Essential Features of User-Friendly CPQ Software: What to Look For

April 10, 2024

CPQ (configure, price, quote) software is the backbone of your sales process. Whenever a rep hears their prospect is interested, it’s the tool they’ll use to build the perfect solution, estimate the price, and deliver a professional quote.

The right CPQ makes delivering custom quotes scalable. It removes stress from your team while personalizing the buying experience.

Keyword here: The right CPQ.

If it’s too difficult to use, it won’t help.

There are several factors to consider when selecting CPQ software. At the top of the priority list is user-friendliness.

The challenges of manual quoting

According to James Cramer, VP of Product Management at Workday:

“95% of the clients we have worked with are using spreadsheets and Word documents as part of the quoting process.”

Reality is, there are tons of problems with this approach.

  • It’s error-prone. Complex product configurations and pricing rules are impossible to handle manually. Your sales team is guaranteed to make mistakes when selecting products, filling in prices and discounts, or calculating totals. Plus, there’s no way for them to know if what they’re quoting someone for is actually possible for you to deliver or fits into your business rules.
  • It’s super time-consuming. Manually filling in customer contact info and product details, then creating a quote takes at least 30-45 minutes. And if you’re sending quotes for approval through email, it takes days to get the go-ahead.
  • It’s inconsistent. Even if you have nice branded templates, every rep is going to create quotes differently. This takes away from the customer experience and creates a lack of standardization in your sales process.
  • It’s flat-out ugly. What would you think if someone sent you a quote in Excel? It doesn’t exactly scream “professionalism.”

While a lack of professionalism might make some prospects question your competency, the biggest problem with manual quoting is that it’s just not scalable.

The average sales rep spends just 28% to 34% of their time actually selling. If they’re spending almost an hour of their day on one quote, how many prospects can they realistically handle?

The answer is…very few.

Legacy CPQ isn’t much better.

While we can make a blanket statement that “CPQ streamlines the entire process,” there’s still a problem if you’re using an outdated system.

  • They’re not user-friendly. The average user today will struggle to navigate through complicated menus and processes. This creates a barrier to adoption within your sales team. Plus, it won’t fix your errors or inefficiency problems.
  • They may not integrate well with other systems. You almost definitely have multiple software systems you’ll have to connect to CPQ. If your system doesn’t integrate seamlessly with your modern tools, it’ll create manual workarounds and cause data discrepancies.
  • They aren’t scalable or customizable. If your legacy system is rigid, it will hinder your company’s growth potential. The larger you grow with it, the more costly it’ll be to switch later on.
  • Your users (and customers) probably hate it! Clunky processes and outdated software create more friction than if you were to just use the 2024 version of Google Docs and Google Sheets.

So, if you’re using CPQ but haven’t updated or reevaluated it in the last 10 years, you’re probably taking a huge L in the productivity department. And your sales team is hurting because of it.

Why user-friendly CPQ software matters

User adoption is the most important factor in the success of any software system. If your team doesn’t use it (or even know how), it’s effectively useless.

When it comes to a tool as central to the sales cycle as CPQ, you can’t afford to have something that isn’t user-friendly.

On the other hand, there are several benefits to choosing a user-friendly CPQ software:

Increased sales efficiency

On average, it takes non-CPQ users 73% more time to generate quotes. With a user-friendly CPQ system, you can:

  • Easily find and select products
  • Automate clerical work and pricing calculations
  • Build quotes with guided selling
  • Standardize the quoting process for consistency
  • Streamline approvals for high-value deals

This all adds up to less time spent on creating quotes and more time actually selling.

Improved quote accuracy

CPQ is “rules-based” — that is, it operates on product rules and pricing logic you set on the backend. Every time a sales rep builds a quote, the system checks that the product selection follows these rules.

You can also set dependencies for things like product compatibility, pricing discounts, and mandatory product add-ons and bundles. Let’s say you’re selling B2B software:

  • The sales rep opens CPQ and selects the “Pro” (mid-tier) plan.
  • The system knows that the customer must select one add-on (such as web hosting) and three integrations for the pricing to be valid.
  • The rep is allowed to offer up to a 10% discount for the first year without escalating to a manager for approval.
  • If the product selection doesn’t meet these requirements, the system won’t let the rep proceed with the quote.

At the end, the sales rep knows what they’re quoting is actually possible (i.e., you can fulfill it). The result? Fewer errors.

Optimized pricing

Some of the more advanced CPQ systems (e.g., QuoteWerks, IBM, PROS) integrate with your ERP, PIM, and vendor portals, then use AI to calculate accurate and optimized pricing.

This is an advantage for your business because it takes into account:

  • Actual cost of goods or services
  • Supplier discounts and rebates
  • Product status (e.g. “en route” or “out of stock”)
  • Prices for packaged deals or bundles

With this data, the system can recommend the best pricing that’s still within your profit margin. Plus, it eliminates the manual work (which is especially important when you’re calculating discounts and taxes for different regions).

Better collaboration between departments

CPQ integrates with tons of different business systems. The ability to share data between systems without switching up the user interface is what makes modern CPQs the best out there.

Consider CPQ and billing integration. Your billing and fulfillment teams (or, in the case of SaaS products, your subscription management and implementation teams) need the info you’ve gathered in CPQ to facilitate customer onboarding, automated billing, and order-to-cash processes.

The same goes for communication with…

  • Suppliers
  • Product and engineering teams
  • Development teams
  • Your deal desk (for contracting)

Seamless transfer of info stored in CPQ to other systems is only possible with a modern, user-friendly platform.

Enhanced customer experience

Especially if you have a customer portal or ecommerce self-service, CPQ can help you deliver a better experience for your customers — and speed up their buying process.

Even if your sales team is doing all the quoting, the right CPQ makes customer engagement more efficient. DealHub CPQ, for example, offers an intuitive digital sales room (called DealRoom) where buyers and sellers can collaborate on deals, share and sign contracts, and access information all in one place.

More than three-quarters (77%) of B2B buyers say they won’t make a purchase decision without personalized content and interactions. So, delivering those in an intuitive interface with CPQ means more deals closed.

Data-driven insights

How are your sales reps doing? Which products are selling the best (and which aren’t)? How long does it take for a rep to get a quote approved?

Modern CPQ systems include analytics and reporting functionality that give you insights into these kinds of questions.

You can use this data to:

  • Identify trends in your sales cycle or specific industries where deals move faster or slower
  • Measure individual rep performance (for coaching opportunities)
  • Improve pricing strategies based on real data

With integration to other systems, you can even connect the performance of your CPQ instance to customer lifetime value and churn rates — how much customers spend over time and whether they stay.

Features that make CPQ software “user-friendly”

At this point, you’re probably wondering, “What should I look for if I want a user-friendly CPQ system?”

Everyone’s needs are different, but there are a few nonnegotiables as far as we’re concerned.

Intuitive interface

An intuitive interface means less training for your sales reps and a lower learning curve. A good CPQ interface will likely offer:

  • Clear navigation
  • Visual aids
  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • A clean dashboard

Depending on the type of products you sell, you might need real-time visuals as you build quotes (though visual configuration isn’t always a “must”).

Product configurator

Your sales team will use the product configurator in CPQ to select, customize, and visualize products for customers.

Configure price quote software should make it easy for your team to:

  • See what’s available (real-time inventory)
  • Choose options, features, and bundles
  • Filter products to narrow down the right selections
  • Understand pricing and discounts
  • See recommendations for complementary products

Guided selling

Product configuration and quote building are largely guided processes. If a rep handles them on their own, they could miss important upsell or cross-sell opportunities. Or, they might send a quote with a product bundle or price estimate that falls outside your company’s policy.

Guided selling in CPQ helps reps build quotes, so they’re accurate and aligned with business rules and customer needs. The system asks questions about customer preferences and compares them with current inventory to guide reps toward the best options for each particular deal. Advanced tools will use AI to make suggestions based on historical sales data as well.


CPQ is supposed to make your sales team more efficient. Doing so means taking over manual tasks that eat up a lot of time. CPQ should handle the following:

Here are some examples of automation features:

  • Auto-fill customer info (e.g., billing and shipping addresses)
  • Automatically calculate discounts and taxes based on customer type, location, etc.
  • Generate a quote, order, or contract using predetermined templates

Remember: the more of these tasks that CPQ can do (and do well), the more time your sales team can spend selling.

Pricing rules

Pricing rules and calculations are arguably the most important aspects of CPQ. They tell your reps how much to charge for each quote they’re building.

Make sure you have a good understanding of your pricing structure before you start looking at software options. Do you:

  • Use tiered pricing?
  • Operate on a usage-based model?
  • Offer volume discounts or bundling?
  • Charge based on customer type, region, or season?
  • Configure complex, multi-year pricing agreements?

Depending on your answers to questions like these, you’ll need a CPQ system that can handle those rules and adapt quotes to them, while maintaining a smooth workflow.

Proposal and quote generation

There are a few things to look for here, as far as user experience goes:

  • Dynamic content
  • Proposal templates
  • A drag-and-drop editor
  • An online approval and acceptance process

You should also look for e-signature capabilities (or, at the very least, DocuSign integration). That way, your customers won’t have to print, sign, and scan contract documents once they accept your quote.

Real-time collaboration

If your quoting software handles everything I’ve mentioned above, but it’s still difficult for your team to collaborate (or if reps have no way of seeing approvals and changes from your back office), what’s the point?

  • Commenting
  • Approval notifications
  • Quote progress tracking
  • Version control

Look for these collaborative features to make sure everyone stays in the loop, and you avoid time-wasting mistakes due to a lack of communication.


Your CPQ system needs to integrate with the rest of your sales stack. That’s what improves visibility into processes and data. And you can use it to create an end-to-end sales process.

At the bare minimum, you should consider:

  • CRM
  • Billing (or subscription management)
  • ERP
  • Contract management

Depending on the nature of your business, you might need integrations with other systems as well. For instance, contract manufacturers might need CAD automation, wholesalers might need ecommerce integration, and so on.

Choosing the right CPQ vendor for your business

The fact of the matter is, user-friendliness is among the most important features of a CPQ system. But there’s a lot more that goes into selecting the right vendor for your specific needs.

  • Customer support and training
  • Implementation and setup time
  • User reviews/ratings
  • Scalability and pricing models
  • Ongoing maintenance and updates 
  • Level of customization and flexibility
  • And so on

For a more in-depth look at how to find the best solution for your needs, check out my guide to selecting CPQ software. And look at our reviews and comparisons for a closer look once you’re narrowing down your options.

CPQ Integrations