What is Salesforce CPQ and Why Do Sales Teams Use It?
With great growth comes great complexity. Manually configuring a quote for each client is a recipe for sales rep burnout. Salesforce CPQ helps you automate and scale the process, but getting sales reps to go from manual (or mostly manual) processes to an automated Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) tool doesn’t come without hiccups or a learning curve.
In this post, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of Salesforce CPQ and how you and your sales teams can use it to its fullest potential.
Configuring product offers and delivering quotes is part of a sales rep’s job, but often, it’s a time-consuming process. With no standard templates to follow and pricing information spread across multiple documents or platforms, creating a quote is no easy task. Salesforce’s configure, price, quote (CPQ) software is a solution to this problem.
Salesforce CPQ — part of the Salesforce Revenue Cloud — is one of the most recognizable names in the CPQ software market, and its product can greatly improve the speed and accuracy of quotes. But it’s not an intuitive platform — many customers need extensive support to set up and deploy Salesforce CPQ.
What is CPQ in Salesforce? We’ll answer that question in this post and look at how Salesforce CPQ works, its key benefits and challenges, and how companies can ensure they’re getting the most from the platform.
What is CPQ software?
Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software is a technology that allows sales reps to quickly generate error-free quotes, based on a predefined set of rules. On the backend, a CPQ system contains every possible variation — discounts, service levels, and customization options, for example — so sales reps can generate quotes in minutes or hours, instead of days.
What is Salesforce CPQ?
In 2015, Salesforce acquired SteelBrick — a quote-to-cash software platform. Salesforce built upon SteelBrick’s technology to develop Salesforce CPQ, which integrates seamlessly with Salesforce CRM.
This isn’t just a Salesforce quoting tool — with Salesforce CPQ, sales teams can view customer and prospect data, identify opportunities for upsells, and automate internal sign-offs on pricing.
How does CPQ software work?
Let’s look at the three primary functions of CPQ software:
The “C” component of CPQ software establishes a baseline for the pricing of customizations and packages. CPQ software contains all of the information sales reps need to reliably and consistently produce automated quotes, which reduces the need for manual effort.
In Salesforce CPQ, sales reps can select pricing for bundles, override the list price, and set account-specific pricing for products or product families. The range of options in pricing enables reps to find the best price for the customer, while also ensuring a profitable deal.
The quote line editor is where reps can see the final quote. Here, they can make minor adjustments that affect the cost, which is a useful feature when speaking with clients who want to know their various pricing options. And the quote approval feature ensures sales managers see all quotes before the client does.
Why do companies choose Salesforce CPQ?
So why is Salesforce CPQ so popular, despite its complexity? The answer is that once it’s fully deployed, it offers a lot of benefits for both sales teams and sales managers.
Salesforce CPQ reduces wasted time
This platform automates many of the day-to-day tasks that distract salespeople from their main goals. Salespeople often say they wish they had “more hours in a day,” and Salesforce CPQ answers that call by handling time-consuming administrative functions.
Salesforce CPQ improves quote efficiency and accuracy
Another time-consuming task for sales reps is preparing quotes. Traditionally, they’ve had to spend time researching product pricing, revising quotes based on prospect feedback, and attempting to price out unexpected customization requests. Salesforce CPQ streamlines this entire process, fully integrating with Salesforce CRM and pulling together the data that sales reps need to produce a quote.
With Salesforce CPQ, sales reps can generate quotes from their phones while in the field, quickly explain how different features affect pricing and revise quotes in just a few minutes.
Salesforce CPQ enables a customer-centric sales process
The CPQ platform isn’t just for quote generation — it also lets sales reps view prospect and customer data throughout the process, ensuring quotes match their needs. With these insights, there’s no risk of sales reps producing a quote for features that a prospect doesn’t want and can’t afford.
Salesforce CPQ simplifies upselling and cross-selling opportunities
With access to detailed customer data and pricing information, sales reps can more easily identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
Salesforce CPQ provides control and visibility to sales leaders
When price information and customer data are spread across multiple platforms and spreadsheets, sales reps may scramble to pull together accurate quotes in a timely manner, which increases the risk of error. Salesforce CPQ offers a single, organized interface, ensuring greater control over the quote process.
Salesforce CPQ increases revenue and profitability
The advantages Salesforce CPQ brings to a sales team — efficiency, transparency, and accuracy — all contribute to revenue growth. Sales reps can easily find the information they need to close deals, offer upsells, and ensure that what they’re offering is a perfect fit for customers.
The challenges of Salesforce CPQ
So, are you ready to try Salesforce CPQ? If so, you’ll need to set aside time for training. Just take a look at what this Salesforce CPQ customer said:
“CPQ is hard to maneuver through. I feel like I’m constantly running into roadblocks where the next click or next step is not obvious. It’s complicated and requires a steep learning curve that I’m not confident all of my coworkers have even become familiar with over the past 6 months.” [G2.com]
Like many feature-rich software platforms, Salesforce CPQ is not intuitive. Busy sales teams may have difficulty finding time to learn how to use it, and company-wide platform adoption could be a challenge. Even with Salesforce support, Salesforce CPQ implementation can span several fiscal quarters.
Here are a few reasons why Salesforce CPQ can benefit from just-in-time content in bite-sized learning opportunities.
1. Salesforce CPQ needs accurate data.
Salesforce CPQ is a powerful tool, but if you don’t have a clear process for maintaining accurate data, your sales team may unintentionally send proposals to your clients that don’t reflect savings or overpromise by sharing an expired promotion.
You can use Spekit in your Salesforce CPQ workflow to remind product, sales, and marketing teams about the need for data accuracy and make it a part of their thought process and behavior flow through in-app content.
2. Salesforce CPQ comes with a learning curve.
Going from a manual CPQ process to Salesforce CPQ isn’t immediately intuitive. Although your teams may have worked in spreadsheets or filled in templates manually, transitioning to CPQ software will significantly impact their workflows.
Change management is an essential part of new tool adoption. Spekit integrates straight into Salesforce CPQ’s workflows and offers a plethora of features to help your teams successfully adopt this powerful CPQ software, including:
- Spotlights: in-app notifications for announcements, process rollouts, and new features.
- Speks: icons that can be attached to any field object, picklist, or keyword in Salesforce CPQ. Speks are contextual learning prompts that help new users learn in small, digestible bites.
- Flows: in-app step-by-step instructions. Flows guide users through different processes and are especially useful for communicating change and visual process changes.
- The Dock: contextual, collapsible sidebar follows users navigating Salesforce CPQ. This feature makes your teams more self-sufficient by allowing them to search for what they need and when and how they need it.
3. Salesforce CPQ isn’t used to its full potential.
Salesforce CPQ comes with features that can remind your teams about new products and promotions. Spekit lets you take these reminders further with in-app content right in Salesforce CPQ.
Let’s say a new product is released. You can set up a Spotlight and share content where your teams already are.
For example, you can include links, videos, PDFs, and other content to educate your teams about a new product.
What’s more, since people don’t all like to consume information the same way, you can use Spekit to create and share content for multiple learning styles, ensuring that the information you want to get across gets seen, consumed, and remembered.
Drive Salesforce CPQ adoption with Spekit
Sometimes, a third-party solution is the best way to improve onboarding for a complex software platform. Spekit simplifies Salesforce CPQ training and adoption, with interactive, iterative training modules that users can access at any time.
Instead of sitting through days of training (and immediately forgetting what they’ve learned), sales reps can start using Salesforce CPQ and learning as they work. Spekit tracks user progress, so managers can make sure teams are learning how to use the platform. And faster onboarding means a more immediate ROI.
Find out how Spekit helps sales teams cut training and ramp-up time in half. Get a demo today.