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Considerations for selecting a CPQ Product

Considerations for selecting a CPQ Product

Sunny Alung
November 18, 2021

What’s the first thing you do when you face a complex purchasing decision like selecting the right CPQ Solution? implementation of a CPQ solution is a huge investment that has an immediate & a long term impact on your organization and cannot be taken lightly.

A CPQ Solution is more than just implementing a Product. Every CPQ solution is a conglomeration of technology and business processes, which one needs to take into consideration before evaluating it.

We explore some of the important factors to consider while selecting CPQ software. We cover why assessing your needs is so important (because what good is a solution that doesn’t meet your needs?), why it is important to align to your current process, what level of functionality you need, and more. This blog breaks down the key requirements for evaluating and buying the right CPQ Solution and will help you with deciding which requirements are mandatory for your business.

Making or Breaking CPQ Success with the right assessment:

What do Market experts say about CPQ?

CPQ market has grown 35% every year according to Gartner but despite this astounding growth only 40% of sales teams use a CPQ solution, says a Salesforce report. However, the same report found that CPQ adoption is expected to grow by 82%.

The best CPQ software selection must consider basic features like Product Configuration, Pricing Rules & Quote creation. However, organizations need more to assess which CPQ Solution fits their needs. Some of the leading CPQ Solutions as per Gartner are Salesforce CPQ (& Billing), Apttus CPQ, Salesforce Vlocity, Oracle CPQ (formerly Big Machines). If you are looking to invest in a CPQ Solution or switching over to another product, the following list is a good starting point to assess your CPQ needs:

Find your Actual Needs - Unless you identify the reasons for implementing a CPQ Solution, the choice will always fall short of your needs. Some good discussion points to initiate this exercise are Identifying your future needs, top 5 pain areas, limitations in your current product/process, performance & feedback on the current CPQ Solution.

Ease of Maintenance – find a product that can handle most of your CPQ use cases using configurations rather than customizations. Salesforce CPQ & Apttus CPQ can handle most CPQ Processes through Configurations with only the more custom, complex requirements needing customization. A tool that allows you to Modify processes & look & feel of pages quickly can reduce maintenance cost & GTM time. Salesforce CPQ, Apttus & Oracle are easier to customize and maintain, in that order, making them one of the best CPQ software selections available.

Is the Product Scalable? Salesforce offers a more scalable solution due to its full Product Platform capability. Salesforce CPQ can use Salesforce Standard objects and offers better Integration readiness through its MuleSoft & REST/SOAP APIs. In terms of building the End-To-End Lead to Cash Lifecycle Salesforce & Oracle score better as they can give you access to Upstream & Downstream applications. Both Salesforce CPQ & Apttus score high in terms of scalability.

The complexity of Lead-To-Cash Processes - This is a critical parameter in selecting the right CPQ software. Whether you have a basic process with few products & basic pricings or whether you have a complex CPQ process with Integrations & Customizations, the choice of CPQ Solution will vary.

“Almost every CPQ vendor claims extensive integration capabilities with CRM and ERP applications, but customers should also look for integration with other types of applications”, Daniel Hong, VP, and research director at Forrester.

Some factors that decide the complexity include Product Types & Volumes of SKUs, Subscriptions, Usage-based Billing, Multi-Dimensional Quoting (MDQ), Pricing Rules, Amendments & Renewals Contracts, Integrations, Guided Selling. Apttus & Salesforce CPQ & can handle complex CPQ processes and Vlocity scores in Industry-specific solutions. Oracle CPQ has a longer build time for complex processes as compared to Apttus & Salesforce.

Offers Rapid Innovation - A cutting-edge CPQ Solution keeps introducing the latest features such as AI & Analytics. that increase adoption. E.g., Salesforce CPQ uses Einstein AI & Analytics AI & Apttus has Max AI feature. Salesforce also offers Plug & Play integration with Third-Party Apps & allows partners to sell innovative solutions as installable packages on a SaaS Model. Apttus too offers innovative Excel-based solutions & can handle complex pricing & Text-to-Speech.

McKinsey reported that businesses that used user-behavioral insights surpassed 85 % of their competitors with 25% more gross revenue. AI-based CPQ analyses studies consumers to offer customized quotes.

Ease of Adoption for End Users - Sales Reps & Sales Teams are at the heart of this software and selecting the right CPQ solution should empower them rather focus on their Primary Job i.e. generating accurate Quotes quickly & increasing Sales rather than creates technical bottlenecks. With an intuitive, User Friendly & visually appealing Interface Salesforce scores better in this category followed by Apttus, Vlocity & Oracle.

Widening the Solution - Manufacturers are looking at CPQ solutions to offer a host of features such as Omnichannel Selling, Analytics, Integrations with e-commerce & offer Billing Capability to manage subscriptions & usage products. CPQ Solutions like Salesforce CPQ & Billing or Revenue Cloud have started blurring the lines between CRM & Finance. Salesforce Revenue Cloud offers a Billing Module capable of generating Invoices. This is where it scores over its competitors

Budget & Costs - Perhaps the most important decision that CXOs need to make. Investment in the right CPQ Solution is a long-term decision. Product Licenses & maintenance are significant long-term costs that you need to consider. Due to the above reasons, finding a product that meets business requirements, within your budget becomes even more critical. While Apttus & Salesforce cost more than Oracle but they offer better configuration, Reporting & Integration & Vlocity offers Industry-focused solutions.

Conclusion:

Value from the right CPQ Software is most often derived from the power and flexibility of the solution. It possesses the ability to deliver value throughout the organization; from finance through operations, becoming an integral part of your company’s IT landscape. A great CPQ product & its implementation will increase the overall productivity by streamlining the Lead-to-Cash Process, help sales teams sell ‘Right’ products & do so, quickly on more deals & increase the Sales Revenue.

Learn how Jade Global, one of the top CPQ consultants worldwide, can help you increase sales effectiveness by accelerating responsiveness while infusing AI and machine learning to deliver remarkable business outcomes through its CPQ offerings.

About the Author

Sunny Alung

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