Online proposal software

The 7 CPQ Key Features. (don't just get any proposal software)

When it comes to quoting, there’s a lot of room for error. Even if your salespeople know your company’s products and pricing inside and out, they may be inconsistent in how they present that information to your prospective customers, or miss key details that could land you those deals. Beyond that, they may be able to write up perfect proposals, but spend too much time doing it, leaving them frustrated and compromising their productivity in other areas.

One of the best solutions is Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software, which can align your team and maximize the efficiency of your quoting process, but you can’t just pick a software at random and hope that it performs the way that you want it to.

The Main Goals of a CPQ

When making the decision to purchase CPQ software, you’ll have to bear in mind the main goals of the software in the first place:

  • Make the quoting process faster. Your salespeople have lots of leads with which to follow up, and CPQ software can get them back to those duties faster.

  • Make the quoting process easier. The right CPQ software will make creating a quote easier for anyone making the attempt.
  • Make your quotes consistent. This is good both for internal and external reasons.
  • Save your company money. Combining the above effects, a reasonable CPQ software should actually save your business money.

 

Most Important Features to Consider

With those primary goals in mind, these are the main considerations that you’ll need to apply to your CPQ decision:

1. Customizability.

Customizability should be a major consideration for your eventual choice. Do you want to be locked into a standard set of features, functions, and templates, or would you rather have the ability to build pretty much any quote that you can imagine? The answer for most people is the latter. Even if you aren’t interested in customizing your quote to a “T” today, having that customizability in your back pocket for the future gives you a degree of adaptability, especially if your brand evolves over time (hint: it probably will). Just try not to delve into anything too complex.

2. The Range of Features.

The different features that your CPQ offers can make a big difference in how much of a boon it is for your business. Almost all CPQ software starts with the basic functionality of building and exporting quotes, but what about creating and maintaining catalogs of your products and services for your salespeople to read up on and use? What about calendars and centralized exchanges so your team can all stay on the same page with one another? What about a reporting feature that helps you to understand how many quotes you’ve produced and how those quotes have turned into opportunities?

3. The User Interface.

This consideration may seem purely superficial, but it has a significant bearing on how efficient the software ends up being. What do you think of the user interface? Does it rely on complicated movements and clunky functions, with ugly aesthetics as well? Or is it more elegantly designed, with drag-and-drop capabilities, intuitive, smooth functions, and better aesthetics? You want software that saves your salespeople time and frustration, so don’t overlook the power of the CPQ user interface.

4. Approachability.

Approachability goes along with the user interface, but on a slightly different level. Here, your main goal is choosing CPQ software that can be easily adopted and learned by your salespeople (and future salespeople). Don’t just think about how you’d be able to approach it, or how your existing team would; instead, aim to choose a software that could theoretically be learned by anyone. You never know who might join your team someday, and the easier it is to learn the software, the less time you’ll have to spend training.

5. Specialization or Generalization.

While some CPQ is generalized and versatile enough to be used for any industry, there are some variants of CPQ software that are customized for specific types of businesses. For example, you may find that there are types of CPQ software that cater to the medical industry or to some other niche of which you aren’t a part. These versions have specialized features that may be of use to you if you find one that matches your industry. Otherwise, you’re better off finding a software product intended for a more general audience; these also tend to come with a greater degree of customizability.

6. Customer Service.

No software is perfect, and CPQ is no exception to the rule. Customer service matters in the CPQ world, so do a little digging to see if your prospective providers have a certain policy or history of solid customer service. For example, let’s say that a system error prevents your quotes from being exported effectively: customer service is the first place to which you’ll turn. What are they going to say? How’re they going to treat you? How hard are they going to work to make sure your system goes back to normal in a timely manner? When your CPQ software encounters a hiccup, you’ll be glad that you considered these questions.

7. Price Point.

This is one of the most superficial considerations on this list, but it’s an important one. Remember, the whole idea behind adopting a CPQ platform is to make your salespeople’s lives easier and to save your company time and money. If the software costs more than you’d save in its implementation, it’s not worth pursuing. You’ll have to estimate here, but strive for a balance between the two.

 

The Importance of a Demonstration

Contact our CPQ Experts

Any CPQ company can tell you that they meet or exceed all of the criteria that we listed above; however, this doesn’t necessarily make it true. If you want to make an informed decision, you’ll have to get your hands on the software itself, possibly as a free demo, before you end up committing to something prematurely. Most CPQ providers offer trials of their software, so take them up on it!

iQuoteXpress is a leading brand in the CPQ industry, offering some of the most versatile quoting software on the market. Sign up for a no-obligation free demo of our software today, and learn how your company can save time and money. 

What CPQ Will Look Like in the Future.

Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software is currently one of the most popular applications for producing accurate price quotes. It offers real-time data that can be used to improve the sales process as a whole. One thing that’s so great about this product is that it constantly evolves to match the needs of the current business world.

Because CPQ is constantly evolving, it becomes the responsibility of the business to project where they will be next and how this will affect the company. You should definitely evaluate what’s coming this year, in five years, and even in 20 years. It’s important to know what the future of CPQ software looks like, so here are a few predictions for you to consider.

Pervasion of the Cloud

At one point, those in the CPQ business believed that the market for this software would be equally divided between on-site and cloud-based use. However, it’s quickly shifting in the direction of the cloud. Though the shift is happening much sooner than most predicted, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, since most software applications are turning toward the cloud for software integration.

“The cloud speeds up business processes,” says Paul Kriete of iQuoteXpress. “And the companies that are able to adjust more quickly to customer needs are usually the ones who will be leaders in their industry.” Blasser also points out how the business world is rapidly moving in the direction of the cloud. According to his research, 54 percent say they’re using the cloud because it increases business ability and scalability while 48 percent are doing so for financial purposes, both of which, apply in the situation of CPQ software.

The cloud sets itself apart as a more useful, convenient form of software management. For starters, accessibility greatly increases with cloud-based software. In addition, companies can automatically send updates through the cloud and keep software from becoming outdated. It’s also much more effective for data storage, since users would no longer need to store data on their computers.

The transition to cloud-based software has already begun. Companies are beginning to offer incentives to their existing on-premise customers to transition to the cloud-based software. They’ll offer discounts on the use of their cloud-based platform in order to get more people using it. Because of this method, it’s predicted that within a decade, all CPQ software will be entirely integrated into the cloud.

 

More Dynamic Selling

In sales, there’s one sales tactic that’s taking the world by force: dynamic selling. It involves the being interactive, involved, and flexible with sales in order to meet the needs of your sales environment - and it’s the style of selling that goes best with CPQ software in the future. Expert dynamic sales reps today are looking to use CPQ software to support their causes, which is setting the precedent for all those in the sales sector. Within the next decade, the use of CPQ software in the environment of sales is expected to be mainstream.

This all comes thanks to the release of more agile CPQ software that offers the same flexibility of dynamic sales. Sellers get the responses and data they’re looking for without compromising on productivity. It’s efficient, affordable, and totally effective.

The future is all about automated sales proposals and better deals. For those struggling to make it in the sales world, this is what they need to get their sales businesses off the ground running, and keep experienced sales representatives competitive.

 

Deeper Integration of Business Intelligence (BI) in Sales

Companies have been using Business Intelligence to better their business processes for centuries, but it has grown enormously since that time. Companies have moved away from collecting data through talking face-to-face and mail-in surveys and moved towards finding this information through internet applications like social media and app use. This business intelligence is now making a name for itself in sales, growing at an annual compounded rate of 8.7 percent through 2018, according to Gartner.

Companies are able to grow their intelligence and information gathered from existing customers and discover things the customers love, things they hate, problems that need to be solved, and more. Sales people can bring specific products and services to the attention of customers according to what they love, all thanks to CPQ software that can gather information and automate the processes of price configuration and more for consumer benefit.

Increased Investments

The proliferation of CPQ software is becoming more widespread than ever. It’s become a magnet of sorts for investors, attracting them to the software because of its unprecedented potential and many uses in the sales world. Investors are recognizing the benefits of such software that can cut through complex selling challenges and provide live streaming, making sales more visual and easy to comprehend.

Investors look for efficient investments that can bring in easy revenue. Through the improvements in configuration, pricing, guided selling, order management, price quoting, and other software capabilities, CPQ software has generated a sizeable interest from mergers acquisitions managers, and investors.

 

Use iQuoteXpress Software Today!

The future of CPQ software is rife with possibilities. Companies and individual sales reps alike are beginning to recognize the potential, and as a result, they’re seeking to make CPQ software an integral part of their business processes.

Those looking to stay ahead of the software curve and remain competitive should invest in CPQ software today. There are multiple, distinct software applications that can save you time and money through streamlining your efficiencies and increasing your revenue. We can be consistent with our detailed quotes and pricing product information, winning you more bids and putting your team at a higher-priority than others.

The best part is that if you’re interested in using our iQuoteXpress CPQ software, you can call today to learn more. Also, make sure to set up your free, no-obligation demo of our patented software. Don’t hesitate - contact us today!