CPQ is a software tool designed to streamline and automate a number of day-to-day processes that every modern configure-to-order and engineer-to-order business grapples with.
Starting with configure, price, quote (as reflected in the acronym that gives the software its name) and extending all the way to engineering and production, CPQ streamlines every process from the shopping cart to the shop floor.
This article will follow a product from conception to the factory floor, studying the key CPQ processes that facilitate its journey. We’ll learn how CPQ reduces errors, improves efficiency, automates complex workflows, ensures compliance, and provides world-class customer experiences.
What Is Visual CPQ?
Visual CPQ software like Epicor CPQ lets users configure products by interacting with 3D models within an intuitive visual configurator. Instead of answering endless questions about their product needs, users can drag and drop to change and assemble the parts, materials, colors, and dimensions they want. Simultaneously, CPQ provides real-time pricing and quotes as the product takes shape.
Visual CPQ enhances the traditional CPQ process by providing a more immersive experience. Customers can see 3D renderings of final products before committing to an order, which makes them a) more likely to convert and b) more likely to be satisfied with the product when it arrives.
It’s time to streamline your sales to manufacturing processes with a solution made just for you.
Learn how manufacturers are gaining a competitive advantage by introducing CPQ to complex product ordering and manufacturing.
The best thing about visual CPQ is manufacturers can empower end-customers with self-service capabilities, catering to the modern buyer’s preferences. By embedding the configurator on their website, manufacturers can reach a global audience, enabling them to explore product offerings and place orders conveniently.
Once the configurator is available online, sellers can start recording customer behavior. Each customer interaction with the configurator generates valuable data that manufacturers can leverage to improve products, enhance customer experiences, and engage with prospects who drop off.
Benefits of visual CPQ include:
- Improved customer experience: Configuring products is more engaging and enjoyable.
- Increased sales: Visualization gives customers greater product understanding, which increases confidence and win rates.
- Lower return rate: Customers who design products themselves are more invested in their selections and more satisfied with the outcome.
- Faster sales cycles: Buyers receive prices and quotes in minutes rather than weeks.
- Enhanced collaboration: Visualization reduces miscommunication between customers, salespeople, engineers, and shop floor teams.
- Lower costs: Manufacturers can eliminate costly configuration and pricing errors.
- Greater automation: Increasing automation minimizes the reliance on human workers whose wages are expensive.
Key CPQ Processes Associated with Top CPQ Solutions
This section will follow a customer and their product from awareness to delivery. We will explain how all the CPQ processes line up to increase speed, efficiency, accuracy, revenue, and customer satisfaction.
1. Awareness and Consideration
Most accounts of CPQ processes begin at the Configure stage, but a couple of vital steps occur before configuration starts in earnest.
At the Awareness stage, users become aware of their needs and potential solutions to address them. This is when your marketing efforts are most effective and where CPQ’s 3D renderings can make a massive impact. CPQ gives you access to an endless library of imagery you can leverage in advertisements, branding, social media, and more to catch buyers’ attention and stand out from competitors.
Buyers today conduct extensive online research before purchasing or contacting a salesperson. You can simplify their experience by integrating a visual product configurator into your website, enabling them to learn about your products at their own pace and with rich detail.
Visual product configuration eliminates the need for lengthy product descriptions, which makes life easier and more convenient for buyers. The functionality is also memorable and impressive, helping position your company as a digital leader. Each of these factors increases the likelihood of making sales.
2. CPQ Configuration
CPQ makes the configuration process fast, frictionless, and transparent for sales reps, distributors, and end customers alike. They simply drag and drop to assemble their product and watch as it comes to life in 3D on-screen. With Epicor CPQ, manufacturers can leverage augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D animations to create immersive experiences that wow customers and drive sales.
3. CPQ Pricing
Gone are the days when salespeople spent hours calculating pricing for configurations. Now CPQ effortlessly computes prices for even the most intricate products with numerous add-ons and dependencies, enhancing responsiveness to customer inquiries. Moreover, CPQ incorporates factors such as competitor prices, fluctuating costs, and customer purchase history to determine the optimal price for securing deals with maximum margin.
4. CPQ Quoting
It’s not unusual for manufacturers selling complex configurable products to take weeks to get a quote out to a customer. With CPQ, it can take seconds. In a fast-paced business environment where everyone is time-stretched, instant quoting is a huge win.
5. CPQ CAD and Design Automation
Most people focus on the sales aspect of CPQ. Still, the engineering and production side is just as valuable for companies looking to automate processes and free their staff to tackle more strategic, creative, higher-value tasks.
Visual CPQ solutions not only produce quotes but also generate essential files and documents for the engineering department, such as CAD files and BOMs. This capability can eliminate transactional engineering tasks for some manufacturers. For others, CPQ handles the most tedious aspects of the job, allowing engineers to focus on the most valuable 20% of their work.
6. CPQ Shop Floor Processes
CPQ’s scope extends beyond the engineering stage, streamlining various shop floor processes. It can generate files such as CNC cut sheets and additive manufacturing files, routing them directly to the appropriate machines to begin production. For manufacturers relying on human workers on the shop floor, CPQ can generate documents like parts lists and assembly instructions, supercharging efficiency, and accuracy.
7. Integrated CPQ Processes
Leading CPQ software integrates with all of your other back-office systems, connecting people, processes, and software via a seamless data flow and automating workflows across departments.
Essential integrations for CPQ include CRM and ERP. CRM integration allows manufacturers to use customer information for personalized configuration, pricing, and quoting, while also feeding order and behavioral data back into CRM to enrich customer records.
Similarly, ERP integration enables CPQ to access information such as inventory levels, production schedules, and lead times, providing customers with comprehensive order details and empowering them to make informed, prompt purchasing decisions.
Visual CPQ solutions like Epicor CPQ are transforming how manufacturers handle configure-to-order and engineer-to-order workflows. By streamlining every process from the shopping cart to the shop floor, CPQ reduces errors, improves efficiency, automates complex workflows, ensures compliance, and provides world-class customer experiences.
If you want to enrich your buyer journey while automating configuration, pricing, quoting, CAD, and so much more, contact one of our CPQ experts today.