While many companies don’t have CPQ software yet, those that do are seeing impressive positive results in time, deal size, quote accuracy, and sales processes.
CPQ reduces wasted time.
In order for sales organizations to be profitable, they need to work smarter and more efficiently. A way to do so would be to take a look at lean manufacturing principles, such as eliminating waste in the production process and applying it to sales tactics. Robert J. Pryor recognized this new-era selling mindset in his book, Lean Selling: Slash Your Sales Cycle and Drive Profitable, Predictable Revenue Growth by Giving Buyers What They Really Want, Pryor describes the changing landscape of sales and the need to streamline the sales process.
Pryor admits there are several “gaps in thinking” that make it hard to compare manufacturing processes (which take place without the customer) to selling processes (which must be customer-centric.) However, he maintains that the comparison can be made and that lean principles will improve sales efficiency.
Simplifying important processes like submitting proposals are essential to making sales processes lean. Because Salesforce CPQ is integrated with Salesforce CRM, the information sales teams need is available on their mobile devices. The process of delivering quotes becomes a lean, efficient activity. “Spending time developing or providing the wrong product or service is a tremendously wasteful use of time and resources,” Pryor explains. “It is not a good way to become a trusted supplier.” Clear communication from the outset of the buyer/seller relationship will avoid offering the wrong solution or product, says Pryor. CPQ software can be implemented to ensure available options are discussed with the buyer.
After all, the new sales relationship should be focused on delivering value to the customer. Unnecessary activity is a crime against lean selling. Every contact with the buyer should add value. That means that the traditional call or email to ‘check in’ with the buyer is an absolute no-no in Pryor’s book. Instead, call the customer with new insights into their company’s challenges, share answers the customer has requested, or give information about pricing or configuration
Using CPQ as a Subject Matter Expert identifies specializations, add-ons, and options to increase deal size.
Part of delivering value to the customer is in consulting with them to solve their problems. Every sale should be led by a Subject Matter Expert (SME), a guru in their field with the knowledge to solve problems and awareness of which solutions will be most efficient to implement. To increase sales, Ian Altman suggests coming up with a list of potential and current clients who might be facing a problem your SME has experience. “Then,” suggests Altman, “task [the SME] with speaking to a small number of those clients to see how common those problems are, and how they are currently solving them.”
Though SMEs are an invaluable asset to every sales call, they aren’t in most sales managers’ budgets. Jim Dickie of CSO Insights lists the SME-level expertise a customized CPQ application could provide for your customers:
Ask the right questions and provide a comprehensive needs analysis
Understand the opportunities to maximize the deal size through cross-selling and upselling
Identify the features that set you apart from your competition
Determine the expected ROI, thus minimizing discounting
Address any questions or objections
Record what happened during the sales call
While most salespeople are well-versed in their industry, but many don’t have technical insights into more complex products or the supply chain side of the company. CPQ becomes a viable option in the absence of having an SME on every sales call. Because your products’ specifications and options are programed directly into the CPQ software, your customer gets the advantage of SME expertise. CPQ Salesforce helps salespeople ask the right questions in order to offer specializations, add-ons, or complex configurations. The results are bigger deals.
CPQ increases sales by providing accurate quotes.
Spending time going back and forth on configurations and quotes because information is missing wastes both the sales person’s and the buyer’s time, indirectly decreasing confidence in the company. As Pryor maintains, unnecessary waiting time is a barrier to the lean sales process. process. If your sales force has to manually research and write each quote, they are spending their time needlessly.
Don’t risk a deal becoming weaker because your sales reps can’t configure the right prices for the customers’ needs. CPQ apps can anticipate any possible scenario in pricing and streamline the quoting process. For example, Salesforce CPQ user Dexter + Chaney showed a 30% higher quote accuracy after adoption. The more accurate and efficient the proposed configuration and quote, the more of a trusted partner your organization will become.
CPQ speeds up the process.
A quicker sales process is key to the new landscape of selling. Pryor commiserates with sales people who think they’ve landed the deal only to realize unforeseen circumstances will stall or even kill it. Sales people may realize, says Pryor, that the planned budget is no longer available, requirements have changed, reorganization is imminent, or the decision maker has left the company.
CPQ speeds up selling processes, leaving less time for Murphy’s Law to permeate the deal. Salesforce CPQ users have noticed a faster sales process. For instance, Domino Printing Sciences reports an 80% faster quote delivery and Nimble Storage marks a 34% increase in approval time. Cloudera’s quoting process is 3 times faster than before CPQ implementation. By speeding up the sales process, CPQ applications help sales organizations to reduce wasted time and protect more deals from stalling in the sales pipeline.
Adding CPQ to CRM increases profitability.
To ensure a smooth deployment of Salesforce CPQ, IT and SMEs should oversee the customization of the rules and options for configuring. Once deployed, CPQ should be implemented with plenty of training and support for the sales staff, who will learn to use CPQ for upselling and cross-selling. Implemented correctly, CPQ will help sales save time, increase quote accuracy, and land bigger deals.
CPQ isn’t just a sales solution and CPQ isn’t “a back office solution,” but a means for the entire company to streamline bulky sales processes into lean, productive systems. Adding Salesforce CPQ to existing Salesforce services defines sales as a process and helps teams focus on maximizing time and resources, making the sales process efficient and lean.