Exactly what is CPQ software, and why do you have to upgrade it? Also known as configure price quote, it’s a software solution for sales teams that quickly analyzes data to offer the best, most accurate numbers in seconds or minutes (depending on the amount of numbers to crunch). It’s taken the place of sales teams going in the back to “talk to the manager” in an age when customers want and expect information in real-time. It also removes human error, encourages customer loyalty, and makes closing the deal a lot easier on your sales team.
Sounds great, right? However, there’s a little catch—this type of product often needs to be upgraded because companies aren’t equipped with the best, most updated solutions for their business. There are a lot of options out there when you start comparison-shopping for CPQ software, and it can be overwhelming. This is especially true for businesses new to using such software and who can get lost in the industry jargon. There’s also the risk of sticking with an ill-fitting or outdated software solution just because it’s been with the company for so long and most members of the sales team have their process somewhat figured out.
If you’re ready for an upgrade, make sure you have a list of must-haves at the ready. It will guide your purchase decision. Here’s what you need for a CPQ upgrade:
Automation. Surprisingly, not all CPQ software comes with full automation options, whether you need to automate subscriptions, billing or anything else. Beyond automation, you should also be able to customize this automation to suit your business and sales needs. If CPQ software doesn’t offer comprehensive customization options, you’re going to get frustrated and not enjoy all the benefits that a reputable software solution should offer.
Quotes should be easy, fast and accurate. This is at the heart of this software, but at the same time, each one of these musts is subjective. How easy, fast and accurate? “Easy” can be gauged based on demos, reviews from those in the industry and free trials. Every software has a learning curve, but sales teams and managers should catch on quickly. Fast depends somewhat on the data being analyzed, but seconds to a couple of minutes is the norm. Accurate must be 100 percent but is also dependent on the data you input.
Gorgeous contracts and proposals. What does the end product look like for the customer? The reports you generate are often the cherry on the cake of closing the deal. Although it “shouldn’t” matter, it does, and it can make the difference between a deal and no deal. Check out the proposal samples of the software, and make sure you’re struck by the professionalism, cleanliness and beauty of the proposal as well as how easy it is to scan.
Revenue and billing gets streamlined. This is huge for saving time, minimizing errors and avoiding double work. Your CPQ software should be so much more than “just” offering quick quotes to customers or a key sales tool for your team. It also should manage your revenue, billing, and put it all in one easy-to-read hub. If you’re still juggling spreadsheets or other software billing solutions in addition to the selling software you’re considering, think again. Aim for integrated software that leads to just one solution.
CPQ software is a game changer for sales, but only if you get paired with the right product. Don’t settle for the first option you come across, and take advantage of those free trial offers. Upgrades are a must, but they shouldn’t happen on a regular basis. Find a solution you love, one which offers upgrades within its own products, and you’ll be on the fast track to a long-term relationship.