By Hilary Smith, Content and Marketing Strategist, Oracle
It’s no secret customers’ purchasing behaviors have changed the game for sales in the B2B space. As a result, digital transformation efforts have shifted beyond traditional CRM and SFA tools. Businesses are now investing in technology like configure, price, quote (CPQ), which gets them closer to the customer by facilitating the sale of configurable and often complex goods online. Addressing the needs of both the modern B2B buyer and seller, CPQ aligns such products with the right customers and streamlines the work required in each transaction. This is why CPQ remains a hot topic and key area of investment for modern sales organizations in 2017. Hands down, CPQ improves the overall B2B online buying experience.
With CPQ continuing to accelerate and the explosion of new CPQ vendors in the market, Forrester Research decided to evaluate 11 top CPQ vendors in The Forrester Wave™: Configure-Price-Quote Solutions, Q1 2017. According to Forrester’s First CPQ Wave Addresses The Tech Needs Of The Empowered Buyer, a February 2017 blog post written by Forrester Analyst John Bruno “these vendors do the most to address the rising, empowered B2B buyer.” Below are three of our key takeaways from the report:
CPQ is not about the back-office functionality anymore. In fact, according to John Bruno’s blog post mentioned above, “It’s not even about sellers anymore. CPQ is about the customer, and in this case that means both the end buyer of your products and the customers of your technology (indirect channels selling on your behalf) expect easy and effective interactions. CPQ is now a key enabler to delivering a high quality customer experience.”
If your sales strategy includes moving your product and services through multiple selling channels, you know very well that all channels are not created equal. According to the report, CPQ now extends its direct sales support functionality to enable omnichannel selling. “The shift from the back office to front office started with direct sales, but shortly thereafter it extended to indirect sellers like partners, dealers, and distributors. As modern sales strategies have continued to evolve, CPQ has enabled newer channels like self-service, customer service, and automated ordering through internet-of-things (IoT) devices.”
CPQ’s crowded landscape has resulted in more cloud-based vendors looking to differentiate themselves focusing on new capabilities like speed and innovation. The report states, “with field sales being an important persona, CPQ vendors have increased investments in mobility. These investments have taken shape in dedicated mobile apps, offline functionality (either through offline apps or disconnected offline processes), and device-specific experiences.”
Market intelligence also appears as a game changer in the CPQ market. According to Forrester’s report, “Data quality and volume represent the biggest challenge for these apps, but CPQ can leverage the richest, cleanest data you have: transactional data.” Many CPQ vendors today are already providing guided-selling capabilities which can transform a new salesperson into an experienced engineer by suggesting the right products and services to up-sell and cross-sell to the customer automatically, without intensive training.
Read the full report and learn how each provider measures up so you can make the right choice when making your CPQ investment.