Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

What CPQ Can Really Do For You: #12 - Simplify the Complex

Andy Pieroux
Founder and Managing Director, Walpole Partnership

Do you ever feel that running, or working for a business, has become a really complex operation? The things and services that are sold need to have enough variations to give individual customers exactly what they need. Even the simplest of tasks can be made challenging by the layers of administration and the demands of others in your own organization. It can feel overwhelmingly complicated. But, there is something that can help.

One of the overarching benefits of Configure, Price, and Quote (CPQ) technology is its ability to cut through the clutter that builds up in an organization’s processes by helping to simplify what you and your team need to do.

When I speak to people about simplification, they often respond with “OK.  That’s very well and good.  But my business just isn’t simple.” This is a fair challenge.  Sometimes the sophistication of product combinations can be a true competitive advantage.

Simplification is not the same as simplicity. It refers to the art of making things as simple as they need to be, and no more. It’s in line with the concepts of Lean Manufacturing and I think it’s best exemplified by this famous quote from Steve Jobs. “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But, it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Implementing CPQ is often transformative because it provides a lens through which to look at many processes and how they all link together. A well-designed CPQ solution that replaces older systems can strip away the layers of process inefficiency that build up. It ensures every team has just the information it needs to work at peak performance.

Let’s consider the impact on the sales team. Simplification through CPQ means that selecting and selling the right product for your customer is a process that can’t go wrong. This is because;

  • Bad product selections are eliminated before they cause problems for customers or back-office teams.
  • Options can be limited to those available for specific customers at this specific moment, avoiding confusion and overwhelming them.
  • Product training information is provided right when a salesperson is considering options, removing the need for folders full of reference materials that never get looked at.

The benefits of simplification extend to other teams too. IT departments gain a degree of control without extensive investment because;

  • Sensitive data is excised from sprawling spreadsheets and held efficiently in a central controllable system, reducing the risk of data breaches and inaccuracies.
  • Cloud-based SaaS solutions are quick and easy to implement. Service levels of the core application are managed and assured by the vendor. No additional infrastructure is needed.
  • Integration conforms to standards and highlights inefficiencies in data structures, driving a coherent architecture that moves data around the organization.

Finance teams also find that CPQ can simplify their operations. This is because;

  • It becomes easy for pricing analysts and deal approvers to see precisely what the deal means for the business. Facts can be clearly laid out, without obfuscation from Sales.
  • Margin and revenue dashboards provide the right information to those who are authorized to see it.
  • Deal management tools provide insight and comparisons with the contexts of history, the deal itself, or future predictions, without needing to set up separate, complex analytical tools.
  • Approval process clarity ensures all necessary authorizations are in place.
  • Workflow as a whole can be inspected, highlighting areas of process inefficiency. All approvals gain a full, automatic audit trail.

We’ve talked before about the benefits of CPQ to downstream vendors which all reap the benefits of the simplifications that can be made at the start of the process.

CPQ provides the lens through which you can inspect your company’s products, services and workflow to get them into your customers’ hands. It allows to you to remove all the clutter from the beginning of the sales process so that the perfect arrangement and flow enables you to deliver your promises. CPQ gives your very own “Zen Garden” for business.

Can you name the 12 biggest benefits of CPQ Cloud? Learn more in our our new ebook.

* Originally published on walpolepartnership.com.

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