Product configurators have been around for a while. But their extensive use in a selling environment is more recent. New ways of doing business are driving this. Bold claims are made for modern CPQ solutions by businesses that have adopted ‘mass customization’ and similar business models.
The successful implementers have understood that software alone is not the answer. However, if properly aligned to sound product structures, pricing models, empowered employees and partners, a range of real business advantages can be secured.
Here are some of the claims that are being made by successful implementers.
Productivity gains have been secured through enhanced process automation. System users accurately select the product and service options and features that they require. This enables front-office staff and channel partners to configure quotes exactly to meet customer requirements.
Shortened response times
By sharing the knowledge of experts within a CPQ system, a broader team of individuals can answer questions posed by prospects and clients during their selection process. Self-service business models are also made a practical proposition for a greater range of companies.
Increased volume throughput
The time required to create quotes is reduced. Users can only select options that are authorized to be sold. This eliminates compatibility errors. Prices are automatically calculated, and are accurate and consistent. Attractive documents ‘at the touch of a button’ are an important element of CPQ.
Reduced learning needs
The learning curve for users, even for complex products and services, is shortened. And for direct users / channel partners, good CPQ applications allow the selection of products and services that most closely meet their needs – requiring minimal training and product knowledge.
Consistency of approach
Successful implementers claim the benefits of consistency, especially where sales teams are required to take on new or enlarged product ranges with which they may be initially unfamiliar. Sales Administrators point to the fact that they can be confident that a consistent approach is achieved quickly.
Enhanced market image
With greater consistency of presentation can also come enhanced market image. When the freedom of individual sales team members to employ their own templates for quotes is curtailed, the overall business image can be better directed and controlled in a manner required by the business as a whole.
Well implemented CPQ solutions can empower and motivate the sales organization as a whole. Companies claim that it can give confidence to a wider group of individuals within a team to discuss product details with clients and prospects and provide quotes tailored to their needs.
In the final analysis, successful businesses claim reduced cost and fast returns on investment. By removing quoting errors from their system, they achieve a quick payback on their CPQ investments. Many companies are now considering that this is one of the most significant areas for cost reduction – and one that is seen as extremely positive by customers and employees alike.
Many of the companies that are now making a case for CPQ have taken the opportunity in their markets to increase client choice, and where appropriate, self-selection.
CPQ solutions are allowing many of them to adopt 'mass customization’ business models. This allows them to remove or significantly reduce the requirement to sell standard products, and secure the benefit of reduced stock holding of finished product.
Kevin's passion is helping companies become easier to buy from. He is a pioneer and thought leader in CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote). Quick to spot how technology (in particular CRM and product configuration software) enhances sales team performance, he was instrumental in the development of cloud based CPQ applications. He co-founded BlueprintCPQ in 1999, and built this to become one of the most powerful and flexible CPQ platforms. BlueprintCPQ was acquired by Xait in December 2020 where Kevin is Head of CPQ practice and Managing Director of Xait Ltd where he continues to apply his innovative thinking and experience to drive sales efficiency.
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