Zuora CPQ vs. Salesforce CPQ

Zuora CPQ and Salesforce CPQ are two common choices for CPQ software—a tool used to simplify and automate product configuration, pricing, and quoting. Both Salesforce CPQ and Zuora CPQ offer similar capabilities when it comes to configuring quotes and contracts for customers, but there are some critical differences between the two that organizations should consider when deciding on which software platform to use.


Compare Zuora CPQ and Salesforce CPQ

CPQ software helps companies streamline their sales processes by automating the process of configuring quotes and contracts for customers. Salesforce CPQ and Zuora CPQ are two competitors in the market, offering comprehensive packages to simplify and automate the complex processes of quoting, configuring, and pricing products.

Zuora CPQ is a complete subscription management platform that helps subscription-based businesses manage their recurring billing, even for the most complex product bundles. It also provides powerful product configuration capabilities, allowing customers to quickly configure and price products for quotes and contracts for new subscribers and customers.

Zuora also offers a connector for Salesforce CPQ, which allows users to seamlessly link their subscription billing backend with the frontend of your CPQ. This powerful integration will automate and streamline the contract and quote processes so that sales teams can create accurate subscriptions without extra effort.

Salesforce is the CRM industry gold standard, and its CPQ solution is a part of its wide array of product offerings. For mid-sized and smaller businesses, Salesforce CPQ offers the features needed for quote management. Enterprise companies use Salesforce to create custom code for complex product configurations, pricing structures, and endless features with the rest of the Salesforce ecosystem.

Salesforce also offers Salesforce CPQ + Billing for those customers who need a more comprehensive solution that can manage both subscription billing and CPQ operations with Revenue Cloud. This is great for companies with more complex product bundling and pricing needs, as the two solutions are deeply integrated for maximum efficiency.

Product Overview

Overview of each CPQ Solution

Zuora CPQ and Salesforce CPQ are two viable options for a CPQ platform, but they also use significantly different data models (and have different approaches to CPQ in general).

Defining Zuora CPQ

Creating a quote for subscriptions requires a different approach than building together one for products. When constructing the former, an organization must take into account all of its dynamic components like features, price and billing timing—not just toggling through the successive characteristics that come with a product. This means that subscription-focused companies can’t always rely on just any standard CPQ software to set up their customers with the right deal.

Zuora is a simple configure, price, quote (CPQ) tool that allows companies to quickly and accurately generate quotes, contract documents, and invoices. It has built-in product catalogue management tools to create quotes, creating a seamless process for customers easily.

Zuora is mainly used for recurring revenue businesses, branding itself as a “monetization platform.” Features that make the software unique mostly revolve around managing subscriptions and building subscriber relationships for long-term customer loyalty.

Defining Salesforce CPQ

Salesforce CPQ is a comprehensive solution that allows organizations to automate product configuration, pricing, and quoting processes as a part of the Salesforce ecosystem. Since it is a smaller service offering in Salesforce’s arsenal of software products, users enjoy the same UI and data models that come with the larger suite of tools, while also getting access to third-party integrations from members of its partner network.

Salesforce CPQ is an ideal solution for companies that need a customizable product configuration, pricing, and quoting process and need to build it from the ground up themselves. It can be used to quickly build custom workflows and integrate with existing back-end systems. Additionally, since it is a part of the Salesforce ecosystem, users get access to advanced features like AI automation and real-time analytics.

Salesforce defines itself as a CPQ solution for small, medium, and large-sized businesses. And while there are small businesses using its products, its more likely to be favored by large companies due to its customizability and advanced features.

Product Features

Comparison of Key Features

When it comes to the actual CPQ product, Salesforce and Zuora serve different customers and have different features at their core. They both offer standard CPQ functionality out-of-the-box, including product catalogs, configurations, price scales, and more. But the two differ wildly in their approaches to CPQ as a whole.

Zuora is purpose-built for subscription businesses. It allows businesses to generate complex quotes for their customers and has the flexibility to change pricing rules down the line. Its automated billing platform and rules-based pricing engine make sure that customers get accurate invoices and quotes on time. And its ability to nurture customers ensures higher renewal rates once it comes time to renew subscriptions.

Salesforce CPQ has subscription management features, but it is designed more like a traditional CPQ platform. It lets users configure prices and generate quotes but lacks the flexibility to make changes down the line. It also has integration with Salesforce’s other products, like Service Cloud and Sales Cloud, so customers can manage customer service cases from one platform. In addition, its AI-based automation features enable sales reps to quickly generate quotes for their customers.

Here’s a breakdown of each product’s features:

Zuora CPQSalesforce CPQ
A centralized platform for managing subscriptions, recurring billing, revenue activities, proposals, and quotesMicroservices architecture with Sales Cloud and Revenue Cloud integration.
Native integration with Salesforce and third-party integrations through Zuora’s low-code SDK and API.Hosted on Sales Cloud for CRM and selling activities and part of Revenue Cloud for proposal generation, invoicing, and billing capabilities.
Fast implementation, especially if there is no custom code needed. Small businesses and freelancers can begin using Zuora quickly.IT implementation takes an average of 6-9 months.
Product-specific guided selling rules ensure sellers match the right product configurations and pricing rules with their customers.Pre-built guided selling capabilities are available, but more intricate workflows require custom coding.
Scalable for subscriptions, but requires additional software (such as Salesforce CPQ) for other types of proposals.Oftentimes, modifications, alterations, and upkeep require specialized expertise—incurring additional expenses.
Customer-specific discounting, pricing, upselling, cross-selling, and contract renewal functionality for subscription businesses. Each price quote is delivered as an attachable file, and any alterations necessitate a new version of the document.
Additional features available on a case-by-case basis.Additional features and licenses available for added costs.
New subscriptions and subscription changes are automated for an optimal customer experience.Customer communication within the Salesforce platform and its partners (like Slack).
Customer-specific sales discounting and pricing features that change with subscriptions.Subscription management and complex billing capacity for purchase orders, one-off projects, and client invoices.
Insights into customer lifetime value, average deal size, revenue per customer, and other financial impact metrics to help businesses invest in the customer segments that generate the most revenue.Detailed reporting analytics for customized pricing strategies and discount structures. CRM integration for deeper customer analytics.
Native support for new deals and quote management for recurring revenue, consumption, and many other pricing strategies.Full-cycle quote-to-cash automation.
Web-based platform.Web and mobile (iPhone and Android) platforms.
24/7 chat (live rep)
Knowledge base
Developer community
Zuora University
Phone support
Knowledge base
Online support
Self-service training (Trailhead)
In-person training 
3/2/2023 Update
Based on getapp.com

Customer Size

Ideal Customer Profiles

Zuora and Salesforce have some overlap with the customers they serve, but the former typically services smaller organizations and individuals while the latter leans towards larger enterprises. 

Zuora’s focus on subscription businesses and its wide selection of integrations make it an ideal choice for startups and small businesses that need to create complex and unique quotes for multiple customers. For that same reason, the company also serves many freelancers, solopreneurs, and consultants who need a way to manage their customers’ recurring (and often differing) payments.

On the other hand, Salesforce CPQ is mainly used by larger enterprises that have more complex product catalogs and need greater flexibility when it comes to pricing rules. This makes it an ideal option for companies with multiple departments looking to quickly generate accurate quotes for their customers. Additionally, its integration with the larger Salesforce suite of products (and closely related companies like Slack) makes it even more attractive for large businesses that need to manage multiple customer service cases and sales opportunities from one platform.

That said, Zuora CPQ is part of a complete billing and subscription management platform that includes billing software, revenue management, a payment processor, and analytics, which makes it perfect for enterprise SaaS companies managing complex subscriptions as well. It just won’t work as nicely with manufacturers, suppliers, or other non-recurring-revenue models as well.


Breakdown of Pricing Options

Zuora and Salesforce CPQ also differ on pricing. Each company has a microservices architecture, making pricing custom to a certain extent. But Salesforce has a few price points mentioned on its website while Zuora requires prospective users to talk to sales for a custom quote.

Salesforce starts at $75 per user per month, making it one of the most expensive CPQ solutions on the market. It also has a subscription-management feature that starts at an additional $25 per user per month.

Zuora CPQ offers tiered pricing on the Salesforce AppExchange, but there is no specific pricing disclosed on its site. In general, though, Zuora is well-known for being on the high end of the pricing spectrum and its monthly price point is comparable to Salesforce’s—microservices accounted for.

Zuora CPQSalesforce CPQ
Product PricingTalk to salesCPQ: $75 per user per month (billed annually)
CPQ Plus: $150 per user per month, billed annually
CPQ + Billing Growth: Contact sales
CPQ + Billing Plus: Contact sales
Implementation FeesHigh development costs at the enterprise levelOngoing implementation fees for custom-coded functionality and system integration.
Additional LicensesAdditional license fees for revenue management, billing software, payment processing, and Zuora Monetization Platform.Additional license fees for e-sign, contract management, buyer engagement tracking, plus hidden licensing costs.

Not included in either pricing structure is the additional customization and development costs needed to get the CPQ platforms up and running. Depending on the complexity of the project, these costs can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands.

For Salesforce in particular, IT costs can quickly add up as businesses make the transition from system to another or set a new one up entirely. If a company already has an existing Salesforce instance, the costs will be lower. But for those just getting started or transitioning from a non-Salesforce platform, additional IT implementation costs will almost certainly be necessary.

It’s difficult to estimate the exact pricing for each product, making the specific use case a bigger deciding factor when evaluating Zuora CPQ vs. Salesforce CPQ.


Considerations for Choosing Between the Two Solutions

Zuora CPQ and Salesforce CPQ take different approaches to their CPQ solutions, and there are some instances where organizations use both.

In general, Salesforce CPQ is a good option for manufacturers, suppliers, and other types of businesses that need to quickly generate quotes and manage multiple customer service cases from one platform.

Zuora CPQ is better suited for enterprise SaaS companies managing complex subscriptions without the extra features of the Salesforce suite—but keep in mind that it has higher pricing than its competitor. For freelancers, small business owners, and budding marketing agencies, Zuora also offers a viable solution.

Both platforms have solid customizability options, large developer communities, and the ability to scale with growing businesses. In the end, it’s important to weigh the specific use cases for each system (i.e., subscription vs. product lifecycle, customer base size, etc.) before making a decision.

No matter which platform you choose, each offers the tools necessary to build an efficient and cost-effective quoting process.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Zuora CPQ?

Zuora CPQ is a CPQ platform purpose-built for subscription-based businesses. For organiations using a recurring revenue model (e.g., subscription, usaage-based pricing, etc.), Zuora CPQ offers a customer-focused solution for quote-to-cash processes. It is also highly customizable and can scale with an organization’s needs.

What are the advantages of Salesforce CPQ?

Salesforce CPQ provides businesses with a comprehensive quoting tool that integrates seamlessly into the Salesforce platform. This allows businesses to manage their customer service cases and quickly generate quotes from one platform. It also offers robust customization options, making it easier for companies to tailor the system to their specific needs. Additionally, Salesforce CPQ has a large developer community that can help implement the solution or customize it further.

Is Salesforce CPQ worth it?

Whether or not Salesforce CPQ is the right CPQ for your business depends on your particular needs. If you already use Salesforce Sales or Revenue Cloud, then it may be worth considering. The advanced features, scalability, and customizability make it a good option for larger businesses with multiple customer service cases to manage. However, if you’re just starting out or don’t have the extra development power, there are cheaper and easier-to-implement solutions.

Is CPQ part of Salesforce Sales Cloud?

Salesforce CPQ is hosted within Sales Cloud, but is not a part of the core product. Salesforce’s CPQ solution is designed to complement existing tools and help sales teams automate quote generation, pricing and discount management, and order processing. It also helps streamline approval processes for larger transactions.

CPQ Integrations