With CPQ solutions for workflow-based preparation of offers
Such problems are typical for the unsupported creation of complex offers. This is no surprise – with the Excel-based product and price lists that are still often used, the challenges in modern retail can no longer be mastered for a long time.
So-called CPQ applications, the abbreviation stands for “Configure, Price and Quote”, offer themselves as a solution. Essential functions of such systems include the workflow-based offer creation, the selection and configuration of the products to a total solution, the pricing including customer-specific discounts as well as options for up- and cross-selling offers.
CPQ solutions thus accelerate the creation and negotiation of complex offers – which is why they are also seen as a turbo for the “quote-to-cash” process. But what must be considered so that the introduction of a CPQ solution is a success? The following recommendations for action point the way:
1. Form an interdisciplinary team
One of the most important recommendations right from the start: put together a team of employees from all relevant departments.
In addition to sales, this team should also include, for example, product management and the finance and legal departments. Ultimately, it is important to consider the requirements of all departments involved in the processing of orders.
2. Analyze your processes
Take a look at the company-wide processes that have so far played a role in the preparation of offers: What has proven its worth? What has always led to frictional losses? In this way, you can incorporate the needs of everyone involved into the configuration of your CPQ solution.
3. Understand your CPQ as a “single point of truth”
Understand your CPQ system as the central point for sales-relevant product and price information. Find out where all this data has been stored so far so that you can then summarize it in the CPQ.
Provide all information about the products that is important for sales: What are the standard configurations? Which products go with it? And which products are dependent on others?
In addition, store historical data for each customer, which can be useful for sales when creating future offers.
4. Think about upstream and downstream processes
A CPQ solution is not an isolated solution. The leads are typically qualified in the CRM system and developed until an offer is requested. After the offer has been accepted, the contract will be executed. A Contract Lifecycle Management System (CLM) not only optimizes the management of existing agreements, but also speeds up and makes the creation of future contracts more secure. You can achieve maximum efficiency by integrating the CPQ application with both CRM and CLM.
5. Define the success criteria of the CPQ
Establish the criteria by which you want to measure the success of your CPQ initiative. This could be, for example, the time from the request to the dispatch of the offer, the ratio of the time expenditure to the value of the offer, the development of the rate of incorrect offers or orders and any improvements in cash flow.
Sales employees want and should primarily hold discussions with customers in order to generate additional sales. In comparison, the creation of offers is more of an administrative act. Correctly implemented are CPQ systems for the “single point of truth” for sales-relevant product and price information as well as for the customer-specific sales history. They minimize the time required, increase the security of the preparation of offers and help to raise sales potential.
Also read: Digitizing Business Deals with Pros Smart CPQ