A Brief History of David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists as it Relates to Considerations for Your Next CPQ initiative

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On September 13, 1988, a small but mighty team of writers were sitting around a table in a smoky boardroom in the basement of a building adjacent to Times Square (here’s a clip of me playing sax there), or at least that’s how I’m imagining it in my head.

They were trying to figure out how to capture additional market share for a television show we now all affectionately (or not so affectionately) know as “The Late Show with David Letterman,” or the NBC version at the time, “Late Night with David Letterman.”

The head writer for the show at the time, Steve O’Donnell, suggested that the Top Ten List was an “almost simultaneous inspiration arriving from staffers Jim Downey, Randy Cohen and Robert ‘Morty’ Morton—largely prompted by the ridiculous ‘eligible bachelor’ lists in a local New York paper that included the 84-year-old Bill Paley. ‘Why, we can put such nonsense together ourselves!’ we exclaimed. And we did.” – Wikipedia Reference

The first list that they ever created was “10 things that rhyme with the word peas.” Little did they know that what they had stumbled upon would eventually change 90 percent of all the content posted on the internet. Fast-forward 30 to 40 years and content producers en masse maintain that society best digests hot tips in small, consumable, bite-size pieces. The top-10 best, the top-five worst, the most ridiculous—try these top-three things to save your life.

Can you imagine if David Letterman had implemented the strategy properly? He probably could have been paid a lifetime of royalties every time somebody used the format (not that he needs any more money).  But can you imagine what that would look like from a revenue standpoint?

Enough of This Nonsense

In my business—sales automation, technology and digital transformation—the same rings true. If you fail to implement a CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) strategy properly, you, your sales team and your business will miss the boat on an opportunity that is transforming the way that your buying experience is executed from start to finish. So basically, it’s the number-one indicator of your bottom line, or the top line depending on how you look at it.

Top 10 Considerations when Implementing/Evaluating CPQ Technologies

Here are “The Top 10 Considerations when Implementing/Evaluating CPQ Technologies,” aka the items you need to keep as priorities when evolving your sales process and implementing a solution like the new, innovative offering developed by Cincom: CPQSync.

  1. Simplify then automate: It’s smart to invest the time upfront to simplify the key related process prior to using technology to automate.  Failing to do so will end up dragging implementation timelines.
  2. Vendor viability:What is the number of years in business?  Do they have a history of innovation?  Is CPQ their primary focus?  Do they have a global market presence?
  3. Requirements gathering and business objectives: Make sure these are detailed and clearly defined with desired outcomes in mind.
  4. Cloud-based: Has the application been migrated from an on-premise solution to a SaaS-based offering with the future of cloud computing in mind?
  5. Connectivity: Is the offering embedded into a CRM system?  Will it be difficult to adopt based on a user experience across multiple systems, or does it simplify your process by limiting screen changes and troublesome integration points?
  6. Complexity: Does the application have the ability to manage all of your offerings spanning across both industry and product types?
  7. Mobile experience: Can you empower your sales team with a seamless experience on the small screen both online and offline? (This is critical for businesses with field staff in remote locations where the internet may be flaky or inaccessible altogether.)
  8. Manageability: How are upgrades delivered and at what cadence?  How simple and easy to use is the administration interface?
  9. Customer experience: Has the solution been architected with the end-customer in mind?  Is the technology simple, refined and intuitive?
  10. Partner network: Does the vendor have a solid partner network for implementation services and other optimizations that can occur?

So there you have it folks; not just another average top-10 list, but rather the keys to your future profitability spelled out in big, bold print for all to consume in bite-size implements—and that you can take to the bank.

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