Five best practices for a successful CPQ software adoption — Retail Technology Innovation Hub

In recent years, Configure, Price, Quote software has rapidly gained traction among sales teams.

The foundation of this is based on the beneficial features offered by CPQ. However, despite its benefits, some customers report difficulty when using a CPQ software.

This difficulty centers on human error when becoming accustomed to using the new system. In order to resolve such issues, this article will explore the five best practices to consider when adopting CPQ.

What is CPQ software?

CPQ is most commonly adopted to aid the simplification of the quoting process, while simultaneously centralizing pricing information. At the software’s core is its time efficiency on behalf of sales teams across the B2B industry.

Extending beyond this are its other functions, such as the configuration of products and pricing rules in adherence with customer needs, and the automated management of discounts and promotions.

Encapsulating many similarities to CPQ software is CRM. In order to ensure that CPQ is the software needed by a business, it is important to understand how the two forms of automation work, and the difference in what they achieve.

What is the difference between CPQ and CRM?

CRM and CPQ software are two separate software. While CPQ is Configure, Price, Quote, CRM is Customer Relationship Management. Both essentially fulfill the same function, yet CRM caters to different elements within the sales cycle.

It is due to this similarity that many users opt to integrate their CRM and CPQ software.

The foundation of CRM is its collection of data from areas such as company websites and social media. This data is then used by businesses to target potential customers. Both softwares enhance employee productivity.

Our best practices for the adoption of a CPQ software:

1) Define clear objectives

Before implementing CPQ software, it is of utmost importance to know what you are aiming to achieve from it.

The main way to do this is by outlining specific objectives. Examples of this may include: decreasing the length of the sales cycle, increasing order value and deal sizes, ensuring a better ROI, and shortening the quote processing time.

When focusing on this stage, understanding what a successful integration of CPQ will look like for varying departments is significant. Without having knowledge of which issues need to be solved within the entirety of your organization, any existing problems will fail to cease.

Due to the functionality of CPQ software, the first department you may want to consider is the requirements of the sales team.

The benefits of defining objectives begin with the streamlining of CPQ providers. Knowing precisely what you require also means that if uncertain, the first stage of issuing a Request for Proposal is already complete.

Accompanying the fact that clear objectives inform the implementation process, they also outline which stakeholders will need to participate in the decision at specified stages.

Furthermore, considering such factors also establishes the KPIs of your company. This occurs as defining objectives consists of considering the factors which benefit your business as well as the factors which hinder it.

Alongside objectives, there are other elements of your company which you are urged to consider when adopting CPQ software. For example: major dependencies, an estimated timeline for implementation, and a projection of your desired cost.

2) Focus on what you need now and then plan for the future

When adopting new software, it’s important to begin by selecting a provider who adheres to your immediate needs. This is to ensure that your business can increase in quality, and that cross-departmental discrepancies are resolved.

Following this step also means that the current needs of your customers are catered to, thus demonstrating your proactive nature and maintaining them as clients.

Only after focusing on immediate requirements can you then consider what direction you want your company to pursue. Within this element are two questions.

What are your long-term goals, and what are the future logistics you would like to adopt/develop? This will prove to be of great value in selecting a software provider based on their ability to aid growth and adaptation.

The advice offered above coincides with out next point:

3) Keep scalability in mind

The solution you choose must be able to scale alongside the growth of your organization. Scalability can be measured in two ways:

1.) The ability of a software’s capacity to augment in relation to increasing demand.

2.) The software’s ability to operate at the desired size, both in current and future scenarios, without malfunction.

Harking back to the point stated previously, the ability to operate in the company’s current scenario is the most important. Considering the future abilities of the software is merely a way of avoiding a change in software providers, thus saving time.

4) Don’t over-customise or even don’t customize at all

Although the sound of an entirely customized software may seem appealing, the concept has its flaws.

For example, the more complex you customize your software, the longer it will take for it to be implemented. Furthermore, the system will be increasingly difficult to maintain and adopt, which may be a point of frustration among your team.

It is due to this that you should only customize if absolutely necessary. For example, if your specified aim is to shorten the length of the approvals process/cycle, then you may want to consider implementing features which automate approval chains.

However, it is useful to keep in mind that customizing your CPQ is not a requirement, and you can greatly benefit from the software without doing so.

5) Make sure your team gets proper training

Finally, yet importantly, is ensuring that you provide software training to your team. It is more beneficial to over-invest in training rather than under-invest. This is because in order to optimize your usage of the software’s tools and advantages, teams need to understand its functioning.

Conclusion

To summarize, CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote. The software has similarities to CRM, yet they differ regarding the elements of the sales cycle that they cater to.

The two main practices you must adopt for a successful CPQ implementation are defining your principal objectives and providing training to your team. Other significant points of consideration center on scalability and restricted customisation

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