Finding the Right CPQ Solution by Asking the Right Questions
Manufacturers understand the importance and value of a CPQ solution. The challenge is finding a CPQ solution that will meet their needs. With hundreds, possibly thousands, of products offering complex configurations, detailed catalogs, and the need for quick and accurate quotes, they know that only a high-caliber CPQ solution will add real value to their B2B operations.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers will make a quick decision, going with a solution based on big-name recognition and long history. However, name recognition and history aren’t always better and often result in unhappy and frustrated B2B sales teams wrestling with a system that decreases in value and efficiency — while increasing in costs and resources.
For a manufacturer, the whole purpose of a CPQ solution is to streamline and make processes more efficient to aid in sales growth, expand sales enablement, and open new revenue streams. Because the needs of a manufacturer’s CPQ are sophisticated and definitive, manufacturers must focus on whether or not its implementation will result in real measurable value. The right CPQ should have the depth of functionality that will alleviate every single pain point your enterprise sales team is experiencing.
A proof-of-concept (POC) is the best way a solution can be tested based on a B2B’s use cases. A POC will be able to tell you if this solution will meet the demands of your real-life scenarios. However, in order for a POC to be successful, take the time to make sure you discuss and outline the specific needs and benefits you’re most concerned with. These discussions and preliminary planning with your vendor are invaluable.
Your CPQ solution must integrate seamlessly with other types of software, because it needs to communicate with your entire system across all teams, operations, etc… Problems that arise due to bad integration must be avoided. Integration should never involve guesswork and hopefulness. Consider all your platforms and really dig into whether seamless integration is possible.
Important Questions to Ask When Vetting CPQ Solutions
1. Does the CPQ solution integrate with your required existing platforms, such as a CRM system or ERP?
Your CPQ must be able to evolve at the rate of your business and needs. You may want to consider an agnostic CPQ solution so you can avoid being tethered to one monolithic mega-vendor system that offers very limited flexibility and value in return. Costly customization, slow and difficult integration will surely surface as well.
2. Can the solution support and service complex configuration requirements?
Many manufacturers sell products that require numerous configurations. A solution with a system that has constraint-based configuration and specific scripts will not meet the customization needs of your customers. Instead, look for behavior-based solutions.
3. Can the CPQ system support the sales process across all sales channels?
Manufacturers use multiple sales channels such as direct sales, partners, and vendors. Your CPQ solution needs to provide the same experience across all channels — your customers expect this.
4. Does the solution enable B2B ecommerce with a user-friendly interface similar to B2C solutions?
While B2B ecommerce is inherently more complex than the typical B2C buying journey, business buyers still want the B2C experience and ease. A robust CPQ solution will feature intuitive interfaces and dashboards, making navigation from discovery to purchase easy.
5. Does the CPQ solution offer guided buying and selling?
Data-driven insights from past transactions and customer data help in developing the best possible product to fit the needs of your customer and guide them towards a purchase. With those sales being completely seamless, your sales team can focus on larger and more lucrative deals.
6. Can the CPQ solution be global?
If you’re a global manufacturer or hoping to expand internationally, you’ll need to know how the CPQ application manages foreign currencies, languages, and localized product and service catalogs.
Manufacturing is competitive and buyers will make purchase decisions based on the ease of doing business, price, and customer experience. The right CPQ should simplify the often complex B2B buying experience by offering quick, accurate, and properly configured price quotes.