4 Ways to Supercharge CPQ for SAP
October 12, 2020
There’s no doubt SAP ERP is a powerful tool, but all too often, that power comes at the expense of usability. Customers frequently complain that loading new products into SAP is laborious and unnecessarily slow. But as we’ll see, there is another way.
SAP’s overly-complex VC rules mean it can take months to create all the necessary product deviations and permutations. And for companies operating in fiercely competitive, fast-paced markets, that’s simply not good enough.
Delays in making products go live kill agility and responsiveness, leading to lost revenue and missed opportunities. Surely, getting products designed, tested, and market-ready should be the hard bit, not uploading them to SAP!
Implementing the right CPQ for SAP can vastly improve your SAP deployment, empowering sales teams, simplifying processes, shortening sales cycles, and enabling rapid product launches without the confusing logic and sluggish API calls. Let’s dive in and find out how!
It’s no mystery that CPQ has a major impact on customer experiences, but what can it do for your organization?
SAP variant configuration (VC) is designed for manufacturers of complex products that continuously offer new variants as customers and salespeople modify existing designs. Variant configuration is supposed to let manufacturers react quickly to customers’ shifting requirements, but it has significant drawbacks. Not least, VC rulesets are incredibly long and challenging to code, and non-technical users struggle to operate what is essentially a rather developer-centric tool.
KBMax CPQ for SAP is different. Product and pricing rules are built using the SNAP rules engine. SNAP thrives under the most complicated scenarios but remains super fast and easy to use, even for employees with no coding background whatsoever. Setting up and maintaining CPQ for SAP can all be done in-house – there’s no need for specialist input from external agency partners. Companies can make substantial savings without sacrificing flexibility and test out new strategies without running up a massive bill.
To build rules in SNAP, users simply drag and drop blocks (that represent chunks of code), snapping them together to form logic statements. Unlike SAP, which thinks like a developer, SNAP is a visual programming language that thinks like an everyday product expert. Familiar drop-downs, color-pickers, and buttons guide users through the highly intuitive process. Simultaneously, real-time validation identifies mistakes as they’re made, directing users to problem areas, and demonstrating how errors can be fixed.
Business travel and face-to-face meetings have taken an unprecedented hit in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although there will be some inevitable bounce back following a vaccine’s eventual arrival, frequency is forecast to level out way below 2019 levels.
As a result, companies capable of virtually presenting their products’ look, feel, and functionality in the richest, most realistic, and compelling ways possible will have a huge competitive advantage over those who are slow to implement advanced digital sales processes. Adopting a wait and see approach to digital transformation (letting rivals make the first move and learning from their outcomes) would be ill-judged at this stage. Failure to act carries more of a risk than investing.
KBMax CPQ for SAP enables manufacturers to provide a fully immersive buying experience for their customers wherever they are in the world. The KBMax 3D visual product configurator is omnichannel and can be operated through any device. Buyers can use the configurator alongside a sales rep (in real life or remotely), or self-serve through a manufacturers’ external website (today’s buyer’s method of choice.)
Users of the KBMax product configurator are presented with a lifelike 3D representation of configurable products on their screen. They can drag and drop or point and click to do things like change colors and dimensions, swap out parts, upgrade features, and switch materials. As they “play around,” prices change in real-time, letting buyers optimize functionality while operating within budget constraints.
Buyers can inspect their configured products in great detail, from any angle, spinning them around and zooming in and out. They can even interact directly with the 3D objects they see on their screens. They can open doors, walk around, operate complicated pieces of machinery, or sit inside high-performance vehicles. Anything’s possible.
VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) elevate CPQ for SAP to a whole other level, meshing the real world with the digital. VR places buyers inside a simulated reality while AR overlays 3D product representations onto a background captured live by a handheld device’s camera.
Such an immersive experience resolves buyers’ desire to interact with products physically prior to purchase. Placing big orders online is scary, but realistic virtual experiences greatly enhance decision-making and diminish pre-purchase anxiety. There are no nasty surprises later on down the line; all information is captured up-front, and, consequently, complaints, refunds, and chargebacks are reduced dramatically.
KBMax CPQ for SAP walks salespeople through the sales and configuration process, ensuring buyers get a consistently high level of service, even when dealing with inexperienced new hires. A series of carefully curated prompts and nudges appear on-screen designed to optimize customer value and move higher volumes of customers through the sales pipeline, while personalized recommendations, upsells, and cross-sells increase deal size. The result: sales cycles are cut by an average of 38%.
A core function of every CPQ solution is the ability to generate quote documents automatically. Salespeople are liberated from the burden of fiddly Excel spreadsheets and error-prone manual formatting processes, freeing up more time to actually sell.
KBMax CPQ for SAP, however, can do much more than create essential sales documentation. Users can instantly generate a wide variety of CAD designs and technical documents too. Site plans, elevations, engineering and manufacturing drawings, CNC cutting data, and more can all be generated without the need for any engineering input.
With CAD and design automation, manufacturing teams downstream receive accurate, auto-generated renderings, BOMs, and assembly instructions, creating a frictionless end-to-end process, shaving an average 35% off production times.
It’s a game-changer for companies with engineering departments that struggle to keep pace with the volume of requests for quotes. Bottlenecks that force buyers into the arms of competitors are finally cleared. And engineers can focus on work they really want to do – innovation and R&D – which has the potential to level up profitability over the long term.
DJ is a long-time marketing consultant and technologist, helping companies with marketing strategy and marketing technology. He loves telling stories about applied technologies and the impacts it has on buyers.