Frankly, it baffles us. Maybe the reason CPQ systems and CRM integration isn’t a standard, direct-from-the-factory thing is because the engineers tasked to build business technology back in the day saw the sales quote as “just another document” in along list of documents a customer relationship management system has to store?
Maybe it’s because some saw the CRM as a place to keep track of relationships, whereas an ERP or accounting system was where actual revenue would be tracked? Maybe it’s because it just seemed like to much work at the time? Maybe because… Martians? Flooding? The dog ate the integration homework?
Obviously, we don’t know why the tool a business uses to automate sales proposals and the tool used to capture and track sales activity aren’t integrated at the microprocessor level by now. Because if there was ever a match made in sales-enablement-technology-heaven (yes, there’s such a place), it’s CPQ and CRM.
Automate and speed the sales cycle
One thing sales reps love about CRM systems is that they ensure faster interactions with prospects (especially if you’re using a marketing automation system like Pardot or Marketo — which transform “faster” into “instant”).
A CPQ system ensures quotes get sent to prospects faster — and if there’s a more critical customer communication than a sales quote, we have yet to see it.
So if you have CRM and CPQ working in perfect harmony, your quote can be in the hands of a prospect while your competitors are still digging through their spreadsheets, looking for the most recent pricing to insert into their day-late, dollar-short sales proposal.
Lock it up
Security is central
It’s not a secret that the more systems you have operating independently of each other, the more security holes you have in your overall tech stack.
A seamless integration between CPQ and CRM can help tighten up security, and — assuming it’s a single sign-on integration like this one for CPQ in Dynamics or this one for CPQ in Zoho — can even help improve adoption of CPQ as well.
Because the easier you make it for anyone to access a tool, the more likely they are to adopt it.
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Analytics and reporting
Finally, CPQ systems shine a bright light on the most critical part of the sales process.
You’d think that when laying out the foundations for a solution designed to speed and improve the sales cycle (a CRM), the engineers would have started with the quote. But, again, for reasons that escape us, in most out-of-the-box CRM solutions, the quote is reduced to “Quote sent.”
With an automated sales proposal solution seamlessly integrated into your CRM system, you get a level of granularity on each quote you won’t get with a standalone CRM. Because it’s not enough to that this quote resulted in a sale, and that one didn’t. You need to know WHY or you can’t improve.
Through its robust sales analytics and reporting tools and dashboards, a CPQ system provides you with actionable data between “quote sent” and “opportunity won.”
The good news for sales reps is that while CPQ and CRM might not yet be built-in from the get-go, there are companies out there making it easier and easier to integrate the systems. And, as you’re here reading this blog, you’re looking right at one 😀.