Where do I start when choosing a new CPQ solution?

mazeEDIT-300x199There are many vendors offering CPQ solutions and it can be hard to determine which will be the right fit for your organisation.

A good place to start is with some initial research on sites like Trustradius.com or G2Crowd.com who provide aggregate user reviews of enterprise software.

Its also worth looking at the ‘grids’ on G2Crowd.com here.

This gives an at-a-glance view of the most reviewed CPQ solutions. Don’t forget to check out the Products tab too, to find further vendors who have fewer reviews on the site.

At the Walpole Partnership we also advocate considering some key questions to help you narrow down your choice:-

CRM Integration

What CRM (if any) do you use? Many CPQ vendors offer products that are native to Salesforce.com or other CRM systems. Some integrate with many CRMs, but most have their specialties and integration approaches that are proven and well developed.

For example, in our opinion CallidusCloud works best with Salesforce.com although they do offer integration to other platforms such as Oracle CRM On-Demand, Microsoft Dynamics and NetSuite.

BigMachines (now Oracle CPQ Cloud) traditionally offered a strong integration with Salesforce.com however since their purchase by Oracle weve seen much tighter integration with Oracle Sales Cloud and CX offerings. The links to Salesforce.com appear to be remaining strong too which is great news for the existing user base.

Cincom Acquire has an exceptionally strong native integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Like some other vendors, Cincom can offer bespoke integration to a much wider range of vendors too.

Many other vendors especially several smaller ones are Salesforce.com native. This can give great benefits to existing Salesforce.com admins and developers who can use their existing skills and knowledge to get more out of their CPQ systems and often leads to faster implementation times, however this must be weighed up against the dedicated functionality and performance of the standalone solutions.

In the US market there are many players in the native Salesforce.com space.
For European users and companies with a global presence its really worth checking on the internationalisation capabilities of each vendor. How easy is it to work in multiple currencies and languages? Can you define different workflows for different geographies? What support hours are available you need to know you have a solution which understands the European market.

Smaller, and US-led vendors often put less focus on this type of functionality, however forward thinking vendors like Steelbrick are clearly developing their product with a worldwide market in mind, and have invested in a European services programme too.

Oracle CPQ Cloud for Midmarket (previously BigMachines Express) remains as a Salesforce.com native product too, so will only work with that platform, but its continued presence is a good sign that Oracle value the links to Salesforce.com customers from a CPQ perspective. It has strong functionality that has clearly been built on the experience of its enterprise level sibling.

In future posts well take a look at some other aspects of CPQ choice. We’ll consider how the product fits in with a wider range of systems than CRM, and well look at some specific functionality that might make or break your CPQ decision.

Before then if you have any questions please post them in the comments below or reach out to us directly to [email protected] – and we can help you out.

We’d love to hear from vendors too there are many more solutions than we can touch on here so feel free to add your own views.

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