunities to your sales teams so they can get up to speed on new sales processes. Most importantly, show them how to access your entire product catalog and modify quotes to meet customer needs.
  5. Continuous Monitoring and Optimization: keep a close eye on your CRM and CPQ integration so you can quickly identify any issues. Use sales data and performance metrics to understand what works and what doesn’t, and tweak the sale process accordingly.

Create Exceptional Customer Experiences

CRM is non-negotiable if you want to stand out in today’s competitive landscape. But creating an exceptional customer experience goes beyond managing, organizing, and communicating with customers in the right way. It’s also about delivering personalized sales cycles based on their individual needs—something that’s hard to do at scale. There are many benefits to integrating CRM and CPQ into your sales process. You can continue to nurture customers with personalized messaging as well as create quotes and pricing guides suited to their unique situations.

Strategically choosing the right tools for your business goals can dramatically reduce quoting time and the overall sales cycle, leading to more closed deals and increased customer satisfaction.