In an era where business agility and precision are pivotal, Salesforce CPQ stands as a cornerstone technology transforming the sales landscape. This powerful tool, which stands for Configure, Price, Quote, is revolutionizing how companies approach their sales processes.
Ready to send your lead an offer, but you need to create a custom quote? Salesforce CPQ can help you strike while the iron is hot. And Salesforce CPQ not only accelerates this quote-to-cash cycle but also enhances the accuracy and efficiency of your entire sales operation.
Implementing Salesforce CPQ allows your business to swiftly respond to customer inquiries with detailed, customized proposals, ensuring that your pricing remains consistent, competitive, and accurate across all deals. Yet, while it might be powerful, implementing it can be a little challenging.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to do Salesforce CPQ implementation the right way, so you can improve your productivity, start landing more clients, and shorten the sales cycle.
What Is Salesforce CPQ?
In 2015, after years in the customer relationship management (CRM) game, Salesforce decided to take a piece of the CPQ pie by launching Salesforce CPQ.
Salesforce CPQ is an advanced sales tool within the Salesforce ecosystem, designed to take the complexity out of sales transactions. It's a strategic solution that assists companies in configuring products, setting pricing, and generating quotes, streamlining these processes to reduce errors and increase efficiency.
What exactly does Salesforce CPQ do?In short, it helps you close complex deals fast. One Salesforce study found that its CPQ users had 36% faster quote generation, 22% increase in up-selling, and 27% fewer invoicing errors.
What exactly does CPQ mean in the grand scheme of things? It comes down to the program’s main functionalities:
- Configure: When your customer asks for a specific customization of your product, your sales team can quickly enter their information, and the CPQ will give you guided selling techniques to close the deal.
- Price: You can access multi-layered discounting logic to quickly and accurately price a product model (or series of products). You can offer multiple tiers of discounts to sweeten the deal for each client.
- Quote: After customers approve the discount, they can review the quote. If they want, they can adjust the contract period, easily add comments, and send it back to you easily to get approval and e-signature to finalize the deal.
According to Salesforce, its CPQ has helped business owners achieve:
- 38% reduction in quotes with pricing errors
- 20% decreased time between quote and close
- 29% increase in forecast accuracy
Now that you know how it can help your business, let’s dive into how to complete Salesforce CPQ implementation to get the most out of the platform.
Salesforce CPQ Implementation: Best Practices
While CPQ is a powerful tool to close deals quickly and streamline revenue-generating processes, you have to know how to use the platform.
Here are a few Salesforce CPQ implementation best practices.
1. Set Goals and Plan the Implementation
Every great initiative requires goal-setting to succeed. Initiate your Salesforce CPQ implementation with an in-depth planning phase. Gather input from key stakeholders and consider the unique aspects of your sales processes. This preliminary stage is crucial for setting the scope and expectations of the project.
Establish specific, measurable goals for what you want to achieve with CPQ. Clear objectives will guide the configuration of the CPQ software and help measure success post-implementation.
2. Emphasize Training and Support
Your sales team's ability to utilize Salesforce CPQ effectively is critical to the success of the implementation. Customized Salesforce training should cater to the varying levels of user experience and roles within your sales team, ensuring that each member is well-equipped to use the new system.
Make sure you offer extended support to your staff as they learn the ropes. After initial training, establish channels for your sales team to receive help when facing difficulties with the system. This continuous support can significantly improve user adoption and proficiency with Salesforce CPQ.
If you want to get the most out of the platform, don’t be afraid to ask for expert help.
3. Testing and Quality Assurance
Once you’re all set up and the software is ready to use, you’ve got one more thing to cover: testing. You never know if you “missed a spot” when it comes to implementation, especially for robust software like Salesforce CPQ.
Before going live, conduct thorough testing of the CPQ process within the context of your sales process. This step is imperative to identify and rectify any issues that could impede the sales team's operations.
Quality assurance does not end after the initial testing phase. It should be an ongoing effort to ensure that the CPQ process continues to meet the evolving needs of the sales team and the broader market dynamics. Regular audits and updates to the CPQ solution will help maintain its reliability and accuracy.
Steps for Implementing Salesforce CPQ
Now that you understand Salesforce CPQ best practices, it’s time to dive into the meat and potatoes: implementation.
For a successful CPQ implementation project, it’s important to follow these steps.
Create a plan and define achievable goals
We’ve already mentioned the importance of planning, but we can’t overstate that it's imperative to establish a plan that aligns with clear, achievable goals. Understanding the current pain points of your sales team and the needs of your customers is foundational.
This insight will guide the configuration of your CPQ solution to address specific challenges effectively. Some common objectives you might be looking for:
- Reducing quote errors by implementing validation rules that ensure only accurate configurations are quoted.
- Accelerating the sales cycle through streamlined quote generation and approval processes.
- Enhancing customer satisfaction by providing accurate, timely, and professional proposals.
- Increasing deal sizes through better upselling and cross-selling capabilities integrated within the quoting process.
Establish Your CPQ Team
Next, it’s time to establish your team. The CPQ team is the backbone of a successful implementation. So, it is essential to carefully select individuals with diverse but complementary skills to cover all aspects of the CPQ process.
Administrators are the architects of the CPQ system, configuring it to the unique specifications of the business. They work diligently to customize the platform, ensuring that every feature and function serves a strategic purpose.
Sales operations professionals bridge the gap between the sales team's needs and the system's capabilities. Their expertise in the sales cycle informs the practical aspects of the CPQ solution, making sure it's a facilitator, not a barrier, to sales productivity.
IT specialists are tasked with the technical side, integrating the CPQ with existing systems and ensuring data flows smoothly across the business's digital ecosystem.
Crucially, sales reps, the end-users of the CPQ system, are central to the feedback loop, providing ground-level insights that drive user-centric development. Their hands-on experience with the system and direct interaction with customers mold the CPQ software into a powerful sales tool.
To have a successful sales process, it's crucial to have relevant data that are clean and accurate. This is especially important when it comes to system integration and implementing a CPQ solution or CPQ software. Without high-quality data, the software will not effectively streamline the sales process.
Ask these questions to ensure you have high-quality data when implementing the platform:
- What are the specific needs of your quoting and pricing process?
- What are some areas Salesforce CPQ can improve the processes?
- What data will be migrated? Migrated? Deleted?
Migrate Existing Pricing and Quote Data into Salesforce CPQ
Now that you know what data you’re going to keep and which data you’re going to forego, it’s time to migrate your pricing and quote data over.
Data migration ensures your data is consistent and accurate in the new CPQ. Integrating your price list, quote templates, and pricing rules is a crucial step to ensure any historical pricing data and quotes are preserved.
It’s essential to do this for accurate reporting and data analysis moving forward.
To migrate your data to Salesforce CPQ, do the following:
- Map your data: Data mapping from your existing system is important to ensure you get the right data in the appropriate fields in Salesforce.
- Extract your data: Go into your old system and extract data. Then, prepare it for Salesforce migration. This could include cleaning or transforming the data to keep it accurate.
- Import data: Next, import your data into Salesforce CPQ. You could do this manually or use third-party tools.
- Validate the data: Now, test the data to ensure it’s accurate and consistent between platforms.
Integration of Salesforce CPQ With Other Systems
Now that you’ve migrated your old data, it’s time to align Salesforce CPQ with your other platforms. This includes your product, marketing, sales, invoicing, accounting, ERP, CRM, and other related platforms. You need to ensure that Salesforce CPQ isn’t creating extra work but improving your workflow automation.
You can automate several processes with Salesforce CPQ’s workflow rules to ensure you’re speeding up your time to close and getting more done in less time.
In addition to your core platforms, don’t forget to set up API integrations to ensure Salesforce CPQ can seamlessly transfer data between systems. To set up custom integrations, get trusted Salesforce CPQ consulting.
Provide Training to End Users
When it comes to training your end-users, creating effective training materials is a must. After all, you want to make sure your users can get the most out of your product or service, right?
Whether you're training sales reps or sales users, it's important to provide ongoing support to ensure they can achieve their goals.
Remember that your users may have different levels of experience when creating these materials, so it's best to keep them simple, informative, and engaging.
And don't forget to schedule regular training sessions to keep everyone updated on new features and refreshed on their skills. Ongoing training and support can give your end-users the confidence they need to succeed.
Launch Your Solution to Users
Now, it’s time to launch your solution. This is where the rubber meets the road. You’ll need to involve your sales, admin, IT, and other departments in a collaborative effort. Give them access, get them trained, and show them how to integrate Salesforce CPQ into their workflow.
Remember to communicate the benefits of the platform to your users and how it will make their jobs easier.
Implement user acceptance testing (UAT) to ensure the CPQ system meets user requirements and to encourage buy-in from the sales team. Highlight the benefits of Salesforce CPQ, such as increased productivity and quoting accuracy, to promote user adoption.
Prioritize Ongoing Maintenance and End-User Support
Finally, remember to make ongoing maintenance for existing systems a priority. Because the reality is that Salesforce CPQ isn’t necessarily a one-and-done software.
After implementation, prioritize monitoring system performance and actively seek user feedback to understand how well the CPQ solution is supporting the sales process.
Common Mistakes To Avoid During Salesforce CPQ Implementation
Implementing Salesforce CPQ is a complex process that can significantly enhance the sales operations of a company. However, certain pitfalls can hinder the full realization of its benefits. Being aware of common mistakes can help ensure a smoother implementation process.
Lack Of Collaboration and Planning
One of the most critical oversights during a Salesforce CPQ implementation is the lack of comprehensive collaboration and planning. A successful deployment requires input and coordination from various departments, including sales, finance, IT, and operations.
Without this cross-functional engagement, there's a risk of developing a system that doesn't fully meet the diverse needs of the organization.
Furthermore, inadequate planning may lead to unrealistic timelines, insufficient training, and a lack of clear objectives, which can cause project delays and budget overruns.
Data Quality Issues
The integrity of a CPQ system is only as good as the data it uses. A common mistake is underestimating the importance of data quality.
Data issues such as incomplete records, outdated pricing information, and inconsistent formats can lead to errors in quoting, which can damage a company's reputation and lead to lost sales.
It's crucial to invest time in data cleansing and migration processes to ensure that data is accurate, consistent, and structured to work seamlessly within the CPQ environment.
While Salesforce CPQ is highly customizable to fit a variety of business needs, over-customization is a trap that can lead to a system that is difficult to maintain and upgrade.
Each customization requires additional testing, documentation, and training, which can increase complexity and costs.
You should strive to use out-of-the-box features as much as possible and reserve customization for essential business requirements that deliver significant value. This approach will help you maintain system agility and reduce long-term technical debt.
How Operatus Can Help
If you want to ensure your Salesforce CPQ implementation is a success, there’s no better way than to get Salesforce experts to help you through the process.
At Operatus, our CPQ consulting services enable you to deploy certified Salesforce administrators and developers to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
Stacked with a team of Salesforce CPQ implementation specialists, we’ll share insight into how the CPQ package fits into your broader Salesforce goals.
When configured properly, Salesforce CPQ will seamlessly integrate with the rest of your workflows so even your non-technical sales users can easily navigate and execute their processes.
For extra help in implementing Salesforce CPQ, contact Operatus today.