Walpole Partnership Sponsors the WOW 2018 Charity Golf Day in Aid of the Nottinghamshire & Lincolnshire Air Ambulance

Walpole Partnership is proud to have sponsored part of the recent WOW 2018 Golf Charity Day in aid of the Nottinghamshire & Lincolnshire Air Ambulance at Norwood Park Golf Club. The event saw an extremely good turnout and we were delighted to sponsor the putting and chipping competition which was hosted by our very own in-house golfer (and Senior Project Delivery Consultant), Ian Jenkins.

The event saw a 9-hole Texas Scramble format in the morning and a 4-ball team Stableford format in the afternoon. Numerous near pins, a long drive and a ‘Beat the Pro’ challenge also took place. Our Walpole winning mentality was evident as Ian even managed to secure one of the nearest pin prizes! The total raised on the day was £2,800, which will help make a real difference to people who require use of the life-saving air ambulance service.

 

6 Myths About Configure, Price, Quote Debunked

We love this article ‘6 Myths About Configure-Price-Quote Debunked’ written by Graham McInnes. We hear these scurrilous rumours from time to time. At best the myths were relevant 8 years ago, at worst they are just plain incorrect.

Graham’s point “It’s not because the product is complex, it’s because the solution easily handles complexity” particularly stands out for us. In our minds, these are two very different things.

We’ve got a few other myths of our own that we as a CPQ specialist partner could debunk, however we don’t want to come across as pitching ourselves on such a great article. Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more, or perhaps we’ll write a list of our own. Great job Graham!

Walpole Partnership’s European CPQ Roadshow

Over the last couple of months Walpole Partnership’s Antoine Jansen (Sales Manager EMEA), has visited several countries on Walpole’s European CPQ Roadshow. Antoine has already been to Austria, Greece, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Sweden, Finland and he even extended the Roadshow to include Dubai! There are also a number of future visits planned to Denmark, Germany, France, Serbia, Spain and Russia. At each stop he’s visited the country’s Oracle headquarters where he’s met with CX Sales Reps, Pre-Sales team members and he has also checked in with current or prospective customers.

Antoine joined us from Oracle last year where one of his roles was as the CPQ lead for Central and Eastern Europe region, so he is a familiar face in many of the Oracle offices. At each location he’s worked with the amazing Oracle CX teams to develop a strong bond with Walpole Partnership as their CPQ specialist partner. Together they’ve been able to share experiences and best practice regarding the latest customer use cases, newest product capabilities and integrations and have discussed the ever-expanding CPQ market.

Antoine says, “It’s been a wonderful couple of months of seeing old colleagues and meeting new interesting contacts and talking about one of my favourite subjects, CPQ! I would like to thank all the people I have met on my travels so far for making me feel so welcome. I’m looking forward to my next trip already.”

What CPQ Can REALLY Do For You – No. 10: INSIGHTS THROUGH ANALYTICS

In the next part of our series exploring the benefits of implementing a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) system, we’re going to look at quote analytics, reporting, and the related topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the context of CPQ, we’ll see what they really are all about.

When we consider the amount of data that passes through a CPQ system, it’s clear why many CPQ vendors are keen to stake a claim to the creation and automation of intelligence around all that information. Typically a CPQ system will hold or touch data on customers, selling prices, costs, product and part quantities, approvals and many others.

When analysed correctly, this data can yield great insights into many metrics. For example, win-rates and achieved prices could be inspected to help influence future pricing decisions. If you know you regularly win deals in a sector at or above a given price, then it may make sense to set discount limits to that price.

You can also use the data inside a CPQ system to look internally and make your processes more efficient. For example, by tracking the amount of time a deal spends with different approvers, or in different stages of its lifecycle you can highlight bottlenecks. These may be due to inefficiencies, or perhaps it’s just that your Finance Director is too busy to approve all the deals that they are sitting on, and a solution could be to empower someone more junior to make the decisions. One of the biggest complaints a salesperson has is when their deals take longer to approve internally than by customers! It makes sense to look at the facts, see if they have a point and take appropriate action to get your business flowing faster.

Within most CPQ systems there are a range of analytical tools that can help you extract insights. You can look to simple reporting where any attributes stored can be reported in a tabular manner and perhaps exported to a spreadsheet for deeper analysis and cross-fertilisation with other data sets. This is fast and simple and gives most organisations the ability to get information out with ease.

Beyond that, there are now many tools that can give you a real-time understanding of your data during the deal construction process. Using the example above regarding price optimisation, you could present a scatter graph to your salespeople of ‘won’ prices in their sector or territory by deal size to let them make their own estimate of how much discount to give, or you could even generate a simple regression curve to show the ‘best-fit’ of prices. These are useful insights that can help a salesperson make an informed decision.

You can go further still with data-cube export functionality to allow the full CPQ data-set to be taken into a specialist Business Intelligence or data warehouse application. While this is incredibly powerful it does require a specialist team to work with the tools and the data to get the best out of it.

Personally I’m a little wary of vendors that claim to give full AI at the click of a button. Machine learning can undoubtedly bring huge benefits (although if, like me you watch too much sci-fi, you’ll know it can bring huge risks too!), and I am sure this area will develop, however if you truly want to get deep and automated analysis of all your data you need to be prepared to invest further in the specialist teams to set it up.

If you too are wondering what the hype about AI in sales and marketing really means, I also suggest you read the wise words of Alex Low who articulates this so much more eloquently than I could ever manage.

In conclusion, CPQ tools give a wonderful opportunity to gain insights into your customers, sales and internal processes. Take the time to work out what is right for your organisation and don’t hesitate to ask if you need any help.

The series ‘What CPQ Can REALLY Do For You’ is written by Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux. Don’t miss out on further parts in this series which can be found on the news section of Walpole Partnership’s website.

Walpole Partnership’s Guest Author Series – Post No. 8

We are thrilled that our excellent COO, Lisa Zevi, has agreed to be a guest author for the second time in this series. Walpole Partnership is growing fast, but the business can only continue to expand at this pace when its operations are well organised and grounded in process. Lisa keeps us all in check here at Walpole Partnership, and if you follow her advice, little will go wrong. Here she is explaining how to kill your business in three simple ways, so if you have a new business venture, make sure you’re not making these common mistakes.
 

How to Kill Your Business

Choosing the wrong kind of business model can kill your business faster than most other things. How you structure and organise your business, how it delivers value to its customers and how it makes money are all key decisions for the budding entrepreneur to ponder.

Here are the three most common business model mistakes that early stage businesses make:-

1) Not Understanding your Customer

Many technology founders spend a lot of time and effort building their product, getting terribly excited about all of its features, without actually asking anyone whether or not they actually need it or would pay for it, or even whether or not it solves a problem that their customers actually care about. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard is ‘sell it before you build it’ – check with potential customers what they would find valuable and be willing to pay for. You are looking for things that actually solve big problems that cause your customers real pain. It is important that you stay in touch with your customers as their needs are likely to evolve over time.

2) Wrong Business Model

Even if you have a kick-ass product that solves your customers’ greatest needs, if you don’t have an efficient, cost-effective delivery mechanism then your business will fail. If your customers don’t know you exist or can’t find you then you are unlikely to succeed, and if you don’t have any way of retaining them then you will not be able to sustain your company’s growth. It is important that your business model meets the needs of your business as well as your customers, and is flexible enough to adapt.

3) Poor Execution

Of course, any business model is only as good as your team’s ability to execute. If you do not align your people and processes to the key elements of your business model, you are unlikely to have a successful business. Good companies are good at executing their plan, but excellent companies constantly review their business models and flex them to meet customer and market needs. With all the recent focus on the so-called ‘gig economy’, flexible working and the needs of today’s workforce, it is even more essential to get the right people in the right roles to meet the needs of your customers.

Learning is key. Everyone makes mistakes, but the ability to learn, adapt and move on at speed is a key indicator of success.

I would suggest the following simple but effective way of operating for anyone looking to grow their business:-

1. Do and learn
2. Teach and observe
3. Systemise

There are many different business models, and many potential pitfalls, business owners need to think carefully about which one will suit their business and its customers. No one way is right, but if companies do not adapt to the changing nature of work, and really consider how to meet the needs of their employees, partners and customer, they will get left behind by those that do.

A final thought to leave you with. If you are not looking to kill your business, then make sure your company’s values match your business model and how your business actually behaves. The cautionary tale of Volkswagen who has had to admit to lying and cheating – completely at odds with its core value and brand built around ‘responsibility’ – is a great reminder of how important consistency is across your whole business.

Lisa Zevi is the Operations Director of Walpole Partnership and the Founder of COO in a BOX

‘CPQ is an Auditor’s Best Friend’ – Published by Oracle

We’re very pleased that our Managing Director, Andy Pieroux, has just had another of his blog posts focusing on CPQ published by Oracle.

The post, ‘CPQ is an Auditor’s Best Friend’, explores how and why a Configure, Price, Quote system can provide a sales function with a robust audit trail for pricing decisions, which will in turn make the business start to love the audit, rather than live in fear of it!

https://blogs.oracle.com/cx/cpq-is-an-auditor’s-best-friend

Code-Free CPQ Cloud? 3 Reasons It’s Worth the Effort

Time and time again, the promise of a faster sales process is a key factor in getting executive buy-in for adopting Oracle Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Cloud. Faster pricing, faster quotes, and, therefore, faster revenue recognition. So, when it comes to implementing the system, it’s natural for stakeholders to want it done and fast.

But as with any business software implementation, early in the solution’s architecture process, CPQ Cloud’s point-and-click functionality may not appear to meet every necessary use case. The quick fix?

Let’s just code it.

Whoa there, not so fast! Like my parents used to say, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” (I now see that they were talking about using custom code in a CPQ Cloud implementation all along!)

Don’t get me wrong, one of the big advantages of CPQ Cloud is that it is truly enterprise-ready – the ability to incorporate custom scripts makes it possible to accomplish virtually any use case. But while it’s available, custom code isn’t always advantageous. The effort you save in the short term could cost your team time and money for years to come.

While there are certainly still complex use cases that require custom code, recent Oracle CPQ Cloud releases have made life a lot simpler. New functionality like Formula Management and the Alta UI have made many previously code-reliant use cases possible (and simpler) via point-and click customisation.

In my experience, finding ways to meet complex requirements using CPQ Cloud’s point-and-click interface has a number of big-picture benefits:

1. Simpler, more efficient long-term administration

As years go by, your CPQ Cloud implementation will likely be managed by its fair share of technical administrators. When an administrator gets sick, takes time off, or leaves and takes another job, a different administrator will have to pick up where he/she left off.

If your implementation is built on point-and-click functionality, administrator turnover isn’t a problem. If the new administrator knows CPQ Cloud, he/she will be able to update existing functionality without much of a learning curve.

An implementation that features a lot of custom code is a different story. If you’ve spent any amount of time trying to interpret or edit someone else’s code, you know what I’m talking about. Even if code is well-commented, the process can be time-consuming, difficult, and frustrating. Sometimes the comments are even more confusing than the code!

2. Your business users will thank you

If you plan on having ‘business users’ update your CPQ Cloud instance when parts, pricing, or proposal templates change, a predominantly point-and-click implementation is a must. These business users can easily be trained on how to update products and pricing formulas that were built with point-and-click functionality.

However, if those parts of your system are reliant on custom code, you certainly won’t want business users poking around trying to update scripts. Your technical administrators will thank you too, because it’s one less thing they’ll have to update.

3. Your implementation will be ‘upgrade-proof’

When your CPQ Cloud implementation only utilises point-and-click functionality, you don’t have to worry about something breaking every time Oracle releases an update. Oracle will have already tested that all point-and-click functionality works as expected with each new CPQ Cloud release, and if something does go awry, Oracle’s support team will be on hand to find you a solution.

That’s not the case if your implementation contains a lot of custom code. If your code goes out-of-date because of a release, it’s on your team to update it, which means more time and money out of your budget to support your custom code.

If you believe that a certain piece of functionality you’re looking to implement must be coded, make sure to talk to your Oracle product management contact or implementation partner before developing a custom solution. There may be a way to implement the functionality via point-and-click functionality that you haven’t thought of yet, or there may be a good reason why Oracle hasn’t already added the functionality to CPQ Cloud.

Plus, the last thing you want to do is sink time and money into developing a solution that may be rolled-out in the next CPQ Cloud release, so make sure to exhaust all of your consulting resources before resorting to a custom code solution. Finding a way to implement your requirements using point-and-click functionality will mean less headaches for years to come, and more time to add additional functionality to your implementation.

‘Code-free CPQ Cloud’ is written by Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux.

Walpole Partnership Hires Marketing Agency Inbound FinTech

We are pleased to announce that we have just started working with Inbound FinTech, a leading marketing agency, to support the growth and development of Walpole Partnership. Inbound FinTech will help us develop new forms of content which will in turn educate our existing customers and potential future customers.

Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux said, “Inbound FinTech will take our marketing to the next level and I’m delighted with their professional approach, creativity and energy. With their help we’ll be able to take the benefits of implementing Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) systems to an every wider audience, helping companies sell more, and sell faster.”

Inbound FinTech’s CEO, Sheila Mitham has over 20 years experience and has successfully grown companies in different industries and of all sizes. She said, “We’re super-charged to be appointed as Walpole Partnership’s agency of choice for inbound & outbound marketing. Walpole has a great infrastructure in place to offer CPQ solutions to companies that fit the criteria. Our team here at Inbound FinTech are experienced with working in this vertical and very much looking forward to driving their digital strategy forward.”

About Walpole Partnership

Walpole Partnership provides expert consultancy to help companies implement Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) systems. We ensure that the organisations we work with are able to realise the full benefits of their investment in CPQ.

The team at Walpole Partnership have worked on CPQ deployments of all sizes, from small businesses to blue-chip corporations, in many different industries and with all the major providers of CPQ solutions.

Walpole Partnership allows you to gain value from your investment, by sharing best practices that will benefit your organisation. We help you avoid costly mistakes, now and in the future, because we are experts in CPQ.

About Inbound FinTech

Inbound FinTech is a specialist Inbound, PPC, Content & SEO Digital Marketing Agency servicing FinTech and Technology companies. They are experts in enabling companies in the Financial Services and Technology sectors grow their businesses via inbound leads.

The team at Inbound FinTech are a highly tech savvy bunch and their dedication and expertise is recognised by both their clients and the media. As a team they won the Best B2B Agency Service Award 2017, and in 2016 a Google Partner Award for their PPC services.

May the Fourth Be With You

Ever since the opening crawl of Star Wars lit up my seven year-old face and blew my tiny mind I’ve been a huge fan of this amazing space opera. My love was cemented when I realised that I was a true ‘Star Wars baby’ as I also shared a birth date with one of the most famous lines of the show.

One of the greatest pleasures for me (other than homemade lightsabres, and my ‘Millenium push-bike’ in the ‘70s of course) has been sharing the experience with my two young sons and seeing them go through the same emotions that I did at a similar age. Thus, we sat down as a family this weekend to watch the latest episode – The Last Jedi – which has recently been released for home viewing.

While the Star Wars saga has delivered many memorable quotes over the years (my birth date included), they have often been burned into consciousness by repetition (hey – we didn’t have Netflix when I was at University!). During (only) my second viewing of The Last Jedi, one line from the new film really stood out for me.

The ghost of Master Yoda his usual wisdom found dispensing is. While talking to his old student Luke, Yoda says “We are what they grow beyond.” Those words really struck me as truly profound, in only the way that Star Wars quotes affect me.

It could just be that I was thinking of my own children and how I sincerely hope they will learn from my successes and my failures too. I hope they will grow beyond me, both in terms of one day ‘flying the nest’ but also eclipsing my achievements in whatever way they desire. It was one of those lines that stayed with me beyond the film and I found myself coming back to over and over.

Later, once I’d returned from the galaxy far, far away I pondered that line some more and thought about it in the context of work and my other passion – Walpole Partnership!

As an organisation we’re a big believer in both learning from our mistakes (and sometimes the mistakes we’ve seen others make), and that has been key to our development as a company. I hope we’ve been able to ‘grow beyond’, not make the same mistakes twice and deliver true value to our clients as a result.

More importantly for our customers we put a great emphasis on enabling the people we serve to ‘grow beyond’ our services. We deliver a combination of transparency in our consultations and then provide educational services where we train to sustain the on-going success of our clients. In this way, we truly believe we can deliver great value but also let our clients learn from us and become ever more successful themselves. The aim is self-sufficiency for our clients.

Of course, like Master Yoda we can also always return when needed to dispense further pearls of wonderfully phrased wisdom too. Alternately, just like the Force we can be omnipresent with our new fully managed service too!

Either way, we love to let people learn from us, “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.”

Now do I have permission to hop in an X-Wing and blow something up?

‘May the Fourth Be With You’ is written by Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux.

 

 

Hear Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux, in this Week’s CPQ Podcast

We’re pleased to share with you that our MD, Andy Pieroux, was invited to record this week’s Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Podcast published by Frank Sohn from Novus CPQ. In this interview we learn why and how Andy started Walpole Partnership – if you ever wanted to get to know the person behind the name, now’s your chance! Andy also explains his reasons for partnering primarily with Oracle CPQ and gives his opinions on the influencers in CPQ and the success factors of a good implementation amongst many other CPQ related topics.

The CPQ Podcasts published by Frank Sohn from Novus CPQ are becoming something of an institution in the wonderful world of CPQ. They are 100% focused on CPQ tools and processes and provide useful insights into this topic. Frank conducts interviews with different CPQ leaders with an aim of increasing awareness about CPQ in the market space and these are available to download weekly.

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cpq-podcast/id1268094451

Google Play https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iho4fsknxeoxlmafwfja32pssxe

Stitcher https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/cpq-podcast

On Novus CPQ’s Website http://novuscpq.com/cpq-podcast-2018/