What is CPQ?

CPQ stands for Configure, Price and Quote

It’s an extension of your CRM that helps you sell faster by automating the sales process through to quoting.

Configure

Guiding sales reps to select the right product combinations based on client needs.

Price

Assigning the price of the products automatically, controlling discounts and rules, therefore ensuring the most optimised pricing is applied.

Quote

Automatically creating a branded quote with all the information and emailing it to the customer. 

Why consider CPQ?

If you’re using legacy systems that involve spreadsheets, waiting on pricing approvals or loss of revenue due to missed opportunities, then you can no longer afford to be complacent. 

Companies looking to adopt a subscription model will run into multiple problems with traditional quote configurators. Businesses must put the right tools in place to be able to work effectively with this new model. 

Managing configuration for customer success

Over the past few years, personalisation and curation have risen as significant consumer trends. With tiered pricing structures and tailored recommendations, subscription models can let consumers choose the level of service or products that meet their needs. 

In an offline environment, reps in a hurry to complete a deal can easily forget about product bundles or add-ons like premier support which would improve the profitability of the deal and increase customer satisfaction. With product configuration rules, these rules are suggested at the time of quoting to ensure they don’t get missed. 

For example, a car company pursuing subscription models would offer all-inclusive subscriptions, such as bundling roadside assistance, insurance and maintenance, all-in-one monthly payment, subsequently avoiding the need for the consumer to manage all the components through different vendors.

“Today’s customers demand more flexibility in how they buy and companies across all industries are responding by introducing new revenue models,” says Kylie Fuentes, Head of Product, Salesforce CPQ & Billing.   

Configuration rules can be set for individual products, such as setting minimum or maximum quantities, exclusion or dependency rules and pricing rules, such as volume discounts or tiered pricing. Fixing these in advance and centrally will avoid lengthy approval processes and ensure every quote created is 100% error-free. 

Quoting for a frictionless experience

Do you have different start dates or shipping locations? Salesforce CPQ has Advanced Order Management functionality to streamline and automate the order fulfilment process. In cloud software, you may have to quote license quantities with different start dates, which, as a result, can cause issues with Sales Ops who need to manage provisioning and Finance for revenue recognition. 

“Quoting for subscription products means that your tool has to support the concept of time and be able to help add on and coterminous quotes to align with existing contracts,” says Annie Wright, PML for Salesforce CPQ & Billing “And unlike traditional software models, those contracts also need to go through renewals—a critical step in the customer lifecycle.”

Consequently, Salesforce CPQ is purpose-built to handle recurring relationships.

Sales reps can easily select products of multiple revenue types in a single quote. They can build-out different deal structures and apply a discount to a specific line in the quote. Even changing the quantities over different periods to accommodate the needs of the customer is possible. If the customer has a particular budget, CPQ can calculate the discounts to reach that amount and can run this across several departments to move quickly. 

“Spending unnecessary time going back and forth on quotes can cause frustration with the buyer, and impact buyer confidence.”  

This process improves the customer buying experience and accelerates the overall sales cycle. Therefore, enabling your sales reps to focus their time and energy on selling. Not trying to figure out correct product combinations!

All in all, if you’re looking to deliver the best experience for your customers, speed up your sales process, reduce manual errors and increase revenue, then CPQ can help. Talk to one of our CPQ specialists to get started. 

The five benefits of CPQ

Before CPQ

  • Inaccurate pricing
  • Manual approval of discounts
  • Time wasted on inefficient processes
  • Inaccurate quotes
  • Lost revenue and inability to accurately forecast

After CPQ 

  • Accurate pricing
  • Automated approval of discounts
  • Streamlined process from sales and marketing
  • Accurate quotes
  • Increase in revenue and accurate forecasting


Why Quote to Cash is only half the journey

Disruptive technology is pushing organisations to explore their business processes and design end-to-end solutions that will automate and accelerate the flow of data across teams.

Business silos, disconnected apps, incomplete data and a lack of priority from the leadership team to address these issues is no longer an option for fast-moving, high-growth businesses.

Consumers are looking to buy what they need at a click of a button and expectations are high for the business to keep up or lose market share. According to Salesforce research, “70 percent of customers say that they expect connected experiences in which their preferences are known across touchpoints.”

Working towards a user-centric approach

To meet consumer expectations and deliver an exceptional customer experience, all business units from marketing to sales through to fulfilment and billing must come together. Creating one platform, end-to-end, that delivers one source of truth across the organisation.

The Lead to Ledger process focuses on the customer journey, in the moments that matter, from Lead generation to the general Ledger. Mapping transaction costs such as travel expenses and resource planning into the sales journey to give a more accurate view for all business units. Thus enabling the CFO to have access to real-time data and contextual intelligence and feeding back into the sales teams to sell faster and smarter. Quote to Cash brings together Configuring, Pricing, Quoting and Billing to manage business costs as well as sales opportunities. Legacy revenue management systems simply won’t cut it!

Leads: AI and marketing working together

AI in mar-tech is streamlining efforts for the marketing department, automating repetitive tasks, and handling complex workflows to drive results. Freeing up marketers to focus on the part of the job that requires the most humanity – engaging and serving customers.

Ninety-one percent of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that offer relevant information and recommendations. 80% are more likely to purchase from a brand that personalises their customer experience, and 72% only engage with targeted marketing messages.

Connecting marketing to sales

Harnessing the power of AI to highlight high scoring leads that can be alerted to sales, enables more responsiveness to customers’ needs and interests, through the right messaging, on the most appropriate channel. Generating valuable insights for sales to close the deal faster and smarter.

Without a connected system, salespeople can spend days tracking down customer data, contacting them on a whim without fully understanding the buyer intent.

When you have multiple configurable products, a client base with varying complexities, and salespeople or accountancy departments who are working across numerous orders. As well as operating different systems at the same time, there’s a huge risk of revenue leakage, and relationships with clients can be challenging. With artificial intelligence and good quality contact information, the sales teams can spend more time engaging and targeting the right opportunities.

Understanding the customer through effective engagement enables the sales team to gather information to recommend the right solution, whether it’s a product or a service.

The true cost of sale

Product catalogues are getting more complex as customer demands increase. Sales reps are entrusted to know all the product specifications, limitations, special offers and ‘deals of the day’ to keep up with the different customisations. If they get it wrong, the business pays a hefty price, not only in potential loss of revenue but also in reputation.

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) allows all the products, options, discounts and prices to be loaded in one system ready for quotes to be configured, priced and sent to the customer in minutes.

In order to close a sale, a sales executive may want to offer a larger discount or bundle products together to increase the overall package. With a unified system, the sales person will know the limits, ensuring the deal is profitable and can be delivered as promised. It also identifies opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell and offer alternatives based on the customer needs.

Streamlined automation

Providing quotes at speed, with confidence on delivery and accuracy on pricing, gives the business a competitive advantage and boosts reputation. The lack of bureaucracy empowers employees and speeds up the process. If a deal size is larger than sign-off, notifications can be activated automatically to ensure all parties are kept informed.

By collecting the relevant data to this point enables a contract to be automatically created, with all line items present as agreed and sent to the client/customer online. The fulfilment team have also got the information they need to arrange delivery. One platform, one source of truth, throughout the journey. But what about the costs?

Managing the bottom-line

Expense management and resource planning can have big cost centres and quite often, aren’t integrated prior to the contract creation. Resulting in revenue leakage, inaccurate reporting and miscalculated commission payments.

This isn’t the fault of the CFO, especially when working across legacy, disparate applications. CFO’s have large realms of data available to them as well as managing all the financial moving parts of the business. Wouldn’t it be powerful if they could put this data to best use to provide more accurate reports and insights?

How do I get started?

A starting point to managing marketing, sales, billing and finance in a more unified way, would be to invest in a discovery session with our technical consultants. Together, we can map out the best way forward.

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leads to ledger

It's time to unify the front and back office systems

As lots of businesses change their pricing models and move towards a Recurring Revenue Model in 2020, it’s more important than ever to get a handle on your key business metrics. Committed Monthly Recurring Revenue, Customer Churn, Customer Acquisition Cost, Customer Lifetime Value, Cash and Circle2Success to name a few!

Having worked in a start-up that experienced mega growth, I have undergone the pain of not having unified systems. Now it’s time the front and back office systems started talking…

 

The beginning of the cloud revolution

When the cloud systems took over, Salesforce led the way. Their fantastic CRM gave visibility into all sorts of business metrics and made it assessable. CEOs and CROs were able to view powerful dashboards showing bookings, leads, lead conversion and pipeline from any device with an internet connection. Service Cloud also gave great insights into the health of your customers.

 

But something was missing…

I had a vision that the Customer Account record should be a rich source of data, a one-stop-shop for a full view on that particular customer. But, with the lack of financial data (considered ‘back office’) alongside that generated by Salesforce, this wasn’t the case.

 

The solution

Enterprise Resource Planning integrates all your core business processes to offer a more complete view of your performance. Even better is having an ERP solution that seamlessly integrates with the Salesforce platform (or is native to the Salesforce platform). Then, you can truly bring together your front and back office systems to form a comprehensive understanding of your business and customers.

Imagine navigating to a customer record and being able to see all opportunities associated to the account, all cases raised by that customer, the value (ARR / MRR) that customer is worth, invoices outstanding, DSO for that customer. The data and analytics possibilities are endless from a company level right down to a customer level.

 

The power of the finance team

Using an ERP solution that is native to Salesforce (such as FinancialForce, Accounting Seed and ZumZum Financials) adds even more information to your Salesforce Accounts and Opportunities. This means the finance team can become true business partners, provide valuable insights back into the business and help make more valuable and informed decisions. As a result, you get a 360° view of not only your customers but your business too. Again, this data can be accessed from any device, meaning you can access your data from virtually anywhere!

 

What about Quote to Cash?

Applying a Quote to Cash system can offer faster sales cycles, as well as greater accuracy across contracts. However, trying to then integrate your Quote to Cash process with financial systems can have time and cost implications for businesses. The overriding question leaders ask, is it worth it?

 

Overcoming ‘pain points’ in your organisation

Having a digital strategy mapped to business processes creates sustainable growth. By unifying systems, data, employees and customers through lead to ledger leverages competitive advantage for mid-size and enterprise companies.

If you’re looking to future-proof the success of your company, implementing a technology solution that connects the customer journey is key and will enable these fundamentals: –

  1. Accelerated information processing across an integrated business network
  2. Increased automation to eliminate manual input and management of orders and invoices
  3. Improved task prioritisation based on value creation and need for exception handling
  4. Less complexity by providing complete, contextual information to speed up approvals
  5. One point of truth for all your sales and financial forecasting and reporting
  6. Smarter, agile collaboration that fosters intelligent cooperation, productivity and engagement
  7. Streamlined business and operational optimisation based on process flexibility, real-time analytics, and full-scale visibility

However you decide to unify your CRM and ERP, the benefits are undeniable.

 

Contact a member of the team to discuss the business benefits for your organisation.

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