Updated on 5/19/2021
Do you find getting new products live in SAP ERP painfully slow?
There’s no doubt SAP CPQ is a powerful tool, but all too often, that power comes at the expense of usability. Customers frequently complain that loading new products into SAP is laborious and unnecessarily slow. It can take months to create all the product deviations and permutations due to overly-complex VC rules. Implementing the right CPQ software can vastly improve your SAP deployment, empower sales teams, simplify processes, shorten sales cycles, and enable rapid product launches without confusing logic and sluggish API calls. Read on to find out the good, the bad, and the ugly side of CPQ for SAP as we identify four sure-fire ways to supercharge your deployment with KBMax. You can:
- Set up and maintain product rules easily
- Build a fully immersive “virtual showroom”
- Simplifies sales and shortens sales cycles with AI guided selling
- Boost engineering efficiency with CAD and design automation.
What is SAP CPQ? SAP CPQ is a configure price quote solution designed to increase the speed and accuracy of your quoting process. Your tech team programs configurable product rules into the back-end, and these rules govern precisely how sales can configure products and bundles for customers. Sales simply “follow the rules” to configure and price products, and once submitted, the software auto-generates a proposal–the result: a faster sales cycle. Key features of SAP CPQ include:
- Branded quotes that are always error-free and in line with policy
- Auto-generated complex quotes that can be tens of thousands of lines long
- Pricing behavior intelligence controls that safeguard margins and eliminates rogue discounting
- Workflow rules that streamline the approval process and increase operational efficiency
- Intelligent up-sells and cross-sells built into the software that helps sales pick the right product and increase deal size
- Connected quote-to-fulfillment, which means there’s no need for sales to manually fill out a spreadsheet and send it to the warehouse or 3PL
The bottom line is that if you’re already operating within a SAP cloud environment, SAP CPQ will be relatively easy to implement and a robust product configuration, pricing, and quoting solution for you. It will leverage your existing variant configuration models and customer data and integrate seamlessly with SAP Sales Cloud, SAP C4C (Cloud for Customer), SAP Commerce Cloud, and SAP Service Cloud.
What’s BAD about SAP CPQ?
SAP CPQ is very costly and requires lots of highly technical know-how and time to set up, which only adds to the expense. It’s priced for enterprise, and if your business isn’t at that level, then you’ll probably find the cost prohibitive (they don’t publish the price, so prepare to negotiate if you’re new to SAP.) Adding a new complex product to SAP CPQ can take months. Setting up product and pricing rules using the variant control engine is notoriously difficult, which hinders agility (think enterprise-level speed!) You may well have to hire a specialist agency partner to maintain the solution, and no agency will ever fully understand your products as your team does. Businesses new to SAP CPQ often complain of a distinct lack of after-sales support and training for what is a largely developer-centric tool. And developers complain that technical documentation lacks clarity. With 12 million global SAP users, it’s easy to feel like just another number and that there’s always a bigger and more important customer than you. Like Salesforce CPQ and Oracle CPQ, SAP CPQ is designed to be used by sales. So it lacks that crucial customer-facing component. A solution like KBMax CPQ, on the other hand, can be embedded into an external website, empowering buyers themselves to configure, price, and quote complex products independently – any time, any place, through any device. Finally, although the SAP CPQ solution automates sales-to-fulfillment, it lacks the CAD and design automation functionality that streamlines engineering and manufacturing workflows for the most significant sales cycle improvements. This shortcoming also applies to Salesforce CPQ.
How KBMax CPQ integration supercharges your SAP solution
With SAP CPQ integration, SAP users can profit from all the benefits of KBMax without adding yet another login, another password, and learning another knowledge base. 3D product visualization, CAD and design automation, manufacturing automation, B2B eCommerce embedding, and the super-simple Snap rules engine become available right there in your SAP system.
1. You can set up and maintain product rules easily with no coding required
SAP variant configuration (VC) is designed for manufacturers of complex products that continuously offer new variants and modify existing designs. It’s supposed to provide flexibility, but it has significant drawbacks. Not least, VC rulesets are incredibly long and challenging to code, and non-technical users struggle to operate what is essentially a rather developer-centric tool. KBMax CPQ for SAP is different. Product and pricing rules are built using the SNAP rules engine, which is just as powerful as VC but easy to use for employees with no coding background. Setting up and maintaining KBMax CPQ for SAP can all be done in-house – there’s no need for specialist input from external agency partners. Companies make substantial savings without sacrificing flexibility and can test new strategies without running up a massive bill. To build rules in SNAP, users simply drag and drop blocks (that represent chunks of code) and “snap” them together to form logic statements. Unlike SAP, which thinks like a developer, SNAP is a visual programming language that thinks like an everyday product expert. Familiar drop-downs, color-pickers, and buttons guide users through a highly intuitive process, pinpointing mistakes.
2. You can build a fully immersive “virtual showroom” (crucial for post-pandemic remote-working scenarios.)
Business travel and face-to-face meetings have taken an unprecedented hit since the coronavirus pandemic struck. Although there’s bound to be some bounce-back, frequency is forecast to level out way below 2019 levels. In light of this massive change, companies with the ability to present their products virtually are growing much faster than their competitors. Those able to reproduce the look, feel, and functionality of their products in the most realistic and compelling ways possible now have a huge competitive advantage. KBMax CPQ for SAP provides a fully immersive buying experience to customers wherever they’re situated and whatever devices they’re using. Buyers can self-serve, configuring the most technical and complex products independently. KBMax turns your customer’s screen into a virtual showroom by providing a lifelike 3D representation of configurable products. Buyers can inspect products in realistic detail, spin them 360, and zoom in and out. They can interact directly with 3D images, explore buildings, operate complicated pieces of machinery, and drive high-performance vehicles. Anything’s possible. KBMax also offers VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality), which elevate CPQ for SAP to a whole other level. They merge the real world with the digital. VR places buyers inside a simulated reality while AR overlays 3D product representations onto a background captured by a camera on a phone or tablet. Such immersive experiences resolve buyers’ desire to interact with products physically prior to purchase, reducing purchase anxiety. With a deep visual understanding of all product options, there can be no nasty surprises later on down the line. And with all information captured up-front, complaints, refunds, and chargebacks are reduced dramatically.
3. You can simplify sales processes, shorten sales cycles, increase deal sizes, and eliminate errors with guided selling.
SAP CPQ is excellent at streamlining sales and shortening sales cycles, but KBMax is even better. If you integrate KBMax into SAP, you can simplify your sales process with AI-guided selling. Guided selling holds your sales rep’s hand the whole way through the product configuration process, picking out perfectly optimized products for each customer, regardless of product complexity or catalog size. Guided selling turns new hires into seasoned sales veterans with personalized recommendations that increase conversion rates by an average of 40% while improving customer satisfaction. New hires are transformed into trusted advisors.
4. You can boost engineering efficiency and innovation with CAD and design automation.
A core function of every CPQ solution is the ability to generate quote documents automatically. Salespeople are liberated from the burden of fiddly Excel spreadsheets and error-prone manual formatting processes, freeing up more time to actually sell. KBMax CPQ for SAP, however, can do much more than create essential sales documentation. Users can instantly generate a wide variety of CAD designs and technical documents too. Site plans, elevations, engineering drawings, and CNC cutting data can all be generated without the need for any engineering input. Manufacturing teams receive accurate, pre-validated data, shaving an average of 35% off production times.