CPQ Integration: Why You Shouldn’t Put CPQ in a Silo

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CPQ isn’t just a sales tool. But too many companies put CPQ in a silo.

A solution like Epicor CPQ has been designed to benefit customers, sales, engineering, and production teams alike. It connects all the dots between the shopping cart and the shop floor, eliminating sales-manufacturing complexity.

CPQ integration ties everything together. It provides a single source of truth that increases operational efficiency and manufacturing productivity while reducing costs.

This article explores all the benefits that system integration offers, explains APIs, and breaks down the four CPQ integrations that Epicor customers find most impactful. These CPQ integrations are:

  • Integration with CRM
  • Integration with ERP
  • Integration with eCommerce
  • Integration with CAD

Let’s jump in!

What is CPQ Software?

CPQ (configure price quote) software helps manufacturers configure, price, and quote complex configurable products. It automates a series of slow, laborious processes, letting you sell more goods more quickly and accurately.

The first stage in the CPQ process is configuration. This is where CPQ really excels. If you have an extensive product catalog with hundreds or thousands of options and dependencies, it’s extremely hard (especially for new hires) to optimize customizable products for every customer.

CPQ software handles complex product configuration for you. Backed by advanced product and pricing rules programmed into the solution’s back-end, CPQ automates configuration, ensuring every product configured by sales is optimized for engineering efficiency and customer satisfaction (no more products that won’t actually work in the real world.)

A solution like Salesforce CPQ guides sales reps through a series of customer-related questions. As each question is answered, the solution narrows down your product catalog further until you’re left with the perfect product at the right price and an automatically generated sales quote.

Epicor is different. While Salesforce does the job effectively for companies selling relatively straightforward products, Epicor CPQ has been designed for manufacturers with extensive catalogs of highly complex products.

Epicor has visual product configuration functionality. So instead of relying on text, sales reps configure products by interacting with 3D product images on-screen. As they point, click, drag, and drop to change dimensions, colors, parts, and more, their product (and pricing) updates in real-time.

Visual product configuration is so straightforward that non-technical customers can configure products themselves without any input from sales or engineering. Manufacturers can embed their visual product configurator into their website and customers can configure, price, quote, independently on any device.

Why system integration is such a game changer

Most companies use multiple systems to help them run their business, of which CPQ might be one. But the more software solutions you have, the more complex and inefficient your business becomes, and the greater the risk of bugs and security breaches.

A solution that does everything doesn’t exist. And even if it did, would you want to forego all the time, data, and money you’ve poured into existing software so far? Probably not. The answer, therefore, is to integrate your solutions in the most efficient way possible, creating an interconnected system that unifies your data.

With system integration, you can:

  • Create a single source of truth that drives operational efficiency. By pooling data across multiple systems, you get real-time visibility from anywhere in the world and keep everything synced and up-to-date.
  • Access data-driven insights faster and in one place. There’s no need to download data from multiple systems and upload it to another tool for analysis. With system integration, you have instant access to all your data. You can predict customer behavior, forecast sales, and streamline your supply chain with advanced analytics.
  • Scale freely by adding new systems and additional capacity. You can respond quickly to a changing business environment by adding and removing capacity and capabilities. You can become more agile and experiment with new solutions as they become available.
  • Enhance communication and collaboration across teams. Freeing data from silos gives every functional area access to the same information and an easy way to share it.
  • Cut down on manual work. You can automate data entry across multiple systems and keep everything synced to eliminate duplication of effort.
  • Provide cross-channel consistency. Omnichannel businesses can provide a consistent buying experience across all touchpoints.
  • Deliver outstanding customer service. Customer support agents get a 360 view of your customer, wherever they interact with your brand.
  • Save money on IT and storage. Having all of your data stored in one place reduces storage costs and makes maintenance easier.
  • Keep your data safe and your system secure. An integrated system presents fewer “points of entry” for would-be hackers and other unwanted visitors.

Integrate your systems via APIs (it’s not as confusing as it sounds.)

The most efficient way to integrate your systems is via APIs (Application Programming Interface). These are intermediaries that allow two pieces of software to talk to each other.

You can think of an API as a visual interface, but for a computer. When we communicate with our mobile phones, we do so via the visual interface on our screen. It’s like a shared second language. When software applications communicate with each other, they do so via APIs.

If you’re not familiar with APIs, you’re going to start noticing them everywhere. Take Google Maps, for example. If you’re building an application that needs maps, you could make your own version of Maps. Or you can just connect Google Maps to your application via the free API.

Other common APIs include Skyscanner Flight Search, Open Weather Map, Yahoo Finance, Currency Exchange, and (no-joke) Chuck Norris.

What kind of integrations are the most popular among Epicor users?

The CPQ process touches so many teams within a manufacturing organization that it has to be integrated to be genuinely effective. Epicor is platform-agnostic, which means it integrates seamlessly with any other system. But there are four types of CPQ integration that prove particularly impactful.

1. CPQ integration with Salesforce CRM

Epicor is a Salesforce partner, which means our solution integrates seamlessly with the incredibly popular CRM. When Epicor and Salesforce combine, manufacturers really do get a 360 view of the customer. Epicor configures the product, and Salesforce configures the deal.

When a customer interacts with your visual product configurator – online or in-person – every action and behavior is stored in Salesforce. When sales reps reach out by phone, text, or email, they have all of this information at their fingertips. They can use it to personalize their message and increase their win rate.

CPQ integration with Salesforce saves time by getting sales, operations, engineering, and the shop floor working in harmony on the same platform. It provides a single source of truth and total visibility. If sales want to check on the status of an order, they don’t have to consult engineering or call an admin at the factory, and all the information is right there in CRM.

2. CPQ integration with Kinetic (Epicor ERP)

Kinetic is the ERP that future-proofs and grows the profitability of your manufacturing businesses. It’s browser-based software designed to integrate with visual CPQ and other Industry 4.0 technologies.

With Kinetic and Epicor CPQ combined, you can hit your B2B customers with a B2C buyer journey (fit for today’s Millennials who now dominate senior buying roles). Internally, Kinetic offers guided navigation, making it easy for new teams to learn the critical workflows required to run a successful engineer-to-order company.

3. CPQ Integration with eCommerce

We’ve touched on this already, but with Epicor, you can embed your 3D product configurator into your eCommerce website. Whether you’re using Shopify, BigCommerce, or something else, you can empower customers to self-serve.

You can use Epicor to add AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) to your website. You can build a virtual showroom, allowing buyers to interact with your products anywhere, through any device. It’s the perfect solution for a post-pandemic world where buyers are working remotely.

4. CPQ integration with CAD

CAD and design automation is what sets Epicor apart from all other CPQ vendors. Every CPQ solutions automatically generate sales quotes, which saves sales reps time and eliminates manual data-entry mistakes. But Epicor outputs CAD files, BOMs, technical drawings, CNC cut sheets, and more, integrating with SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, or PTC Creo.