As we closed out 2019, I wanted to look ahead at how trends for Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) show it's gaining momentum in 2020 and well beyond. In the next few years, I expect to see the value of CPQ extend further than simply enabling sales reps to “sell more, sell better, and sell differently.” Our customers have a greater opportunity with CPQ to make significant, positive organizational impacts.
Further Eliminate Organizational Silos
Efforts designed to drive efficiency improvements are often limited to specific solutions such as CRM or ERP. These may provide significant and immediate results but functionally-based investments that are driven by individual departments typically contribute to creating those dreaded organizational silos.
I’ve seen senior execs effectively eliminate organizational silos by leveraging Oracle CPQ as a logical bridge solution between disconnected CRM and ERP systems. Examples include visualizations, rules-based automation and price optimizations, which enable an organization to bring their entire front office together. This supports a strategic vision for their products, services, pricing and sales governance. In this way, Oracle CPQ accelerates an evolution toward great digital experiences that are driven by IT platforms. We at Oracle expect to see much more of this over the coming decade.
CPQ Experts Become Organizational Change Agents
The role of coordinating strategies across departments and divisions is complicated by existing legacy IT systems and point solutions. These systems and architectures need to be integrated to power the selling functions of a business and align with an organization’s long-term business goals and KPIs.
A core benefit of Oracle CPQ is the ability to empower dramatic impact on the organization. Aligning workflows to maximize efficiency, reduce errors, eliminate wasted time, remove unnecessary steps and improve profits will significantly change the organization. Plan for this and empower your CPQ Champion to become the “Change Agent” of the organization. Our customers that get the most value from CPQ view it as a process for organizational change across departments and we see this value-driving trend continuing in 2020.
Extension of Business Models
Many organizations are exploring how to offer their customers new purchasing models such as pay-as-you-go service access, fixed, and consumption-based subscriptions, and balance draw-downs that allow consumers to adjust consumption as their needs grow or change. As legacy business models get disrupted, organizations will take the opportunity to innovate business models and engage buyers in closer recurring relationships. To do this, organizations must rethink internal systems and processes to accommodate offering products and services in recurring revenue models to support the complete customer lifecycle.
Within Oracle CPQ, Subscription Ordering or Asset-Based Ordering functionality is used to sell tangible assets or services. Sales users can create, modify, and terminate asset-based products using orders and assets stored in Oracle CPQ. They can also reconfigure an order or create a follow-on order to make changes to an existing asset stored in Oracle CPQ. Enabling these new business models is another trend we expect to see expand in the coming decade.
Increasing End-user Self-service for Complex B2B Transactions
B2B buyers now expect a consistent, B2C-like sales experience. Therefore, in 2020 we expect to see more B2B end-user customers continue to demand the ability to create their own product or service configurations and get self-service quotes in real-time. Customers may choose to interact with a sales rep or, simply place their order. When B2B self-service transactions become more complex, we’ll see real-time visualization and augmented reality emerge as a key requirement to ensure users get the product or service they expect while also providing them with a better, more pleasurable experience.
We expect this self-service to be perfectly natural for repeat orders where the experience is personalized with previous purchase history, available product options, and logical cross-sell opportunities.
The Bottom Line – Sell More and Sell Faster!
CPQ is more than just a sales tool; it's a path for business transformation. It gets sales teams out into the field, in front of customers, and closes deals faster. It can be used as a self-service tool for the end-user; it can support a robust partner/distributor ecosystem, and it can be used to speed sales cycles and ensure that promises become realities. It can also take an unprofitable deal turn it into a key contributor to your top and bottom line.
In 2020 and beyond, we expect to see an increase in companies leveraging Oracle CPQ solutions for much broader organizational impact to eliminate functional silos, extend business models and enable end-user self-service. All of this while growing revenue and margin on every order.