In 2019, Amazon surpassed Google and Apple to become the world’s most valuable brand. Now at 280.5 billion in revenue, Amazon is leading the market. But it’s still quicker to pick something up at the mall. Why do an increasing number of people choose Amazon?
For starters, Amazon is simple to use and more convenient. Plus, they make it easier to find what you want, read product information, see prices, and order it conveniently from your computer, tablet, or phone. So, why not use some of their strategies in your manufacturing firm? It’s possible. But if your products are complex and configurable, you solve that problem first. A solution for this is Configure, Price, Quote software, known as CPQ.
5 Tips for Evaluating CPQ Software
Getting results similar to Amazon’s sounds like a wonderful idea. But CPQ software is not the right fit for every manufacturer. A smart CEO would ask some tough questions before adding it to their wheelhouse. Here are five ways to examine whether CPQ software should be part of your technology roadmap.
Why should I care about CPQ?
What happens if I wait to adopt?
What are my competitors doing?
Can we build it ourselves?
Why Should I Care About CPQ?
Consider what would happen if you lost a key sales leader in your organization like your VP of Sales. It could be a crushing blow. If you had CPQ, your salespeople could almost manage themselves while delivering quotes 70% faster with accurate pricing and discounts. You’d have done your job as CEO.
CPQ would also eliminate your need for spreadsheet pricing. Excel may get the quote done, but it gives you limited visibility over your pipeline and causes errors because sellers may not be using the most up-to-date spreadsheet. Instead, CPQ would give you real-time information about sales activities, opportunities, quotes, and upcoming orders. And you’d be able to roll out price changes instantly across your sales channels.
What Happens if We Wait to Adopt?
Configuration engines used in CPQ software originated from AI experiments back in the 1960s. Why adopt it now? One reason is that sales quoting is fast becoming a competitive advantage separating the winners from the losers.
True, pricing spreadsheets may solve your immediate needs. But you may also end up duplicating your efforts, resulting in higher costs down the road. Adopting CPQ could give your customers a seamless omnichannel experience. Wait too long and you might fall so far behind the curve you can’t catch up.
What Are Our Competitors Doing?
Whether you like it, CPQ software is becoming an essential tool for many firms. Gartner reported that in 2018 the CPQ market grew by 12.4% to an estimated $1.2 billion. Some of your competitors probably already made the switch.
Once implemented, CPQ lets your channel partners gain a competitive advantage because they can quote faster to meet customer demands. You can build stronger relationships while optimizing your resources. It’s the ultimate tool for increasing customer satisfaction, tracking performance and reaching your goals.
Your choice of technology has implications. You must know how CPQ will impact your entire sales team. The right CPQ software can enable you to interact with your data.
Your VP of Sales can create sales forecasts with greater accuracy in less time. Sales Managers can onboard and ramp up salespeople better. Customer service will be able to work with sales reps on quotes and orders faster and easier. Further, engineering and IT can play a key role in improving your customer experience. They’ll be able to review, adjust and approve quotes to decrease turnaround time.
Can’t We Just Do It Ourselves?
Doing it yourself is a route many companies try. Often, salespeople get frustrated with the current quoting process and create their own spreadsheet. They waste several hundred hours adding capabilities to the spreadsheet until they need advanced features like reporting and forecasting across the channel. That is where spreadsheets really fail.
Or the busy IT department is asked to develop an in-house solution. Most of these solutions have time and cost overruns, were not designed properly, and they can’t meet all the demands of the sales teams.
At that point, you may realize you’ve wasted time and effort you can’t get back. While in-house solutions may work in the beginning, most firms end up replacing them with a professional CPQ solution in the long run.
CPQ Software: Your Bridge to a More Profitable Future
A technology roadmap should reduce your costs while increasing results. But the systems you select must also serve as a bridge to the future. Done right, CPQ software can fill this role. It can improve your leadership by streamlining sales quoting and create a collaborative selling environment where everyone wins.