In the case of B2B enterprises, where complex, high-value deals need to be quickly configured on a regular basis, this is especially true, and the stakes are often extremely high, as a slow cycle can result in missing out on a lucrative deal.
Fortunately, the tech industry has offered up an elegant solution in the form of Configure Price Quote, or CPQ software. Research indicates that sellers who respond first with an accurate quote win 60% of deals, and CPQ platforms help in this regard through the use of automation, templates, and user-friendly quoting tools, among many other features.
However, despite the benefits that CPQ software can bring a company, successfully incorporating it into day-to-day operations can be more challenging than it seems at first. Here are some of the most common pitfalls of CPQ implementation.
1. The learning curve
In many cases, the learning curve can be steep when introducing a CPQ platform. Of course, in theory, every business hopes to hit the ground running when introducing a new software or system, but the truth is that it rarely, if ever, plays out that way in reality.
If employees are used to a more traditional sales process, it's unreasonable to expect them to switch to a CPQ platform right away. Depending on which CPQ application you choose to introduce at your company, there are a plethora of different features to get used to, so expect the learning curve to vary somewhat from one application to the next.
With proper planning, however, it is possible to truncate the onboarding process to some extent. Moreover, there’s a wide variety of digital adoption platforms which provide interactive guides that can help employees to adjust more quickly.
2. Data challenges
The incredible usefulness of CPQ tools stems from their ability to collate product information and present it to sales teams in a way that allows for fast configuration and pricing. In this sense, CPQ tools can be viewed as powerful engines that can drive your sales cycles. However, as with all engines, they must be given the appropriate resources to be effective. As such, it’s essential that your company supports CPQ implementation with proper data management.
If the data in your CPQ isn't completely accurate or up-to-date, then you’re putting your sales teams at a major disadvantage by failing to equip them with the information they need to close deals. What's more, inaccurate proposals and quotes won't just cost you the deals for which they’re issued; there’s also a considerable opportunity cost associated with the reputational damage they may cause.
So, when striving to implement CPQ software effectively at your company, there should be a well-established process through which product data is updated and maintained. To this end, it’s advisable to delegate this task to specific personnel, for instance instructing product managers to update product information and sales managers to update pricing.
In keeping with the broader conceptualization of CPQ as an engine for sales, we can think of the software as a component of a larger machine; one which must work harmoniously with other components to be effective. In this sense, it's critical that your CPQ solution can integrate into your wider organizational system.
In instances where CPQ software isn’t properly integrated, data may become siloed, despite individuals' best efforts to manage it effectively. Consequently, there’s an increased risk of miscommunication and employees drawing on incomplete data which can negatively impact sales.
In light of this, choosing the right software is paramount. The success of CPQ implementation hinges on how easily your organization can adopt it into its day-to-day operations, so before deciding on a CPQ tool it's advisable to do thorough research to ascertain whether it’s supported by your chosen CRM or ERP system.
4. Approach issues
Contrary to how it might initially seem, CPQ software has a broad effect on a company, and so it’s not only pertinent to those working in sales teams. Attempting to implement a CPQ system in a compartmentalized fashion is counterproductive; rather, your company should strive to take a holistic approach to its adoption.
CPQ applications rely on centralized communication and data to drive frictionless sales. That means that all relevant teams, from sales to product and engineering, must be able to work together effectively throughout the implementation process to establish a common framework. Failure in this aspect can result in a disjointed organization that lacks cohesion, and this can be detrimental to sales revenue in the long term.
To facilitate a holistic approach to CPQ implementation, it's a good idea to create a robust change management framework beforehand. This provides employees with an established path to follow when implementing new software, as well as defined channels of communication through which they can raise relevant concerns.
According to research, sellers that facilitate ease of purchase are 62% more likely to win high-value sales. In this sense, CPQ technology has become an essential component of the business model for large-scale, sales-driven enterprises today. To stay competitive, companies need to embrace the latest technology as a means of shortening sales cycles.
However, while the adoption of CPQ systems may be all but inevitable, the same doesn’t need to be true of the pitfalls associated with their implementation. By utilizing effective data management, seamless integration and employee enablement strategies as part of a holistic approach to CPQ implementation, you can effectively harness the power of CPQ software to propel your organization to new heights.