I got into technical training, and CPQ training in particular, because it helps our customers on many different levels. Training is truly an extension of customer service. The better we can enable our customers, the easier their projects are, and the happier they are after they go live.
Here at Salesforce, we play close attention to our customer’s product deployments. All of the successful and challenged implementations throughout the years have informed our current approach. We’ve learned why projects fail and we’ve built that knowledge back into our processes, so we can work towards providing our customers with the best implementation experience possible each and every time. Striving to prepare our customers for successful projects, we’ve collected a list of things to think about pre-project kickoff!
One of the biggest steps in preparing for success with CPQ is pre-thinking about what you want the solution to do and what you want it to look like. There’s no need to get overly technical, but as a functional exercise you should start brainstorming about the requirements for your project and your quote template. If you already have an idea of what your goal is, you will save effort, money, and time for everyone involved in the project.
Believe it or not, the quote template itself will give you a good indication of what will be required for your CPQ project.
(Example quote template pictured above.)
Start by thinking about what a proposal should look like. What do you want your customer to see before they sign? How do you want to present your products—by individual SKU or with bundles? Do you want to include an order form? This will lead you into considering options for pricing, imaging, and branding, as well as how your products are configured.
After that, you can create a mockup of your quote template. Considering the following points:
Simple vs. dense order forms
Static vs. dynamic quoting (based on products, pricing thresholds, etc.)
Multi-language and multi-currency support
This will inform your implementation team of your needs: bundles, pricing and discounting strategies, approvals, and how dynamic your quote terms need to be. If you aren’t sure what you want on your quote template, attend CPQ training first so you can familiarize yourself with the possibilities.
Each capability you add might require a higher level of effort. You might be able to implement CPQ on your own after our training class, or you might end up needing business consultation to get there. You won’t know until you get a sense of how complex your project will be.
Your quote template and approval matrix aren’t hard to implement, but figuring out what they will look like can be a lot of work on the business side.
A trained CPQ resource from your company will have a quantifiable measure for the success of your project after they go to one of our classes and see your mock up. It will shed light on how much effort the project will take and how many dynamic quote terms you will need. From there, you can extract out how much work is required, depending on how complex the project will be.
Even if you knew everything there is to know about CPQ, you would still need to know how to approach the project in order to be successful. Once your admin has attended training and found out the core capabilities of our software, it often makes sense to bring in a System Integrator partner to marshall business requirements to get to your desired end. That’s what partners are built for!
This pre work that we do up front when we implement CPQ is the same work that we teach our partners to do, so they can be enabled in the ecosystem to be just as effective as we are when it comes to implementations. Project managers from our team as well as our partners will have a checklist for what they want to talk about before starting a project. They’ll want to settle on the big bullets before anything else in order trip up any landmines early on.
Personally, I’ve had the privilege of working on CPQ implementations in a variety of contexts. One thing is consistent: you have to work backwards from your end deliverable in order to have a successful project. When you get into an implementation, having a sample quote template as an end goal that you’re building towards goes a long way. Projects fail because of missed expectations. Before you start your project, put on paper what the phases will look like and what they will include, with boundaries around what will be delivered. This may sound simple, but it can be hard to do this right. In order for your scope to be accurate and precise, you as the customer needs to be involved in the process. Implementation partners also know that you can’t have long term success if you aren’t trained up, and they will work to enable you so that by the end of the project you should be able to stand up your own bundle and do necessary maintenance on pricing and quote templates. All you have to do is get organized so your project team has direction. Start at the quote template, it guides almost everything else.
Need a refresher on how CPQ can help build your business? Check out our new e-book.