Salesforce is the world’s #1 CRM provider, but they’re also an excellent resource of information for marketing, sales, and business developers.
They offer a community forum full of helpful insights into customer relationship management and a blog full of good advice oriented towards sales. Today we’re focusing on their AppExchange, where they help their users find business applications that integrate and add functionality within Salesforce.
Even if you aren’t a Salesforce user, we highly recommend you take a look at the AppExchange. You can use it to discover business solutions that fit your needs. If you’re new to the AppExchange, look through the most popular apps and scan through specific categories and industries. Some apps will be Salesforce specific, but many are offered for other CRMs or as standalone software.
Now, let’s explore how you can use the AppExchange to find the right CPQ solution for your company. On the main screen of the AppExchange, type in “CPQ” and press search. You will see a number of boxes appear with different icons and names of different CPQ solutions. If you hover over a specific box, you’ll be able to click “more” to go to the overview page of that solution.
As of summer 2015, there were 50 CPQ options available. Salesforce shows six at the top with an added graphic, but you should dive into more of the apps available to pick the right CPQ for your company. To help you in your search, we have five tips about what to look for when examining the CPQ solutions within the Salesforce AppExchange.
Questions to Consider When Examining AppExchange CPQ Solutions:
Is the app a comprehensive CPQ solution? Some providers break out specific features into different apps. For example, Oracle offers a Quoting app, a Pricing App, a Renewals App and more. Other apps are total CPQ solutions that provide comprehensive functionality for any CPQ need. Make sure you look at the ones that best fit your requirements.
Is the provider a specialist in CPQ? Some of the CPQ solutions offered by the Salesforce AppExchange are add-ons for larger business process software or enterprise management suites. If you need basic CPQ functionality in a much larger platform, then you might look specifically for the companies that offer multiple types of software. If you’re looking for comprehensive CPQ solutions that dig down deep into configuration features, then focus on the companies that specialize in CPQ.
Is the app built on the Force.com platform? If it is, this means that the CPQ solution was written specifically with Salesforce in mind. Unfortunately, it also means that you might need specific Salesforce programming, and you might be tied to Salesforce when using your CPQ platform. If so, when you switch CRM platforms then you have to switch CPQ platforms as well. The benefits of a solution like EndeavorCPQ that isn’t Force.com native, is that you are less likely to need specialized programming help, and you can switch CRMs without having to switch CPQ solutions.
What do the reviews say? On the AppExchange screen, you can see the review rank of all of the CPQ solutions shown. At the bottom of each box, you can see the five stars, how many stars the correlated CPQ solution has highlighted in black, and how many reviews each solution has. The bigger providers are going to have the largest number of reviews, but read through them to make sure that Salesforce users are happy with their CPQ experience. Quality is more important than quantity.
What can you see about the CPQ? On each provider page, you can quickly see comprehensive information about their CPQ solution. Look to see if they have pricing listed on the overview screen, check and see if they offer a demo video or screenshots of the product itself, and read about the provider. Some CPQ providers are really new to the game, but others have been around for over a decade. Older providers are more likely to have experience with complex configurations and specific industry needs.
Next Steps in Your CPQ Search
Once you review all the CPQ providers that you are interested in, you have multiple options for your next steps within the AppExchange. If you are just starting your CPQ search, save the ones you like best and compare with further research. The provider tabs should have websites and emails listed, so you can explore the CPQ solutions further and contact each provider for additional information.
EndeavorCPQ is listed in the AppExchange, so feel free to check out our overview page.