In his presentation at Apttus Accelerate ’17, Brion Schweers, GM of Configure Price Quote (CPQ) at Apttus, showed us how selling has evolved over the last 30 years. Selling meant calling and meeting your prospects and filling out order forms. Sales quotes may even have been handwritten. A quick trip in the time machine and we fast forward through the PC era, mobile phones, and the internet to the digital transformation that surrounds us all today. Sales orders can be sent via email or even handled via a self-serve website.
Staying Competitive with Modern Sales Tools
Companies wishing to stay competitive really don’t have a choice but to adapt and evolve. In today’s business environment, the winning bid goes to the first vendor to respond over half of the time. Speed is paramount, which is why CPQ solutions have emerged to provide the competitive boost that many companies crave. CPQ solutions may have initially emerged as a solution for configuring complex products such as in manufacturing. However, we have seen CPQ grow far beyond that since both “pricing” and “quoting” have become equally as important to many companies.
Capabilities of a Modern CPQ Tool
At Apttus, we see CPQ evolving even further. It’s a good start for CPQ to streamline the “process” by which a company creates and delivers its sales quotes. However, CPQ is capable of much, much more. Brion talks about 5 guiding principles when considering a CPQ transformation:
- Configure Deals, Not Products. In today’s sales transactions, you have to consider ALL of the elements including delivery, renewals, services, implementation, etc.
- Buyer Focused, Not Sales Focused. Buyers are much more educated about the products today and have a lot of choice.
- Manage Business Outcomes, Not Processes. Today’s buyers are looking for measurable outcomes, not just the culmination of a sale.
- Real-time Recommendations, Not Just Static Rules. The incorporation of machine learning into the quoting process enables much more comprehensive and timely recommendations than ever before.
- Machine Entry, Not Manual Entry. The emergence of virtual assistants that can greatly simplify and speed the data collection and data entry involved in executing a sales order represent the apex of CPQ today.
So stop selling like it’s 1986 and empower your teams with the best tools available.