Let’s start with two suppositions:
Disconnected CPQ and CRM systems lead to disconnects in sales.
Fully integrated CPQ and CRM systems lead to improved use of both.
While it’s hard to argue with item #1, the fact that seamless integration of your customer relationship management system and your configure, price, quote software can lead to more optimal use of both systems requires a little explaining. The following are three ways seamless CPQ and CRM integration makes across the board improvements.
(NOTE: “seamless integration” is not a marketing buzzword. To us, it usually means a single sign-on technology or some other tech in which the features and benefits of separately developed and deployed systems are embraced by users as simply one system.)
A clean house
If your CRM system is like 97% of CRM systems out there, it’s loaded with dirty data. Dirty means wrong, incomplete, and/or missing entirely. The reason? People.
It’s not that salespeople are too lazy, or incapable of entering accurate info — it’s almost always that they’re simply in a hurry or have more pressing matters. I.e., they put closing sales before clean record keeping.
However, when it comes to creating a sales proposal, the time for dirty data and inaccurate info is over. After all, in many cases, the quote becomes the contract, so all ducks must be entirely in their rows.
Ideally, the data is clean before a proposal is sent, but if it’s not, you can “backfill” your CRM with the clean contact and company info that gets put into the proposal, which can be as easy as a click or two when CPQ (where your proposal is built) and CRM (where your master contact records should be stored) are integrated.
Go through to get to
Shockingly, there are some salespeople who go days, weeks, or even longer without digging into customer and prospect records in a CRM system. And why would they? They have the contact info they need in Outlook or on their phones, and are keeping track of next steps in an Outlook or Google calendar or (yikes!) in their heads.
But they can’t use Outlook to create a killer RFP response. And they can’t use Google Calendar’s event invites to send a proposal. For the main tool they need (sales quote) to get their job done (closing), they really need a CPQ solution.
When CPQ and CRM are completely integrated, the only way a rep can get to their proposal tool is to go through the CRM interface (in some integrations, such as Zoho CRM and IQX, CPQ can become a main nav item in the CRM system).
And when they pass through the CRM system, they’ll see alerts, they’ll see dashboards, they’ll see updates and more, all of which can serve to further engagement in daily use of the CRM.
Last but not least, seamless integration of CPQ and CRM means more accurate data in the most critical step in the sales process, the time from when a quote is sent to a customer to when it is signed by that customer.
In many CRM dashboards, the sales funnel has a thin blue line toward the bottom representing simply that a quote has been sent, followed by a thinner green line that shows a quote has been closed/business has been won.
With CPQ, however, this thin blue line leads to a deep dive where you can track far more than simply the fact that “X amount of quotes were sent leading to Y amount of business won.” You can track every step in the quote’s process: How many follow-ups took place? Did the quote need modifying? How quickly did prospects respond?
Knowing this granular data enables you to make changes in the sales proposal process that help make that thin green line into a fat one.
Cleaner data, increased adoption of critical business technology, and improved tracking info that helps you optimize your closing process: CRM & CPQ go together perfectly. Not like peanut butter and jelly; more like peanut butter and more peanut butter.