Giving thanks for CPQ tools

It’s a bit of a stretch to imagine a family Thanksgiving in which someone, while giving thanks for all the family’s blessings, includes CPQ tools in the mix. But the business that is using configure, price, quote (CPQ) solutions is likely to give thanks every day. Because CPQ software provides a leaner, cleaner process to get vertically targeted, on-brand sales proposals into your prospect’s hands. Today, let’s give thanks for three specific CPQ benefits:

  1. Product and pricing configuration

  2. Analytics and reporting at “the quote level”

  3. Collaboration

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CPQ tools:

Making pricing easy for all

One of the biggest challenges facing every enterprise is consistency in pricing. Sales rep A may be using the Q2 2018 pricing spreadsheet, Sales rep B may already have the Q4 pricing, and sales rep C — the turkey! — may be using pricing from 2012.

But with product and pricing configuration consolidated and centrally administered within your CPQ solution, every rep has the same pricing playbook, no matter where they may be geographically or, to be polite, “skill-set wise.”

Not only that, but CPQ tools enable you to preconfigure bundles for products, and set specific discount levels for reps. (If you’ve ever spent any time with a sales rep, you know that the last thing you want them to be able to do is configure pricing themselves.) So let’s give thanks for this core strength of CPQ!

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Granular analytics and reporting

People will give top-level reporting at Thanksgiving: “It was delicious!” But dig a little deeper, and the Thanksgiving reporting gets pretty granular: “the turkey was succulent, the stuffing was amazing (could have done without the walnuts), and the canned cranberry sauce was an insult to relatives both living and dead.”

And while top-level reporting on sales quotes is helpful in terms of top-level forecasting and similar business needs, the truly competitive business gathers and uses as much granular data as possible in order to improve closing rates.

Because it’s not enough to know that there are 20 quotes out there with a 50% chance of closing. A proactive sales manager will want to know where adjustments can be made to take 50% to 90%.

CPQ tools can provide data throughout the “quote pipeline,” enabling you to identify and remove bottlenecks: maybe the follow-up after the quote is sent is dragging; maybe it’s when an internal signature is needed; maybe it’s a people problem. There are so many points in the pipeline where a quote get get derailed, and getting the granular data is the only way to spot them and fix them.

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Collaboration:

Coming together… like a family

Like families crowding the kitchen to get dibs on the tastiest parts of the turkey, sales reps are competitive creatures. Like families, however, the sales team that works together to accomplish a shared goal is happier and more effective. (Granted, few families would consider working together makes them “effective”; they probably just say that it’s part of being a family.)

CPQ tools can deliver a new and necessary level of collaboration throughout your “sales family.” Because there is visibility across all quotes in the pipeline, if rep A is unavailable to follow-up or close a quote he started, a manager can easily share that responsibility with another rep. And if a rep should leave the enterprise, all activities associated with any quotes in motion are easily acted upon by whomever fills his shoes.  Keeping quotes in motion through collaboration: another thing to to be thankful for!

So if you do indeed hear a family member give thanks for CPQ tools during Thanksgiving, you’ll now know the reason why.