Chances are, if you’ve clicked to open this article, you’re looking to implement CPQ software for the first time. If not, perhaps your business uses CPQ software already, but you want a more robust solution. Either way, you need to know what the best CPQ software looks like to make a well-informed choice when it’s time to take the next step.
By the time you’ve finished reading this page, you’ll understand how the best CPQ software works, its features and capabilities, and who in your organization stands to gain the most. Spoiler alert: The benefits extend well beyond the sales department.
What Is Configure Price Quote Software?
Configure price quote (CPQ) software has been helping sales teams configure complex products, price them accurately, and generate quotes for decades. It’s a potent tool that eliminates errors, accelerates sales cycles, and drives efficiency, positively impacting revenue and profit.
Learn CPQ Implementation from Start to Finish
It’s no mystery that CPQ has a major impact on customer experiences, but what can it do for your organization?
With CPQ, users configure products using a configurator instead of pen and paper. They click to receive an instant price for a configuration instead of using a calculator. And they click again to download a quote or proposal instead of creating one manually in a spreadsheet. The entire configure, price, and quote process takes minutes instead of days.
So, what does it take for a CPQ solution to be considered “The Best?” The simple answer: a lot more than the above! As we’ll see, industry-leading solutions have capabilities that can benefit the customer, your sales team, your engineering department, and your production facility.
Let’s delve into the features and the benefits.
The “Best” CPQ Software Has These 5 Features
3D Product Configurators
The configurator is the tip of the spear for the engineer-to-order process; It’s the interface that captures and parses customers’ requirements and sends the information downstream.
The most advanced configurators (i.e., the ones that generate the most profitability) are visual and 3D. Users drag and drop to design their product and watch as it comes to life on-screen. Visual configurators display product information clearly, capture and parse customer requirements effectively, and provide an engaging experience that attracts customers and encourages them to spend more.
The 3 Big Benefits
- Increased win rate: Customers clearly understand their chosen product and become attached to their unique design. Visual clarity increases the likelihood of them placing an order.
- Increased deal size: With a clear and transparent configuration experience, buyers feel more confident spending more.
- Improved customer experience: 3D product configuration is highly engaging. Heck, with the right technology, it can be downright enjoyable! Providing an industry-leading experience amongst a sea of mediocrity attracts new customers and increases the loyalty of existing ones.
A No-Code Programming Language
How does the configurator stop users from designing outlandish products or making basic configuration mistakes? Well, it runs on product and pricing rules that constrain the process. These rules, which contain your company’s engineering know-how, prevent errors and guide users to successful outcomes.
When it comes to rules, the best configure price quote software solutions excel in two areas. Firstly, they are powerful enough to handle the complex logic required to configure high-tech products with near-infinite options. And secondly (and perhaps even more importantly), they’re no-code, which means even non-technical users can create rules on the fly.
The 3 Big Benefits
- Can Handle Any Product: Only the best CPQs can cope with the large volume of data and complex algorithms required by the most technically advanced products.
- Low Cost: With a no-code rules engine, you can create and maintain your configurator in-house, saving money on third parties.
- Greater Agility: Because rules are quick and easy to build, you can introduce new products and test new strategies or messaging without delay.
CAD and Design Automation
The ability to create quotes is a standard feature of every CPQ worth its salt. But the best CPQ software auto-generates additional documents that save other departments hours. They use the data captured at the configuration stage to generate anything from CAD files to BOMs, 3D sales drawings, CNC cut sheets, additive manufacturing files, assembly guidance, and more.
This degree of automation saves the engineering department and the shop floor an inordinate amount of time. But more than this, it connects every stakeholder in the engineer-to-order process via a seamless digital thread that breaks down silos and keeps everyone aligned.
The 3 Big Benefits
- Greater Efficiency: Automating CAD and other labor-intensive processes saves time and money.
- Improved Collaboration: The best CPQ software is a single source of truth for data that breaks down silos and encourages cross-domain collaboration.
- More Innovation: Your engineering team can prioritize research and development over tedious, transactional work.
Seamless Systems Integration
The best CPQ software plays nicely with your other back systems, integrating seamlessly to share data and automate workflows. Crucial integrations include CAD (see Number 3 above), eCommerce (See Number 5 below), ERP, and CRM.
Integrating CRM lets your CPQ pull customer information in real-time and use it to personalize the configuration experience. Customers can see their past configurations, receive specific prices, and benefit from intelligent recommendations.
Integrating ERP keeps your configurator fed with the latest inventory, pricing, and other data, ensuring users can access the most up-to-date information and never have to wait for a salesperson to “get back to you.”
The 3 Big Benefits
- Improved Automation: Systems integration drives automation across departments.
- Personalization: Personalized experiences (driven by CRM integration) build brand loyalty and improve upsell and cross-sell performance.
- Greater Responsiveness: Access to the most up-to-minute information from across the business makes salespeople more responsive to customers. For example, they can update customers on availability and lead times without bothering another department.
eCommerce Quoting Software
The most successful B2B companies of tomorrow will be the ones that provide the best eCommerce experiences. Why? Because the modern B2B buyer doesn’t want to interact with salespeople. They wish to self-serve online.
The best CPQ software lets you create a fully immersive 3D product configurator and embed it into your website. All you have to do is copy and paste a couple of lines of code. Once embedded, customers worldwide can use the configurator independently to configure a product, receive a price, and download a quote, proposal, drawing, or CAD file. All this without the help of sales.
The 3 Big Benefits
- Increased TAM: By embedding your configurator into your website and removing the salesperson, you can serve a global customer base 24 hours a day.
- Higher Brand Value: Having a 3D configurator marks you out as a digital leader in your industry.
- Attract Next Generation Buyers: Millennials, Gen Z, and many older buyers, too, prefer to buy online. Prioritize your online channels to avoid losing market share to digital-first competitors.
Choosing the best CPQ software for your business can significantly enhance your sales process, engineering department, and production facility by accelerating sales cycles, eliminating errors, and driving efficiency.
The best CPQ software includes features such as 3D product configurators, a no-code programming language, CAD and design automation, eCommerce abilities, and seamless integration with other systems. You’ll find all this and more in Epicor CPQ. Reach out if you have any questions–we’d love to hear from you.