Silos continue to be among the biggest challenges for today’s B2B companies. While that hinders internal efficiency, it also means all but good things for the one factor that matters most: the customer experience.
For your sales reps, inaccurate product info and disparate technology cause frustration and delays. But all the worse is how they look to your customer when they present an inaccurate quote (or take forever to do it).
With CPQ, your sales team doesn’t have to worry about inaccuracies or delays. In fact, the technology erases those problems altogether while keeping sales reps organized and focused on what they do best: selling.
These organizational silos are killing your sales results:
Today, the average company has 2,000+ information silos.
No…these don’t all pertain to product sales. But even a small fraction of that number amounts to serious problems when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Plus, it’s all interconnected.
- Old product data = outdated pricing and configuration info
- Outdated pricing and configuration info = inaccurate quotes
- Inaccurate quotes = unhappy customers and lost deals
If you can’t update data in real-time and validate its accuracy, your sales team will never be able to provide a consistent and reliable buying experience.
Sales and marketing misalignment
As much as 60% to 70% of B2B content is never used. And nearly 75% of MQLs never convert to a sale.
If either of those figures reminds you of your current situation (90% say it does), it’s time to look more closely at your sales and marketing team’s alignment.
If the two parties aren’t sharing truthful, accurate data, there’s no way to create consistency across all your customers’ touchpoints (most of which don’t involve a sales rep).
The end result is a lower average deal size and limited brand awareness, compared to well-aligned businesses.
Misalignment also makes it a lot harder to score leads. Lead scoring algorithms are based on a shared understanding of the target customer profile, a sophisticated buyer journey model, and lead behaviors.
If any of those inputs are off — that is, they don’t reflect reality for both parties — your sales team won’t spend time engaging the right prospects.
Disconnect between sales and finance
Inaccurate pricing is a problem during the CPQ process. It causes delays when you’re trying to move a deal across the finish line.
But it’s an even bigger problem when you’re billing an existing customer. When the invoice doesn’t match what was agreed upon during the sale, a few things can happen:
- Billing disputes. If you send the wrong amount or include incorrect items on the invoice, don’t be surprised to receive complaints. This creates extra workload, slows down the process, and strains customer relationships.
- Delayed payment. The need to revise invoices or rectify an over/underpayment creates an immediate cash flow problem for your company.
- Voluntary churn. Customers who feel like they’ve been lied to or tricked won’t be keen on doing business with you again.
- Involuntary churn. Failed payments and inaccurate billing might cause disengagement with your product, even if the customer is otherwise happy with it.
Beyond that, you’ll have to worry about revenue recognition, forecasting, reporting, and other financial processes that specifically rely on your ability to accurately bill and account for your sales numbers.
Missed customer success opportunities
If you can’t connect your customers’ product use to their marketing engagement levels and buying patterns, you’ll have a hard time…
- identifying at-risk customers,
- proactively reaching out for renewals,
- upselling to existing customers,
- and proposing new products that align with their changing needs.
In short, when your sales team doesn’t have insight into the customer lifecycle (because they can only access part of the data), you’ll leave money on the table.
How CPQ software breaks down silos
Functionality of CPQ software
Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software gives your sales team access to up-to-date product data, pricing information, and quoting tools. During the sales process, they use it to generate quotes and proposals for customers.
To give you an idea of how it can break down silos, let’s take a look at its specific functions.
Thorough and accurate — that’s what a product configurator means for quotes. Your sales team can easily see all available options, compatible accessories, subcomponents, and more based on your preprogrammed CPQ product rules. If you sell complex products, you’ll only be able to do it at scale with a configuration tool.
Price calculation is instantaneous with CPQ software because it pulls from real-time data sources (i.e., your pricing rules engine).
It also considers:
- dynamic prices
- multi-currency rates
- volume discounts
If you sell complex or highly configurable products, you’ll benefit from this even more.
Intuitive quote builder
If you’ve ever tried to build a proposal or sales quote in a Google Doc or Figma file, you know how frustrating it is to constantly switch between screens, look up product information, and do math. For that matter, typing is pretty irritating, too.
CPQ software eliminates that pain point by giving you a centralized quoting tool. With everything you need (product, pricing, and branding) in one place, the quote creation process is a whole lot more frictionless. Plus, multiple team members can work on it at once, which streamlines the approval and review process.
You can use CPQ software to design a guided selling flow. Guided selling features in CPQ include:
- Sales playbooks
- Personalized catalogs
- Product bundles and promotions
- Automated cross-selling and upselling suggestions
Your sales team can configure product/service packages for customers based on their specific needs. As they do, the system will ensure there are no inconsistencies, and it’ll recommend complementary options based on previous choices and what is/isn’t possible.
Integration capabilities across departments
Being able to collaborate on quotes and present accurate product info to your sales reps is a game changer. But it’s the integration capabilities that make CPQ such a critical tool for interdepartmental alignment.
- CRM integration enables CPQ to automatically extract data from your CRM system to populate quotes with contact details. When a rep sends a quote, the status is automatically updated in the sales pipeline.
- ERP integration keeps your product team up to date by pulling real-time product data, prices, and discounts. When a sale is complete, it updates your inventory data.
- Marketing automation integrations align your marketing and sales teams by capturing customer activity data and using it in pricing decisions.
- Billing, invoicing, and subscription management integrations make sure that what’s in your CPQ product catalog is the same as what’s billed to customers. CPQ and billing also work together to automate revenue recognition and financial forecasting.
- CLM and CPQ work together to align your customer success team with your sales team, so they can see when a contract is ready for renewal and potential expansion opportunities.
It’s also worth mentioning that CPQ integrates directly with your communication tools, making it easier for everyone to stay aligned on a quote or contract’s status. DealHub CPQ, for instance, offers Slack integration, where sales and deal desk team members receive updates and communicate about their quotes in real time.
Streamlines communication and collaboration
As I’ve highlighted above, CPQ software streamlines communication and collaboration between departments. But even within departments, it’s a game changer.
Let’s say you’re working on a proposal, and you need pricing input from your colleague. You don’t have to send them an email or Slack message; they can just log into the CPQ system and do their part. It also saves you both time because you won’t need to explain what needs to be done.
Sales managers can use CPQ to review and approve proposals as well. They can see who made which changes, when they made them, and what the previous versions were — all without leaving the platform.
While sales is building out a quote or proposal, your marketing team can refine product information in the system and create new promotions or bundles that align with customer needs and preferences. They can also track what’s driving sales and adjust their strategies accordingly.
CPQ integrates with CRM systems to provide a 360-degree view of your customers. If a customer contacts your support team, they can access the quote in real-time and see exactly what was agreed upon. This streamlines the process and eliminates confusion or discrepancies between what was promised and what is being delivered.
Improves transparency and access to data
There are untold benefits to clear, accurate, and accessible data. IBM estimates that the American economy loses $3.1 trillion to bad data every year. Other research indicates it impacts the bottom line of 88% of US companies, which lose 12% of total top-line revenue to it (on average).
To give you an idea of how data with or without CPQ can affect your ability to generate revenue, here’s an example.
Let’s say you wanted to revamp your pricing strategy. You’d need feedback from multiple teams.
- The finance team to understand margins and profitability
- The sales team to get their input on what’s feasible for customers (and what’s not)
- Marketing to ensure the new prices are in line with your value proposition and market positioning
- IT to update the pricing rules engine
Since it’s responsible for sales quotes (and turning those quotes into invoices), it’s the source of all your sales data.
That means, across your organization, everyone needs to access it. And they need data from CPQ to reflect in their own systems.
If they don’t have the same data (or it’s inaccurate), their agreement on a pricing strategy is completely misinformed.
- Fewer sales because the price doesn’t reflect what customers are willing to pay
- Less revenue because you priced your product below its optimal price point
Price optimization is a multi-departmental task. You can only achieve it with CPQ.
Aligning departments for smooth quoting
When selecting a CPQ vendor, the most important consideration is whether it works with the rest of your tech stack.
- Sales enablement
- Billing, invoicing, and subscription management
- Contract management
- Internal communication channels
- Ecommerce and website platforms
Ideally, you want it to fit into your workflow as seamlessly as possible. So, choose a product that’s either natively integrated with your platforms or can easily be integrated through API connectors.
A single source of truth for product, pricing, and customer data is critical for sales efficiency. During CPQ implementation, you’ll spend a lot of time setting pricing and configuration rules for your product catalog.
Besides that, seamless integration with CRM will provide an accurate and up-to-date view of your customers, orders, and revenues. This will help you stay on top of your pipeline and accelerate deal closures.
Enhanced quoting and proposal processes
To get the most out of CPQ during your quote process, you have to ensure all data is accurate and accessible for everyone involved. This is especially important when you have multiple stakeholders reviewing, editing, or approving a quote before it’s sent to the customer.
While software enables collaboration and data sharing, it all starts from within. Whether your team can effectively break down silos and align on processes depends on your organizational culture. If people can see themselves as part of the bigger picture, it’ll smooth the transition.