A new research study from the Aberdeen Group has just come out, offers insight into how CPQ- friendly sales organizations are improving their performance. On average, 41% more of these companies showed a year-over-year improvement than organizations not using a CPQ. These figures help confirm that CPQ users are seeing a shorter lead-to-order process, minimizing errors, and experiencing a higher retention rate with their customers. These are impressive figures, which can be attributed to the fact that CPQ users are providing a more enjoyable experience for their customers, which is in turn is ‘closing the deal’ much faster. But to have a happy client, you must first have a happy sales representative.
Employees without CPQ solutions in place are dealing with a much different set of business challenges then those using such a solution. Top pressures among non-CPQ using salespeople include feelings of inefficiency, when re-working a previously created proposal, whereas CPQ users can take advantage of an automated process for the creation of these proposals meaning they do not have to start from scratch when a customer decides to modify their order. This and other efficiencies created by using a CPQ solution reduces pressure on salespeople, meaning they are able to spend more time maintaining and nourishing long term relationships with current and potential clients, as well as originating new opportunities. In doing so, they are improving every aspect of their sales cycle, and the overall revenues they bring in.
This study reported that non-CPQ users were twice as likely to be concerned with an insufficient deal size, or their competition outselling them, compared to CPQ users. The report states, “With a typical order of $227k versus $519k for users of the technology, these companies understandably feel the stress of ‘working harder, not smarter’ and can benefit from the economies of scale offered by CPQ deployments.” This is partly due to the fact that this technology can attribute to up-sells or cross-sells, ultimately creating more profit for the company and salespeople.
Some important factors to a shorter sales cycle, which those with a CPQ solution are implementing, include compressing the sales cycle, identifying ‘choke-points’ where the sales cycle slows down, and reducing legal delays by standardizing a proposal. By applying these important steps, users have also been able to yield measurable results. Some other capabilities that CPQ solutions have produced, especially through its data entry modality, includes performance analytics or metrics that can be reviewed regularly, automated reminders of customer expiration or renewal dates and, through all of this, a better understand of their customers’ needs. Being able to deploy the above resolutions gives businesses an advantage over their competition when it comes to customer satisfaction and retention.
Of course employing a CPQ solution by itself cannot magically turn a failing sales team into a flourishing one – there are other factors that come into play as well. For example, businesses using a CPQ typically also provide external sales training for their reps, as well as an external portal for both customers and prospects to access data. Companies taking advantage of externally-providing sales training saw an average of 58% team attainment of quota compared to 42% for other companies, while using a data portal such as the internet, creates complete transparency and builds trust in the company.
ERP has also been integrated with CRM in the cloud for proposal and contract development that is accessible from anywhere, making mobile workforces more efficient and providing consistent information and access to staff.
“Work smarter, not harder” is an all too common, but not often followed through with business motto. By choosing to work with a CPQ tool, you are choosing to work smarter. No one benefits from ‘re-inventing the wheel’, especially not when you could be using this time to more efficiently develop lasting relationships with clients, something that even the greatest of technologically has failed to do. Companies and sales teams adopting CPQ technologies are able to harvest the fruit of their investments through better business results, greater overall profit, and a happier sales team and client.