Making the decision to add configure, price, quote (CPQ) power to your customer relationship management (CRM) solution is no longer the territory of IT experts.
Like most business technology, the back-end and administration of your CRM system is now where it belongs: in the hands of the people who use it, your marketing and sales teams.
This does not necessarily mean your marketing and sales people have the technical know-how to actually integrate CRM and CPQ (nor should they). You can, and should, leave these kinds of integrations to the experts.
In some cases, this means leaning heavily on the expertise of your internal technology experts — but find an organization that has CPQ experts in-house and we’ll show you a CPQ vendor.
So the thing to look for in CRM/CPQ integration is either an API that makes it easy, or a single sign-on solution that makes it even easier.
Two great tastes
CPQ and CRM
Just like the chocolate and peanut butter in the famous “cup,” CPQ and CRM are stellar complements to each other.
There is a little overlap, as there is in most every business system: they both store contacts (so does your ESP), they both offer sales tracking and reporting (so does your web analytics package), and — assuming you’re working according to 21st century best practices — they can both be accessed remotely.
However, only your CPQ system offers a dynamic, centrally administered product and pricing configuration engine that enables each and every rep to add optimal bundles to every proposal they send.
And while your CRM system will allow you to do things like store documents and forecast conversion rates — e.g., from the top of the funnel (leads generated) to the end of it (closed sales) — your CPQ system will build on those strengths.
Why just store a proposal template as a standalone document when you can instead share it across the enterprise and ensure it’s optimized each time it’s used? Why just track that a quote is with the customer when you can track every step along the way, and help improve the chances of the quote being signed?
If you’re not in sales and routinely sending quotes, then the preceding may not matter that much. But if you’re a sales professional, CPQ and CRM integration should sound as a sweet as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup®.
Single sign-on for CPQ and CRM
A marriage made in heaven!
Let’s keep the Reese’s thing going. Yes, you could buy delicious milk chocolate and creamy peanut butter and integrate them yourself. But there’s a reason they come together: it’s a simpler (and far cleaner) experience for the consumer. And isn’t that what we all want from any confection or technology stack?
However, if you’ve made that substantial investment in an enterprise-level CRM and the training they often entail, the last thing you’ll want to say to your team is, “You’ll also need to use this, and this, and that, and these 24 other things: here are your 27 logins.”
Having CPQ function as a feature in your CRM via a single sign-on not only creates a simpler and cleaner user experience, but it can improve overall CRM usage and adoption.
Because it’s no secret that no matter how robust your CRM solution is, your sales team typically doesn’t dig too deeply into it. But when they have to “pass through” the CRM to access their sales quotes (a.k.a., the bread and butter of their existence), CRM adoption increases by default. It’s a win-win for both systems.