Salesforce CPQ

Al Ramirez, Senior Director,  Salesforce Practice at Synthesis Systems

Did you get your CPQ implementation right? Here’s a quick CPQ health assessment checklist

A Salesforce CPQ implementation can be a long process that requires patience and time to ensure the best results. A healthy CPQ implementation can mean something different for each individual organization. It depends on your business model, workflows and sales processes. However, it is important to determine if your implementation is providing you with your desired benefits. Asking questions and analyzing the efficiency, effectiveness and overall health of your CPQ implementation can help you determine the appropriate next steps in further improving your sales and business processes.

Here are some questions to ask when doing the CPQ health assessment :

#1 Are your product structures reliable?

Reliable product structures mean having customizable, flexible and dynamic product feature and pricing structures for your products. If sales representatives can track the complexities of our product features with relation to the pricing structures, it is a good sign that Salesforce CPQ is working to reduce human error and configure optimized quotes for you and your clients. Also, check to see if you are noticing an increase in cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. Make sure your pre-set rules are flexible for any changes in your product offering portfolio or pricing.

Health check:

  • How dynamic are you modeling and bundling your products?
  • Are the preprogrammed rulesets flexible?
  • Do you see a decline in quoting error and an increase in optimized quoting?

 

#2 Is your implementation flexible to changes in your business processes?

As your organization evolves and your business processes change, a flexible Salesforce CPQ implementation that can keep up with these changes is vital.  As your product portfolio, complex offering and pricing structures, and business model evolve and change, an implementation that can best serve these changes. Your implementation should allow you to make changes quickly in your product and offering portfolio, while also accommodating relating Quote-to-Cash processes. Salesforce CPQ should not stall your sales pipeline due to approval processes, quote errors, or complicated pricing and product rules. These should be implemented in a way that your organization can mange all processes and be self-reliant.

Health check:

  • Is there an increased flexibility in customizing your product and pricing portfolio?
  • How quickly can you make changes to fit changes in business processes?
  • Does your implementation accommodate relating Quote-to-Cash processes?

 

#3 How well is CPQ integrated with other systems?

Increased efficiency in collaboration amongst all the necessary departments and sales teams is a positive sign that your Salesforce CPQ implementation is successful. Salesforce CPQ must effectively integrate with CRM and ERP systems. An effective CRM-CPQ-ERP integration can speed up quoting and order fulfillment and increase customer satisfaction and contract lifetimes. If these processes are feeding each other properly, it standardizes data, improves decision-making and approval processes, while providing your entire organization with consistent customer, product and pricing data. This ultimately reduces errors and miscommunications. If there are still issues in integrating CPQ with your other systems, consider talking with one of our Salesforce experts today.

Health check:

  • How well do your CRM-CPQ-ERP systems work together?
  • What benefits are other related departments obtaining from the implementation?
  • Are there still inconsistencies in your customer, product or pricing data across departments?

 

#4 Have you experienced a sales cycle reduction?

Streamlining your product configuration and quoting will reduce the time sales representatives spend on administrative tasks, so they can send out information to leads more quickly. If your implementation reduces your sales cycles, it is a good indication that your sales representatives have more time to build relationships with leads. Some organizations have experienced a shortened lifecycle by a third after implementing a CPQ system into their business processes. An increase in quotes and contracts going out, sales team efficiency, deals closed, and quicker approval processes can lead to an overall reduction in your sales cycles and maximize your revenue margins. Additionally, Salesforce CPQ can give you the necessary sales data to help you track what is happening in your sales pipeline, providing insights if certain activities are stalling or blocking your sales process.

Health check:

  • Do you notice an increase in sales productivity?
  • How much time are sales representatives spending on administrative tasks since the implementation?
  • How efficiently can you track blockages in your sales pipeline?

 

#5 Is there less finger pointing?

A proper Salesforce CPQ implementation should lead to less human error and involvement in the overall administrative Quote-to-Cash processes. It also allows all sales representatives to be trained on one system that can track changes and reduces the amount of work that needs to be passed on from less experienced to more experienced representatives. Tracked changes in work and less human error means less time hunting to find where errors occurred and by whom. Salesforce CPQ reduces money and time wasted on frivolous errors and avoids unnecessary operational costs or overloaded processes slowing down the sales pipeline. 

Health check:

  • Do you notice a reduced time spent on fixing human error?
  • When errors occur, how easily can you find and fix them?
  • Do you notice a decrease in error-related costs or overloaded processes?

 

#6 Is your approval process more efficient?

Approval processes can have a major impact on your sales pipeline and how quickly you close deals. Therefore, the length, rulesets, and overall management around approvals is vital, and a healthy Salesforce CPQ implementation should help you manage that. With Salesforce CPQ, approval processes can be scaled to fit your workflows and approval chains can be made visible to your sales representatives. If the proper rulesets are configured, the approval chain should be streamlined to fit your workflows and quoting and contracting processes efficiently. Note that if your sales representatives do not understand the approval process and cannot see how it impacts their workflow, it can slow down your sales lifecycle greatly. A long and complicated approval process might be a symptom that your Salesforce CPQ implementation needs a clean-up.

Health check:

  • Has the length of your approval process decreased since implementing CPQ?
  • Are the configured rulesets improving your approval process or hindering it?
  • Do sales representatives have full visibility of the approval process and understand its impacts on sales workflows?

 

#7 Do you notice improvement in KPIs and metrics?

When measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of an implementation like Salesforce CPQ, it is helpful to track and analyze your KPIs and metrics. Examples of valuable KPIs and metrics to analyze include: Customer Acquisition Cost, Customer Lifetime Value, Lead Conversion Ratio, Customer Churn Rate, Up-sell & Cross-Sell Rates, Average Sales Cycle Length, Revenue per Sales Rep, revenue and cost margins and ROI. These KPIs highlight your ability to acquire and retain customers, the performance of sales representatives, and the impact of the sales cycles on your revenue and cost. This gives you a clear perspective on how efficient your sales process is and if your Salesforce CPQ implementation is helping to increase and sustain efficiency. Note that you must be mindful of any other factors impacting your KPIs when analyzing the effect of CPQ.

Heath check:

  • Do your KPIs and metrics suggest an increase in sales efficiency?
  • How are sales costs margins impacted?

 

A properly implemented Salesforce CPQ can yield incredible benefits for your business. It’s important to check that your implementation is healthy and bringing in all the potential benefits. If you are unsure about the health of your CPQ implementation or how to improve it, Synthesis can support you. As a Salesforce Service Cloud Partner, our Salesforce.com experts can help evaluate your business needs, develop a strategy and implement your Salesfore.com solution in any stage of the process. Talk to our Salesforce.com experts about how Synthesis can be your partner in this process. Learn more about our Salesforce practice, areas of expertise and services by visiting our Salesforce Practice page or by viewing our Salesforce.com AppExchange page.