CPQ Makes Sales Reps’ Lives Easier and More Productive

A configure-price-quote (CPQ) solution makes life easier for sales reps in many ways.

CPQ makes life easier for salespeople because it eliminates the need for them to learn and retain massive amounts of minute data related to pricing, product codes, product specs, product usage and expert domain knowledge.

New sales reps will gain product proficiency faster, and established reps will understand and incorporate new pricing, updated product specs and new feature information much quicker with CPQ. The mobility of CPQ provides access to product information 24/7 and from anywhere the sales rep happens to be.

The selling process itself is streamlined because CPQ will accelerate approvals or even better, automate approvals by building special discount permissions into the pricing logic within the configurator.

In a world of complex problems addressed by complex solutions and complex products, CPQ becomes essential for sales force agility.

Coupling CPQ with CRM harnesses the power of business intelligence (BI) to identify qualified prospects for new sales, as well as high-probability cross-selling opportunities.

Sales Reps Want to Sell on Day One

Addressing the knowledge hump has always been a challenge for sales reps who are hoping to find success in selling complex products. They do not want to spend months and months learning product information and gaining domain expertise.

My grandfather sold steam turbine generators for Westinghouse during the ‘30s and ‘40s. His qualifications included a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. A pal of mine in college went to work for IBM selling mid-range computers. His degree was in computer science, and IBM still sent him to a company school for nearly a year before assigning him to a territory.

Today, companies cannot afford either of those scenarios for developing sales talent. Perhaps more importantly, aspiring sales reps are looking for opportunities where they can become successful within days or weeks of accepting a sales position. They are less interested in year-long knowledge-acquisition programs that pay modest salaries and no sales commissions.

Expert Knowledge Is Built into the CPQ System

CPQ makes life easier for salespeople because it eliminates the need for them to learn and retain massive amounts of minute data related to pricing, product codes, product specs, product usage and expert domain knowledge.

CPQ maintains product information at the part, subassembly and assembly levels. Dependencies such as co- and prerequisite relationships are built into the CPQ configuration process, which is driven by a simple, interactive, interview questionnaire.

The sales rep and customer walk through the interview that uses the customer-provided inputs to generate additional questions and present assorted options throughout the specification and configuration discussion.

Product experts put together the interview questionnaire, and all of their expert knowledge is reduced to logical responses and additional questions. The sales rep is the master of ceremonies.

The end result of the process is a fully configured product including bills of material (BOMs) and dynamically generated sales quotes.

CPQ Guides the Sales Conversation

Another built-in benefit of CPQ is the assurance that all the questions that need to be asked are asked and answered. Imagine selling a solution that addresses the needs of the customer perfectly and upon delivery, finding out that the product literally will not fit in the room where it is to be housed. Someone forgot to ask, “How big is the room?” and “How big is the product?”

These things happen in real life, and CPQ makes sure these surprises are minimised. Addressing a room-size problem is but one such issue that can derail the sale after the fact.

The Drag-and-Drop Interface and Dynamically Generated Electronic Catalogue Make Configurations Easy

With CPQ, the experts are always there.

A drag-and-drop user interface coupled with a dynamically generated electronic catalogue means the sales rep is able to run what-if modifications all day long without having to start over every time. Those last-minute questions are answered immediately.

If it has to do with configuration pricing or usage, the answer is likely in the CPQ platform and, therefore, can easily be answered. Without CPQ, your sales rep can call corporate, reschedule the close or make up an answer and hope it’s close to accurate.

CPQ Easily and Quickly Generates Sales Proposals

Sales reps are very familiar with the last-minute request for proposal. These always come in late on Friday before the Super Bowl or vacation.

The weekend is now going to be devoted to writing cover letters, assembling collateral, drawing charts and graphs and putting a convincing ROI onto a single PowerPoint slide, then comes the copying, collating and binding. What fun!

Luckily, CPQ handles sales proposals with great ease. All of the information you’ve input into CPQ during the sales cycle is mined, manipulated and formatted into a finished proposal. Your visual branding requirements are addressed, and the customer will have a timestamped proposal and quotation when they request it.

Sales still has to practice its presentation, but CPQ takes care of the mechanics of creating a professional proposal document. It doesn’t matter if the rep needs to deliver branded sales quotes or a fully configured, tailored sales proposal. CPQ gets the job done.

When I was a sales rep, all I wanted to do was sell. Forget the peripheral activities, the clerical hurdles, the procedural process requirements, the forms and other non-sales actions required to please someone else. Obviously, many of those activities are very necessary, but why hang them on Sales when CPQ can pick up the slack and get things done faster, cheaper and better?

Sales can sell, and CPQ can do the math, the writing, the drawing, the configuring and the pricing. CPQ can pull together all of the documentation and collateral and fill out the forms required to sell products today.

Quotes Proposals