B2B selling is becoming increasingly difficult. Sales teams are becoming increasingly overburdened by enormous portfolios, complex product offers, and higher quotas, and they need help to provide the quick and personalized experience consumers want. Sales technology such as CPQ (configure, price, quote) software is changing the game for businesses. It’s one of the reasons why analysts and advisory firms help potential buyers find the best CPQ providers for their needs.
So, how can CPQ software solutions be correct for you? Let’s look at the top ten indicators that it’s time to start thinking about this game-changing technology.
Considerations When Choosing the Best CPQ Software for You
Choosing the best CPQ platform is more complex. Not all CPQ alternatives are created equal. Choosing any old system may result in you getting the wrong one for your company.
Here are some of the distinctions and differences to look out for:
Native CPQ Architecture vs. Hybrid
When a CPQ solution is built with native architecture, the solution was developed only for a certain CRM and cannot be used with any other CRM. On the other hand, CPQs based on hybrid design are compatible with any CRM or ERP solution.
It is common practice for regional sales teams in global corporate companies to make use of numerous CRM or ERP solutions. Your European sales teams might use Salesforce CRM, whereas your American sales teams might use Microsoft Dynamics 365. Both of these solutions are available to you. If you pick the wrong CPQ, you are going to get into a lot of problems.
You can employ a hybrid solution regardless of your staff’s CRM or ERP. The risk of reinvesting and re-implementing multiple platforms in different locations is eliminated with hybrid CPQ solutions. There are no concerns about buried expenses or time.
Rules or Constraints in Configuration Engine Architecture
The C in CPQ stands for configure; however, not all configuration engines are equal. When looking for CPQ software, you’ll come across terminology like “rules-based configuration engine” and “constraints-based configuration engine.” Both have benefits and drawbacks.
A rules-based engine is sufficient if your company sells simple products, and writing rules with the CPQ administration tool is simple. However, suppose you have products requiring some configuration or intend to offer products in the future that may require product or product and service configuration. In that case, you should choose a CPQ solution with a constraints-based configuration engine.
Why? It will greatly simplify the management of your configuration rules! Constraint-based configuration engines also can manage the configuration needs for simple goods.
Many CPQ tools can have performance issues that worsen when more goods and services are added to the overall quote. Some native CPQ software solutions explicitly designed for a CRM can only manage quotes with up to 2,500 line items. Even when merely working bids with more than 100 products, some CPQ solutions will need to catch up.
When considering which CPQ software to purchase, watch a demo of a solution that can accommodate more than 1000 line items and test the responsiveness of the quote as you add additional products. There are better solutions for you if it slows down significantly.
Check that the CPQ solution does not limit the output of your sales staff. Invest in a technology that can handle the volume, speed, and flexibility required by your sales teams to create and manage massive quotations and RFPs.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Many CPQ systems mention integrating AI, yet most of the time, they merely provide a snapshot of a point in time. What happens if your customer’s needs change? What happens if the market shifts? Can the AI solution learn to recognize and adjust to differences? Make sure to invest in an AI-powered CPQ incorporating machine learning feedback so that your recommendations stay relevant and relevant over time.
(Bonus tip: Invest in AI-based solutions that are simple to grasp and update automatically! After all, we need more time to trust computer systems, don’t we?
Collaboration Across Multiple Channels
Many CPQ solutions today claim to be able to link with eCommerce solutions, providing end buyers with the same capabilities as sales teams. Before you invest in any CPQ software solutions, you should understand the amount of integration it offers. Is it true that the CPQ restricts specific capabilities to the eCommerce channel?
Furthermore, when customers shift to eCommerce platforms, you must understand the extent of collaboration available between a buyer and a salesperson. Are salespeople able to see which goods their customers are configuring? Can salespeople change the pricing of items in the buyer’s cart and complete the order on the customer’s behalf?
The need to communicate across channels will become increasingly important, so stay ahead of the game today by implementing a CPQ system to facilitate cross-channel harmonization and collaboration.
While CPQ software solutions, in general, can help your business streamline and speed up its quote-to-cash cycle, not all of them are made equal. Find out how using artificial intelligence and machine learning in PROS Smart CPQ’s provision of customized quotes and proposals speeds up response times and boosts sales effectiveness.