What Is CPQ Software?
Configure, price, quote or CPQ software helps businesses, manufacturers, and distributors streamline their selling processes. It allows for the configuration and ordering of complex goods with many variables that influence pricing and costs. It also combines all critical information on a single, centralized system.
CPQ platforms allow for CRM, ERP, and e-commerce integrations. The result is a fully automated end-to-end system. It lets customers create custom configurations while giving reps all the information they need to streamline the sales process.
Most of the best CPQ software providers offer a web-based, cloud, and SaaS platform. However, some can be deployed on-site as well, allowing for native, organization-hosted systems.
The main goal of any CPQ platform is to streamline and simplify the sales process, making it easier for clients to place orders.
Benefits of CPQ Software
CPQ software is ideally suited for medium to large enterprises and manufacturers. However, regardless of the size of your business, these systems offer several advantageous features:
- Accurate pricing and reduced errors: When you work with complicated pricing structures and complex product configurations, it’s easy to make critical mistakes, resulting in a lost deal. CPQ software removes a lot of that risk by increasing accuracy.
- Shortened sales cycle: Guided selling can lead a customer or rep through the sales cycle step-by-step. After the client answers a few key questions, the system can generate an accurate quote without additional configuration. Additionally, some systems allow for e-commerce integration. That lets customers complete the process by purchasing online, closing deals even faster.
- Accurate forecasting and analyses: It’s essential to have an up-to-date and accurate view of what you’ve sold, which configurations are popular, and where you’re making your profit. Being able to track demand and sales through the CPQ platform allows for better forecasting and product planning.
- Increased revenue: Many CPQ users have claimed the software allowed them to increase their revenue. Additionally, operators will often list statistics and case studies on their websites. Since these systems allow for automation, decreased risks, and shorter sales cycles, your reps can focus on closing clients rather than administration.
Must-Have Features for CPQ Software
When you’re evaluating the best CPQ software for your business in 2021, there are a few critical features you should consider:
- Third-party ERP/CRM integrations: Most reps use several types of software throughout the selling process. A CPQ system should integrate seamlessly with these CRM and ERP platforms, creating one efficient and effective system.
- Reporting capabilities: Reporting is an essential part of CPQ software. It allows you to see where customers are dropping off in your sales process and address the problem. It’ll also reveal critical details like popular customizations and products, which discounts were successful, and other valuable insights.
- Automated complex quoting and pricing management: Your representatives are spending more time on administrative tasks than making sales. With an automated quoting and pricing management system, you can let your reps focus on closing deals while the system handles quotes and orders. An additional benefit is increased accuracy and consistency.
- Visual product configurations and modeling: Customers want to see what they’re buying. The best CPQ software systems integrate 2D drawing and 3D modeling into product configuration. Since clients get to see real-time renderings of what they’re going to get before making a purchase, it lowers the risk of failing to meet expectations.
- Guided selling and self-service portals: Guided selling creates a more efficient process. It leads customers through product creation without needing to take sales representatives away from other tasks. With the addition of a self-service portal, a client can go through the entire buying procedure, from product configuration to payment.
- 24/7 live customer support: CPQ software is often complicated and needs frequent updates and system management. If something goes wrong, you need instant access to customer support to get any issues fixed immediately and correctly.
The Cost of CPQ Software
As you can tell from our price listings, very few of the best CPQ software companies list their pricing models. These systems are often built and customized for a specific industry and client. As a result, quotes are based on those individual requirements.
Some providers have monthly and annual plans, with pricing based on the number of users required. In such cases, these operators list a minimum amount of subscribers. Listed fees range from $15-$150 or more, although only four platforms listed their costs upfront.
Aside from monthly fees, several providers listed add-ons available for purchase. The practice makes it easier to spot the most affordable and comprehensive system. However, it also means there might be other hidden costs as well.
Free trials are scarce, even amongst the best CPQ software companies. Since the systems are so highly customizable, these providers prefer to do scheduled demonstrations catered to your individual needs, business, and industry.
If it comes down to choosing between a free trial, which only one provider offered, and a scheduled, customized demonstration, the latter is a far better option. As the owner of a business, you need to see the value and capability of a system before investing significant amounts of money in a solution.