For small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), tapping into configure, price, and quote (CPQ) solutions levels the competitive playing field. They can compete with their larger counterparts—even when they have fewer resources and less staff. Such CPQ software applications automate the configuration and quote process. They’re often used by companies and sales teams selling complicated products—everything from high-tech machinery to vehicles to medical devices.
We recently saw first-hand the difference a CPQ solution made for one of our manufacturing clients. The company needed a solution to replace their manual configuration and quote process. We helped them integrate Oracle CPQ Cloud with software they were already using to create an efficient, more accurate process that continues to save time and opens the doors to more sales opportunities, increases customer facetime, and speeds time-to-close.
It’s a good question, especially for SMBs. In the case of our manufacturing client, the process of configuring and quoting a specific product was fairly involved. The company’s sales teams had to gather the requirements, start the configuration process, and then pass the information to an internal expert for review. There was a constant back and forth with the customer to gain confirmation of the configuration details. The entire process was made even more complicated by the fact that company used channel partners’ sales reps to sell their pumps.
The company was using a legacy third-party software platform to diagram the configurations. The company was happy with this diagramming software, but the overall configuration process was highly manual, involved multiple people and spreadsheets, and took longer than the company could afford. They were an ideal candidate for a CPQ solution. In a recent blog post, Accenture notes that technology and big data analytics are changing how pricing—even for complicated products—is done. Organizations that get on board stand to benefit from “empowered sales, accelerated pricing, and improved margins."
Those benefits sound great for any company, but they can truly help spur growth for a smaller one. Oracle CPQ Cloud helped the manufacturer reduce the amount of time their staff spent on configuration and improved the accuracy of their configurations and pricing. That’s because the CPQ software accounts for different dependencies, such as one part being incompatible with another, and provides only feasible options. In addition, the CPQ tool reduced the number of people involved in the process and empowered the company’s channel sales partners to provide automated sales quotes for their customers.
CPQ provides a myriad of benefits on its own. But as a systems integrator, we love helping companies realize the exponential advantages available once they integrate CPQ with their other software, such as a CRM, Service, an ERP solution or, in the case of this manufacturer, a legacy diagraming solution. At this point, the sum truly becomes greater than its parts. Integration allows companies to manage their customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
For example, you can track when the customer comes into the sales process as an opportunity via CRM, follow them through the configuration and quote all the way to the purchase. An integration with ERP allows you to determine whether the products being quoted are in stock. We integrated their CPQ with multiple other solutions for our client, including the aforementioned diagramming software.
It’s worth noting that SMBs often assume that CPQ and other software solutions are resources for larger companies with deeper pockets. But that’s not the case. In an era of cloud-based software, SMBs can affordably take advantage of the same technology (and therefore the same sales productivity) that their larger competitors use, and then scale their own solutions to grow as they do.
For our manufacturing client, their integrated CPQ solution automates an integral part of their business process and provides them with a solution that’s likely better than many of the bigger companies in their space. The time savings is critical to be sure. But what’s more is that configure, price, and quote technology like Oracle CPQ Cloud opens up more opportunities for SMBs to expand their sales efforts, improve their conversions, and ultimately grow their revenue.
Brian J. Friedman, SoftClouds’ VP Global Strategic Sales, has a background in technology, business development, corporate management, and sales. Brian has been responsible for the creation and growth of numerous companies developing successful long-term relationships that have resulted in double-digit sales growth and continuing business expansion. For further information on how SoftClouds can help your company grow through CPQ, reach out to Brian at brianf@SoftClouds.com.