CPQ may stand for “Configure Price Quote” but it encompasses so much more. This powerful software touches every aspect of a business – the what, how, where, and why – making any CPQ project a high-value transformation process full of both opportunities and pitfalls. It’s a chance to modernize your business infrastructure while achieving maximum impact for business value, but how do you get the most benefit from your CPQ implementation? Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for success.
1. Understand the opportunity
A great CPQ solution creates a similar customer experience across all devices, streamlining the sales experience, shortening the sales cycle, and making for a satisfied buyer. It addresses the daily challenges faced by your sales representatives and automates processes to provide configuration solutions. Once you understand your business functions and sales organization needs, you can use tailored features such as guided selling, automated approval process, and proposal document generation to ensure that products move through your sales cycle faster than ever before.
Take advantage of this transformation period to undercover things you might not have previously known or rethink existing processes and your old ways of doing things. Now is the time to take a new look at fresh paradigms and approaches to problem solving.
2. Know your business
Start with an open mind. A successful CPQ implementation is dependent on your thorough understanding of business processes and your expertise in their end-to-end impact on supply chain and customer experience. You want to understand not only how the system works, but also how it fits into the greater overall company picture. There are three main steps you can take to start achieving this goal.
- Understand your existing processes. What is your existing configure, price, and quote system? What are the existing bottlenecks and inefficiencies that cripple the sales process? Take this opportunity to consult with your sales representatives and find out what they need in order to effectively manage, create, and deliver quotes. Recognize that you may have to let go of old rules and processes that no longer serve their purpose.
- Understand your customers. Do they shop across channels? Focus on bundled or individual services? Are they multilingual? Are certain products seasonal purchases? Understanding customer buying behavior and needs will help you identify product models and pricing that best support effective selling.
- Find your lead opportunities. Once you understand current customer behavior you’ll gain insight into product and pricing patterns that will enable you to identify additional sales opportunities. Take these into account when configuring your new CPQ system.
3. Identify business requirements
Implementation of a new system is an opportunity to streamline your old way of doing business both internally and externally. You’ve already identified your existing processes and needs, now you can set goals that will define the future workflow to account for and eliminate potential delays. Now is also the time to review your product catalog and current pricing model, especially approval tree and pricing rules. You should also determine what product information you want to include as well as how to handle any existing and forthcoming data. Finally, identify the measures of success.
Make sure that all the above are documented and prioritized.
4. Understand where and how the CPQ system will fit in the process
Implementing a CPQ system does not mean that you’ll be discarding all your current legacy systems. You’ll need to access information that already exists and often is stored in several locations in order to ensure a quality service delivery experience. Fortunately, CPQ software is designed to integrate with multiple other systems. However, in order to ensure effective integration you’ll need to understand three factors:
- What other systems will be affected
- How the systems will integrate and interact
- What is the intended workflow
This is where having a trusted partner like Keste will benefit and can help you to navigate CPQ best practices. If you have effectively identified your business requirements as described above, determining how the CPQ system will fit in the process will be much simpler.
5. Plan for change management
Knowing what you have and what you want to accomplish are key, now you need to ensure that you effectively implement, adjust, and if necessary adapt the new system. Include the following steps to help ensure buy-in across the organization:
- Develop a specific implementation plan which includes testing. This not only eliminates bugs but also has the added benefit of establishing credibility and confidence in the system. Remember: people don’t use systems or processes that they don’t trust.
- Identify a project leader, including at least one key influencer as a front-line champion. Open communication and designated resources are an opportunity to adapt the system to any requirements or needs which may not have been previously identified.
- Engage all departments to get proper alignment. The system will affect teams from across the organization – sales, marketing, operations, product management, finance, and IT – so make sure they not only have the opportunity to contribute but also understand specific benefits to them, such as replacing manually keyed in entry with automatic processing. Understanding how the system will benefit them directly will lead to faster adoption of the new processes, with successful users becoming advocates and resources for other users.
- Develop a training program. Systems aren’t effective when nobody knows how to use them, so to be successful you’ll need to ensure that users are comfortable with both the system and the change management process.
While no preparation is absolute, the above tips will set you up for the best and smoothest possible experience. Check out our upcoming article for tips on implementing your CPQ Project.
This article is part of our “What is CPQ” series accompanying Frank Sohn’s CPQ Podcast featuring Sri Ayyeppen, President, CTO and co-founder of Keste. This blog series explores some of the non-technical aspects of a CPQ system lifecycle from beginning to maintenance.
The CPQ Podcast is a weekly Podcast about what’s new, interesting and worth talking about in the world of CPQ. Listen to Frank’s interview with Sri on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or the Novus CPQ website.
Keste delivers sophisticated digital solutions for complex business problems. Our expertise helps you to rethink your process from end-to-end and allows you to realize the value of your CPQ solution. We don’t just implement, we innovate.