While configure price quote (CPQ) software has been around for several decades, working within complex industries like manufacturing, it was not until fairly recently that the solution took off as a solution for B2B organizations across industries and departments.
In fact, CPQ has grown so significantly that by the end of this year, more B2B quotes and orders will be created in CPQ than in ERP, historically one of the most used solutions within B2B. Additionally, Accenture reported that nearly 83% of sales reps use some form of CPQ system in 2022 today.
What is CPQ software, exactly? In short, it is a back-end sales enablement tool for companies to accurately generate quotes for orders and deliver highly configurable products. It works alongside ERP and CRM programs to ensure detailed and integrated data for its customers.
For B2B companies looking to gain or maintain an edge in the customer experience, implementing a CPQ solution could be the first step on the path to success.
A CPQ software solution is used to streamline and support complex functionality that occur within B2B ecommerce. It helps brands to effectively manage features that can include:
Product configuration and price negotiations.
Approvals and contract management.
Error-free, accurate pricing agreements.
International and country-specific pricing laws.
And often much more.
Originally designed primarily for businesses with complicated products and solutions, CPQ software is now used to serve companies in a variety of industries, from financial services and sciences to hospitality. As the business world continues to grow more technical and online, the use of CPQ is sure to increase.
With CPQ ecommerce, businesses can expect to see many benefits and improvements in their online store, including:
CPQ ecommerce platforms typically include a pricing management engine that can calculate different forms of pricing, whether value-based or cost-based.
Because B2B orders are often placed in bulk, an accurate, optimized pricing system that displays the right price for each customer’s needs can reduce the number of mispriced items in their shopping cart and prevent disrupted orders.
Using a CPQ system can lead to faster and more accurate quotes. According to a Salesforce CPQ report, the average improvement customers see in quote speed can be up to 33%.
Through the use of tools such as automated quoting, customers are able to get to checkout quickly and respond to any quotes with questions or negotiations.
A successful B2B ecommerce solution needs to be customizable and able to fit the often disparate needs of different customers, departments or even industries.
By using CPQ technology, customers and salespeople alike can take advantage of individual-specific features, from product catalogs and customizable templates to tailored pricing strategies, in order to craft the ideal user experience.
When implementing a CPQ software solution, make sure to be aware of potential challenges and limitations, including:
An effective CPQ will need to work hand-in-hand with your company’s other software apps, such as CRM and ERP.
Full implementation will require integrating the solution with other systems within your network. If these processes aren’t already integrated or usable within a single solution, you will likely need to bring in a third-party vendor or product that can connect them — costing additional time and potentially hurting profitability.
As with any new software product that you purchase, there will invariably be a learning curve with CPQ where your users will have to understand how to use the system.
To help alleviate any potential difficulties, make sure when purchasing the CPQ product that the vendor provides adequate training and support. The faster your employees can master the solution, the faster you can take advantage of its capabilities.
Once you have a good grasp of what CPQ is, it is time to select a solution that works best for you. There are several CPQ software solutions available with ecommerce capabilities, some of the best include:
PandaDoc is a SaaS solution company that works with more than 40,000 customers to manage their e-documents.
Through the use of dedicated features, PandaDoc can streamline your workflows from proposals, quotes and to eSignatures and payments.
Oracle CPQ — once known as BigMachines before its acquisition by Oracle in 2013 — is a cloud-based application that works to help sellers configure the right mix of products and services.
The solution offers many CPQ features, including automated configurations, real-time pricing, a convenient quoting process and end-to-end integration to help customers master their revenue data.
Quoter is a highly optimized CPQ system that standardizes the quote-to-cash process to help customers prevent errors on sales quotes that cost money and cause headaches.
To accomplish this, Quoter’s solution promises a variety of benefits, such as the removal of bottlenecks, better organization, increased quoting speed and a path to boosted revenue.
Quotewerks is one of the market leaders in sales quoting and proposal solutions, with nearly 90,000 users in more than 100 countries.
Used by both mom-and-pop shops and Fortune 500 companies, Quotewerks offers its customers features such as sales cycle and pipeline transparency, electronic payment management and branded quotes and proposals.
A quality CPQ solution can transform your businesses by making many of the everyday processes you labor over streamlined and straightforward, whether it’s to handle an order process, deliver accurate quotes promptly or optimize your website’s design.
By finding the right CPQ system and combining it with your in-house ERP or CRM software, your B2B ecommerce business can take the next step in the world of customer satisfaction.
CPQ software was initially used primarily by businesses such as manufacturers and distributors that offered complex products needing additional automation help.
Now, however, as online businesses continue to proliferate — and as they grow more complex on the whole — companies in diverse industries from finance to telecom can take advantage of the solution.
CPQ is not an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. However, a CPQ system will work alongside a company’s ERP solution — meaning that you will likely need to ensure that the systems can integrate seamlessly.
There is a significant difference between CPQ and a customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
Where CPQ primarily works to maximize the productivity of the sales process by streamlining pricing, quotes and configurations, CRM documents the history of a relationship with a customer. This is accomplished by recording contact information, past buying experiences, business opportunities and sales relationships.