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  • Writer's pictureColby Kamin

The Benefits of Salesforce CPQ

A CPQ—that is, Configure, Price, & Quote—application is one principally designed to automate the process of generating a customer-facing proposal (i.e. the Q). To produce that document, the system first aids in selecting and configuring appropriate products (the C) and applying pricing logic (the P).

Those are the basics.

So, why bother implementing one? What can these applications do for me that much simpler, less-expensive solutions can't adequately address?

Even among those familiar with CPQ applications, it's a common question!

CPQ is multifaceted and can’t be fully understood by its three-letter acronym. As the origin point of your sales data, CPQ becomes the foundation of your entire customer lifecycle.

It will automate:

  • management of your opportunities

  • separate pricing you offer customers by region, channel, or currency

  • discounts you apply for high volume purchases

  • creation of order data required by your billing system

  • tracking of products purchased by each customer for use by your service reps.

CPQ Benefits

There are some common threads among those looking to make the jump to a CPQ tool for the first time, or to a better and more capable CPQ tool from the budget or homegrown variety.

In my experience, these are six of the most common benefits companies are seeking:

  • Quote faster and more accurately, even by reps with little or no training

  • Take full advantage of upgrade, add-on, and renewal opportunities

  • Create a scalable foundation that can adapt to growth and changing priorities

  • Standardize products, pricing, and selling motions

  • Automate the handoff of data to downstream systems for commissions, fulfillment, billing, or revenue recognition

  • Give management more granular visibility into sales performance, forecasting, and subscription KPIs

You can achieve all these results—and then some—for your business if you choose the right CPQ application and you take the right approach to implementation. And that starts with ensuring the tool you choose is best in class and native to the Salesforce platform—where you already store all your customer data. It starts with Salesforce CPQ.

Speed matters. So many things are a function of speed. Can you beat your competitors to the punch when a deal hinges on the customer’s urgency? How many employees do you need in order to produce the volume of quotes that is required to achieve your revenue goals? How much of a rep’s valuable time will be wasted on administrative time-suck activities instead of relationship building?

Every CPQ feature is geared toward streamlining and automating processes that slow down reps, from product selection to pricing to document generation.

Imagine cutting down the time per proposal from thirty minutes or an hour down to less than five. These sorts of results are easily achievable with the right implementation of Salesforce CPQ.

And it won’t continue to take weeks of technical or product training for your newly-hired reps to ramp up—instead, selection, constraint, validation, and pricing logic guide users to the right answer every single time.

Take full advantage of upgrade, add-on, and renewal opportunities

Be honest. Do you think all of your reps know what products to offer your existing customers to boost margins and ACV? Do they understand what products are related and what business cases each might address? Some might, but you know you’re leaving money on the table day after day. You can solve this by establishing product relationships, utilizing a customer’s prior purchases to enforce or recommend new products, and automatically generating renewal and amendment opportunities. Let Salesforce CPQ push—don’t force your reps to pull.

Create a scalable foundation that can adapt to growth and changing priorities

Your business isn’t static, and the tool you use to enable your sales operations shouldn’t be either. Salesforce CPQ, while not designed to fit every use case, is flexible enough to handle a very broad range. Even beyond the initial implementation, you need a tool that will absorb your next acquisition and introduce your next new product line with relative ease. There’s no need to maintain separate tools for separate entities or business units. Salesforce CPQ’s data model allows for complex and varied product and pricing structures to live and thrive side-by-side.

Standardize products, pricing, and selling motions

Allowing sales reps substantial flexibility in how they sell and price products can cause a lot of headaches. Even with—conceptually—a very small product catalog, it can make it hard to understand what you sell. Training also becomes difficult. Even if you can document a best practice, there probably isn’t enough reinforcement to see it take hold. Setting expectations becomes subjective. Channel partners find it more difficult to support you. Your systems become disjointed. Everything is a mess, and the loss of a few key individuals with institutional knowledge becomes an outsized risk to the continuity of your business.

By establishing your master data source and by codifying your pricing calculations and business logic, Salesforce CPQ will help ensure that you have a well-defined product catalog, standardized pricing, and documentable, repeatable processes that enforce important guardrails. This is one case where technology will force you to improve your business operations, and every team from marketing to finance to legal will benefit as a result.

Automate the handoff of data to downstream systems for commissions, fulfillment, billing, or revenue recognition

Nothing wastes time or kills productivity like unnecessary or duplicative manual data entry. With your quoting tool now baked into your existing CRM, the same invaluable 1st and 3rd-party applications from the AppExchange—think DocuSign and Salesforce Billing—and powerful Salesforce APIs enable you to glide from lead to cash. Even after the payment is received, data produced by the Salesforce CPQ application provides service reps easy insight into the products owned by your customer. A single source of truth and a unified end-to-end process offer a powerful competitive advantage.

Give management more granular visibility into sales performance, forecasting, and subscription KPIs

Salesforce CPQ unquestionably makes life easier on your reps. But there are also numerous advantages for management. It’s incredible how much information you can glean using standard Salesforce reports and dashboards with Salesforce CPQ data—and a good deal more when paired with Einstein analytics. Think common subscription performance indicators like ACV and churn or granular feedback on customer responsiveness to different pricing strategies.

What you come up with is mostly limited by imagination—the data is all there. You can forecast with incredible accuracy, taking into account uplifts, renewal-specific pricing, quantity ramps, contracted prices, and anything else that makes it otherwise difficult to project the true value of deals many months or even years in the future.

To learn more about how Salesforce CPQ can help your business sell smarter and faster, contact us today.


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