By its very nature, technology improves business through automating processes and putting intelligence in the hands of business leaders. Technology enables companies to be easier to do business with which has a direct and immediate impact on the top and bottom line. When was the last time you were in an Apple store and bought something? The process is so fast and easy and on your terms. You find what you want, the Apple employee requests it on their iPhone, it is delivered to you within minutes, and then the transaction is completed on their iPhone. An awesome experience that maps to everything else Apple does. But, we will leave more Apple praises for another day.
So, what is the lesson here? Technology companies, like any other company, needs to make the transaction fast, easy and accurate in order to win more business and secure raving fans. But, technology transactions are tricky. These are the reasons CPQ (Configure Price Quote) is perfect for any software, telecom, and hardware and service company. Some top CPQ benefits are:
1. Products & Pricing Ready To Go All The Time. High tech moves fast. What is offered today, changes tomorrow. The product is retired or a new version is added to it. The feature sets change. Marketing and Sales are changing packaging and bundling frequently, and pricing is a daily game. How do you ensure your sales people and partners have the latest? Spreadsheets? Good luck with that. All your sale channels need to log into a single CPQ portal either through their CRM system or directly and be assured that the products and pricing they are quoting is valid and accurate.
2. Consistent & Reliable Order Entry Processes. In the Apple example, the order is instantaneous because it is a retail outlet. But what about when you are selling software and services, or telecom hardware, software and services? How long does it take to get the order entered? Is it minutes, hours or days? In most cases, we find that the order takes days to get entered due to auditing processes and changes. The last time Endeavor ordered Telecom Services from a local supplier here in Dallas, it was a mess. Not only was the wrong equipment delivered, the first invoice was not even close to what was agreed to on the quote. Our satisfaction hit the floor after spending numerous hours on the phone getting things corrected. With CPQ, the quote is being generated off valid data and rules as defined by the Operations AND Marketing teams. Not just by the Marketing and Sales teams using spreadsheets. CPQ eliminates order-entry errors and ensures the customer gets exactly what they expected.
3.Quote to Order Visibility. One of the advantages of CPQ is that all quotes and all orders are visible and accessible at the point they are being created. Sales people will quote in CPQ and in most cases that feeds Opportunities in CRM. Margins are protected by triggering workflow approval rules for discount approvals. Partners log into a secure site where they can do their own quoting in CPQ and that transaction is also visible to the enterprise. Management is assured that accurate quotes turn into valid orders and visibility is provided all along the way.
4. Training. How valuable would it be to have your best rep on the front lines of closing every deal? How quickly can your new resources or partners quote and close a deal and do you need to be involved in every single one of them? One of the significant benefits of CPQ is ensuring all your selling channels have what they need at their fingertips to get a deal done. CPQ guides new and seasoned reps through the quote process ensuring that the right product at the right price is being recommended. It also ensures that cross and up sell suggestions are provided each and every time.
Whether you are a software company that implements on premise, or a SaaS company that deploys in the cloud, or a Telecom company that sells and services hardware and software implementations, or you are a Professional Services company that implements technology, CPQ is for you. Technology is complicated and it is changing daily. You need a centralized place to ensure that all quotes and orders are up to date and valid. And you need a CPQ system to ensure that your sales people and partners can deliver a quote within five minutes of getting the request. Anything short of that is unacceptable these days.
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