As part of our Conversations with Configure One series, we invited Chris DiEllo to join us. Chris is responsible for sales at Configure One. He is a hands-on leader and spends as much time as possible with prospects and customers. As a result, his understanding of what the market needs from a CPQ solution are insightful and often unique.
In my day-to-day activities, it’s easy to see that there are 3 primary reasons why our customers look to investigate and evaluate Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solutions. Those three reasons are growth, enablement, and cost. Let’s unpack each of those and explore the details.
The Growth Aspect
As companies look to grow there is a certain pain associated with that growth. For our customers, it is often the inability to scale. They have a manual process — many times that is error prone — or they have a bottleneck within the organization. In some instances, their process might not use technology and, by default, is practically impossible to scale.
In one specific instance, a Configure One customer had a series of processes documented into their “Bible” which was a three ring binder. Ultimately, this paper-based knowledge was condensed into our CPQ solution. The growth driver related to seeking a CPQ solution is the inability to scale due to an inefficient, error-prone manual process.
Enablement For Non-Subject Matter Experts
You could easily tie the idea of enablement to growth but when we think about this more specifically, it is really the ability to empower direct sales people, and/or extended sales channels with the ability to accurately, consistently, and professionally quote the products they sell. More broadly, this could apply to non-subject matter experts and does not need to be considered specifically as sales enablement.
While CPQ solutions are commonly applied to products, the same approach is true of services or whatever your organization offers to the marketplace. With an enablement focus, you are then able to reallocate the subject matter experts and refocus their efforts on something that's more value added while still empowering the sales team.
Cost as a Solutions Driver
There are a few angles I see associated with cost as it relates to CPQ solutions. The first is misinterpretation, miscommunication, or a lack of proper information-capture during the quoting process. If there isn't a guided selling approach — or a smart element behind the quoting questions that are being asked — companies end up absorbing the cost of manual mistakes which results in lower margins. Ignoring the general inefficiency for a moment, just the disruption associated with rework is an issue. Due to a manual quoting process, you now have a delay in delivering your product or, worse, the need to go onsite to perform a service or install a piece of equipment that was missed during the quoting process. If nothing else, these types of mistakes result in the black eye for the company delivering the product or service. Most importantly, it hurts the bottom line due to rush shipping or the reallocation of resources in order to fix a mistake.
The Most Important Reason Customers Choose a CPQ Solution
We’ve walked through the top 3 reasons customers would choose to investigate a CPQ solution but there is a 4th, and that's competitive advantage.
I've sat in meeting rooms with prospective customers, and they have said, “We need to do this because our competitors are doing it.” If your competitors are outpacing you, putting a CPQ solution in place to help you better manage growth, enablement, and cost will help you maintain a market position. Likewise, I've sat in front of prospective customers, and heard, “No one in our industry is doing this. We want to be the first.” The ability to be on par with the rest of your competition is just the starting point. Ideally you want to exceed what is being delivered by your competition by doing things faster and in a more comprehensive way. You want to set the bar in terms of delivery and service. Technology solutions — and specifically the right technology solutions supported by the right partners — can help you get there.