As we wrap up 2016, it’s time to take stock in what we have and start making some plans for the future. The Configure Price Quote (CPQ) industry is a $700 million market showing 50% annual growth projections over the next several years. There are not too many other sectors that have this type of explosive growth. So if CPQ has hit the mainstream, what should we expect in 2017 and beyond? These are my top 3 projections for CPQ:
Mobile means transacting business, no matter how complex, on any device, at any time. CPQ companies will provide responsive experiences on web or mobile apps and render the right content at the right time based on the client’s needs and the device calling into the data. CPQ firms have done a fair job to date pushing mobile innovation and those that continue to do so will accelerate their market share. Consider a mobile app that renders a series of questions and then automatically configures, prices and sends a quote to a prospect based only on the answers provided. Follow this experience with automatic publishing of content to CRM, ERP and eCommerce. No one in the CPQ space has taken on a true mobile experience but those that do will break away from the pack. It’s how everyone operates and how we all want to transact business.
2. SaaS is a Must
On the cloud front, CPQ providers that are truly SaaS (not single tenant with on-premise options) will scale quickly. Service architecture is quickly becoming the only way to provide selling teams with the data, rules, and guidance they need to get the job done. Companies are looking for CPQ firms that connect with legacy ERP and CRM systems easily to retrieve and update mission-critical data. Old-style architecture handcuffs providers by extending the on-boarding process and scales the total cost of ownership. As systems change, the only way to easily accommodate those changes is through a service-based architecture. Multi-tenant SaaS offerings are quick and easy to provision, accommodate rapid innovation, connect easily to any on premise or cloud system, and deliver content to all devices in a much thinner and better format. SaaS makes CPQ light, which is what the market demands.
The last big trend we are forecasting for 2017 is the emergence of CPQ providers that move from point to point CPQ to multi-source CPQ networks. There are companies that have a single and direct sales force and require a CPQ system to just configure, quote and order their products and services. But an increasing market trend is for companies to collaborate and go to market with other companies in either a direct or indirect/partnering method. Sales teams that engage in this type of environment do not benefit from point-to-point CPQ. Rather, they need a one-stop-shop to engage one CPQ instance that is actually a network “hub” of many different companies/providers. Generating a quote with compatible products from multiple sources and processing multiple orders from that quote is a CPQ Marketplace. We see a significant trend in this direction in 2017 and beyond.
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