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CX Tech

What is CPQ and Will It Improve CX?

Erin Ollila
April 29, 2019

3 minute read

You’re overhauling your systems and looking for solutions to streamline how your business runs. Your goal is to make the jobs of your employees easier and find a way to wow your customers and improve their overall experience. You know you need a better quoting and proposal system, but you’re wondering, What is CPQ, and Is it right for me?

Think about the last time you went to the grocery store or out to eat at a restaurant. Did you quickly check your receipt before cashing out? Most likely — consumers want to feel confident they’re paying the correct amount when purchasing goods or services. You wouldn’t want to be overcharged, and you certainly wouldn’t want to leave the building without what you ordered. The same goes for your prospects and current customers. They want the process of purchasing from you to be streamlined, and most importantly, correct. It’s important they trust your sales team’s estimates, and they understand that if a mistake does occur, it can be fixed quickly and in real time.

Everything that happens between a salesperson and a potential customer can be analyzed, tested, and reconfigured until the customer is thrilled with their sales experience. Implementing a CPQ, if you don’t have one already, is a smart place to begin.

But, what is CPQ?

The acronym CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote, and it’s a solution that enables your sales force to propose quotes and proposals on the fly, allowing for accurate orders.

The combination of products or services that one customer needs may be drastically different from another’s, and because of that, salespeople require a solution, such as CPQ, that can quickly gather the information they need, while also completing the quote in a timely and stylized manner. CPQ runs off of client data and business rules, such as bundle discounts and approval workflows, and because of this, your sales staff will use it from inquiry through order completion.

CPQ solutions with deal management capabilities use machine learning and AI to make sure that not only are items priced competitively, but also allows for a risk analysis and a “price score” associated to the item so money isn’t left on the table – getting the most margin while achieving the highest percentage that the customer will accept the quote.

The benefits of a CPQ tool for businesses are vast, and include automating processes, significantly reducing errors on even the most complex sale, closing deals faster, maximizing margins, and improving customer experience (CX).

How does a CPQ tool fit in with your other tools?

Now that you can answer “What is CPQ?”, you may be wondering how it will work with the rest of the tools you already use to streamline your business. CPQ is not an island, and it shouldn’t be misconstrued as a one-layer solution, either. Often, you’ll find CPQ working with customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) or order management tools. Think of it as the middleman that connects the customers’ behind-the-scenes journey throughout your organization. Starting with CRM, your sales team can move customers through the discovery process into an actual sale, all while saving information about that lead to be used for future sales or additional nurturing.

In regard to ERP, Andy Pieroux, founder and managing director at the Walpole Partnership, says, “One of the key jobs of a CPQ system is to deliver information to a ‘down-stream’ system that will execute the order whether that’s delivery of goods, provisioning of a service, or any other deliverable in return for the customer’s order.”

Will using CPQ improve CX?

Yes! Remember that example of being in a restaurant or grocery store? Aren’t those experiences seamless for you? As a consumer, you don’t see the food orders being placed with vendors, the price adjustments in the point of sale (POS) systems, and everything else that goes into managing the stores and restaurants. CPQ is a tool that presents your company’s offers in a quick, streamlined, efficient, and well-designed manner.

CX is improved by minimizing errors and maximizing opportunities. It allows your sales staff to focus on their customer’s needs without worrying about particulars, because they know their CPQ solution is well-configured and will be there to support them. It’s time to stop wondering “What is CPQ?” and start configuring a system that will work in your organization.

Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. After a 12+ year career in human resources, she's jumped headfirst into digital strategy. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media.
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