Making a Complex Product Configurator Straightforward with No-Code

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The Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software market size was valued at $1 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $2.3 billion by 2028.

Why the monumental growth? Because products are becoming more complex, customers are demanding more configuration options, skilled labor is increasingly hard to come by, and CPQ provides a solution.

CPQ software enables companies to automate their sales process and deliver instant, accurate quotes, no matter how complex and configurable the product is. They help businesses increase efficiency, reduce errors, and drive revenue growth by streamlining the quoting process.

But CPQ has a downside. Setting up and maintaining a CPQ system can be complex and time-consuming, requiring technical programming expertise. Some companies aren’t prepared for the additional expense and frustration of relying on others to keep their CPQ lights on. For these companies, the no-code movement is a game-changer.

In this article, we’ll explore how no-code revolutionizes CPQ, empowering non-coders to design and control advanced business rules for configuring, pricing, and selling even the most complex products. By embracing no-code, businesses are becoming more agile, responsive, and competitive. Is it time you embrace no-code too? Let’s find out.

How CPQ Systems Currently Work

CPQ stands for “configure, price, quote.” It’s a software solution that helps businesses manage complex product configurations, determine pricing, and generate quotes for potential customers.

CPQ software helps businesses streamline their sales processes by automating tasks that would otherwise be time-consuming and error-prone, such as manual data entry, calculations, and communication. It also enables businesses to offer more accurate and customized quotes to potential customers, which can help improve the chances of closing a deal.

The Rise of Visual CPQ

Over the past few years, industry-leading CPQ solutions have replaced text-heavy configurators–with endless drop-downs and checkboxes–with visual product configurators.

With a visual product configurator, users can see a visual representation of the product they’re configuring that changes in real time as they point, click, drag, and drop, trying different customizations.

Today’s visual configurators are designed to provide a fully immersive experience. They combine 3D rendering, augmented reality, and virtual reality to bring products to life, increasing engagement, clarity, buyer confidence, and win rate.

The Importance of Self-Serve

CPQ software used to be operated exclusively by sales reps behind the scenes. But the visual nature of CPQ has changed all this. Now, sellers are keen to get customers in front of the 3D visuals of potential configurations. Why? Because it dramatically increases the chance of making a sale.

Industry-leading CPQ solutions take this even further by enabling end customers to self-serve. Instead of just “showing” prospects what configurations will look like, they can configure products themselves, receiving prices and quotes immediately. The result is that conversion rates increase by 40%.

Sounds Scary!

If you’re a manufacturer relying on seasoned sales reps and/or trusted design engineers to configure complex or high-value products, the thought of end customers configuring products independently probably fills you with dread. This is where CPQ rules come into play.

Why CPQ Rules are So Vital

CPQ rules determine how products can be configured and sold. Broadly speaking, they come in two flavors: product rules and pricing rules.

Product rules contain your company’s engineering knowledge, industry standards, and rules and regulations to ensure every configuration is safe, legal, and optimized perfectly for every customer. They determine which product options and messages are displayed to the user and automatically validate the final product from an engineering perspective.

Pricing rules contain your pricing strategies. They calculate prices in real-time and ensure maximum margin is earned from every transaction. They can factor a wealth of data into their calculations, from the fluctuating price of raw materials to what a specific competitor charges on their website.

What Is a No-Code Rules Engine?

With most CPQs, creating product and pricing rules is technically challenging. It requires coding and can only be performed by people with the right technical skills.

The problem is the people who code are seldom product experts. This misalignment leads to an endless back-and-forth between the people who want new rules created and those able to build them. It’s inefficient and frustrating.

Relying on your internal IT department to create rules is painful enough. But paying a third party to do the work for you is arguably even worse from a financial and efficiency point of view. Either way, you’re limited in the amount of experimentation you can carry out and the speed at which you can respond to changes in the market.

How Does a No-Code Rules Engine Work?

A no-code rules engine makes building, coding, and maintaining rules layman-friendly–anyone can do it. Instead of creating lines of code, users drag color-coded blocks together to form logic statements, enabling rapid delivery.

Epicor’s no-code visual programming language is called Snap. Unlike some other text-based rules, it’s “Turing Complete.” This term means technical and non-technical users can use the language to build anything–there are no limitations to what you can compute.

In addition to product and pricing rules, Epicor CPQ users use Snap to design and orchestrate integrations, automations, and workflows that connect the CPQ process to other people, teams, systems, and procedures. Some examples of the other things you can do with Snap are listed below.

With Snap, you can:

  • Integrate back-office systems like ERP, CRM, and CAD.
  • Compose workflows for pricing approvals and other manual tasks.
  • Automate design and engineering work like creating CAD files.
  • Route data and send communications internally and externally.
  • Control multiple sales channels.
  • Introduce and edit 3D scenes used in the configuration experience.

The Benefits of No-Code

According to estimates, by 2024, 80% of non-IT professionals will be able to develop IT products and services, and over 65% will utilize low-code/no-code tools. It’s no exaggeration to say that no-code is revolutionizing how we use technology, and the CPQ world is no exception.

Here are some of the benefits of no-code CPQ:

Speed and Agility: Companies can respond lightning-fast to customer requests and market changes by tweaking products or customer experiences.

Collaboration: IT, sales, and engineering can finally speak a shared language, enhancing cooperation, productivity, and innovation.

Accessibility: By making coding accessible, you can extract maximum value from your human resources and empower employees to reach their potential. After all, the “smartest” people in the room might not be coders!

Flexibility: If you can dream it, you can make it. No-code CPQ enables your teams to implement more creative solutions and conduct experiments to drive continuous improvement.

Cost-Savings: Democratizing the rules engine and bringing tasks in-house reduces the cost of external agencies or expensive IT hires.

Future-Proofing: We’re entering an era of low-code and no-code solutions with artificial intelligence making technical tasks easier and faster to perform than previously imagined. To future-proof your organization, you should focus on no-code solutions where possible.

IT Control: When the IT department speaks a different language, it’s impossible to understand what they’re doing, let alone monitor their performance and efficiency. No-code gives management and executives a window into the more technical side of their companies to ensure it’s running effectively.

In Summary: It’s Time to Make Your CPQ Quoting Tool Accessible to Everyone

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software has become increasingly popular due to its ability to automate sales, deliver instant, accurate quotes, and increase efficiency and revenue growth. However, setting up and maintaining a CPQ system can be complex and time-consuming, requiring technical programming expertise.

The no-code movement is changing this, enabling non-coders to design and control intricate business rules for configuring, pricing, and selling even the most complex configurable products.

If you want to make your CPQ accessible and beneficial for everyone, it’s time to embrace the no-code approach. It will make your business more agile, responsive, and competitive. Trust me: once you go no code, you’ll never want to go back.