CPQ Product Rules Explained (Finally!)

July 9, 2020

CPQ vendors are quick to extoll the virtues of their product configurators but slow to pop the hood and show you how everything works! That’s because, some CPQ platforms require custom programming for their product rules that’s expensive, slow and hard to change. 

But, KBMax’s product configurator is different. It’s built with a programming language called Snap that even non-technical product experts can use and understand. CPQ product rules – the little bits of logic that enable users to configure the most complex and highly customizable products – are quick to build and easy to maintain. 

Below, we take a practical look at 10 of the most common CPQ product rule types with examples of how they can be used in the real world.

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A Quick Recap: What’s a Product Configurator?

A product configurator is a piece of software that automates the configuration and customization of engineer-to-order products. It makes it quick and easy for users to narrow down vast, complicated product catalogs into carefully optimized customer-specific selections. 

Product configurators vary in complexity from simple, 2D configurators with Amazon-like filtering systems, right up to fully-interactive 3D configurators, with AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) capabilities. Users benefit from a fully immersive shopping experience in which they can open a door, use a piece of animated machinery or “fly” into a moving vehicle. Anything’s possible.

With a 3D product configurator, users build out products within an interactive three-dimensional scene. As they resize sections, add or remove parts, upgrade features or change colors and dimensions, products change in real-time. Users gain a clear understanding of your products and connect with them on a deeper emotional level—the result: a 40% increase in conversion rates.

Product configurators are nothing without the CPQ product rules that govern how they operate. When cleverly constructed, CPQ product rules provide businesses with many game-changing benefits. These include:

  • Elimination of human error: CPQ product rules prevent users from configuring technically or financially nonviable products. Fewer mistakes mean fewer delays, returns, and chargebacks, and increased customer retention and satisfaction
  • Simplification of sales processes: Reps no longer have to learn an entire product catalog to provide expert-level customer service. They simply follow the rules. New hires can be brought up to speed in days, and sales cycles are shortened dramatically.
  • Enhanced collaboration between sales and engineering: No more back-of-a-napkin sketches, no more communication breakdowns, no more endless back-and-forths between the customer, sales, and engineering. All the relevant product information is captured up front and disseminated to each party in a language they understand. 
  • Larger order values: CPQ product rules guide users through calibrated questions and prompts that push for upsells, cross-sells and more profitable deals.

10 Different Types of CPQ Product Rules

Here’s an overview of 10 basic types of CPQ product rules that define how product configurators behave when users interact with the UI (clicking around, checking boxes, entering data into fields, etc.) Bear in mind; this is just a bird’s eye view of KBMax’s potential. When CPQ product rules are assembled in different combinations, the possibilities are endless.

  1. Message CPQ Product Rules: Message CPQ product rules are responsible for the transfer of data along two key pathways. The first is between your product configurator and the web page within which it’s contained. For example, once a user submits their configuration, the web page displays a “thank you” message. The second route is between your 3D scene and its configurator. For instance, if a user clicks on a 3D object, the configurator displays a new page.
  2. Loaded CPQ Product Rules: Loaded CPQ product rules are executed only when your product configurator initially loads. If you have different user roles with varying user privileges, then loaded CPQ product rules come in handy. For example, you can stipulate that sales executives gain access to specific discount options that lower-level sales reps don’t see.
  3. Naming CPQ Product Rules: Naming CPQ product rules are used to change the name of a configured product or to add detailed contextual information. If you use smart part numbers, for example, then these rules will ensure the right number is assigned to all configured products.
  4. Page Changed CPQ Product Rules: Page Changed CPQ product rules apply each time a user clicks to change a page. Therefore, their effects are wide-ranging, encompassing everything from changing a product color, to shifting a camera angle.
  5. Pricing CPQ Product Rules: Pricing CPQ product rules govern the calculation of prices as users make changes within the product configurator. Pricing CPQ product rules can be broken down into “price items,” which include things like discount percentage, labor cost, lead time, weight, and various other custom rules. Price items can then serve as BOMs for configured products.
  6. Submit CPQ Product Rules: Submit CPQ product rules are executed each time a user submits their finished work in your product configurator. Such rules might specify that a product should be saved and added to a quote, for example, or that the UI should close.
  7. Validation CPQ Product Rules: Validation CPQ product rules identify problems with configured products and communicate them to users. If a user enters a value into a field that exceeds the threshold (trying to add three wheels to a motorbike, for example), validation CPQ product rules can label the field as invalid, add a message to describe the problem or offer to “fix” the problem for the user.
  8. Value CPQ Product Rules: Value CPQ product rules change or fill out fields according to your business logic. Calculating the volume of a cube once a user has entered height, width, and depth into the relevant fields is an everyday use case, but these rules get as sophisticated as you need them.
  9. Visibility CPQ Product Rules: Visibility CPQ product rules govern which options are shown/hidden or enabled/disabled according to your business needs. Sometimes, specific options become irrelevant once others have been selected – if your user opts to configure a motorbike instead of a car, you don’t need to ask them for tire options on wheels three and four.
  10. Resize CPQ Product Rules: Resize CPQ product rules are executed whenever a browser window containing your product configurator changes in size. This might happen when a user switches devices, rotates their screen, or reduces the size of their tab. Under such circumstances, you might want to change the number of options or sizes of icons to improve the user experience.

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The Author

Lauren Habig

Lauren Habig
Director of Marketing at KBMax

Lauren has over 11 years of marketing experience and has learned from industry experts at companies like HP and Salesforce.

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