Navigating Complex Configurations With CPQ

Russ Chadinha

For many companies, the main reason to purchase a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solution is to become faster and more efficient in their quote creation process, and most companies that use CPQ are successful in reducing quoting errors and increasing sales productivity. But that’s just one of many ways to improve your sales process with CPQ.

CPQ solutions are also particularly useful for guiding customers, partners and your sales reps through complex configurations or helping them choose from a large number of possible products.

Imagine you’re in charge of the sales team for a cheese company that sells primarily to grocery stores. Your current portfolio of products comes to 6,000 SKUs. That means your sales reps have to choose which of those 6,000 opportunities to offer when meeting with a grocery store buyer.

CPQ makes this process far more efficient with the use of guided selling to identify the best options for you. It has the ability to present a series of questions and then quickly analyze your entire catalog and identify good opportunities to offer based on how those questions were answered. Now the quote is based on the characteristics of this customer. Additionally, with upsell and cross-sell recommendation capabilities, CPQ will suggest other products you may want to consider offering to the customer.

Instead of requiring sales reps to master 6,000 SKUs, CPQ provides the ability to create a customized, targeted, comprehensive offering that takes full advantage of a large product portfolio. The technology helps reps make better decisions and be much more efficient and effective in defining comprehensive offerings for the customer.

With new customers or prospects, CPQ allows reps to quickly create offers that are customized based on the characteristics of that prospect. Using the guided selling capabilities, CPQ helps reps define products that best meet a prospect’s requirements.

Using the insights from the segmentation and pricing guidance, sales reps are able to base their pricing recommendations on what works with existing customers. The end result is your sales reps are now armed to effectively engage with prospects from an informed position.

When you provide reps with the right tools that help to simplify complex configuration and streamline quote generation, you see improvements in sales productivity. In fact, by switching to CPQ, the average sales rep sees a 49.2 percent increase in the number of quotes, proposals or RFP responses they create each month, according to research from the Aberdeen Group.

The Aberdeen research also suggests an additional benefit: When salespeople use these types of CPQ tools, they’re able to reduce the number of meetings and conversations they have with their prospects. When CPQ users win a deal, they’ve had an average of 6.6 conversations per customer, compared to 7.1 for those not using the technology.

At first, reducing these interactions might seem like a bad thing; wouldn’t you want to have a lot of conversations with your customers? Not necessarily. The real goal is to be more efficient with your time and your customers’ time. The reason using CPQ results in fewer conversations is because it enables sales reps to be more comprehensive and effective with each conversation.

Ready to learn more about using CPQ and pricing guidance to improve your sales process? Download our free e-book , “5 Ways CPQ Keeps Your Sales Pipeline Moving.”

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