Configure Price Quote Software (CPQ) isn’t just a powerful sales tool. When properly implemented, it can become a digital channel that your customers use.
Better yet, it’s fast, it’s affordable, and it utilizes a lot of the work you’ve already done.
When companies decide to use CPQ as a digital channel, it lowers costs, increases sales, and improves the customer experience. CPQ allows you to transform high-touch sales processes into self-service. Shifting time off your sales teams by empowering your customers to self-service lowers your cost of sale, enabling your sales reps to spend more time prospecting.
Just as significantly, according to Forrester, increasing digital touch points for customers increases your average order value. Per their recent study, B2B companies that have more than one touch point, and have digital and physical touch points (i.e. sales reps), also have customers who spend 17% more than if they only had standard legacy touch points.
Using a CPQ solution as a digital touch point for customers can have huge impacts on your bottom line. Let’s review a roadmap for its implementation.
Digital Transformation is a Process
Any digital transformation can seem overwhelming at the start. The key is to break it down. Think of digital transformation as a series of base hits, not as a home run.
Start by getting a browse experience out to your customers, and then add in quoting. Allow your customers to be able to create, save, and edit quotes, and ultimately include purchasing options.
You’ll get the 17% average order value lift with quoting capability alone. It will also cause a 26% drop on your average cost of sale, resulting in immediate savings.
Provided that you already have your CPQ installed, all you really need to enable customers to browse your product catalog is a digitally ready SKU catalog. Essentially, all of these products that have historically been in your database, or in your ERP, need to be structured correctly so that they're easy to find in the digital world.
This boils down to thinking about your own buying habits. How do you find products when shopping online? Typically this is done via the search or browse navigation bars.
Searches work because your data and product content are structured. An algorithm can search against specific attributes or descriptions.
When you’re browsing products, it’s considered a taxonomy. It’s the category structure and making sure your products are correctly and logically put into categories as you might browse them.
Perhaps this seems obvious, because we use it every day. But the architecture behind it isn’t quite so simple, and that’s where an expert like Object Edge is useful.
Pricing & Quoting
Once your customers are able to browse, their ability to discover products will increase. Rather than first contacting a salesperson, they can simply login and see what’s available.
The next step is allowing them to view prices and create quotes. In order to understand how this works, let’s breakdown some acronyms and cloud-based solutions: Oracle Commerce Cloud (OCS) connects to something called ICS, Integrated Cloud Service.
Customers will browse your catalog in OCC, which will pull pricing information from your CPQ. In order to allow quoting, OCC has APIs for creating, saving, and finalizing a quote.
Once the customer creates a quote, it goes into ICS. It gets translated into something that CPQ can understand, and CPQ will respond back with a digital handshake, and then that quote will go back to OCC in a translated message.
Then you’ll need to make sure that OCC is connected to your CRM system, whether it’s Engagement Cloud or Salesforce.com. This will allow you to ensure that customers aren’t duplicating their accounts, but are connecting to existing accounts. They’ll be able to login and see their specific pricing, and browse what’s relevant to them.
Not only does CPQ remove sales channel conflict, it also promotes engagement.
For example, customers can browse your catalog via your CPQ, and maybe will even add a quote, but might not follow through to purchase it. Your CRM will create an opportunity for your sales rep to follow up with that customer, providing warm, actionable leads.
This is a win-win, saving your sales team time and engaging your customer in the manner in which they prefer.
The Power of Digital Choices
Ultimately, digital transformation is just a series of digital choices to help you meet your marketing and sales objectives.
When you make digital choices regarding CPQ as a digital channel, you need to first assess five impact areas:
- Technology - the technologies you are you going to use
- User Experience - the branded experience you want to create
- Data Governance - how to secure, leverage, apply, and analyze data
- Change Management - the plan for training people on the new channel and processes
- SKU Management - structuring your data
Follow Ups to Add Value
So you’ve completed your assessments, transformed your CPQ system to a digital channel, and your customers are beginning to utilize it. It’s time to follow up and finetune the process.
Take the time to upgrade your images so that they’re attractive and aligned with your brand. A solid measurement: roughly 3,000 products will take about three weeks to properly photograph. Try to aim for three images per product, and even video footage is it will add value for your customers.
Consider creating accessorized product content. This could include PDFs, lifestyle brands, user experience guides, or care guides. If that content doesn’t already exist, produce it through a content strategist and a content writer.
Assess if your branded experience could be stronger or more customized. While there are numerous out-of-the-box solutions, you can also create a more unique experience for your customers if desired.
Still Have Questions?
Watch the video from Rohit Garewall, partner at Object Edge for a more detailed overview of CPQ. You can also text your questions to him at 415-683-6138. We’re here to help you leverage this information to make your business more successful.