Configure, price, quote (CPQ) platforms can transform the speed and accuracy of quotes and sales orders, but implementing a system can be problematic. Over-planning, trying to solve too many problems at once, and not delivering for your sales team can lead to wasted budget.
Walpole Partnership’s Five Core Principles for Successful CPQ Implementation
Your CPQ platform should take care of the challenges you face right now and remove any unnecessary steps or obstacles you can see coming. It is possible to consider both quick wins and longevity, and for the successful implementation of any CPQ platform, we recommend following five core principles:
- Simplicity – Avoid over-engineering, keep the system lean.
- Stakeholders – Product, finance and sales can all use CPQ in their strategy.
- Speed – Keep testing and learning, and be responsive to your users.
- Standards – Best practices build lasting systems.
- Skills – Give your team the best CPQ training.
Once you have the five core principles in mind, it’s essential to put the right steps in place for a successful CPQ implementation that will serve your business today and in the future.
1. Find out what your sales team needs
The input of your sales team is crucial. Their perspective can help you identify why communication isn’t smooth, how orders are lost, and if processes are too complex. They know the main weaknesses and challenges because they encounter them every day, so it’s crucial to get their thoughts before you start shopping around for a CPQ tool.
You’ll lose out to new and more agile competitors if you don’t tackle the issues they highlight, and you’ll waste valuable budget if you choose a solution that doesn’t make it easier for your team to do their jobs.
2. Look for the most future-proof option
Nothing is entirely future-proof, but some solutions are more flexible than others. Process adjustments will be needed at various stages, but you won’t know what that looks like yet. Customisation can be difficult to add to an existing platform, so focus on what needs improving right now and how well that will serve the business in the future.
3. Make sure you’ll receive support before, during and after implementation
End-to-end planning and delivery of your CPQ system should be taken care of automatically – it would be naive to expect it all to work perfectly on day one. If the system is lean and efficient, the handover process should still be relatively smooth. If not, the perfect solution your sales team has been crying out for could become a serious headache.
4. Go-live preparation, delivery and support
Implementation should be led by those with a deep knowledge of the CPQ market, so they can design, deliver, and support your business throughout. The new platform could dramatically change your sales teams routine, so they’ll need guidance and training from experts too.
5. Pick and choose functionalities
Your business might not need the full CPQ platform and all its tools. When you choose a platform to work with, make sure you can implement specific features which actually benefit your business. For example, if quoting is dominating your sales teams day, you can speed the process up by choosing a CPQ platform which does the admin and processing for them.
6. Integrate with your current systems
End-to-end planning often needs to accommodate your current systems – CPQ platforms rarely work in a vacuum. How comfortably will the new tools sit alongside the old, and will they work together? Choose a platform which prioritises change planning, stakeholder mapping, and serves every department.
Walpole Partnership is an IT Consultancy formed of CPQ experts. Our consultants have delivered some of the largest and most successful CPQ systems in Europe and the Middle East.