Product configurators are used by organizations to customize the look of products or to select the features and variants. The need for this capability is increasing and being demanded in B2B businesses, especially by manufacturing companies.
Developing a capability to configure, price and quote for every custom order is definitely a need of the hour, and this requires manufacturers to adopt a robust CPQ solution that solves the exact purpose of keeping business processes efficient while enhancing guided selling for customers. A CPQ system makes it easy for customers to specify their needs and for the manufacturer to quickly provide them with accurate quotes.
A CPQ system can accomplish the following:
- Give sales reps the ability to create multiple quotes with incredible efficiency and speed.
- Seamlessly track the proposal through its lifecycle.
- Allow reps to identify customer needs and fast-track the proposal stage.
- Take the guesswork out of special pricing, terms, and discounts.
Is CPQ Solution Fit for Me?
For businesses, whose products require complex configuration, complex and huge sales documentation, CPQ will be beneficial. Same, but different – These products have different design configurations, but the overall design is likely the same. The tool is extremely helpful to manufacturing companies who are working on improving mass customization strategies.
CPQ is fit for a business if :
- Sales teams are losing contracts from the inability to generate accurate quotes at the right time.
- The lead time is too long and analysts are occupied doing repetitive design tasks.
- The dealer network is widespread or has a mobile sales team.
- New product launch is hindered due to more time spent in designing standard product offerings.
How To Evaluate a CPQ System?
How to evaluate a CPQ system? Which CPQ system is a good fit? How to choose the right CPQ tool? Currently, there are three main CPQ tools on the market – The Oracle CPQ Cloud (formerly BigMachines), Apttus and Salesforce Quote-to-Cash (formerly Steelbrick). While these technologies serve similar functions, they each have different strong points.
Few points to consider:
Customizability: Products have constraint rules, recommended items rules, recommendations rules, pricing rules, hiding rules. There are complex configuration rules that are well thought out and versatile. While it can take a bit longer to set up configuration process and product catalog, it should have much more flexibility in both areas.
Ease of Implementation: It is easy to implement and map products and processes. It should be compatible with process operations, workflows, and rules, otherwise it can take a while and can be tedious to implement CPQ.
Effective Document Generation: Timely proposal generation improves the response times in quotes involving large configurations. CPQ tool should make it easy for sales reps or users to configure and price products, followed by contract generation and finalization. This is the final and most important step in closing a deal. Document generation is made simple because we can create multiple pages, tables, language snippets, images, each with the ability to add conditions. In this area, Oracle CPQ Cloud is superior whereas Apttus allows its plug-in that allows using Word. SteelBrick seems to have simple and intuitive document generation. Basically, sales teams can generate a document with a few clicks.
Maturity and strength of the software/ vendor: Has the software company been in enterprise software business for a long time? Is it well respected in the community? Are they able to figure out strengths and weaknesses which are most important for a business? Is the knowledge base there to improve your system?
Integration capability: Before finalizing CPQ solution, examine existing application, infrastructure, and technical aspects. It is also important to evaluate if the software is native to CRM technology. Does it integrate well with current systems? If there is a problem in implementation, will it affect the ongoing operations?
User-friendliness: Is it easy for sales reps to learn and use? This should be the first and foremost factor to be considered.
Implementing a CPQ solution will consume time, involves proper planning and engineering experience, to ensure the solution provides the needed benefits. Implementation can be handled by in-house IT teams or by an expert team from authorized service partners, who can assist in capturing the product knowledge, establish standard rules, automate the requirements. Our team at ADVANZ101 has been helping companies to implement Apttus and Salesforce Steelbrick CPQ solutions to gain the significant competitive edge over their competitors. Reach out to us to discuss your business goals and help in making your CPQ implementation a grand success.