By David Janke

Even the most legacy business structure you can think of can make the change to Salesforce CPQ – and they need to.


Will CPQ work for a niche legacy industry, and is it worth it?

CPQ is white label – it’s industry agnostic and I’ve personally been part of implementations across many different industries. It’s really impressive how you can mould this tool to virtually any industry out there. We always want to be certain that it’s the right tool for our clients, so that’s our very first question: Is this business a good fit for CPQ?

We know that Salesforce CPQ isn’t cheap, but I ask clients to look at the whole picture. Is it a cost or an investment? From my point of view, it’s most definitely the latter and one where the ROI will kick in very quickly.

If you compare your upfront and licensing costs to the costs of doing nothing, that focuses the mind and makes my point. If status quo is sending out incorrect quotes and losing who-knows-how-much money, you really need to do something fast. Sure, look at other platforms and solutions, but keep in mind how quickly Salesforce CPQ can be implemented. There are some implementations that takes 12 months or more, but for small to mid-sized companies, it can be a much shorter time frame and the turnaround from the first dollar you spend until you start realising value in the investment is so much shorter using Salesforce CPQ. So that’s a big differentiator: we shorten that value cycle.

The Saint-Gobain transformation

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics is a leading multinational manufacturer of high-performance plastics. It was founded in France in 1665, so as you can imagine, there are some real legacy systems in place there!

Chris McDonald, the firm’s Director of Business Systems, speaks of a tangle of 1500 users, 63 manufacturing plants and more than 400 sales people working across 15 different currencies. Chris was responsible for instituting Salesforce CPQ at Saint-Gobain, and is one of our greatest advocates. Below is what he had to say at a recent webinar Simplus hosted with Salesforce.

“We were replacing an old legacy CRM, we knew it was breaking. Our teams were constantly waiting on a status update, or getting something back for the customer, constantly asking where’s my quote, who has it, when will I get it? We had to work something out. The Simplus team sat down with us and really listened. When we had questions, they gave us succinct answers and options. They were a great group to work with.

Now we have a robust tool that does so much, including a 360-degree view of what we’ve quoted in the past, so we can analyse the data and go back and talk to the customer about that. The customer-service benefit includes approval processes going a lot quicker, because they can do it on mobile at any time, from anywhere in the world.

We really want to accelerate our growth, close deals faster, and close bigger deals, and Salesforce CPQ is contributing to all of that.

I really recommend you have executive buy-in driving the adoption of CPQ. There is a lot to CPQ that can be overwhelming – at times people can think, ‘this is too much’. So you can take it in small bites – the crawl, walk, run mentality. Make a start and then add to it on a regular basis. Just have your bigger goal in mind and don’t let it overwhelm you”.

More on the “small bites” strategy

We do “quick wins” all the time. We can just do one product, one division, one geography. We find the most common products, maybe the most simple or most similar product with the most pain, and if we can fix quoting around that with Salesforce CPQ it’s a great way to prove out the use case. That way, companies can then swiftly move to adopt other regions, geographies, products, so on so forth. We can also build out the foundation of a product and then continue to enhance and go forward building on that. The trick is building incremental releases without a ton of rework, so we are careful to ensure on the front end of our architecture, we plan for the end result, and just take steps to finalise that plan. That works really well for clients who need to see it in action for their business before they go all the way.

Simplus is helping industries, from manufacturing to high tech, on their digital transformation journeys with the customisable Configure Price Quote tool, Salesforce CPQ. Get in touch to learn more and to find out if CPQ is the right fit for your organisation.

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