CPQ vendors and market movers: what to expect in 2018

Behold! Look into our magic 8-ball! What does the future hold for sales proposal automation tools? Let’s ask...

“Will the configure, price, quote market grow ever bigger in 2018?”
[shake]

It is decidedly so

"Will it really?”
[shake]

Reply hazy try again

“Really?”
[shake]

Don’t count on it

There are much better ways for anyone in the space — CPQ/CRM end users, CPQ software vendors, VARs and ISPs, et. al — to see which way the wind will blow in 2018 and beyond.

We prefer Gartner, which has said in a recent report that @@the CPQ market will grow by about 20% within the next two years@@ (put in Magic-8-ball vernacular, that would be “Signs point to yes”).

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Why CPQ market growth is good for ALL

Clearly, growth in the market is a good thing for CPQ vendors, but why would it matter to our friends in sales? Simply put, it’s about how a rising tide lifts all boats.

The data being both input and output into CPQ solutions around the globe necessarily drives process and platform improvements that benefit all customers and users.

How? Crowd-sourcing, to put it simply. Business technology and consumer technology may serve different audiences, but often share similar foundations and methodologies for improvement. In this case, more widespread adoption of CPQ across multiple verticals will fuel enhancements specific to the software itself and to its direct applications in vertical markets.

For example, go back just five years — the first CPQ tools were essentially template libraries, pre-configured sales proposals that could be accessed via the cloud and used across the enterprise.

But as the leading CPQ vendors began to compile user data, trends were identified (such as the need for built-in sales analytics tools that would better track each proposal sent), which led to feature enhancements that seemed cutting edge at the time, but that are expectations today.

So far as enhancements tailor-made to vertical markets, look no further than pricing and product configurations in play across various verticals.

A CPQ system’s ability to identify and share winning upsells and cross-sells not only serves the business need of the the original seller and his customer, but of future salespeople and customers in that vertical as well.

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Get smart: intelligent selling is the present and future

Some sales people will tell you it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Others will say it’s about who you know. And others might say it’s about hard work. We say it’s about intelligent selling, which both combines and triumphs over all that and more.

Any CPQ software vendor knows that his offer is not merely business automation, but business intelligence. Via CPQ…

  • the speed with which a sales proposal can be delivered and replied to almost always ensures you’re in the right place at the right time

  • the contact management system built in to your CPQ platform means that your enterprise’s business contacts (i.e., who you know) are all connected

  • the sales proposal automation systems at the foundation of your quoting software allows you to work harder on driving new business, and spend less time on manual delivery/tracking of proposals

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A business barometer?

We know that CPQ is not the only business software, and that there are myriad tools and systems helping further sales enablement. But it’s CPQ software that’s consistently used in the trenches where the actual sales are made. As a “front-line BI” tool, it’s unmatched, hence the 20% growth predicted by Gartner.

Are you using CPQ yet? We can show you how and help you take advantage of this ongoing sea change… in 2018 and beyond. If you'd like to learn more or see IQX for yourself with a free demo, contact us.