September 21 by Doug Louie
One of the main driving forces is the consumerization of the B2B buying experience. We are seeing B2C buying experience influencing the B2B purchase expectation. Enterprise buyers are yearning for the easy and fast buying experiences they are having as consumers. This could be the online shopping they may do on Amazon or the ease with which they can quickly garner product reviews and recommendations on their mobile phones before purchasing. Why can’t enterprises enjoy such experiences? They certainly can.
The Role of CPQ
That’s where CPQ plays a tremendous role. CPQ may originally have started as an aid to configuring product combinations and bundles. However, today’s forward-thinking organizations have quickly realized that a CPQ solution is the foundation for providing and ensuring the best possible customer experience. In our recent CPQ Impact Study, our customers reported:
- 51% improvement in Quote Quality
- 38% Faster Time to Quote
What this means is that customers were able to receive a quote faster which reduces the angst of having to wait in this era of “instant gratification.” Also, improvements in quote quality mean less errors and less need to re-work the quote further reducing delays. No salesman enjoys going back to the customer and sheepishly explain that he got it wrong. Even worse, in many cases quotes could be legally binding depending upon the situation which could have profitability impact for enterprises. Risk mitigation is another reason CPQ has been growing so fast.
The Purchase Experience
The purchase experience may also span multiple channels as customers engage via partners and/or through E-Commerce portals and mobile. Ensuring consistency and accuracy along with compliance across all channels is another factor driving the adoption of CPQ today. It’s more than just “look and feel” and branding, it’s also about making sure the customer has a seamless experience wherever and however he chooses to interact with your company.
One of the newest developments taking CPQ to the next level is the introduction and incorporation of virtual assistants and machine learning. Incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has garnered a lot of buzz recently and for good reason. Apttus has leapt to the front of the CPQ pack by introducing Max, the first virtual assistant, who helps salespeople save time by performing many day-to-day tasks that detract salespeople from actual selling time. Machine learning algorithms facilitate real-time price and product recommendations along with deal scoring based on actual data. Sales reps now have the benefit of “sideline analysts” that can deliver up-to-the-minute “plays” in real time. Welcome to the future.