IBM CPQ is a powerful CPQ platform for retailers and eCommerce businesses, where its ability to handle complex sales processes simplifies the buying experience for national and multinational vendors. IBM CPQ’s value extends beyond its ability to generate quotes and facilitate transactions. Advanced analytics features embedded within the platform afford businesses valuable insights into customer behavior, empowering them to create and offer products that align closely with buyer preferences.
Its additional platforms — Order Management, Store Engagement, Call Center, and Intelligent Promising — equip businesses with an entire suite of capabilities to engage customers, optimize store operations, deliver top-notch experiences, and sell the right products to target customers through channels they already use.
Why this product is good
Positives of IBM’s CPQ Software
- IBM CPQ optimizes the online sales process by automating solution package configuration, increasing revenue, reducing costs, and enhancing customer experience across web, call center, store, and field sales.
- With a centralized system to ensure consistency, automated pricing and inventory updates, and straightforward rules, pricing model, and product data input, IBM CPQ replaces manual pricing with a modern solution.
- Order management and inventory visibility functions significantly reduce the risk of data management issues, even for vendors with thousands of parent product SKUs, highly configurable products, and multinational warehouses.
What is IBM CPQ?
IBM CPQ (also called IBM Sterling CPQ) is a cloud-based, customizable CPQ platform that helps manufacturers, distributors, eCommerce sellers, and retailers streamline the sales process, optimize channel selling, and grow their bottom line with intelligent product and service configuration. It eliminates many challenges of multi-tiered selling, helps vendors create digital experiences, and assists them in understanding customer needs with dynamic product recommendations.
- Powerful configuration engine
- Customer-specific product bundles
- Automated order capture, quoting, and pricing modules
- Customizable workspaces for order, invoice, and return oversight
- ERP/fulfillment system integration
- Custom-tailored service contracts
- Spare parts management
Powerful Configuration Engine: Implementing and maintaining configuration rules is easy in the backend of IBM’s configuration engine. It allows users to configure models with logically structured data sources while enabling customers and partners to independently create, place orders, and manage post-order service transactions efficiently.
Customer-Specific Product Bundles: IBM CPQ has the flexibility to create one-of-a-kind product bundles for each customer, including product kits, custom assemblies, and aftermarket configurations. Bundles are complete with interactive materials that show customers how to use the product and the associated parts.
Automated Order Capture, Quoting, and Pricing Modules: When a buyer or seller configures a new order, IBM CPQ automatically turns it into an accurate quote, purchase order, and invoice. It also has automated pricing modules that can analyze multiple parameters to generate the optimal price for each customer, based on their specific requirements.
Customizable Workspaces for Order, Invoice, and Return Oversight: IBM CPQ provides custom-tailored workspaces for any team member involved in order management, offering a 360-degree view of all orders, invoices, and returns. This data is centralized in the system for easy access in case of a customer service problem and synced with the self-service module for customers who want to modify their own orders.
ERP/Fulfillment System Integration: IBM’s CPQ platform supports integration with nearly all ERP and order management systems through service-oriented architecture (SOA), and out-of-the-box integration with individual ERP system components (i.e., order management, purchasing, inventory, WIP, and returns).
Custom-Tailored Service Contracts: Service contracts in IBM CPQ are designed and managed specifically for product lines and customer segments. Sellers can quickly generate contracts that include service components and pricing options, or the platform can use its information repository to do it automatically.
Spare Parts Management: IBM CPQ also offers a solution for spare parts management, which helps retailers and distributors track product component usage, reduce inventory costs, forecast demand, and manage reverse logistics. They can also process orders and track returns in real-time.
What are the advantages of using IBM CPQ?
IBM CPQ Benefits
IBM offers numerous benefits to businesses in the eCommerce and retail sectors. A few of the most notable include:
- Improved efficiencies and reduced delays in the CPQ process
- Consistency in pricing and inventory data across the omnichannel
- Reduced selling costs for sales teams and CSRs
- Increased customer satisfaction and market share capture
- Streamlined experience for customers and partners
- Higher visibility into order and invoice statuses
- Fast integration with existing data infrastructure
IBM CPQ Pricing
IBM CPQ offers customized quote-based pricing via consultation with IBM’s sales team. According to online data, IBM CPQ pricing starts at $703 per year.
No free trial is available for IBM CPQ.
Competitors and Alternatives to IBM CPQ
Although IBM CPQ’s features work well for larger businesses in the eCommerce and retail sectors, other CPQ solutions may fit smaller budgets and different needs. Companies with a more traditional approach to CPQ (i.e., those without highly configurable or complex products) benefit from more straightforward solutions, for example. Similarly, subscription businesses will struggle to manage recurring revenue with a CPQ solution like IBM’s.
Top 3 IBM CPQ Alternatives
Conga CPQ is a standalone multichannel sales platform with CPQ and CLM capabilities. Its primary customer base is mid- and large-sized companies that take a traditional approach to product configuration, quote generation, and proposal delivery. Conga (originally called Apttus) was built on Salesforce, integrates seamlessly with the platform, and remains one of the most popular tools on the Salesforce AppExchance. While IBM’s platform equips sellers with tools to sell complex physical products and configurable services, Conga focuses on subscription models, digital services, and complex service/support contracts.
DealHub CPQ is a no-code revenue acceleration platform primarily serving B2B SaaS customers. For companies with scaling sales infrastructure, DealHub’s guided selling workflows, sales playbook integration, automated document generation, contract management, and e-signature features drive efficiency throughout the entire quote-to-cash process. DealHub’s subscription management and billing platforms make it easy for software companies to manage their MRR and ARR, and its innovative digital sales room platform (DealRoom) is the best tool for engaging multiple stakeholders — a commonality in B2B software sales.
PandaDoc CPQ is a simplified CPQ software that builds onto its well-known document management platform. It’s ideal for businesses that are primarily concerned with document generation, electronic signature, and managing multiple contracts (e.g., agencies and professional services companies). PandaDoc CPQ offers a collaborative drag-and-drop quote builder, proposal templating, customizable pricing, and easy-to-integrate payment gateways to make the buying process smoother for customers. Additionally, its document tracking feature provides real-time feedback on when a customer views or opens documents after they’ve been sent.
Valuable Insight From Real Customers
Gartner Peer Insights
Out of 9 review, IBM CPQ (Legacy) has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on Gartner Peer Insights. In their reviews, users note the software’s ease of use and ability to automate complex sales processes.
The reviewers and customer demographics are as follows:
Reviewer’s Company Size
- $50M-$1B: 44%
- $1B-$10B: 22%
- Over $10B: 22%
- Gov’t/PS/Ed: 11%
- IT Services: 22%
- Telecommunication: 22%
- Transportation: 22%
- Finance (non-Banking): 11%
- Other: 22%
Reviewer’s Deployment Region
- Asia/Pacific: 33%
- Europe, Middle East, and Africa: 33%
- North America: 33%
Gartner Peer Insights affirms that IBM CPQ’s customizable features and data security make it a stand-out product.
Based on Gartner Peer Insights.
Common Questions and Answers
IBM Sterling is a suite of cloud-based business process management tools for B2B eCommerce. It offers solutions for product catalog, order management, fulfillment, and customer service that can be quickly deployed to optimize quoting, ordering, and fulfillment processes.
IBM CPQ integrates with the following systems outlined in the Service Definition Framework:
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software
Order management platforms
Java Message Service (JMS)
User and item data in external systems
Customer master data systems
Rhonda Bavaro excels in boosting SaaS companies’ growth through innovative content marketing, thriving in the dynamic sales tech industry amidst evolving technologies that drive revenue acceleration.