With CPQ expected to grow by 20% in 2020, many corporate buyers are exploring how a CPQ implementation might help their organization. You may be exploring this option now. It can be easy to have the urge to get started, but before rushing into implementation it’s essential that you take time to consider a few factors in determining your CPQ readiness.
Do you need configure price quote (CPQ) software?
What is CPQ and why do you need CPQ? Well, CPQ is a great fit for most companies that meet the following criteria:
- Your products are complex, can be customized, or often require personalization to meet customers’ needs. Manufacturing times and requirements change based upon your customers’ selections.
- The sales cycle for your products is long and is just as complicated as the products themselves. Sales may be manually ensuring the customer’s needs are recorded and communicated to manufacturing teams.
- It is difficult to create quotes for customers because your products are so customizable. Putting together quotes can take days or even weeks depending on the complexity of the order.
- Your teams have experienced rapid growth and it is becoming difficult to keep up with product training needs. Many details of data or processes may only be stored inside of team member’s heads and is not in a centralized location.
- Increased demand for your product and rapid sales growth has caused delays in manufacturing and you can’t keep up with production needs.
- Increased mistakes or production errors based on documentation or BOM errors are a common problem for your company. The costs of those mistakes may be negatively impacting your business’s performance.
If any of the above situations apply to your organization then CPQ can help your team’s performance and success. Knowing that you need CPQ is the first step of CPQ readiness.
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How to tell if your company is ready for configure price quote software
In order to evaluate whether you are truly ready to take on a CPQ project, consider the following readiness items:
Discuss organizational goals
Aligning all teams on where the company is heading is key in preparing for implementation. Gather your company’s decision-makers and ask big-picture questions such as: What are our high-level goals? What is our approach to change management? What are our short term and long term business plans?
Document your discussions and be sure that you reach an agreement on the direction that your company is going and the business’s prioritized goals. Every company’s high-level goals look different, and all stakeholders in your CPQ project should know what you’re working towards. Make sure everyone knows how the benefits of implementing CPQ software will help you achieve these goals.
Document your business processes
What processes will CPQ software touch at your company? Likely quite a few. Take a look at each business process in its current state and map them out. Documented processes will help you to realize where technology can enable teams and also which processes should be left out of your CPQ implementation.
A good place to begin is mapping:
- Your sales organization structure
- Your manufacturing organization structure
- Your channel partners structure
Start identifying potential areas of improvement where CPQ can fit into or completely replace your existing processes. Don’t worry if you’re having a hard time with the specifics; the experts on your CPQ Sales and Implementation teams will help to clarify these areas. Even having a general idea is a great step early on.
Design a process for implementation of CPQ
Once you have determined where CPQ can benefit your company, you will need to build a team and create a plan for actually implementing the software:
- Identify potential team members and key decision makers to include in this process
- Determine a general scope and timeline for the project
- Create wireframes, mock-ups, or skeletons outlining how you envision the software could work and begin to get buy-in from the team at large
Another thing to keep in mind is that the implementation process doesn’t end when the code is first released. You’ll need to be prepared for:
- Rolling out CPQ to your sales, manufacturing and channel partners
- Training existing and new team members on the new CPQ system
- Training CPQ administrators and providing technical support for the software
- Change management and adding new features or optimizations of your CPQ system
- Maintaining your CPQ software, and financial planning for the costs involved
Just as with mapping your business processes, do not concern yourself if you do not have all the details just yet. Things are sure to shift and adjust throughout the implementation cycle and your CPQ Sales and Implementation team can provide input on all of these items. The key is to raise awareness of these processes and give team members as much forewarning as possible that change is coming.
Get ready for your CPQ implementation
You can set the stage for a successful CPQ project with careful planning, process documentation, and alignment around high-level company goals. While this may sound daunting, the far-reaching benefits of CPQ are worth the up-front time it takes to ensure you are ready for implementation.