May 30 by Ben Allen

If you’re familiar with customer relationship management (CRM) tools such as Salesforce, you know that CRM effectively tracks the activities that move a lead to an opportunity to a closed deal. It’s also great for managing the customer relationship once that deal is finalized.

However, when it comes to complex quoting processes, CRM often comes up short. Many companies that have invested a lot of time and money bringing a sales team onto a CRM platform find quoting still needs to be done externally, especially if tools like Excel and Word are used to get parts of the process done. And when quoting is done manually without the safeguards CRM provides, errors, unnecessary risk, lost deals and angry customers are common outcomes. For organizations facing these challenges, CPQ software can be a life saver.

What is CPQ?

As Praveen Sengar, Gartner Research Analyst and keynote speaker for Apttus Accelerate 2014, explains “Configure, price and quote (CPQ) is evolving as an integrated process automating tool used from opportunity to contracting and ordering.” Sengar is among the many who believe automated CPQ solutions are redefining the way companies sell.

CPQ solutions pick up where CRM leaves off, making all of the complex product, pricing, and business rules centralized, automatic and available in real-time. Sales has everything it needs at its fingertips when trying to configure and quote a deal.

Here are Five Ways CPQ Transforms Your Sales Processes:

1. Control without Sacrificing Speed – Configuration, the foundation of CPQ, is the engine that ensures your business rules are accurately represented in your quotes and contracts and that your reps are selling the best mix of products at the best price.

2. Make Your Reps More Efficient – CPQ helps eliminate unnecessary administrative steps that eat up your sales reps’ time and drag out the deal process. They can spend more time doing what’s important – getting in front of prospects and selling.

3. Drive a Modern Multi-Channel Strategy – CPQ provides up-to-date product catalog visibility to every approved user, whether inside or partnering with your company, so all your channels are on the same page. E-Commerce capability and self-service portals expand your market reach and make it easier to connect your products to customers.

4. Protect Top Line Growth and Bottom-Line Margins – CPQ helps expand opportunities to upsell, cross-sell and bundle products and services, allowing you to drive more revenue. Features such as Deal Management provide parameters that prevent rogue discounting, outmoded prices, and cannibalism.

5. Simplify Quoting – By removing pricing exercises from a multitude of manually created spreadsheets and into a centralized application, quoting becomes the easiest part of the CPQ process. All necessary data can be auto-populated, ensuring accuracy and efficiency as well as setting the stage for the negotiations. If your CPQ solution is implemented within a full end-to-end Quote-to-Cash process, you can dramatically cut down contract bottlenecks as well.

To learn more about Apttus CPQ, click here. Praveen Sengar will deliver a keynote address at Accelerate 2014, the Quote-to-Cash event of the year, June 16-18th in San Francisco.

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