The coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic has resulted in changes to advertising, marketing, promotional and media spends, forcing businesses and brands to reevaluate their strategy about current and future marketing and sales campaigns to maintain a steady stream of income. In many ways, the changes in behavior are an effort towards acceleration of digital trends that were in motion before the pandemic hit.
So, companies are coming up with various promotions and providing incentives, to sustain in this situation and to support this, appropriate and necessary approvals are also required which should be effective and dynamic so that it increases the overall velocity of Sales process.
Today, in this situation, the universal truth is: Time is Everything
“Any deal that closes today is worth much more than a deal which might close next week.”
Approvals play an important role in business cycle and many times it comes across multiple challenges due to which Quoting process is delayed and it impacts the Forecasting and Sales strategy.
Some of these common business challenges are:
- Long waiting time due to Multi-level approvals
- Rejection at any level requires to go through multiple iterations of approval for same transaction
- Manual delegation can cause unnecessary delays
- Insufficient information on quote or approval step to take approval decision quickly
- Response Lag Time
To handle these scenarios, the business model should consider implementing Salesforce’s CPQ Advanced Approval functionality.
Some of the many features Advanced Approvals solve are:
- Multi-level approval chains via nonlinear approvals chain
Unlike the linear approvals chain that are intrinsic to Salesforce’s native environment, CPQ Advanced Approval helps to set up parallel approvals pathways to expedite. Parallel approvals route approval requests to multiple departments at one time. The transaction will then be completely approved for the next step, once all required parallel approvals are finished.
For example, with Advanced Approvals, a quote can be submitted to a Sales Manager and Finance Manager at the same time without having any kind of dependency on each other. As soon as the Sales Manager approves the quote, it moves automatically to the Sales Ops for approval, irrespective of whether the Finance Manager has approved it.
- Smart Approvals
One of the most frustrating aspects of a complex approvals chain is the possibility that if one approver will reject the quote, it forces the sales team to resend a modified quote through the entire approvals chain again. Advanced Approvals offers a solution to this problem using “Smart Approvals” that reduces the redundancies in this process. Also, CPQ Advanced Approvals has the smartness that can determine which conditions of the quote has been updated and what is unchanged. So, this helps the system to bypass all of the approvers who do not need to reapprove the quote.
For example, if Legal rejects a quote and the only difference in the resubmitted quote pertains to legal conditions, then Advanced Approvals will send the resubmitted quote back to legal team only, other prior approvals that are received from finance team and sales supervisors will stay attached to the quote and will bypass them reducing the redundancy.
- Delegated Approvers
With CPQ Advance Approvals, we get an OOB functionality to set up Delegated Approvers. Selecting a delegated approver is useful if you want an approver to remain active for a limited time.
For example, an employee from Finance Management team be a temporary approver for a Finance Manager who has taken medical leave.
- Advanced Approval Emails
Notifications are vital part of any Approval process, as it helps to act on the requests quickly and make decisions. Using CPQ Advanced Approvals, one can define templates for each type of email and associate them with an approval rule. These email notifications to approvers should contain the reason and key information the approvers need to make their approval decisions.
Keep in mind that an approver might need more information than just what they are approving. It improves approval response time increasing productivity and helping close deals faster.
For example, if CFO is responsible for approving payment terms, he/she might also need to consider overall margin for the quote before accepting longer payment terms.
So, email should include a link to the Quote page in case the approver wants to check the remaining information that is not included in the email notification.
Keeping it simple and to the point with relevant information is the key in templates.
- Setting Up SLA to Optimize quote approval process
By levering the power of Salesforce customization along with CPQ Advanced Approvals, we can set up a framework for SLAs around approvals by building some rules are as follows:
- Capture key parameters like Approval Submission Time, Approved/Rejected Time
- Assign SLA for each Approver type (Manager, Director, VP, Finance, Legal)
- If record is rejected, reset SLA timer for the user who rejected the record
- If record is approved, start timer on next approval record
- Finally, we could add some sort of estimated time to fully approve the deal based on the SLAs
Using this framework, it helps to understand how effective the current approvals are in place and can help to streamline the approval process using the data about how often deals have various approval records and how often they're rejected. This helps in optimizing the overall Approval Process in system periodically.
To know more about how you can utilize Salesforce CPQ to optimize Sales during the ongoing pandemic, please watch our on demand webinar "Webinar Top 3 tactics to optimize sales during a pandemic with Salesforce CPQ"
About the Author
Kshitij Shah, Team Lead (CRM)
Kshitij Shah is working with Jade Global as a Team Lead in CRM. He has 7+ years of extensive experience in Implementation projects on Sales Cloud, CPQ, Lightning and Integrations. He has played key roles in multiple projects and has been part of successful delivery for 10+ customers. He has Techno-Functional expertise in Salesforce CRM which has helped him design and provide optimal solutions accross platform. He is always eager to learn new things and keep himself updated with the recent technology trends in the market.