Customers today want fast, accurate, and convenient buying experiences. They’re educating themselves throughout the buying process with high-quality information, which means that by the time they engage with a sales rep, they may have already made a purchase decision.
On top of these educational endeavors and rising customer expectations, sales professionals face an increasingly complex and multilayered quote-to-cash process. Different customer segments—large companies, government agencies, small and midsize companies—require different approaches to pricing, configuration, and quoting, as well as purchase order submission, visibility, and invoicing. Sales channels have multiplied to include ecommerce sites and distributors, partners, resellers, and VARs with increasingly complex partner programs.
How fast you respond to your customer’s needs can make or break every deal. Deliver a superior and consistent customer experience (CX) quickly through all channels, and you gain loyal customers. Make it a long, complicated, and disconnected process, and you lose business to your competitors.
Organizations have invested time and money in CRM solutions to meet these new demands. CRM is great for tracking the activities that move an opportunity through the sales cycle and managing customer relationships once a deal is closed. However, a CRM solution alone isn’t enough because sales teams still face classic sales challenges: long sales cycles, lower win rates, unmet quotas, less time spent with customers, and declining margins.
Configure, price, quote (CPQ) solutions start where CRM ends by building a much-needed bridge to back-office systems and critical third-party systems. CPQ centralizes and automates customer data, product pricing and discounting, contract renewals, and business rules; it makes product data available in real time so sales reps have everything at their fingertips to respond quickly to customer needs. With CPQ, sales teams perform better, sell more, and regain control by reducing sales cycle friction and eliminating errors.
Deals are105%larger when CPQ is utilized
It takes 27%less time to produce a quote with CPQ
There's a33%improvement in quote productivity with CPQ
Source: A Guide to CPQ: Process, Implementation, Benefits, FAQs and More
The reality is that most sales reps only spend a third of their time selling. The remaining two-thirds is spent on administrative tasks, searching for sales information in spreadsheets, and configuring and pricing products using spreadsheets or emails.
If 50 percent of deals go to whoever responds first, non-selling activities not only waste time—they cost money. To gain a competitive advantage, you must provide accurate quotes while on the go, seize upsell potential, and create new opportunities.
With 86 percent of customers willing to pay more for a great experience, it’s also critical that you create and maintain an authentic, emotional connection to your customers. Historically, sales reps relied solely on relationship building and competitive offers. Today, you need to help customers meet needs and solve problems. As a result, sales reps, especially those in B2B sales environments, have transformed into sales consultants who can suggest the right products automatically without having to remove themselves from customer interactions to undergo intensive product training.
Configure, price, quote (CPQ) technology can eliminate manual processes. By removing the need to update spreadsheets and connect disconnected CRM and ERP systems manually, sales reps can deliver accurate and customized quotes in minutes (not days). With guided selling (PDF), sales reps can quickly transform into sales consultants and quote common product configurations with little to no guidance from product experts.
With mobile capabilities and integration to sales automation systems, reps are no longer trapped at their desks. They now have a robust, mobile CPQ tool that helps them create personalized offers and proposals with the customer, creating a genuinely collaborative quote-to-order process that is 100 percent accurate.
Does the fear of not hitting your number keep you up at night? You’re not alone. About six out of every 10 sales reps meet their quota, but only 14 percent of them are confident that they will achieve it. Disconnected sales channels, pricing and quoting errors, and rogue discounts jeopardize companies’ sales practices. To differentiate themselves and increase profitability, sales teams must find new ways to increase overall sales, close bigger deals with higher margins, respond faster to customer needs, and exceed stakeholder expectations.
Quoting for a complex deal requires data from multiple sources and channels, which increases the chance for errors. Eliminate pricing books and spreadsheets and automate the process with CPQ, so that workflows are more systematic. Generate accurate orders, drive higher win rates, and hit quotas.
Customers who have committed to a sale do make other last-minute purchases when offered. Sellers can immediately take advantage of all upsell and cross-sell opportunities with CPQ. The software tracks previous orders and makes additional purchase recommendations. When sales reps can make the right product or service recommendation, they can close bigger deals at higher margins.
Due to the various discounting business rules, most businesses maintain multiple price lists—by geography, volume, or channel—which complicates the pricing process. With CPQ, top sales teams can implement pricing controls, eliminating pricing errors so they don’t loose revenue or customers.
Sales reps have to not only meet customer expectations, but also deliver on higher sales quotas. They may pivot on price because of a competitor or offer discounts based on their gut feelings or old data. Add new subscription pricing models, sales partners, little visibility into transactions, and sales practices get incredibly complex. Complexity drains resources and puts companies at risk. Sales teams cannot leave profitability and productivity to chance, so they are taking control with CPQ.
Staying on top of regulations and their impact on product configurations can be an uphill battle. CPQ helps sales teams get it right the first time by ensuring that rules and procedures around product, pricing, discounts, and offers are followed. This means all channel users are aligned with both corporate and national regulations, and exceptions to standards are governed and auditable. This level of transparency not only gives sellers peace of mind but reduces exposure to claims and financial penalties if something is disputed.
The average job turnover for salespeople is 35 percent, higher than the average for all other industries at 13 percent. The average tenure of a sales rep is only 18 months, which means that your best sellers are leaving you before they can become your best sellers. It can be difficult to replicate the success of top performers, if you don’t have the tools objectively evaluate which winning behaviors are worth duplicating. With CPQ, best-in-class organizations are 90 percent more likely to be able to replicate their "A players" by documenting the details that have contributed to their success. Having conversations, proposals, and configured offerings from previous wins available to the entire team helps shorten sales rep onboarding time, increases employee engagement, and ensures that reps follow the procedures that will keep them aligned with corporate goals.
Minimizing uncertainty and change is difficult with increased demands and intensifying competitive factors. However, the right CPQ solution makes it easier for you to drive the right sales behaviors, lower risk, and regain control.
Whether you sell through direct sales teams, channel partners, or ecommerce storefronts, your sales processes are probably becoming more complex as customers demand more. A CRM system will help you stay in the game, but you need the added power of an advanced CPQ solution to compete and win.
Oracle Configure, Price, Quote is the only end-to-end CPQ solution that empowers your team with new capabilities and sets them on a path to peak sales performance. With Oracle CPQ, you can generate accurate orders in minutes, reduce sales cycles, increase rep selling time, and achieve higher margins—all in a streamlined process competitors cannot match. Only Oracle CPQ seamlessly bridges the gap between your CRM, SFA, and ERP systems, further increasing efficiencies, profit margins, and sales success.
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