To enable digital selling and deliver a better experience for sales reps, most companies purchase sales tools and platforms that are designed to simplify and streamline sales processes. One of these key pieces of software is CPQ.
Whether or not you’ve already implemented a CPQ into your sales tech stack, it’s important to be aware of what it can offer and how it can help scale up your sales operations, grow revenue, and create greater alignment across your business.
This week on the RevAmp Podcast, we had the pleasure of hosting Frank Sohn, President and CEO of Novus CPQ Consulting Inc and host of the CPQ Podcast. With nearly thirty years of experience in CPQ consulting, he is the perfect guest for discussing the importance of CPQ and how it has transformed B2B sales on both a strategic and tactical level. This blog post will touch on the wealth of knowledge Frank brought to the show to highlight the importance of CPQ in turning sales processes into one fluid sales motion.
The history of CPQ
The first CPQ arose in the 1980s, and at the time, was called a configuration system – or “configurator”. It helped sales reps manage customer specifications, and in the late 1980s, became more advanced and integrated with early CRMs. In the 1990s, companies would often have a product configuration tool tied to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and a user interface. These tools would collectively provide certain pricing capabilities. But according to Frank, although they offered a solution to particular pricing obstacles, they were often difficult to understand and adopt.
In the early 1990s, companies had begun to automate some of the arduous tasks that were once dependent on humans. At this point, configurators were being increasingly integrated into the selling process. As the millenium turned, many small- to mid-sized sales organizations were in need of a solution for hurdles they encountered in the quote-to-cash cycle. And by 2010, the CPQ concept had gained significant recognition and began to be increasingly incorporated into sales processes.
Nowadays, CPQ systems are much more diverse and advanced in their capabilities – modern solutions include pricing engines, proposal generators, quoting systems, rules or constraint engines, and even approval and authorization workflows. The solution has expanded into many diverse industries, and technological enhancements are enabling sales teams to sell much more effectively.
What does CPQ software do?
So what is CPQ? If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you already know. But for those who don’t, CPQ stands for “configure price quote”. CPQ software enables sales reps to provide their prospects with accurate pricing and product configurations, meet buyer specifications, and deliver sales with agreed-upon terms.
CPQ tools include price-management mechanisms, enabling sales reps to choose between product options, packages and services, and also offer approved discounts. With a comprehensive, best-in-class CPQ, sales reps can automatically generate quotes that are error-free, on-brand, legally compliant, and include sales and marketing collateral that’s customized to buyers’ needs.
The benefits of CPQ
Together, the above CPQ capabilities enable organizations to streamline the sales process, reduce manual admin work, deliver accurate quotes to potential customers, and ultimately enhance both the seller and buyer experience.
When we talked to Frank about the benefits of CPQ, he said, “What you’re doing is taking what a sales rep does well, and making it available and repeatable to everyone else. It helps you standardize approaches and make them widely accessible, allowing reps to learn from and replicate the practices of your top performers, leading to more success.”
He noted that as sales technologies evolve to meet the demands of today’s market, what has become clear is that customers desire customizations that fit their particular needs. A CPQ helps you accomplish this by making it possible to tailor pricing and product specifications to the needs of each customer.
CPQ is an increasingly vital sales tool for organizations, and it can be greatly enhanced through integrations with CRM software. This enables sales and revenue teams to keep better track of customers, opportunities and deals; generate quotes, proposals and contracts more accurately and easily; automate internal approvals; and accelerate the overall sales cycle.
How CPQ helps retain sales reps
As The Great Resignation continues to affect organizations of all types and sizes, we asked Frank about his thoughts on the impact of sales technologies on employee retention. He notes that CPQ has come a long way, and by empowering sales reps and alleviating certain bottlenecks, it makes their job easier and the sales process much smoother. And of course, happy team members tend to be loyal team members.
An important way to drive sales performance and retain successful employees is by helping them develop their skills. Sales tools like CPQ help them focus on active selling rather than laborious manual tasks that consume time and energy. Research shows that sales reps spend only 35% of their time actively selling. But when employees have more time to focus on that key part of their role, as well as building stronger customer relationships, they are more satisfied and successful.
Key takeaways about CPQ
It was a pleasure having Frank as a guest on the RevAmp Podcast. His in-depth knowledge and first-hand account of the evolution of CPQ made for a very insightful interview!
Hundreds of sales tools are on the market, having been designed to address different elements and stages of the B2B sales process. CPQ has emerged as a mission-critical tool for sales teams that need to support their reps with a way to handle pricing and product complexity, with a more frictionless sales process. By using a configurable and automated system to reduce the administrative burden and equip sales reps to do their best, fastest and most precise work, you can gain greater control over your sales operations and drive greater revenue achievement.
And that’s a wrap!
To listen to the full podcast episode, click here