ProTips: How a CPQ-CRM integration can elevate an enterprise

This is a guest post by iQuoteXpress (IQX).

Check out any article on CPQ (configure, price, quote—a.k.a., sales proposal automation or quote-to-cash), especially CPQ integrated with CRM, and you’ll often find the same basic benefits:

  • faster, more professional proposals;
  • improved tracking of sale proposals;
  • more control over products and pricing configurations.

Those are givens.

In these ProTips, however, we’d like to talk to you about features in CPQ that help deliver its "benefits promise,” features you may not have considered, and one feature unique to our product, iQuoteXpress (IQX).

We’ll touch on proposal design and content, systems integration and adoption, and the critical importance of support from your CPQ vendor during and after implementation.

ProTip 1: Go beyond standard templates and put a PRO in PROposal

Every CPQ pitch mentions “more professional” proposals because—as we stated—that’s a given: your CPQ solution should come loaded with professionally designed proposals you can use right out of the gate.

Our ProTip is this: don’t stop there. For as little as a couple hundred dollars, you can tap the services of a professional designer to create proposal templates that you can use over and over and over and that are 100% unique to your business, reflecting and building your brand.

Proposal design ain’t rocket science, but it ain’t sales either. It’s a certainty that the absolute best proposal a sales rep could design would both pale in comparison to one designed by a pro and take 10x longer (design time that should instead be spent selling!). Invest in a pro designer, and it’ll deliver returns.

Benefit: A better look and feel for your clients and tremendous brand-building opportunities for your business.

ProTip 2: Don’t do it yourself: lean on support!

Did you ever implement a CRM or an ERP yourself? In most cases, the answer is “no.” Most business software is either implemented by the vendor or by a partner.

While CPQ has a less rigorous implementation process attached, its feature set is robust enough to require help from an implementation partner to ensure you reap the full benefit from every feature.

To use just one example, the heart of any CPQ solution is its product and pricing configuration engine. You can take days/weeks/months setting up your configurations, or you can ask your CPQ vendor to do it for you. (Full disclosure: IQX does it for you. For free. And keeps supporting you all day, every day. For free.)

And even if you could implement it yourself, why would you if you can get an experienced CPQ partner to do it faster and better? If support is available (for little or no additional cost), take it.

Benefit: Your team spends less time learning new tech and more time selling.

ProTip 3: Use CPQ as a foundational tool in training new reps on products, services, pricing, and more.

Having been in the CPQ business for nearly a dozen years, we at IQX always knew our solution would make sales reps’ lives easier.

What we didn’t know from the start was that CPQ could in fact speed the onboarding of new reps too (clients let us know this, such as this client who saw onboarding times reduced by 50%).

The reason is simple: where new reps once had to learn entire product lines, the most effective upsells/cross-sells, and the proper pricing and discount strategies before making a sale, that critical info is built into a CPQ system!

Benefit: Move reps from rookie to expert during the creation of a single sales quote.

ProTip 4: Seek out scalability

Sales is often seasonal, which means you need your tech to scale to the size of your team, and usually on a monthly basis. Choose a CPQ solution that can accommodate your seasonal needs with a per-user, per-month pricing model.

This is because having the resources you need when you need them is critical to driving more revenue, while having resources you DON’T need simply drains revenue.

And avoid being forced into a licensing package up-front that forces you to bite off more than you can chew. (IQX lets you start with as few as three users and scale from there.)

Benefit: Pay for only what you need, and quickly adapt to seasonal shifts in sales.

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