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What is Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ)?

Configure, price, quote (CPQ) refers to the complex process of building and delivering cost estimates for complicated products. This process is often a major burden for sales reps – as the detail-oriented process can take up a significant chunk of their time. In fact, instead of fostering relationships with clients and making new contacts, sales reps spend an astounding 64% of their time on non-selling activities. Administrative responsibilities like quote-building is a huge contributor to the problem.

Consider, for example, your customers who purchase in bulk to get discounts. These are often offered on a sliding scale, depending on the ultimate final number of products purchased. Or, hosting services, which involve a myriad of complicated factors, such as storage, speed, and service levels. Even further, think of the stress cell phone provider sales reps go through – multiple numbers on each line, all with their own data, text, call, and hardware needs.

Companies facing these situations often seek ways to address the challenge of CPQ:

Configure

The first step of the CPQ sales process is to “assemble” the product and its parts for the buyer. When offerings include product bundles or products with multiple features, options, and/or rules, building the optimal product configuration can take significant time and attention to detail for your sales team.

For an Internet and cable provider, for example, this step identifies the speed of internet the consumer wants, which cable package they’d like if they want any extra channels (like an HBO add-on), and potential bundling discounts. What does the customer want, and how can you package it all up as efficiently as possible?

Price

Pricing out these product combinations and complicated requests are rarely as simple as dragging and dropping products into a spreadsheet and adding up the costs. Companies offering complex products with subscription pricing, discount schedules, usage-based pricing, and volume or bundle pricing have the complicated responsibility of delivering an accurate cost for their customers.

Sales reps often must remember a complicated set of pricing rules – bundling x and y results in a reduced price, a purchase of 10 x products comes a 20% discount, etc. It’s a lot to remember and cross-check before delivering to a client.

Quote

Then comes the quote delivery system. Without CPQ software, sales reps struggle to hold the attention of a customer during the first two steps. They often must build out the quote and reach out at a later time. What does this look like for leading businesses? They’re not merely dropping a number into an email and sending it off. Instead, they often have template quoting documents – which means manually copying and pasting things together.

Strategic CPQ software, on the other hand, takes all of these details and automatically drops them into a templated, branded document. Typically a professionally-formatted quote is ready minutes after speaking with a customer, instead of hours or days later.

Tiered rates, bundles, and variable options are great for custom offerings but put the burden of quotes on the sales representative. These team members spend valuable time going through these three steps to build these quotes instead of bringing in new customers, building customer relationships, and scaling the business. Worse yet, the customer often ends up frustrated and waiting for a custom quote.

Quote-to-Cash

Quote-to-Cash refers to the buying cycle from when the customer receives the quote to when they purchase the product and deliver payment. Most companies attempt to expedite this timeframe to gain customer loyalty, reduce buyer’s remorse, and improve their cashflow. CPQ software expedites this process by getting an accurate quote into the buyer’s hands faster.

A strategic and reliable quote to cash process allows your business to deliver a streamlined and branded sales experience and allows you to scale your sales without having to increase resources or team size.

CPQ Software – Putting it All Together

Increasing Productivity for Sales

If your sales team struggles with building complex quotes and worries they’re underserving customers with delayed quote times, we recommend you consider launching CPQ software to assist them in their efforts.

Eliminate Quote Errors

Humans, especially when in a hurry, make mistakes. When sales reps are racing to beat the competition, they miss a step or forget a key component of the quote. If you overquote, you risk losing the deal, but if you underquote, you’ll leave money on the table aka lost revenue.

Spark Growth and Scale Faster

With more of their processes automated, sales team have the free time to reach more customers and sell more product. A faster quote generation and delivery method allows your sales team to focus on other sales efforts – expand into new markets or channels or cross-sell to an existing customer pool.

Eliminate Silos in Your Quote to Cash Process

Configure price quote software also bridges teams that typically work in silos – reducing jams between marketing, sales, and finance – which benefits these internal teams plus the customer waiting for an accurate custom quote.

Choosing & Launching Your CPQ Software

As we’re a Salesforce partner with a depth of experience on that platform, we prefer to use Salesforce CPQ. The platform addresses not only the full CPQ process but the true quote to cash workflow – from quote configuration and development to invoicing. If you’d like to learn more about Salesforce CPQ and how our team can launch the tool for your team to hit the ground running, contact us today.

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