Contrary to many sales manager’s opinions, you don’t always need a CRM like Salesforce, Dynamics, or Zoho to use CPQ tools. In a handful of cases, a standalone instance of a CPQ solution is a good fit for an organization seeking to automate the sales proposal process.
Which is best for your business? There’s only one way to find out: welcome to the 2018 “CPQ integrated with CRM” vs. “CPQ all on its own” showdown! We’ll see how each system addresses things like:
Service and support
CPQ tools used solo
Did you know that iQuoteXpress has some of the tools you’ll find in a typical CRM system? You can store contacts in your CPQ, you can track closed and open sales opportunities, and you can view reports that help you better understand and evaluate an individual sales representative’s performance.
When it comes to service and support, however, IQX has no real equal. Many business technology companies offer products and tools to the SMB, but their support offerings tend to mirror what’s found at the enterprise level. I.e., they don’t offer granular support to every client on their roster, because most every client on their roster doesn’t require it.
Take a hypothetical case of, say, Apple choosing to use Salesforce as its CRM — do you think Apple’s team will be making a lot of calls to the Salesforce help desk? Likely, no: they have all the tech expertise they need in house.
One thing clients rave about with IQX, however, is the level of personalized, professional support. Not only is support available for every client at no charge, but that support is provided in customer-friendly language ensuring clients are empowered and informed within the process.
But we digress — let’s get back to the showdown. CRM/CPQ integration is stepping into the ring!
CPQ and CRM
An unbeatable team?
We started our defense of CPQ used solo by listing features like contact management and reporting, and most CPQ systems absolutely offer enough in those two areas to serve the small business. But…
if you have more than 10 or so reps, or
if your clients are Fortune 100s, or
if your sales cycle is longer than a few months, or
if your average sale involves multiple decision makers, or
if your average sale involves multiple reps working it, then
You need CPQ and CRM integration.
CPQ on its own — Currently! Who knows what 2019 might hold? — won’t have all the tools you need.
This is not to say that your CRM system has all the tools you need, either. No CRM we know of has built-in sales proposal automation functionality. No CRM we’ve seen can give you as much detail as a CPQ system regarding the ultra-critical steps being taken (or not taken) during the closing process of getting a quote signed.
And the winner is…
We’re a configure price quote company. But we’re sales people first. And the reason we created IQX was because we were using CRM systems and we saw a missing piece: proposal automation.
In our opinion, CPQ is strong enough on its own to meet the needs of the small business. But when you integrate CPQ and CRM, the strengths of both solutions are multiplied.
Here’s are closing thoughts to consider:
We have seen some customers use IQX for years without a CRM and be just fine.
We have seen some start with just IQX and then, as they were growing, add a CRM to their business, and IQX to their new CRM.
And we have seen other customers (most of them, in fact) add IQX to their Salesforce, Dynamics, or Zoho CRM and discover new success and greater returns as they automate the quote process with CPQ tools.
But we have never seen any customer already using a CRM quit that system to go it on CPQ alone. I.e., whisky is good; soda is good; but a whisky and soda? That sounds great.