Six common roadblocks when implementing CPQ software and how to overcome them
Your company’s sales team is growing, and your books are in the black. While this is good news, with significant growth also comes increased complexity—if your Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) process isn’t growing with you, your pain points soon become evident. <!-- more -->
Manually configuring quotes for individual clients leaves your sales team at a disadvantage and causes burn out. It can be difficult, or even impossible, to scale your process for quotes without the help of automated software.
Thankfully, CPQ solutions like Salesforce CPQ & Billing are designed specifically for this purpose.
Salesforce CPQ streamlines your processes and expedites your quote-to-cash cycle—which is the time between when a customer requests a quote from your company and when they make a payment. CPQ software allows you to integrate with other internal systems, so the customer always receives the most comprehensive, accurate quote.
While this software can make your salespeople's jobs much easier, implementing a new technology solution can be intimidating if you do not have a plan. As a Salesforce Platinum Consulting Partner, we have helped implement the use of CPQ software at many businesses. We are familiar with the common roadblocks and how to tackle them.
Following are six tips for overcoming some of the most common CPQ implementation challenges.
Using bad data
The problem: The data in your CPQ system must be current, accurate, and verifiable. Otherwise, the proposals you provide to customers could include inflated prices or inaccurate delivery times. This situation is true for manual proposals as well as automated CPQ processes.
Imagine that you are running an end-of-the-year product promotion. Without updating your CPQ solution to consider the new prices, your sales team might inadvertently deliver proposals to customers that do not include the promised savings.
The fix: When you set up your CPQ software, establish a clear process for maintaining accurate data, and hold data owners responsible for keeping their information updated. You might decide product managers should update product details each time a new generation is released and that the marketing or sales team is responsible for updating promotional pricing.
The problem: If you fail to integrate your CPQ solution with other essential software, you risk using incomplete or non-current data in these different systems. Doing so can create many problems, including customers receiving misleading contracts, or inaccurate customer data communicated to stakeholders.
The fix: When implementing your CPQ software, consider how your different data systems communicate with each other. Your CPQ system needs to integrate with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It might also need to communicate with your product data management, contract management, or other important systems.
Choose a CPQ solution that offers either custom or out-of-the box integration. If you are working with an implementation partner, at the start of your project, outline all the important platforms that your CPQ system should communicate with. It can be expensive and time-consuming to try to fix a data integration problem—set yourself up for success at the start.
Taking on too much at once
The problem: Big changes to your CPQ process can overwhelm your team. Moving from spreadsheets or manual templates to integrated CPQ software changes the day-to-day workflow. Users might have trouble transitioning, resulting in user mistakes or overall resistance to the software. Moving too quickly might end up being a costly mistake that affects the long-term adoption of the product.
The fix: Consider using the Crawl-Walk-Run approach to roll out your new CPQ practices across multiple releases. Much like a business might change its website functionality over several months, you can roll out the functionality of your new CPQ software in sections. Start with the tools that are easy to use and that benefit the most employees. Introducing these tools first helps spread positive feedback among your team and encourages optimism about the upcoming changes.
Not fully taking advantage of the benefits of your software
The problem: You might be hindering your team and leaving revenue on the table if your CPQ system makes it challenging to customize a quote with an additional service or product, or does not provide reminders about current promotions and new product lines. Some businesses fail to take advantage of the benefits of their CPQ solution—including reminders to your team about new products or promotions.
Without reminders, you might have to adjust pricing later on because your sales team forgot to include an applicable promotion. This situation can frustrate your customer—or worse, drive them away.
The fix: A good automated CPQ system can appropriately remind users of all available, relevant add-ons. This reminder helps ensure that customers are being offered useful products and services, as well as provides a more consistent customer experience.
Not expecting and preparing for human error
The problem: The standard CPQ process can introduce a myriad of human errors. A salesperson can forget to include necessary shipping or delivery costs, or they might omit a product that the installation team needs. It is not realistic to expect that your sales team never makes a mistake.
The fix: Everyone is responsible for mitigating errors. First, train your entire team on a rolling basis—your sales team should understand how your products relate to one another. Next, set up your CPQ solution to alert users when they omit critical information. Finally, institute a review process for necessary situations and prioritize who to alert when a mistake is made. Note that manual or complex reviews can slow down your quoting process, so minimize the number of reviewers.
Losing the human element of communication
The problem: Customers used to dealing directly with a salesperson might miss having the opportunity to get clarification or pose specific questions. While automating the proposal process means it takes less time, sometimes it can seem colder to the customer.
Similarly, discussions between departments while developing a quote might decrease after implementing a CPQ solution. Without conscious effort, this scenario might cause teams to become siloed and ultimately cut off communication and data sharing.
The fix: Encourage your sales team to follow up with customers after the delivery of each proposal. The goal is for your customers to always be able to access their sales representative as needed and still experience the human side of your business. Every proposal should include ways to contact your brand. To foster internal communication, implement strategies and feedback loops for different teams to check in regularly with each other about new accounts, promotional campaigns, and more.
Work with a CPQ partner for a seamless implementation
Are you looking for a way to streamline your CPQ process? As your business grows and sales increase, you need the ability to produce proposals more quickly and make your quote-to-cash process more consistent. CPQ software revolutionizes your quoting process, as long as you anticipate common CPQ implementation challenges and build strategies ahead of time to address them.
As a Salesforce Platinum Consulting Partner and digital agency, Rackspace helps you implement your new CPQ solution and customize it to your business needs for accuracy, speed, and scalability. The best CPQ solutions are those that prioritize customer needs, efficiency, and transparency. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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