Have you ever heard of a magic pill that immediately relieves all of your pain points?
Unless you’re talking about aspirin, the answer is no. Every time a sales exec asks me for an instant fix to their sales problems, I feel the urge to offer them a couple.
Recently I was talking with a sales manager who was desperate to get his team back on track with their proposals. Sales were dismal, team morale was low and every indicator pointed to their proposal generation system as the culprit. What this guy really wanted was a magic pill or two that he could take NOW to dissolve his sales problems. Instant relief from his pain.
He had rightly figured that a CPQ solution (Configure-Price-Quote) was the way to go to achieve that relief. But even though he knew what his team needed, he really didn’t have a clue how to go about deploying a CPQ system for his organization.
Used correctly, a CPQ solution can be a powerful tool for your business. But it’s not a magic pill. Rush into deployment without first implementing some simple strategies and you could end up making some critical mistakes. All of which could mean poor user adoption rates and an inefficient use of the technology. Here are the top three tips I recommend to ensure a successful CPQ deployment.
3 Keys to a Successful CPQ Deployment
Use CPQ to integrate data from multiple sales channels
These days it’s become the norm for businesses to have multiple sales channels. Companies interact with clients through a variety of platforms, including retail locations, catalogs, websites, social media and promotional events. The name of the game is to ensure that you meet your customers wherever they happen to be, making it easy for them to buy from you.
While there are many options to interact, sales teams need to ensure that details, special offers and prices are accurate across all of your channels and sale teams. Then add resellers and partners into the mix – all who might have different pricing and product bases – and you may just end up with an administrative nightmare as they try to determine which data is most-up-to-date.
A well-implemented CPQ solution integrates data across channels, ensuring a seamless buying experience for your customers regardless of the channel employed.
Get IT on your side
IT managers are always saying they’re overwhelmed with large projects, hampered by budget restrictions and dealing with staff shortages. They won’t want to hear that you have another big project to add to their plate. So when you choose your CPQ solution, choose one with a no-coding environment like DealHub so sales operations can have it up and running in as little as 48-hours without adding more to the IT “to do list”.
Even better, with DealHub sales teams can handle all the updates (new pricing, configuration changes, etc.) and day-to-day management issues without IT assistance. The intuitive interface of this SaaS solution lets even novice reps create professional quotes without the need for IT to be involved with training or troubleshooting.
When IT realizes that they do not have to commit extensive resources to a CPQ implementation, they will quickly get behind it.
Communicate benefits to team members
In the end, it doesn’t matter how well integrated your solution is and how much buy-in you get from other departments, your deployment won’t be successful if the sales team doesn’t use it. Communicate to them exactly what benefits they’ll see before deployment. The more you can quantify how this new technology will improve their productivity and their ability to close deals, the less likely you’ll face team member resistance.
What’s in it for me? A recent survey revealed more reps who used a CPQ solution achieved their quota. Fifty-eight percent of CPQ users achieved their quota compared to 46% of reps without CPQ. This same survey showed the average deal size or contract value for non-CPQ users was $211,000. And the amount for CPQ users? A tidy $432,000. Now you’re talking their language.
A CPQ solution can definitely help companies suffering from an ailing proposal generation system. It can offer struggling sales managers quick relief – if they deploy properly.
A final piece of advice: choose a vendor that is going to stick with you for the long haul. Too many CPQ sales teams plug you in, pat you on the back and never see you again. The good ones know that they can’t be successful unless you are. Choose a company whose sales team is willing to follow-through and help with CPQ deployment and ensuring that your CQP solution is adopted company-wide.
Article orginally published July 15, 2015. Updated July 6, 2018.