October 19, 2020
Without CPQ software, you’d still be hearing a lot of…
– “How much would it cost if…?”
– “Is this available in…?”
– “How long will it take to…?”
How often have you heard these same questions and conversations over and over by customers? The complexity of your highly configurable products that lead to these questions is causing your sales process to stall, quoting errors to build, and customers to grow irritated.
Sales reps are spending only 35% of their time actually selling. The rest of the time is spent doing everything else, like generating quotes or waiting for engineering input! But by incorporating CPQ software, your sales team will actually have more time to sell.
Salesforce defines it best: CPQ software is “a sales tool for companies to quickly and accurately generate quotes for orders.” This is because CPQ software guides your customers through an automated and rules-based sales and quote process for your highly configurable products. And it’s through this configure, price, and quote (aka CPQ) process that the CPQ software aims to reduce sales process inefficiencies and quoting errors.
It’s no mystery that CPQ has a major impact on customer experiences, but what can it do for your organization?
When it comes to actually implementing CPQ software, it’s important to understand the basic requirements that you’ll need to actually see results in your sales and quoting process. It’s through these bare minimum requirements that you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for…
Your manufacturing and engineering team has developed complex product rules that your sales team are expected to follow during the quoting process. However, you can make matters much simpler because a CPQ software will be able to support those complex rules through their rules engine. By having this rules engine, you’ll be able to maintain your product configurator (a basic component of all CPQ software–it’s the C in CPQ) and reduce quoting errors.
The best rules engines are those that are built to withstand complex mathematical functions, product rules, and manufacturing data. Our KBMax Snap tool does just that, and you don’t need to be a developer to use it due to its drag and drop UI.
Plus, Snap is Turing Complete, meaning it can build any advanced algorithm. You can make your product rules as complex as they need to be using:
Another core component of any good CPQ software is the ability to adjust pricing automatically based on the configuration of the customer (the P in CPQ). Customers are already lacking confidence in making big purchase decisions, so allowing them to see the price adjust as they make their configurations instills confidence in their decision.
How this works is that the product is configured based on the customer’s needs, and either the sales person or the customer directly (depending on if your CPQ software is client-facing) can see how each configuration changes the pricing. When it comes to implementation, this pricing automation is controlled in the rules engine mentioned above.
Because quoting is a major part of the sales process (and it’s the Q in CPQ), you will need to ensure your CPQ software integrates with your ERP or CRM systems. This integration allows you to access information across platforms to maintain a “single source of truth.”
Luckily, integration is pretty standard across CPQ software. However, finding the right software that connects simply and seamlessly with your current ERP or CRM can be a challenge. Understand what ERP or CRM systems you have in play already, and then shop for your CPQ software.
A good CPQ software company will be SaaS and provide connectors to a wide variety of different ERP and CRMs. It may even provide the opportunity to connect to CAD or PLM systems as well. KBMax does all of this, completing your quote-to-cash workflow vision.
Of course, all CPQ software should be able to handle the basic components of CPQ–configuring, pricing, and quoting. However, it’s the advanced tech behind the CPQ software that makes it a deal-breaker when implementing in your business.
If you’re really looking for something to increase sales conversions and reduce your quoting errors, you should prioritize these features…
Because a majority of people are visual learners, a 3D visualization becomes crucial to the buying experience. A 3D visual configurator is a dynamic tool that can be accessed by customers to see the product from all angles and can even customize it through a wide variety of options based on your complex rules engine. More technically advanced configurators allow buyers to interact directly with the 3D images—they can open a door, “use” a piece of animated machinery, or drag and drop components into predefined locations.
A great 3D visualization experience within your CPQ software increases confidence around the customer’s ability to make large buying decisions. It acts as buyer enablement, along with price automation, to effectively help customers take ownership of their decision. This means they’re more likely to pick up the phone or click “Add to Cart”.
“Companies that implement 3D product visualization solutions see significant improvement in their deal win rate, lower costs for drafting computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, less rework in the factory and lower carrying costs for samples at retail locations.”
– Gartner 2019 Innovation Insight for Visual Configuration
Taking your CPQ to the next level means giving your engineers or manufacturing team all the documents they need to make a product exactly to your customer’s specifications.
With a CPQ software with the capability to generate BOMs, cut sheets, and instruction documents automatically based on the product configuration, you can guarantee a seamless transition from ordering to the build phase. The KBMax CAD Automation and KBMax Snap work together to do this for you at the click of a button.
Plus CAD Automation provides detailed drawings and parts lists directly to your production team so they can get right to work without a lot of back and forth between the engineers, sales team, and customer. Production is a breeze.
CPQ software takes a lot of the manual and human-to-human steps out of the buying process for the customer. Like it or hate it, the modern customer prefers a more automated, tech-focused buying experience than a more emotional, human-to-human experience. However, with in-depth analytics, you can still gain access to the behaviours of your buyer, catering their configuration experience to their needs.
Basic telemetry is an important part to any new technology you’re implementing, especially in your sales process. CPQ software with analytics built in, like KBMax CPQ Analytics, you can collect critical user experience data and then push it to your preferred analytics platform.
Now you can answer questions like:
Your CPQ process is already complex and requires a lot of attention to detail from your sales team. Allow your sales team to go back to selling by providing them a well-rounded CPQ software system that takes complex configuration and turns it into a breeze. Now your sales process is shortened, your quotes are virtually error free, and your customers are delighted!
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.