Salesforce CPQ Implementation Guide: Tips and Tricks
The Quick and Efficient Way to Salesforce CPQ Implementation
If you consider adopting Salesforce CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote) to enhance your business opportunities, there are some things you need to know before you proceed with CPQ implementation. For people who are interacting with it for the first time, it may seem a bit challenging. In this Salesforce CPQ Implementation guide, we will try to cover everything you may require to make the process easier.
Taking into account that you have already started looking toward this product, you should already know about CPQ. However, its potential is not limited only to dealing with configuring prices for your products. Being a powerful solution that covers all the business needs, you will be able to use it to transform the way of how you operate the business and take the performance of your sales department to a completely new level.
Here are the top tips to getting ready for a successful CPQ implementation:
Get the Idea about the Opportunity
CPQ implementation, when done properly, provides the possibility to enjoy the same user experience regardless of the device used. You have probably done some research before landing at this article, so the concept of CPQ and its role in facilitating the responsibilities for the sales representatives is not new for you. Moreover, automating the routine sales processes saves valuable time for your workers.
So, to get the most from CPQ implementation, you should understand all aspects and the business needs it is going to handle. In most cases, they are the following:
- Guided selling functionality
- The process of approval
- Proposal documentation generation
and many other things.
So, all these functions are created to speed up the sales cycle, from the very start right until its end.
Focus on your Business Idea
You might feel offended that we are mentioning this in the Salesforce CPQ implementation guide, but just give us a moment to explain the idea to you.
You definitely know your business very well, but how open are you to new ideas? If you are open-minded and your business strategy is flexible, your CPQ implementation has all it needs to pass successfully. So, what about trying to understand how the entire system functions? In this guide, we’re going to explain what you should pay attention to.
Overall, understanding your business means understanding the following components:
Existing Processes: Configuration, pricing system, quoting system, inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and many other factors. Do you know them? If yes, you can move to the next point.
Current Customers: You should know whether your current customers focus on the batch or rather individual services, what language they speak, whether their preferences depend on seasonal fluctuations, and so on. The more you know about your customers, the better it is for your business.
Lead Opportunities: Customer behavior will tell you much, but when you get insights into products and price formation processes, you will know how to find additional opportunities to sell. Hence, you will be ready for CPQ implementation.
Business Requirements: If this aspect is neglected, the chances of failure increase. Find out your needs and acceptance criteria for successful implementation. Start with the following questions:
- What processes do you need to automate and speed up?
- What existing and upcoming data do you need to handle?
- What problems will the CPQ implementation solve?
- How are you going to do that?
- How will you know that these goals are achieved?
The readiness of your system for integration: If you choose to implement a CPQ solution, it does not mean that you are going to discard all of the existing processes and legacy systems. Its primary goal is to co-exist with systems that are already in place. For that, you need to consider the following areas:
- Check which other systems will be influenced
- Consider how all of the systems are going to integrate and collaborate
- Your workflow
Management Changes: there are several things to consider if you want your CPQ implementation to run successfully. With that in mind, here are things to be changed at this stage:
- A proper CPQ implementation plan is a must. Apart from the preparation and development steps, don’t forget about testing since it will eliminate the majority of bugs and establish more credibility in the system because people will never use a system they do not trust.
- The project leader should be clearly specified.
- All departments should be involved in the process to provide the necessary level of involvement. If people understand how they benefit from the solution, they will work better and engage other users in the process of CPQ implementation.
Extensive Training Program Development: You have to teach your team how to work with the system.
So here they are, the top tips for successful implementation. However, the entire CPQ still doesn’t end here. Apart from the initial preparation, there is still a lot of work to do.
CPQ implementation is a continuous process that does not end when the solution is moved into production. It also requires daily monitoring, support, and regular updates to ensure that your project is running smoothly.
Top Mistakes of Salesforce CPQ Implementation
Learning the tips on increasing effectiveness is not all you need to know. Potential difficulties and ways to overcome them in a timely manner are essential to minimizing risks.
Lack of Collaboration
The first challenge implies getting the support and participation of all departments in the company and all the employees.
Take the Product Management and Engineering Department for example. They should provide all information about their end-products, along with the information about parts and components that comprise those products.
Since the CPQ system requires all the available information, it can be a challenge to collect it because it is a matter of collaborating between all departments.
One more example: if you provide pricing options, you should also give all the data about discounts, restrictions on discounts, price lists that do not fit into standards, and plenty of other details. This is the task of the Finance Department, which can be overwhelming to provide.
Do you see the point? A single department or a single team cannot do it alone. Any CPQ implementation will succeed only if all departments participate at all levels. If an IT team or the Sales Management Department are the only involved parties, your CPQ system is destined to fail.
Using Irrelevant Data
This is one of the most challenging parts of any Salesforce CPQ implementation guide. All of the data that you provide to your CPQ system should be:
- Maintained instantly whenever necessary
For example, if you’re running a promotion and it ends, you cannot include the data before updating the prices after it.
The same applies to configuration data. If you’re trying to perform a configuration of an up-to-date product, but the data is only available for the previous year, you put your company under the risk of being considered not trustworthy.
Again, you cannot make the process end well on your own. So, involve all your employees at their levels to handle the updating and management processes.
Product idea misconception
The complete product does not equal a sold product. And if you believe it does, your CPQ implementation will never lead you to success.
Good CPQ is not only about product descriptions and their pricing; it is much more.
So, what does the complete product include? It includes all the nuances of the product development cycle:
- Payment plan
- Post-sales service
and so on.
Your customers will never trust you again if you disappear after the first purchase. Moreover, it can turn out to be the last one. You should deliver the value: ask for feedback after the delivery, inform about discounts, make sure to send happy birthday emails by offering some custom promotions. All your employees shall participate in the creation of this value.
Salesforce CPQ Implementation Stages
Stage 1: Discovery
Before you start, you need to realize that your solution is all about your customers.
Hence, you start with an SKU, or name-based product search. Proper taxonomy and categorization matter here, as they will help your team generate instant quotes and create the online prospects of finding the right products.
The labels “Need Analysis” or “Guided Selling” are also important. They represent the number of questions about the product the customer wants. Those might be direct or indirect questions about the requirements that the customer’s business sets to the products. Based on the responses, the customer will be offered a set of products that they may be interested in based on the tool’s analysis.
Stage 2: Configuration
At this point, you’ll include all the components of your product, or rather your whole product. In particular, we include services, installations, and features such as size, color, design, and other elements that can be connected with the product or influence the record of it.
Don’t forget to dump your garbage, also known as bad data. Take care of the following aspects:
- Make invalid options unavailable for users.
- Guidance options like size tables or product characteristics should be available right on the spot for the increased convenience of customers.
- Your proposals should have product data, timestamps, tracking information such as traffic and referral source, client information, and other information that gives you the insight into what channels drive more sales than the others.
- Double-check that the configurations, processes, and maps are approved by both you and all of the other interested parties.
- Support the complexity of your products with subassemblies.
- Develop methods on how you will modify the already existing products and options.
- User interface of products should be convenient and capture orders immediately.
- Integrate pricing rules if it has not been done yet.
A properly implemented configurator will allow your customers to check valid pricings and their combinations, along with providing the ability to add or remove the features and compare prices.
However, the construction of configurators specific to products is the most complicated and challenging part of any CPQ implementation process. Therefore, be sure to pay a lot of attention to this.
In addition, keep in mind that the best solutions provide final prices and their combinations so that your client would just have to request the needed features and their combinations.
Stage 3: Delivery and Deployment
When you just start with the CPQ implementation, it may seem like the delivery stage will never happen. Some errors appear immediately, while others take time to appear. Minor bugs are also inevitable in every development. Also, successful solution delivery is based on a solid process of change management. And don’t forget about a very thoroughly designed training program.
When you’re in doubt about the engagement process, just think about all those updates that you will need to do on a constant basis: adding, removing, and modifying items. Finally, you will also want to track the changes, the process of requesting them, reviewing, changing, and so on.
And a training program will help your employees learn how to use this complicated solution to make things several times more effective and productive. You are not going to handle all these things alone, are you?
But sure to constantly perform tests as well. No solution works smoothly forever. As soon as new changes are applied, you will have to test how the entire system functions and implement the required fixes.
A brief overview of important CPQ aspects
Step 1: Gather input from your sales representatives and find out your Salesforce objectives.
Step 2: Get acquainted with your customers. Check on whether they shop based on geo-location; for example, conduct the user segmentation based on interests and demography to detect patterns. Find out their buying habits: what products are often purchased together, what products are most frequently ordered. Also, you need to be aware of the price-forming procedure in your company to speed up the approval processes.
Step 3: Set up your product vision. Creating a user-friendly product model is essential when you are trying to gain your customers’ trust. To do it you need to base your proposals on the demand of your customers, take advantage of selling some products in a bundle, and provide a discreet product selection.
Step 4: Keep prices and price formation factors consistent. Make sure the pricing does not change during different interactions with the customer.
Step 5: Get to know your software. Customization should be available and maintained. Instead of developing features that already exist, find out what solutions from already existing features can be implemented. It’s better to get professional advice from Salesforce CRM specialists, as this will help you to save time and money spent on extra development.
Step 6: Define the type of selling you do. Will you focus on cross-, guided, or even upselling? Leverage them to create a list of questions that will help you see what products are the most interesting for your customers. According to the responses, you may adjust your selling strategy.
Step 7: Automate the operating processes, the more, the better. With automation, you will be able to drive more successful sales and ensure revenue growth while your sales agents will be saving time previously spent on mundane tasks. Pay attention to the way you design your CQP automation. When properly done, it helps to avoid flaws during the process and have a positive impact on user experience.
Step 8: Don’t forget about integrations. All sources should be available for accessing information, and all systems should work in collaboration. This applies to both internal and external systems.
Step 9: Testing is one of the priorities. If the system is riddled with bugs, your customers will simply run away. So, test constantly.
Step 10: Provide a proper training program. This tool will be accepted only if people know how to use it. Hence, it’s up to you to educate your employees.
With all these steps in mind, you are likely to successfully go through the implementation and be ready to fix any issues that may occur as you use the solution.