8 Considerations when Selecting CPQ

If you are doing your research into CPQ software, let us offer you a few things to consider as you search for your Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) vendor.

In a nutshell, you want to remember a few main things. These items should be in the back of your mind as you evaluate each and every point of the checklist below:

– CPQ should streamline your process and help your team avoid mistakes.
– CPQ should take most of the manual effort (and tools) out of your process.
– CPQ should quickly and easily enhance your business, not add to your management burden.
With that in mind, here’s your CPQ checklist:

? It guides your team through your CPQ process
Look for CPQ that eliminates mistakes by guiding your team and giving them only the choices that matter—and are appropriate—to their current opportunity. As choices are made throughout the process, like choosing a particular add-on service or selecting specific terms and conditions, subsequent choices should be adjusted to reflect those previous choices.

It’s not just reps, however. CPQ should be for managers, finance, legal, services, and whomever else might be involved and should also be guided through the process. If certain selections require additional approvals, those approvers should be alerted and guided through the approval process. If an off-spec product combination is selected, maybe additional approvals are required. CPQ should take care of it all and guide everyone through to the end.

? It can manage your product mix and pricing rules, no matter how complex

Pricing is usually the most error-prone part of the CPQ process. Even if you have few line items and relatively simple pricing, those prices might change frequently, products and services are added and revised, customers negotiate preferred deals, and then there are rep discounts and volume discounts and promotional discounts. And let’s not forget subscription billing and other pricing schemes.

CPQ should give you the power to price confidently and correctly, even with complex offerings and rules. Manual calculations and uncontrolled price lists should be eliminated. Reps should be unable to offer discounts beyond their pre-approved levels, and approvals should be kicked off when they wish to exceed their levels. Preferred pricing and volume discounts should be automatically calculated. And your legal and finance teams should be completely comfortable knowing that their reviews and approvals are automatically inserted when needed.

? It takes Word and Excel out of the process
Uncontrolled and out-of-date Word documents and Excel spreadsheets cause problems. Either your team misses the pricing updates you emailed out last week, or they think the data sheet on their laptop is the most recent. It happens, and the solution is not to try to fix Word or Excel, it’s to eliminate them from the CPQ process.

CPQ should include enough capabilities to cover your entire process. When product information is included in a quote, CPQ should automatically insert it. Pricing should be automatically approved and discounted without requiring calculations. When a proposal is generated, it should be a PDF ready to send to your customer.

? It increases your upsells and renewal rates
CPQ should suggest upsell options during quoting and should automate the renewal process. CPQ should remind teams that, for example, service B sells well with product X as they’re creating their quotes. Upsell opportunities should be taken advantage of at every stage of the deal, and CPQ should be prompting you with the right offers.

On the back end of a contract, renewals should automatically appear in Salesforce and quotes should be created at the right time and based on the specifics of the customer’s deal. CPQ is about automation, and it shouldn’t force your team to remember to manually create renewal orders.

? It will be ready in weeks, not quarters
Let’s face it: months-long enterprise software implementations are a relic of the past. If you’re looking at a software solution that’s going to take quarters to get up and running, you should be up and running…for the door.

The promise of the cloud eliminates long, drawn out software implementations. CPQ should have nearly everything you need the moment you sign up, and it should have the flexibility to easily and quickly conform to your unique and specific needs. It shouldn’t require a team of consultants and developers to build it for you over the next few quarters.

? It scales for you, whether you’re the only sales rep or you have 10,000 reps across the globe
CPQ should be flexible and scalable enough to manage your process, no matter the size and complexity of your business today, or what you want it to become tomorrow. CPQ should be able to grow with you, should support more than just your sales team, and should work tightly with your existing systems and processes.

CPQ should work for your broader business, generating the needed audit trails and reports that finance, accounting, and legal might need for reporting and tax purposes. If you’re global (or want to be), it should be able to manage currencies and VAT. It should also handle the needs of your customers, from managing credit cards to handling partial payments and bounced checks.

CPQ should make things easier for your entire business.