What’s one of the most important things to look for when shopping for a CPQ solution? Especially CPQ for manufacturing?
Or more specifically, a CPQ vendor’s capabilities when it comes to integrating their solution into your existing technology ecosystem, including your CRM system, ERP, etc.
This way, instead of adding yet another solution to your existing suite of tools that complicates your processes and/or means you have to relearn how to use existing systems in different ways, the right solution will work with your platforms to make your overall system more efficient, your sales team more effective, and help your business remain agile in an ever-changing B2B world.
What to Look For
To ensure you don’t end up investing in something that isn’t right for your organization, look for solutions that include the following features.
1. Platform Agnostic
Look for CPQ solution providers that are platform agnostic (also commonly referred to as non-native), and are able to easily integrate with most major solutions. It’s important to be aware of whether a solution is native or non-native, as native solutions are built to function within a specific platform (e.g. Salesforce CRM, Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP Hybris, etc.).
It’s also important to note that many vendors (both native and non-native) often offer pre-built connectors to a select group of technology ecosystems for quicker implementations and a lower overall cost of integration.
Certainly, the solution you choose should integrate with your current applications, but remember, you may switch from your current applications sometime in the future. Think about what other applications you may add, how you’re going to manage changing solutions, and whether your solutions are flexible enough should changes occur during a merger or acquisition.
In short, make sure your solution is agile and flexible enough to evolve with your business, not hold it back.
Why It’s Important
That means that instead of benefiting from a solution that connects your front and back office to streamline the quoting process, your organization is stuck customizing the application over and over again, draining resources and killing ROI.
As key applications change or update, such as CRM or ERP solutions, the solution should continue to work with the new or updated systems. In short, you can future-proof your CPQ solution by selecting a vendor with an open platform.
The Bottom Line
The right CPQ solution will work with your current tools, platforms, and systems, making them more efficient; it won’t work against them, make your life more difficult or your sales team less effective.
Look for a solution that will:
- Establish a Master Commercial Definition by utilizing your organization’s vital information, including price books, product catalogues, customer definitions, and business logic (rules, attributes, governance, etc.)
- Extend and connect the capabilities of front and back office CRM and ERP systems, allowing the sales cycle to flow seamlessly between both
- Allow your organization’s Master Commercial Definition to be leveraged by all end users (internal sales, customers, channel partners, etc.) across all channels (direct, indirect, online, etc.)