At a recent Salesforce event, I was in conversation with a sales leader who voiced her apprehension about the returns on investing time and money on a Salesforce CPQ implementation:
“I’m sure Salesforce CPQ is a great solution and I do feel the need for a streamlined quoting process efficiency. However, I’m our teams have little patience and time to try out new things, With all the stakeholders involved, I’m not sure if undertaking a CPQ project would be a good idea”
I’m sure a lot of other sales heads, product managers, and IT managers would have the same concern. Salesforce CPQ is probably one of the most versatile products available in the market that can transform your ability to streamline the sales operations and enable your sales teams to furnish accurate quotes at lightning speed. However, just a CPQ implementation cannot guarantee these gains.
Through our experience in CPQ implementations with multiple clients, we’ve consolidated our learnings to create a framework that can guide CPQ implementation projects to success:
#1: Set up CPQ goals
How do you measure the success of a CPQ solution implementation? Perhaps, that’s an excellent place to start – set the goals for CPQ. As per CSO insights, only 30% of sales time is available for selling. This number was validated by one of our ISV clients whose sales team was spending close to just 15 hours out of a 40-hour week on actual selling. It is essential first to identify how much time can be saved through a CPQ solution, and then set clear goals such as:
30% more time spent selling
20% improvement in accuracy
50% faster quotation turnaround time
These goals can be quantitative and qualitative, depending on your overall sales and organizational goals.
#2: Design the C-P-Q
A lot of customers undertaking CPQ implementation focus on the automation part. Recently, a large manufacturing organization consulted us to understand why their CPQ is not delivering desired results. Our take, after an assessment of the implementation, was that their CPQ design had lacked the consideration of where their sales teams’ challenges were and how they would use it. Employing a persona-based design for any Salesforce implementation can ensure the final solution is truly solving the challenges that gave rise to the need.
For the manufacturing customer, our team of experts worked closely with the sales team to redesign the product models and bundles to create better configurations, re-configured the pricing rules and the quotation process to keep the experience consistent across the client interactions.
#3: Verticalizing the CPQ design
As part of the design process, we strongly recommend that you verticalize the CPQ solution with the industry needs. Our experience of doing this for manufacturing, ISV, retail segments among others has clearly shown that the customer behaviors and expectations from the solution vary drastically with the nuances of the business. deliver a personalized experience to the clients.
#4: Implement with minimal coding
Salesforce solutions come with a wide range of out of the box features, and so does the Salesforce CPQ. Extensive customization leads to complexities and increased maintenance overhead. The out of the box features allow you to automate the sales process with pre-configured and quickly amendable rules. It also allows to quickly adapt and modify the CQP based on new market information, pricing strategies, and offers. A key thing to keep in mind is that the implementation should ensure extensive business agility to respond to customer needs. The idea is to customize only where necessary and use the out of the box features for the rest.
#5: Ease of set up and use
More complex the system is, harder it will be to drive adoption. Ease of use was one of the goals set up by a SaaS customer, asking that sales team be proficient with the new system within a week. While Salesforce CPQ offers features such as guided-selling and task automation, creating short impactful training modules to bring them to speed with workflows. For the SaaS customer, apart from following the above 4 points, we delivered short video training to enable faster adoption.
#6: Aim for quick wins
Setting up some intermediate milestones to ensure quick wins and report back to stakeholders helps ensure continued commitment to the project. Some examples of quick wins are:
A satisfaction survey conducted for the sales teams that captured aspects, such as:
Completeness of the CPQ solution
Ease of use
How quickly the sales team started using the new solution
Number of tasks automated
Improvement in time to respond to the client
Freeing up the sales bandwidth
Reduction in customer queries after the quote is shared
You can define the wins that suit your business and the sales strategy. The key is not to wait until long to see if there are improvements.
#7: Rigorous and continuous testing
A CPQ solution is perhaps the most critical system in the entire sales lifecycle as it carries essential pricing communication and interacts with several internal systems. Errors in real-time usage not only impacts the customer experience but certainly dents the confidence of the sales team. Rigorously testing for integration, workflows, performance et al is essential. The best way to check this is with an exhaustive list of real-life use cases.
#8: Reports and insights
In the long-run, the CPQ system must help you to generate insights to show that you are continually maximizing your ROI. Common subscription performance indicators, such as ACV and granular feedback on customer responsiveness to different pricing strategies, accurate forecasts, renewal-specific pricing, contracted prices, and cross-sell opportunities is a good starting point. Again, the reports and dashboards can be configured based on your business goals.
An expert in implementing and delivering successful Salesforce solutions for sales transformation and more. A senior project manager at Brillio with a proven history of successful engagements on Salesforce CPQ, platform, Sales Cloud