By David Janke

Listen to your sales teams: the time to implement Salesforce CPQ was yesterday.


Singing from the same CPQ songbook

You’ve realised that you need to find a new tool – your first truly connected system – to streamline your quote-to-cash processes. It’s time to talk CPQ.

The first thing you need is alignment: from stakeholders to end users – consensus is needed. There are lots of indicators, but if the pain has reached the point where the sales team is sending out incorrect quotes and there’s clear revenue leakage, it’s high time for a change. And as much as we all love Excel, it just isn’t a long-term CPQ solution.

Salesforce CPQ isn’t the only CPQ tool out there, but for many clients it is the best choice. If you are still not sure it is the tool for you, then Simplus provides an agnostic platform evaluation service – it’s important to see where you are and where you want to go. Some clients have a team of over-performing developers and amazing technical talent. So for them, Salesforce CPQ might not be the best choice, they could build their own homegrown CPQ tool in-house. Then again it’s not often we see clients with 10 or 12 developers sitting relatively idle and capable of doing that! Our CPQ platform delivers 80% of what most clients need out of the box, and we customise and configure the other 20% for their needs. So, get buy-in from the executive team, evaluate your needs and then you’re off to the races.

Why sales teams love Salesforce CPQ

A lot of companies are driven to us by their frustrated sales teams. They’re using antiquated CPQ tools – often it’s Excel, which is not a CPQ tool! It’s all being done manually: disparate approvals, communications through email, waiting for a manager. It’s a nightmare.

Sales people spend their time doing admin functions and ‘busy work’ trying to get quotes out the door, which takes their time away from active selling and finding new customers. That’s not where they want to spend their time, and it’s not where sales leaders want them to spend their time.

Salesforce did an industry survey of manufacturing sales teams and found that, versus pre-Salesforce CPQ implementation, there was an increase of 80% (that’s not a typo!) in time to close, a 44% improvement in sales productivity and more than 37% increase in win rates. I think those figures speak very loudly for themselves.

Steps to success: all aboard for the change (or get off the bus)

The funny thing about CPQ implementations is that it’s usually not the technology that ends up being the pain point. We had a client refer to a CPQ implementation as a heart transplant, because virtually every department and division at that company is impacted and CPQ was the ‘heart’ of their business. Production, finance, sales, legal, marketing – they all have a stake in it.

Usually, the pain point comes around rearchitecting and organising their business processes, because they realise that they don’t have everything figured out as well as they thought, and maybe they’re changing legacy processes that go back decades. It’s big.

That’s why we see a lot of Change Management and Advisory strategy going along the CPQ implementations, which is something we at Simplus also offer. When a company is restructuring their entire pricing model, everyone might agree that it is superior in every way, but it’s hard to turn the Titanic!

That’s why for any implementation you really need buy-in. We can usually tell on the first one or two days on site who is on board and who’s not when we have meetings and one or two people are pushing back. We also see clients who are all excited, all on board, from the developers to the Salesforce administrators to the executives. Everyone is aligned and realises the value proposition and we can work together through the business pain points and the tech pain points. Whether the organisation is aligned or not is usually a harbinger of success or failure.

Simplus is the global leader in CPQ, with hundreds of successful implementations across industries from manufacturing to financial services. Get in touch to talk to one of our experienced Sales team to start your journey and set yourself up for CPQ success.

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