Welcome to the first of our five-blog journey focusing on the fast-growing niche of Configure / Price / Quote deployments. My job here is to leverage Aberdeen's objective research findings to detail when, where, and how CPQ is most effectively used to reduce friction in the sales cycle. Your responsibility is to learn, not so much from me, but from your peers, contemporaries, and competitors, whether your sales engine is running in top gear or not.
The first order of business is to validate this topic before proceeding any further. Many end-users consume our Sales Effectiveness market research and ask, “Is this or that technology a nice-to-have, or a must-have? ”The answer depends entirely on the imperatives of each individual business, and the marching orders Sales Operations receives from management that guide its sales enablement strategies. Aberdeen's newest research on the topic, soon to be published in “Got Friction? Workflow Fixes that Shorten the B2B Sales Cycle,” weighs in on the side of “must-have” when it comes to any technology enabler that is proven to remove barriers from closing B2B sales deals. For proof positive, check out the data in Figure 1:
Figure 1: Year-over-Year Performance Metrics Favor CPQ Deployments
Source: Aberdeen Group, July 2014
Here, we look at annualized changes in the kind of KPI's that matter not only to Sales leadership, but other line-of-business executives in your enterprise and the C-Suite as well. This brings us to the second point we need to clarify as we begin our blog-based journey of discovery together: who benefits from a well-oiled CPQ deployment? Think about the metrics in Figure 1 to understand the true reach provided by this workflow automation enabler:
Even more importantly, in all of these scenarios the customer scores a win as well. They never see the inner workings of your CPQ platform, but they sure do appreciate the results, shown in a mirror image of the points made above about your own company's benefits and your many internal stakeholders whose lives get that much easier when the workflow is smoothed out. Fewer embarrassing errors on outward-facing proposal and quote content creates confidence they are buying from a professional organization. Less customer churn means fewer reasons to motivate a painful search for a new provider. They even accrue benefits from a more effective marketing function that yields better revenue results from their messaging, in that fewer annoying up-sell or cross-sell campaigns will clog their inbox.
Stay tuned for the remaining blog posts in this series: We'll discuss the nuts and bolts of CPQ deployments in Configure, Price, Quote: Behind the Curtain, Ahead of the Curve; different business use cases in CPQ Everywhere: How Direct, Channel, Enterprise, and Middlers Seal the Deal; how sellers, executives, and customers benefit in Four Lessons from Junior Soccer: Can Everyone Actually Be a Winner?; and best practices of top-performing CPQ users in CPQ Technology + Best-in-Class Processes = Sales Superiority.