How to build and deliver accurate sales quotes

Sales representatives prefer to spend more time on customer facing contact than on administration tasks such as making quotes. This is especially the case when sales representatives sell complex products or services. They regularly run into problems like writing accurate sales quotes in time. That’s why Salesforce developed CPQ, a guided selling tool. But what is CPQ and what’s in it for you?

How does it work?

Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software helps sales representatives to produce fast and accurate sales quotes for complex deals. In other words, it simplifies your sales process. You start by entering simple customer data, such as company size or industry. Based on your responses, the tool guides you through the quotation process. On top of that, CPQ streamlines the sales process. No more collecting data from complex pricing and product spreadsheets or systems! Instead, you are presented with selling options. These options are based on business rules and logic that meets your customer’s needs.

Let’s compare it to a car sales process. During the sales process, hundreds of questions pop up. Do you know all the option combinations? Are there certain packages that are better than the individual options? Is the quote for an individual or a business customer? How big is their fleet? Does this fleet consist of cars of your brand or are most cars from the competition? Do you print all the options? And do you want to add pictures with more details?

As you can see, the car sales process is a typical CPQ! Configure the right options, calculate a correct price, define the right rebate and deliver a qualitative offering.

Configure

Complex product and service configurations are easily created with the Salesforce product catalog. We can all image the sales process of a car. But what if you are selling industrial generators, plane engines, etc.? Some options are mandatory, some options will trigger other options, some options cannot be combined. Status: it’s complicated, but you can do it with CPQ!

Besides that, the software reminds you to upsell. Let’s take the same example of the car. If the customer likes cycling, a bike rack might be an option. Compared to a manual configuration of a car quote, CPQ helps you quickly to create and customize a quote for each client. This increases your productivity tremendously.

Price

Pricing models are often very complex. A rebate calculation is based on the type of customer, the area, the competition and the yearly total over different orders. Status: it’s complicated, but a good CPQ configuration handles this. The tool eliminates the risk of offering a wrong price and maximizes your revenue and margins. Furthermore, Salesforce CPQ provides you a real-time overview of pipelines and forecasts. It also reports which quotes need follow-up and which are expired.

Quote

Creating the perfect quote. It’s complicated, but CPQ allows you to add data dynamically to your quote. A simple example is to put the right terms and conditions on your template based on your configuration: country specific items, pictures of the offered product and its options, it’s all feasible. Salesforce CPQ also offers several quote templates. They are flexible and provide many options, such as cover letters, terms and conditions, signature blocks, and many more. You create your own templates based on your business needs. This increases the chance of composing the right quote.

Renewals and approvals  

Besides configuring, pricing and quoting, Salesforce CPQ easily creates renewal quotes. This is helpful when you sell, for example, software licenses that need to be renewed every three years. With CPQ you don’t have to create a new quote. You simply select the existing customer’s quote in the system and update it for renewal. And last but not least, you can activate an approval process. This functionality for advanced approvals gives you the option to select which managers need to approve a quote before you send it to the customer.

CPQ: 2 out of 3?

The basic idea is that you need 2 out of 3 CPQ activities, for instance “configure” and “quote”, to justify your choice. However, with very complex sales configurations or price models CPQ might be the right choice. We’ve seen a lot of copycat projects where developers build their own mini CPQ. Sometimes successful, but often more expensive than the existing solution. Especially when you include the 3 upgrades, that Salesforce yearly introduces, containing new features. In the end, any solution should give you a benefit. If your sales process it too complex and consumes too much time, you lose money.

Configuration & maintenance

Start with the right configuration by a certified expert who teaches you how to maintain your solution. Here the CPQ consultant has 3 main tasks:

  1. First the consultant must thoroughly understand your sales model, price configuration and customer structure. With that maximum insight, it will become a correct CPQ configuration.
  2. His second task is to translate that information into your CPQ setup. While doing that, he/she can suggest possible required changes.
  3. The third main task of a CPQ consultant is to make sure that you have a CPQ configuration that you can maintain. To control your budget, you need to know how to change prices, product configurations or rebate groups.

CPQ certification and references

A Salesforce partner that supports your project should have the right certifications and references. Salesforce has put a lot of effort in deep technical training sessions for partners that lead to certification. How do we know that? Because we joined these trainings, did the certifications and configured seriously complex business models in Salesforce CPQ ourselves.

Do you want to build and deliver fast and accurate quotes for complex deals? Contact Yves Van Looy.

 

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