What is CPQ?

What is CPQ?

Kevin Geraghty
19. Jan 2021 | 4 min read

What is CPQ?

Modern CPQ software enables you to win more profitable deals faster, by easing the sales process and improving the quality of every quote and contract.

Today, B2B buyers are more disposed to speak with salespeople when buying a completely new product or service. Buyers for a repeat purchase with different specifications may also choose to engage. 

Achieving a balance between the right technology and great people has never been more important. Sales teams must: 

  • Place the buyer at the center of their process: Engage with buyers in the ways buyers want, when they want. 
  • Plan for the longer term: Select technology that can flex and scale. 
  • Become more agile: Move fast and secure quick wins. 

One technology that is key to this is Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software

Spanning a wide range of functionality, from very simple tools to complex ones, Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software solutions are used by sellers to produce accurate quotes for complex and configurable products. 

CPQ solutions are often employed within existing software systems such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and eCommerce. 

Regardless of type, CPQ solutions are ultimately all designed to help and encourage your buyers to make a purchase. 

Why CPQ Solutions Should be Omnichannel

In an ever-more competitive B2B marketplace, you must be available for your buyers when and where they choose to engage. For this reason, CPQ solutions are increasingly designed to be omnichannel.

For example, you may initially decide to improve the efficiency of your sales process for the sales team within your existing CRM system, and over time extend this to your channel partners via a customer portal or eCommerce system. This helps ensure consistency and speed for your buyers, and one place to store and maintain business rules (such as pricing and product compatibility rules) for your organization. 

Read more: The 3 Crucial Factors for Configure Price Quote Success

How Does CPQ Software Work?

Businesses will implement a CPQ solution because it is the conduit to fast, efficient sales growth. To give you a better understanding of how CPQ software works, let’s take a closer look at the three functions it performs.

Configure 

The configure function uses business rules to guide users in the selection of related and interdependent items such as combinations of products and services, and options within these. More sophisticated systems will enable unique, project-centric solutions to be built. A more recent trend is for greater collaboration on a proposal, across departments, with third-party suppliers and even directly with the buyer. 

Price 

Business rules are used to price items. These can be simple price book related rules with quantity breaks and permitted discount structures, through margin-based rules that ensure acceptable profit levels. More sophisticated systems will enable organizations to introduce new and emerging pricing models such as value-based or outcome-based pricing. Furthermore, most modern CPQ systems will also streamline the approval process where business rules are exceeded. 

Quote 

The quote feature produces the document or webpage that will usually contain price features and graphics. The speed and quality of this will significantly affect the likelihood of converting to an order. Automating and easing this will usually mean that best practice is consistently applied to produce compelling proposals that make it easy for buyers to see and communicate the value within their business.

Summary

CPQ captures all of the complex product, pricing, and business rules in one central place for automating and streamlining actions in real time. This allows you to have everything you need at your fingertips to close deals faster, with better collaboration, control and transparency.

Kevin Geraghty

Kevin Geraghty

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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