A sales team spends about 64% of their time, on average, on non-selling activities, such as building quotes, identifying pricing, and securing approvals; valuable time they could put to better use pursuing customers. The last thing the marketing and sales team can afford, when in the middle of a cut-throat battle with competition, is being dragged down by internal silos or blocks.
Enterprises hoping to compete require highly robust systems, fine-tuned for seamless sync with other enterprise systems. A robust and seamless CPQ system (configure-price-quote) is essential in more ways than one. However, the wrong tool or systems can do more harm than good. In fact, nearly six out of every ten sales executive feel they are saddled with too many tools.
Why CPQ Automation is critical?
In an archaic CPQ model, sales rep work out of Excel sheets and Post-it notes, and are always improvising. There are no standardized forms or formats, with customers receiving quotes in emails, Word docs, Excel sheets, or anything else the sales rep fancies. As the business grows, and more customer quote requests pour in, sales reps invariably find themselves harried, and always in a firefighting mode. Manual processes accentuate the risk of errors, causing much embarrassment, and leading to overall poor brand experience and lost sales.
Several CPQ processes – product configuration, price catalogues, enforcing discounting rules, integration with ERP to manage inventory, managing renewal cycles – are ripe for automation. In fact, automation of such basic features is an indication of the CPQ maturity of the enterprise.
Such an automated CPQ model, which delivers timely and accurate quotes to the customer, enables the sales teams to close deals faster, with minimal effort. There is the incidental benefit of improving all round efficiencies, especially in accounts receivables.
About 83% of all enterprises use Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) apps today, with 81% of them using the tools to identify new sales leads, and about 80% of them using these tools to generate proposals.
Advanced CPQ Management – the logical next step
Large enterprises with differential pricing, tiered discounts, multi-industry, and multi-country target markets require a complex CPQ model. Salesforce CPQ comes to the rescue, offering unmatched flexibility, and enabling the sales team to deliver highly customized quotes. This is how:
- Salesforce CPQ enables configuring quotes in the required permutation and combination, applying multiple discounting rules, tier and volume discounts, discount levels depending on the product or sales rep level, bundling products, and more. The highly accurate quotes, as a result, leads to direct customer satisfaction, improved efficiency, and accelerated sales pipeline. Customers need not get back for clarifications or follow-up, and sales teams do not have to spend more time than necessary, scrambling to get the required information.
- Seamless integration with existing ERP systems: The robust architecture of Salesforce CPQ facilitates easy integration with the existing ERP systems. A series of pre-built integrations with major ERP systems, and the ready availability of a comprehensive set of APIs for ERPs with no pre-built integrations available, make integration smooth. Such seamless sync makes inventory management smooth, along with the CPQ process. Without such sync, it would be difficult to update the inventory in real time, leading to an embarrassing and even legally damaging situation when the sales team processes an order, only to find there is no product to fulfil the order.
- The seamless sync with ERP systems also preserves the integration of the enterprise financials. The highly efficient and accurate CPQ, by improving the sales effectiveness, has a positive bearing on the revenue pipelines. Without a CPQ, enterprises waste time recommending incomplete, inaccurate, and irrelevant products, and when sales do take place, lag in account receivables, often under-quoting or delaying collections.
- Salesforce CPQ facilitates a high level of automation, even for complex tasks. For instance, when it comes to subscription revenue based model, the system realizes the time frame from opportunity start date, calculates the renewal date, and generates a renewal opportunity, all automatically. This has a transformative effect on boosting sales, and accelerating the workflow in its wake.
- Salesforce CPQ ensures seamless sync and integrationwith partner portals, especially the price books. With such sync, each channel partner gets the pricing they expect, automatically, without any manual intervention. Resellers and distributors may create quotes directly in the CRM system, offering enterprises real-time visibility into channel revenue. The net result is smooth, seamless and highly efficient operations. The converse is an ecosystem in a state of continuous chaos, with sales personnel and channel partners stressed out, exchanging emails trying to update things at both ends, confusions, clarifications, and even disputes based on failed promises and false expectations.
- An added advantage of Salesforce CPQ is its cloud-based nature, which offers improved visibility across the sales process,accessible from anywhere. Without cloud-based anytime, anywhere delivery, geographically dispersed sales teams would inevitably find themselves shooting in the dark, deprived of real-time information when they require it the most.
- Packaging complexities and compliance issuesare two critical areas that stump most sales team. Expecting sales executives to look up multiple systems and spreadsheets, to deliver the right configuration, is a sure recipe for disaster. Salesforce CPQ resolves such issues admiringly well, automating wherever possible.
A solid CPQ model makes it easy to identify where the sales team stands, take coherent steps for automating the process, and push sales activities to the next level. Salesforce CPQ is a key enabler in this endeavor.
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