IBM CPQ Overview

IBM CPQ modernizes the eCommerce buying and selling processes, enabling buyers, sales teams, customer service reps, and partners to configure complex products on multiple sales channels.

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.

Product Details

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.

Features include:

  • 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.

9/4/2023 Update
Based on

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
9/4/2023 Update
Based on

What industries are CPQ solutions best suited for?

IBM Sterling CPQ for Industries

IBM Sterling CPQ is designed to address the challenges IT services, eCommerce, and Telecommunications companies face when quoting complex products and services. Here’s how it caters to them:

IT Services

Complex Service Configuration:  IT services can be intricate and include various elements like software licenses, support packages, and implementation fees. Sterling CPQ enables technology services companies to create a flexible product catalog to handle these complexities. Sales teams and partners can easily configure service bundles specific to customer needs.

Automated Pricing and Quoting: Manual quote generation can be time-consuming and error-prone. Sterling CPQ automates this process by integrating with billing systems and accounting software. This ensures accurate pricing based on pre-defined rules and eliminates discrepancies.

Enhanced Customer Experience: Sterling CPQ creates a smoother buying experience for customers by efficiently configuring services and providing accurate quotes.


Improved Shopping Experience: Sterling CPQ personalizes the shopping experience and increases customer satisfaction by guiding customers through product selection and offering recommendations for compatible or complementary products.

Increased Sales Productivity: Sales reps and customer service agents can focus on closing deals and providing exceptional service rather than getting bogged down in complex configurations and pricing. 

Streamlined B2B Sales: Sterling CPQ integrates with existing e-commerce platforms, enabling a smooth data flow between configuring products, generating quotes, and placing orders. Accurate product configurations during the quoting process lead to fewer errors and order fulfillment issues down the line.


Accurate Configuration:  Telecom offerings often involve multiple components like data plans, phone lines, internet speeds, and device options. CPQ automates the configuration process, ensuring the customer gets exactly what they need and eliminates errors from manual configuration.

Streamlined Quoting: With Sterlin CPQ, telecom providers can create quotes quickly and accurately. The software factors in all the relevant pricing rules, discounts, and promotions to generate a competitive quote.

Upselling and Cross-Selling: Sterling CPQ can recommend additional services or products that complement the customer’s initial selection. For instance, if a customer chooses a high-speed internet plan, CPQ might suggest a bundle that includes a streaming service subscription.


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.

CPQ Integrations

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

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

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

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%

Reviewer’s Industry

  • 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.

30/11/2023 Update


Common Questions and Answers

What is IBM Sterling?

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.

What other business applications integrate with IBM CPQ?

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

How is IBM CPQ deployed?

IBM Sterling CPQ is a cloud-based solution, so there’s no need for on-premise installation.

What kind of support does IBM offer for CPQ?

IBM offers various support options, including documentation, training, and community forums.

CPQ Integrations