Of the many integrations that can be made by third parties into the salesforce platform, CPQ stands for ‘Configure, Price, Quote’ – in simple terms, it’s a software package that considers every possible factor when a company quotes for new business. First of all, let’s look at CPQ in more detail, and then examine how its integration with Salesforce is so useful as a business tool.
Salesforce CPQ is an integral add-on that allows salespeople to create quotes with bespoke product and pricing configurations based on rules set by sales managers in accordance with customers, and potential customers, needs.
Once a quote has been created, all documentation and associated processes can then be synchronized by using Salesforce’s customary and existing facilities. The net benefit to the CPQ user within Salesforce is a streamlined sales process, which ensures that the composition of the final quote accurately reflects the end user's needs, whilst retaining adherence to product selection and pricing rules.
The secret sauce behind CPQ Salesforce Integration is found in the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This technology can increase revenues by automatically generating custom quotes that consider fluctuating and dynamic factors that affect a final price. AI-driven CPQs work on a rules-based architecture, even in several programming languages, that ‘understands’ the inter-relationships between quoting factors. This saves humans from having to attend endless time-consuming meetings across sales teams. After the initial setup phase of the quote, fluctuations in affective factors are automated.
Bespoke Quotes Integrated with Salesforce
Salesforce CPQ integration can augment income from revenue by automatically generating bespoke quotes that consider any necessary change in order quantities, pricing variations, and discount structures, especially when quotes are the result of complex product configurations. The process broadly involves:
- Configure: All rules are entered into the system for defining products, services, and systems.
- Price: Variables such as materials and labour costs are set as parameters, along with special promotions, discounts, and minimum margin goals, avoiding rogue and ad-hoc discounting on a whim by over-keen salespeople.
- Quote: A transparent, easy-to-understand sales quote is output by the system and then able to be output by Salesforce’s other facilities in the usual way.
Don't forget to check out: Best Salesforce CPQ Implementation Practices to Follow
Salesforce CPQ solutions also enhance quote accuracy by creating guided selling ‘playbooks’, using a series of dropdown menus to guide salespeople through the product selection process. By people filling out these fields, backend systems can make product selections, generate documents and validate quotes in moments.
Crucially, sales personnel no longer need to search through product catalogues, and threads of endless emails, or create their own proposal documents. Instead, they make more time available for themselves to directly generate revenue by actually selling things, rather than grinding away at administrative tasks.
This is particularly important because research from Forbes indicates that responding quickly to sales inquiries is imperative in closing a deal. Accordingly, the CPQ Salesforce integration process keeps deals on track and avoids delays in any contract approval process. In this way, buyers never feel that a sales rep is being unresponsive.
No coding is required for Salesforce CPQ, so integration can be achieved without employing contractors and developers.
Let’s put all this into perspective and consider a fictional yet real-world example in the manufacturing sector:
Imagine that a supplier of spare parts for domestic appliances wants to quote a national retailer for the supply of 5000 washing machine hoses. Each hose is made up of a union at each end, a gasket, 2 ‘O’ rings, and two threaded plastic compression nuts. You’d think it a simple enough job just to cost out the component parts, add in the approximate labour time for assembly, add in the cost of packaging and shipping, then come up with a grand total cost on a spreadsheet. Then all an accounts clerk needs to do is divide that total by 5000 and quote the retailer for a cost per unit.
However, consider these complications: some washing machines have cold fill and hot fill connections. Hot fill hoses have a red stripe running along the hose, cold fill has blue. The quantity of hoses that are likely to be required, considering that far fewer hot fill hoses are bought by end users, means that the same bulk discounts can’t be applied to all components. Also, some hoses need to be different lengths depending on the manufacturer; 2 meters, 3 meters, or whatever. Suddenly all these inter-relationships become incredibly complex. If that seems difficult, imagine how much more so if dealing, with say, quoting for car parts rather than a washing machine. They say that many modern cars have more complex systems than jet airliners nowadays! How much does it cost to produce those demister switches for the Ford Bronco heated rear screen? You’d need to think in a million factors – it's what’s known in computing terms as a ‘combinatorial explosion’ of interrelated factors.
Check out an amazing Salesforce video tutorial here: Sculptor CPQ for Salesforce
Follow the Rules for Success
But Salesforce CPQ uses its rules-based approach to work out in milliseconds all the options for a price and display them on one transparent dashboard. It might output cold-fill hoses at $3.50 / unit and hot-fill at $5, always provided that the retailer orders at least 1000 units per order. But if the retailer suddenly asks for 10,000 cold fill hoses and 3,000 hot, the CPQ software takes these factors into account instantaneously and outputs a mutually advantageous price, including packaging and shipping, for both.
That’s all very neat. Now imagine the awesome power of this CPQ technology integrated into Salesforce, so that the quote can be sent to 500 prospective customers, mail-merged with a marketing email at the push of one button, then the order can be fulfilled with a couple more clicks of a mouse.
That’s smart quoting at its very best, integrated with one of the most powerful CRM systems on the market.