CPQ Tools for Salesforce

How One VP of Sales Transformed a Manufacturing Company With CPQ Tools for Salesforce [a Chat with Steve Stessman]

When Steve Stessman was VP of National Sales at Tuff Shed – a leading manufacturer and installer of storage buildings and garages – he was tasked with streamlining the company’s entire sales and manufacturing process.

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Tuff Shed employs 1,500 people. They operate over 150 stores. They sell their products through their own website, Home Depot’s website, and approximately 2,000 Home Depot locations throughout the United States. Rethinking processes at this scale is a monumental challenge.

By leveraging CPQ tools for Salesforce (specifically KBMax), Steve transformed sales, manufacturing, and much more at Tuff Shed. He increased deal sizes, improved efficiency, reduced costs, and produced consistent revenue growth. Now VP of Business Development for KBMax, an Epicor company, Steve’s keen to share exactly how he did it.

“Every manufacturer wants to build the same products over and over again. But that’s not realistic any more.”

Today’s customer wants personalized products and experiences. But customization introduces a great deal of complexity into the deal.

“Before we invested in CPQ tools,” says Steve, “all the responsibility for product configuration fell on sales. Not only did they have to sell, but they also had to translate the customer’s needs and wants into a unique product, enter all the information manually into the ERP, and send it over to manufacturing. Manufacturing then had to work out how to decipher what the salesperson had sent!”

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This process, which hasn’t changed for decades, will be all-too-familiar to many manufacturers. Steve recognizes how much room for error there is in each of these manual transitions.

“The salesperson had to quickly produce a product sketch, by hand, with the customer sitting right there in front of them! These rushed drawings looked more like chicken scratches than technical drawings. To say they were open to interpretation would be an understatement.”

“Imagine as a sales leader; I had to train people to draw these ridiculous pictures. If the shed was sold through a distributor, someone had to do it all over the phone, which made it even more difficult.”

“Now KBMax automates the entire process – from shopping cart to shop floor.”

“In an ideal world,” asserts Steve, “the customer would communicate their product requirements directly to a manufacturing associate – because so much information gets lost in translation. That’s not realistic for Tuff Shed – sales still have a crucial part to play – but KBMax gets us as near to that dream scenario as possible.”


Today, every Tuff Shed customer starts with KBMax. They use the visual product configurator to create a configuration, calculate a price, and generate a quote. Once they’ve configured a product, KBMax generates a bill of materials and all the drawings required for the shop floor and subcontractors. This information is then pushed straight into Salesforce.

“With CPQ, we can interpret exactly what the customer wants, with or without a salesperson, and then bring everything over into Salesforce. KBMax handles complex things like 3D configuration and Salesforce does all the things that it’s really good at, such as advanced approvals and discounting.

“KBMax configures the product; Salesforce configures the deal.”

Salesforce talks a lot about having a 360-degree view of the customer. By integrating KBMax into Salesforce, manufacturers really have that complete 360. They get the design, the customer information, the customer’s preferred payment method, and more – it’s all right there in CRM. “Salesforce becomes a much richer lead source,” says Steve.

With KBMax, outputs are all-inclusive and individualized. “When a customer does a configuration in KBMax, all that information goes into Salesforce, and the customer instantly becomes a perfect lead,” says Steve.

”They’ve already made lots of the decisions. They’ve chosen the size, color, and options. They’ve OK’d everything with their spouse or their boss. They’ve visualized what they want to purchase. They’ve sold it to themselves!”

“The more personalized your message, the more likely you are to close. Even the most seasoned reps increased their sales figures by 10% to 15% with CPQ tools for Salesforce.”

KBMax handles the complex product configuration, generates the outputs, and brings all that precious data over into Salesforce. With this detailed customer information at their fingertips, salespeople can take a more personalized approach when reaching out by phone, text, or email.

“The ability to marry up what’s quoted and then assign it to a customer record is a powerful sales enabler,” says Steve. “If you’re a salesperson, and you know that a customer has been on your website for 12 minutes building a widget, your likelihood of closing is much, much higher”

“The salesperson can see that the customer has added windows to their shed, added shutters, and increased the pitch of the roof. They can call up and say: “Mr. Smith, what a beautiful building you’ve designed, it’s really going to maximize light without sacrificing storage…” I can’t tell you what a difference that makes.”

Knowing what a customer is looking at, be it a garage, a barn, or a little shed, Tuff Shed is able to alter its channel of communication and message. Customers interacting with big-ticket items might get a call, while those looking at cheaper products might receive automated, targeted emails designed to reignite their interest.

“Integrating CPQ tools with Salesforce saves time. Because salespeople and operations people are working within the same platform”

KBMax closes the gap between the customer and manufacturing, eliminating the opportunity for mistakes. Tuff Shed went from using little scraps of paper with scribbles on them to a fully automated, instant, error-free system for communicating information between the customer, sales, engineering, and the shop floor.

“The nice thing about having CPQ tools integrated with Salesforce is that it’s one less password to remember. It’s one less system you have to teach. It provides a single source of truth that’s integrated from start to finish in your sales and ordering process,” says Steve.

“Salespeople no longer have to log into the ERP or call the factory to check in on customers. Have they purchased? Are they quoted? Has it been manufactured? Has it been delivered? Has it been installed? It’s all right there for everyone to see. Salesforce really gives you that. And KBMax lets you fully leverage all the functionality Salesforce has to offer.”


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