3 Ways Salesforce CPQ Helps You Sell More, Profitably

This blog content was taken from our customer webinar “Is Salesforce CPQ Right for You?”. Watch the webinar recording. 

Before we dig into the specifics, let’s quickly define CPQ:
Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software helps sales reps define and quote complex and configurable products/services with numerous and dynamic variables.


Here’s what a complex quoting process can look like:

  1. Understand exactly what the client is trying to accomplish and assimilate all the project’s factors.
  2. Calculate the projects feasibility.
  3. Coordinate with operations to make sure they can fulfill the projects.
  4. Price services accordingly based on all the factors.
  5. Request internal approval if needed.

CPQ Configure Price Quote Process.png

CPQ is especially helpful for companies that are adding complexity to their quoting process (i.e. scaling offerings or growing the sales team).  Without CPQ, it can be difficult to manually manage pricing, approvals, quoting, and upsell/cross-sell opportunities. The lack of approvals, tracking and visibility can create financial and legal risks. Other factors like the new revenue recognition rule ACS 606 makes it almost impossible for reps to know if they’re helping or hurting the company’s when “sweetening” their deals.

Let’s take a look at three specific ways CPQ helps companies sell more, profitably by automating and streamlining the sales process:

1. Sales Rep Efficiency

Challenge: Sales Reps start with hundreds of variables.

Without CPQ, reps often try to pull from hundreds of items and have tens of thousands of possible configurations they could sell to clients. Not only is this time consuming for the rep, but it also requires a manager to train the team on what every item is and how they can possibly be combined.

Solution: Guided Selling narrows down their options.

CPQ saves sales reps time by automatically providing them with the most relevant order options. We work with our clients to define up to 10 questions that the reps can ask prospects to collect information that narrows down their hundreds of possible options to just the relevant items. Reps are able to engage with clients earlier because they have all the right questions to ask and can quickly provide a quote. New reps don’t need to learn how to manually sort through and pick from all the different options available. Just ask 10 questions or less and the solution will present itself.

2. Executive Approvals

Challenge: Slow approval process and inability to track history.

We work with a lot of customers that are in hyper growth mode and we often see the pendulum swing between the “wild west” where Sales reps can do anything to get a deal, to the other extreme where there’s a pricing board (i.e. CFO, COO, etc.) that requires the sales team to meet 2-4 times to get approval on everything.

Both options are unsustainable, but we see most companies fall more towards the “wild west” example. They lack checks and balances on what reps are quoting clients. These companies often don’t realize there’s a pricing problem until the order is sold, and at that point, it’s difficult to ask the client for more money.

Companies may also have limits on discounts that require the rep find and ask their manager for approval. This is inefficient and can create confusion or loss of information.

Solution: Advanced Approvals.

With CPQ Advanced Approvals, quotes are automatically processed, flagged and routed to supervisors. Reps are provided with discount limits and if they wish to go above the limit and ask for approval, CPQ will send an automatic notification email to the executive sponsor.

The executive sponsor can accept or deny the discount by simply replying to the email, typing in “yes” or “no”. CPQ will automatically update Salesforce and notify the rep if it’s been approved or rejected. This documentation prevents “he said, she said” and provides information for reporting purposes.

3. Reduces Financial Risk

Challenge: Manual price calculations is time consuming and produces manual errors.

The process of calculating a price and generating a statement of work often looks like this:

  1. Calculating a quote using a complex custom calculator (often in Excel)
  2. Taking this calculation and entering the information into Salesforce
  3. Export to a Word doc and send the client a Statement of Work.

The transfer of information between Excel, Salesforce, Word and email creates a high margin for error. It’s hard to be confident that this information is always going to be right.

Solution: CPQ Calculator.

To solve these issues, we build this entire process in Salesforce. Our team builds custom pricing calculators within CPQ so the rep just enters information into custom fields, clicks a button and the price is automatically created. With one more click, the statement of work is automatically generated and ready to be emailed. This significantly saves time, minimizes human error and reduces complications for the financial department.

webinar-icon.png    Watch the Webinar: “Is Salesforce CPQ for you?”


Key Lessons Learned

We’ve learned a lot from helping customers implement and optimize Salesforce CPQ over the years and here are three major lessons learned:

1. It’s a business problem, not a technical problem.

When talking about CPQ, don’t start at the technical level of how the system works and what it supports (i.e. bundles, features, product rules, etc.).  Instead, start with a business conversation that lays out your go-to-market strategy, competition, differentiators and underlying mechanics of the services you deliver. Then think about how CPQ can align to these factors and drive revenue growth in a more predictable way.  Looking at CPQ from the business perspective will help ensure your implementation is easily adopted and achieves significant ROI.

2. Engage relevant business constituents early:

Involve the constituents across the organization that truly understand your offerings’ key costs, drivers and elements.  Many times, the Salesforce owner/admin is leading the implementation from the tactical and technical side. It’s essential to include people that have influence and impact to make important decisions. Include the COO, CFO, CRO and/or CEO early on to successfully implement CPQ and achieve revenue growth

3. Prototype

We use an agile sprint methodology that allows our clients to quickly test the solution and provide feedback early on. By the time we roll out the solution to the entire company, it’s easy to use and easily adopted because some of the end users have already worked out all the bugs and are happy with the product . We focus on building CPQ in an elegantly simple way that makes sense, requires little training and users love.

Need help or have questions about CPQ? Request a free CPQ consultation with one of our Salesforce Experts!