Ask an Expert: Improving win rate and sales cycle with CPQ automation 

For too many companies, sales documents and contract management is a hassle. We asked Patrick Downs, Sales Enablement Manager at PandaDoc, to share his extensive experience in sales document management and what goes into creating sales proposals that win deals. 

1. Let's start with some definitions. What is CPQ automation?

I feel this question deep in my soul. First off, CPQ is an acronym for Configure Price Quote software. But for sales teams, CPQ automation means that you are essentially ripping out the manual process of building out a quote that many people associate with home service businesses. CPQ allows modern businesses to generate a quote in minutes without the looming threat of costly mistakes.

2. After helping thousands of SMBs and enterprises reinvent their sales processes and win rates, do you think sales document management is the most overlooked aspect of sales conversion?

I won’t say “most overlooked,” but it is something that gets passed over in favor of something more in the current zeitgeist, like Sales Engagement and CRMs. I will say this though: it is surprising to me that revenue leaders largely ignore the optimization of the very bottom of their funnel after spending thousands of dollars on additional resources to close a deal in the first place.

3. Considering that a CPQ solution can make or break deals, how does one evaluate if a CPQ solution is right for their business? What are the common mistakes businesses make while looking for a CPQ solution?

The main question I would ask myself is, “Where in our bottom of the funnel activities are we losing the most time/deals/resources?”. If the words “document” or “pricing” come to mind here, drop whatever it is you are doing here and hit up a review site like Capterra or G2Crowd to start your research. Common mistakes businesses make are usually related to insufficient understanding of terminology.

4. How does PandaDoc solve this problem?

PandaDoc’s CPQ functionality is a little different from something like SFDC CPQ, or Apttus. We focus on simplifying the quoting process through product CRM integrations and in-app product catalogs. By standardizing the pricing, we are cutting down on time people usually spend on calculations and preventing scary mistakes.

5. Tell us a bit more about the benefits of PandaDoc CPQ automation for Zoho CRM, and what advice do you have for companies that aren’t yet using CPQ automation?

PandaDoc integrates with Zoho CRM’s price books, making Zoho your single source of information as opposed to digging through inconsistent pricing information scattered throughout your app. It also allows you to create standardized documents with a pleasing aesthetic directly within Zoho, so you won’t lose any control over your branding and collateral. Since Zoho CRM and PandaDoc are seamlessly integrated, using the two solutions together can help businesses completely automate their document process from proposal creation to approval and tracking. This, in turn, helps businesses increase revenue and sales velocity—two critical sales metrics.

One example that comes to my mind is of a business that was creating proposals using Word templates and emailing them to clients as PDF attachments. It was a slow, manual, and error-prone process. On top of that, clients had to download, print, sign, and scan the documents, and after resolving queries by email or phone, email them back. Too many emails, too many docs, and too much confusion!

By using the PandaDoc integration for Zoho CRM, the business was able to create professional proposals by automatically populating the documents with key data already in its Zoho CRM and send them to its clients for easy online acceptance and signature. This made their sales operations more efficient—saving several hours per week per rep, reducing the doc creation time significantly, and drastically improving their sales cycle. Making it quick and easy for clients to receive, read, amend, and sign proposals online. The integration also eliminated the need for an eSignature tool as PandaDoc includes legally binding eSignature technology, making signing easy and reducing additional software costs.

For companies not yet using a CPQ automation, I believe there's something to learn from this example. Combining CPQ with CRM increases sales staff efficiency. When delivering quotes and closing deals becomes an effective and effortless process, sales teams spend less time on proposal development and more time on revenue-generating activities.

Be sure to check out PandaDoc integration for Zoho CRM to build custom online forms then send your response data directly into Zoho CRM, saving you up to 12 hours per week and reducing document creation time by 65% with pre-built templates. Increase your close rate by as much as 28%. Learn more about your customers with real-time notifications the instant your recipient interacts, opens, views, or completes your sales document.

Work smarter by adding new capabilities to Zoho CRM with business solutions from Zoho Marketplace. Explore Zoho Marketplace >


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