It shouldn’t be surprising that most of what is written about CPQ (configure-price-quote) solutions is written to appeal to the users of the technology, salespeople and sales management. After all, they derive the immediate benefit associated with it, and they are the ones who are likely to pay for it.
But benefits of CPQ are also realized in other areas of the selling process — most particularly, the buying end of the process. Customers and prospects derive real benefit from engaging in transactions powered by CPQ, especially in those challenged by complexity.
How CPQ Benefits Buyers
Here are just a few of the advantages and benefits delivered to the buyer.
- Transaction speed – From inquiry to solution specification
- Confirmation of solution alignment – What you buy fixes whatever is wrong
- Pricing accuracy – Correct pricing, applicable discounts and error-free extensions
- Transaction history – Documented evolution of the proposed solution and pricing
Let’s review each in more detail.
Configured Product Selling – Transaction Speed
Complex problems require complex solutions. This means customers are not likely to find what they need on the shelf at their local hardware store. The solution must be tailored through descriptive conversations, studies, surveys and other research-oriented processes.
Buyer and seller engaging in a process that seeks to assure the seller understands exactly what pain is felt by the buyer. Conversely, the seller must make sure the buyer understands exactly what capability the seller’s solution offers.
The quicker this process can be successfully concluded the quicker the buyer can begin to realize the benefit of the solution. Many complex product searches go unfulfilled simply because the buyer can’t communicate exactly what they need, and the seller can’t understand what they need either.
Product Configurator System – Solution Alignment
Buyers hate guessing whether or not the solution they buy will work. When the buyer goes to the well, they must have some assurance that the funding they seek will not be wasted. They will likely need to provide some evidence that the solution they are funding will work.
Product configuration software will provide a detailed record of what functionality is provided, how it addresses the customer’s issues and how much each part of the solution costs.
The guesswork is minimized. The solution matches the problem.
CPQ Means Pricing Accuracy
Complex products tend to be pricey products. They have lots of moving parts, perhaps even lots of options. Additionally, the customer may qualify for specific discounts related to their status (such as GSA or National Account). Volume of the purchase may also entitle additional discounts.
The key is, the customer doesn’t need to find out they left money on the table because a specific, deserved discount was not extended. Everybody wants the best price they can get.
No customer needs to find out during an audit months after the fact that they overpaid for an item. Quotations and proposals should provide specific line-by-line pricing data for the customer to use as documentation related to what they actually paid for.
Sales Configurator Software – Transaction History
As conversations evolve over time, memories become muddled. A pricing estimate mentioned weeks before becomes fixed in the mind of the buyer as “the price,” and any variation thereafter seems to suggest deception.
Sales configuration software should provide a historical record of what was quoted on what date and exactly what was included in the quote.
Maintaining a quotation history will not prevent misunderstanding, but it will provide a historical record of what price was provided for what product.
All of these things assure that the customer is provided a more responsive and positive user experience. This can be a decisive differentiator all by itself.