Before CPQ: Steps to Ensure a Smooth Q2C Implementation

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Empowering your sales team with a Configure, Price, Quote tool (CPQ) is a great way to increase sales production and consistency of sales operations and customer experience, especially in omnichannel selling environments. As your organization grows and adopts a more sophisticated selling model the need for CPQ becomes paramount.

The number of software vendors proving CPQ solutions to industries across the spectrum is growing. Providers like Salesforce, Apttus, IBM, Oracle and CloudSense are leading the market in CPQ software growth. In addition, you do not have to look very far to find a qualified consulting partner to implement your CPQ solution as well as downstream solutions to round out the Q2C environment. Established CPQ and Q2C Consulting firms like Simplus, Code Zero, ATG, Coastal Cloud and many others understand what it takes to implement these solutions well.

However, customers of these solutions need to understand what the systems are designed to accomplish and what the limitations are. The old saying “garbage in=garbage out” is absolutely true. Some of the biggest challenges facing the implementation of CPQ solutions has absolutely nothing to do with the tool and everything to do with how your business is setup and ran. A few of the common roadblocks which will affect the implementation, use and value of the tool are:

  1. Lack of selling strategy (Who, What and how customers buy)
  2. Lack of defined selling process, (Sales Operations)
  3. Bad or incomplete data
  4. Incomplete, non existent or changing pricing models
  5. Lack of robust and defined product catalog
  6. Silo mentality (Lack of buy in and support from other organizations and stakeholders in the company)
  7. Tendency to make things more complex then they need to be

These items can turn an exciting CPQ implementation into an absolute nightmare and cause serious delays or abandonment of the project. The misconception among many CPQ buyers is the tool will solve the problem. In actuality, the CPQ tool will amplify the structural problems that exist in the operation today. Buyers must go into these purchases with the clear understanding the technology is a tool and a tool only. Solid and robust business processes will allow the tool to add jet fuel or a flat tire to the operation.

The most effective way to address these roadblocks and challenges is to design your business structure from the customers viewpoint, meaning eliminating waste. In the eyes of the customer, waste is anything in the process that does not deliver value to them. Yes of course there are internal processes and steps that need to occur that do not drive explicit value to the customer but the point is to minimize these as much as possible.

In todays world, its not about price, its only about customer experience. With this in mind, companies should focus on designing product bundles, pricing models, sales operations guard rails and delivery processes aimed at maximizing customer experience.

In our experience, customers who take the time to review operational models and engagement methodologies from the eyes of the customers learn much about how to deliver better results. Tie the process and operational review with the power of data science and analytics and you gain deeper insights into your customer and how to WOW them. Ask your customer what they want and expect and they will not be shy about sharing with you. In fact, some of the revelations have shown companies are selling to wrong customer, meaning the fit with value proposition, expectations, product mix and skill sets are not well aligned.

Another critical step that is often overlooked is training and communication. A well designed process developed in a vacuum and communicated to nobody is a recipe for failure. Many times the sales teams have these great ideas and plans but never take to the time to communicate and train the rest of the organization. Eliminating the silo mentality and getting buy in from across the organization is required.

The overriding and obvious point of implementing new Q2C systems is to drive more revenue faster, at a lower cost resulting in higher customer experience…Rinse and repeat. If the time and effort is not spent to align your organization and processes first the result is less revenue that cost more to deliver, worse customer experience, higher customer churn and mountains of wasted dollars on technology and implementation consulting

Hyper Velocity Group is a data science and analytics company focused on developing comprehensive market and operational strategies that enable hyper growth. Founded by a core group of elite educated data scientists, sales and marketing practitioners and solution delivery experts

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