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 organisation. It can often feel overwhelmingly complicated, but there is something that can help.
One of the over-arching benefits of Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) technology is its abilities to cut through the clutter that builds up in an organisation’s processes which can help you simplify what you and your team needs to do.
When I speak to people about simplification they often respond with “OK, but my business just isn’t simple.” This is a fair challenge and 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 and ensures every team has just the information it needs to work at peak performance.
If we 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 can be eliminated before they cause problems for customers or back-office teams.
- Options can be limited to just those available for your specific customer, at this specific moment, avoiding overwhelm and confusion.
- Product training information can be provided just when the salesperson is considering their options, removing the need for folders full of reference material that never gets 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 taken out of sprawling and rapidly spawning 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, and service levels of the core application are managed and assured by the vendor meaning no additional infrastructure is needed.
- Integration conforms to standards and can help highlight inefficiencies in data structures leading to a coherent architecture that moves data around the organisation.
Finance teams also find that CPQ can simplify their operations, this is because:
- It becomes easy to for pricing analysts or deal approves to see exactly and clearly what the deal means for the business - the facts of the situation can be clearly laid with no obfuscation from sales people.
- Margin and revenue dashboards provide just the right information to those who are authorised to see it. In addition, deal management tools can provide insight and comparisons in the contexts of history, of the deal itself, or of future predictions, without needing to set up separate complex analytical tools.
- The clarity of approval processes ensure that all necessary authorisations are in place, and the workflow as a whole can be inspected, highlighting areas of process inefficiency. And of course, all approvals gain a full and automatic audit trail.
We’ve talked before about the benefits of CPQ to downstream systems 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.
Download our free, in-depth e-book: The Complete Configure Price Quote (CPQ)
Guide for Sales Professionals. Learn about how CPQ can beat your current sales challenges, how to choose the right system, and more about how it can simplify the complex.
The series ‘What CPQ Can REALLY Do For You’ is written by Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux.