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If you’re considering CPQ software or even if you already have a CPQ platform and are looking to enhance the experience, knowing where to start and what to include can be overwhelming. We are breaking down eight things you need to know when you’re looking at these types of solutions.
First thing, it’s got to be in the cloud
Because you’re dealing with your sales channel. This can mean anything from a website to a configurator that people are using.
Or even your sales channel, you’ll need to be able to log in and quote and build a complex product. Sales reps might need to do that from a tablet, a laptop, out in the field, wherever they are, they need to be able to access it from a browser.
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Maybe you need to roll out to a huge dealer network to a channel of people that need to log in and they have specific roles and capabilities dependent on their specific agreement with your company. Again, it’s got to be in the cloud for them to access it.
Number two, visuals
This can be huge. Having 3D visuals or dynamic 2D images help tell the story. They can explain to the customer exactly what they’re getting, which eliminates phone calls and errors in the selling process.
Number three, rules and complexity
Your CPQ software needs to be able to handle your complexity and your rules. Whether it’s something simple like color selections, or if you have configurators within a configurator. When you click a base model, you should have the right path guiding them to the right upgrades, to things that can be built, and maybe even guiding them to that sweet spot of what you want to sell.
Or it’s your dealer channel and they need a limited range of products with different SKUs, slightly different colors, even different pricing based on the agreement with your company.
Number four, document automation
Companies can spend days, even weeks, building the right Word document. They need to bug engineering, try to get visuals that they paste into the document, find spreadsheets, run calculations, and email the quote. There’s a lot of touch time that goes into this proposal build. Not to mention, you probably want to up your game and add really nice 3D renderings that get built quickly and automatically for you. Whether you want to dramatically reduce that touch time or completely automate it, that’s where your CPQ software can step in.
Number five, engineering automation
This has two aspects to it. Whether it’s the way that your engineering team supports the selling process, or the actual automation of your engineering team’s work. Maybe you are trying to automate some of those simpler more standard builds. Eliminating those redundant tasks to free engineers up to be more innovative, so they can focus on engineering, and your sales team can focus on selling.
For example, reps may need a general arrangement drawing, or a simplified drawing, or some sort of technical drawing that they have to depend on the engineering team to build for them. Automating that is something a CPQ software can help with. Or for your engineering team, it’s creating those real technical drawings that are accurate and doing it quickly and in an automated way.
Number six, business systems
Typically it’s a CRM that you’re going to be connecting to. It has your account information, opportunities as they come in, leads, or maybe it’s part of the marketing engine that you have in place. Your tool should be able to integrate. Whether it’s talking to that CRM, passing information to the ERP, doing a lookup into your inventory, that’s something that your CPQ software can do.
Number seven, APIs
Being able to connect with all of those cool existing tools that are out there, like TaxJar, Google’s mapping API, looking at zip code rules, doing freight calculations for UPS or FedEx, or the different APIs that are specific to your industry.
Number eight, find a CPQ admin
So this is the dirty little secret for CPQ software. A lot of them are just using custom code and they don’t really want to show you that there’s not really any technology back there. It’s just having developers step in and build exactly what you want and then having to continue to spend whenever you need to make updates, do maintenance, or add new products.
Find a CPQ software that actually has an admin that non-developers could run. Whether it’s building out that rule set and then being able to add custom code on top of that, but in a way that makes sense and is user-friendly.