6 Signs Your Company Needs Salesforce CPQ

By Hector Villasenor

Guest Blog: Hector Villasenor, Director of CPQ at Canpango

Running a sales-focused organization successfully is difficult, and in a lot of cases feels downright impossible if the proper operational workflows aren’t in place or automated. The truth is, without the right Configure Price Quote software in place, you’re putting your sales team’s performance at risk. 

Here are the six telltale signs that your sales team could benefit from Salesforce CPQ: 

Warning Sign #1 | Disjointed systems to generate quotes and duplicative data entry in multiple systems.

Companies that utilize Salesforce or a legacy CRM, but choose to lean on Google Sheets as a quoting tool, are deliberately encouraging a black cloud (pun intended) of pricing inaccuracies and decreasing levels of user adoption.

If a business fails to invest time and resources into systems that allow for single data entry and capture, they are (probably unknowingly) forcing their salespeople into an unnecessarily complicated multi-step process that is bound to provoke a downward trend in operational productivity and an increase in revenue loss. Without a proper CPQ solution in place, sales reps create an opportunity in Salesforce (or an alternative CRM), then generate a new quote in a spreadsheet external to the CRM by re-entering that captured CRM data manually. After the quote is completed within the spreadsheet, the user is expected to create a record of the product purchase in the CRM, update the deal amount and incorporate any other relevant data within the CRM.

This not only increases the risk of human error, it means your sales team is spending time on non revenue-generating activities.

Warning Sign #2 | Quote & order reporting is difficult and fragmented

Without reporting, there’s no way to rationalize future investments that improve sales operations through new software solutions or hiring sprees. Not to mention, if managers or C-level executives have no single source of truth to provide insight into each salesperson’s quoting stage, it becomes extremely difficult to forecast individual product (or service) sales numbers or accurately predict and solidify the calendar for upcoming discounts and promotions.

You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Salesforce CPQ reporting provides transparency into how many quotes were converted into orders and how many upsells and cross-sells occurred within a given period.

Warning Sign #3 | The system admin struggles to scale and maintain a quoting system.

In order to maintain a quoting system, an organization needs to be able to add or retire new products to or from their product catalogue seamlessly. It’s also natural for pricing structures to fluctuate, especially in the professional services industry, so if a business wishes to update a pre-existing pricing framework and/or apply tier-based pricing to specific products, a CPQ solution that’s native to Salesforce and houses all pricing data in one centralized place will make quoting system maintenance effortless.

In the event that a company wants to scale a quoting system due to international footprint expansion, they are required to sell within the bounds of a multi-currency pricebook. In addition, scaling a quoting system is commonly needed because specialized pricing is needed to account for unique customer relationships or account requirements. Finally, if a business is tasked with growing a quoting system but are in the process of transitioning from a legacy CRM to Salesforce or other mainstream cloud-based tools, it’s commonplace for that legacy quoting system to cause integration issues with the new CRM, which puts  sales operations at risk.

Unlike the vast majority of legacy-built quoting systems, Salesforce CPQ  has the ability to support volume-based discounting in an efficient way. For instance, in legacy quoting systems, salespeople are usually forced to create a massive amount of product records to accommodate an unnecessarily complex tiered-pricing matrix. Additionally, product configuration attribution is also limited, so sales reps are again forced to generate even more product records in order to accurately identify a product type.

Warning Sign #4 | Sales team is struggling with renewal processes.

The importance of streamlining a profitable renewal process is critical for businesses that occupy the software & technology space (as mentioned above). But in reality, a weak renewal process can stunt growth and decrease overall revenue potential for any company in any industry.

Here are some instances where companies are practicing poor renewal process practice and need to consider re-engineering renewal operations and translating and embedding those workflows within Salesforce CPQ:

  • There is no renewal model in place, sales reps are held responsible for setting calendar reminders according to contract terms for customer follow-up. Renewal deals are falling through the cracks and start to chip away at salespeople’s percent to quota, which aggravates their new need to sell more to comp for the loss.
  • There is a renewal model in place, but it lacks status check-in email automations that signify contract expiration date from day one of contract signature, so salespeople are expected to gross the same number of contracts (renewals) brought in from the prior year while growing an account base by a certain percentage and are penalized if a renewal is missed.
  • There is a renewal model in place, but it is highly disjointed. The CRM, quoting system and contract storage platform are disconnected, and CRMs typically don’t have the ability to track and recognize what products are affiliated with individual account contracts and the associated contract value. Sales reps are therefore spending more time chasing down what contracts have historically been and are currently in place than focusing on growing account revenue.
  • There is a renewal model in place, but the CPQ system and the contract storage platform don’t “talk” to each other, and an automation hasn’t been put in place to trigger co-terming contracts that have been recently upgraded by number of licenses, updated software feature add-ons etc,. This results in sales rep headaches in efforts to find and reconcile contract start dates and can lead to customer confusion and poor CX.

If you have a poor renewal process in place, you’re probably suffering from:

  • Lost revenue
  • Decreased levels of customer retention

The best salespeople are good at closing deals that provide their customers with the right solutions, but even the best salespeople can be downright terrible at managing renewals. With Salesforce CPQ, you can limit sales rep involvement and make money for them and the organization while doing so.

Warning Sign #5 | Sales team is having difficulty generating output documentation.

Pre-built templates like account statements, delivery notes, credit memos, reminders, finance charge memos, sales invoices, quotes, order confirmations and purchase orders are just a few examples of output documentation that salespeople rely on in their daily communications with customers. If sales reps aren’t able to easily generate output documentation quickly, the potential to lose deals (as well as retain sales employees) sky rockets.

Here are some examples of obstructed output document generation:

  • Output documents are typically filed with spelling or grammar mistakes due to a lack in custom field auto-filling capabilities. In some cases, the wrong customer profile information is entered from manual, human error.
  • Salespeople are creating opportunities with a CRM that outlines customer challenges and goals but have no way of automatically translating this information from the CRM into a quoting system, so they are forced to manually re-enter the same information under “Business Objectives” within the quoting tool.  
  • There is one single pre-built template that houses the entire product catalogue and is way too long for salespeople to be able to easily navigate and manipulate on a per-deal basis.
  • For products (or services) sales that are contingent on other products sold, salespeople are having to track down historical account information in different systems to piece together contracts or product pricing in order to ensure the right add-on is well, added on.

Warning Sign #6 | Sales team approval process is inefficient.

Approval processes are the gateway to officially reach closed-won status, which is why it’s a bonafide guarantee that any salesperson will have zero issue with expressing concerns about  roadblocks that are obstructing approvals. My advice for leadership? Listen to their feedback.

If criticisms are similar to the below, consider a CPQ solution:

  • Current approval process have apparent gaps in a concrete leadership hierarchy chain – no defined approval tiers have been solidified based on manager level, which hinders speed-to-sale.
  • Current approval process lacks a formal pricing discount matrix that has been pre-approved by leadership, so no one understands what leader to turn to as the point-of-escalation for varying discount levels.
  • Current approval process fails to automatically notify the correct approver instantaneously or send reminder notifications to approve deals, so opportunities and revenue are being lost due to untimeliness and slow “behind-the-scenes” progress.

To learn how a preferred consulting partner can help you pin-point and execute a custom CPQ solution that meets your selling objectives, product catalogue development needs, promotions and discounting strategies, output documentation requirements and approval or renewal process flow, download and share this Salesforce CPQ data sheet.

Download Data Sheet

Have more questions about CPQ solutions and how they can help grow your business? Connect with one of our consulting experts today.

Hector is an experienced Senior Salesforce and Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Consultant having spent 8+ years in the information technology services space. Applying his web development skills and strong software acumen, Hector offers his clients and internal team members with progressive ways to help organizations overcome complex business challenges through dynamic CPQ solution design and implementation strategies.

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