Configure, Price, Quote, or CPQ, is software that helps companies accurately define the price of goods across a huge and constantly changing spectrum of variables. CPQ software aggregates these variables, which in turn allows companies to configure products or services in the most optimal way (i.e. bundling, upsells, etc.), price them according to costs, competition and local economic factors, and quote a customer the absolute best price possible in accordance with all of the above factors.
If your company offers complex and configurable services, you know how challenging it can be to provide customers or prospects with accurate estimates. One of the primary benefits of Services CPQ software is that it provides an efficient, automated solution to determining price quotes and removes the guesswork – and human error component – of traditional estimating processes.
While there are many different types of Configure Price Quote software, for the purposes of this post we’ll be discussing the benefits of Services CPQ, a services delivery tool FinancialForce offers as part of our Professional Services Cloud solutions.
Preparing new quotes and estimates can be quite a challenge. It involves bringing information together from multiple sources, ensuring that bids are both competitive and profitable while also compliant with your company policies, business goals, and financial targets.
Estimating is vital for business success, yet many companies still have to rely on using spreadsheets and other bespoke developed systems.
In short, Services CPQ software provides you with all of the information that you need in one place. It enables you to easily model resourcing, prices, discounts, and expenses to produce the best result for you and your customer.
The benefits of CPQ software for services aren’t hard to find.
These short phrases sound promising, but if you’re making decisions for your company, you want to know what those benefits really mean for you and your team. Let’s break down each of the benefits of Services CPQ so you can understand exactly what a CPQ solution can do for your growing organization.
For organizations with services that have many different options to choose from and configurations to select, price quoting can be a highly time-consuming and challenging process. When in this position, companies rightly look for ways to improve the process, with sales teams often frustrated by complex quoting – and customer satisfaction at stake.
Producing the most compelling estimate is an iterative process and you need to simultaneously balance multiple factors. The proposal needs to be commercially attractive and competitive for customers. It needs to accurately reflect the cost of undertaking the work. And it needs to ensure that your margin targets are being achieved. Services CPQ provides you with all of the information that you need in one place. It enables you to easily model resourcing, prices, discounts and expenses to produce the best result for you and your customer. You can maintain and view multiple versions of estimates while at the same time keeping control over the whole process.
Estimates are produced automatically from a library of templates to enable a fast start to the estimating process, based on best practices or constructed manually, as needed. Personalized templates enable you to address the varying needs of different practice groups and geographies. In addition, previous estimates are also available to ensure that experience is retained in the business. As a result, estimates can be initiated more rapidly, taking full advantage of practical knowledge and with less opportunity for errors and omissions.
Estimating is not just about the finances, you also need to ensure the availability of resources to successfully deliver the project when you do win the business. Services CPQ brings together roles, bill rates, and costs rates to make the best estimating decisions and then auto-populates resource requests onto the Opportunity within CRM. This gives you visibility into demand and enables you to proactively plan capacity to match. This ensures that your service delivery teams are fully prepared for your future business.
Once estimates have been prepared it is essential that they are compliant with your business rules and targets, which may of course vary for different markets. This means that estimate approvals need to be made in the most appropriate manner, by the correct people. In addition, it requires complete visibility and traceability of every step in the process. Financial limits and tolerances enable simple approvals to be processed rapidly, without delay, and for specialist executive time to be focused on more complex work and commercial exceptions.
FinancialForce Services CPQ complements your existing Salesforce estate beautifully. Built on the same platform, there are no interfaces to maintain, no handoffs between one function and another, and, as a result, processes can be automated, error-free, and without time delays. Estimates can be initiated directly from an opportunity. Critical data such as roles, bill rates, and costs can be applied automatically without the need for duplication. Estimates once completed can be seamlessly passed back to the opportunity, or CPQ system. And once the business is closed, a project can be initiated instantaneously with all of the information that you require. Speed, accuracy, and efficiency, the cornerstones of a truly powerful estimating solution for any professional services team.
A company that is having trouble managing thousands of products and SKUs due to discontinued items or discounts, or a sales team that feels it does not have the updated information it needs to provide proper sales quotes (for bundles or upsells) are both indications that CPQ software is a good idea.
Also, companies that are operating on a global scale and need to provide quick and accurate pricing data to dozens or even hundreds of stores may find CPQ software very effective at managing pricing discrepancies cutting back on sales quotes that actually lose the company money.
Because the ideal customer of Configure Price Quote software is either a large company or a company that is rapidly growing, it makes more sense to select a cloud-based software option. Not only will it spare an IT department from taking on time-consuming installations and upgrades, it will allow that same company to work from anywhere, on any device, at any time, and all for a monthly subscription that scales according to that company’s needs.
If you’re a small business, chances are you’ve heard of Salesforce, maker of one of the best known Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions available today built on the Salesforce platform. FinancialForce is built on this award-winning platform. Not only is the platform extremely intuitive and versatile, it’s also well-regarded by thousands of businesses across the U.S. and abroad.