A Tale of Two Offices: How CPQ Extends the Front and Back Office

Connect the Front Office and Back Office

A successful enterprise-wide CPQ solution needs to run off the vital information that’s the lifeblood for any organization, including customer definitions, product catalogs, price books, and all business logic – attributes, rules, governance, whatever you want to call it. 

Traditionally housed in systems at both ends of the business, this crucial information allows CPQ to establish a Master Commercial Definition of your business that can be leveraged by all end users across all channels.

The Front Office and Back Office 

CRM: The all-encompassing solution that rules the front office. Companies leverage CRM software to house their customer data, track leads and opportunities, provide customer support, manage their marketing efforts, and initiate their sales cycle, among other things.

For many B2B sales reps, their day begins and ends in a CRM application. By utilizing a CRM’s power to track sales and marketing interactions with individual customer contacts, companies ensure they provide a personalized, relevant customer experience at the beginning of the sales cycle. 

ERP systems support back-office operations and processes and have been the nucleus for large manufacturing enterprises for decades. Although ERP technology has grown over the years to adopt some front-office functionality, its roots in inventory management, order fulfillment, purchasing, and shipping are still the main benefits it delivers to its users. 

However, once a lead becomes an opportunity and it comes time for sales teams to, well, start selling, CRM’s capabilities fall short. And while ERP technology is crucial for countless organizations, the logistical, sales-relevant data it consumes can feel light years away from the sales people who need it to create accurate quotes and orders for their customers.

Not to mention, these systems usually offer very little in terms of omnichannel selling. It’s too expensive to give dealers and distributors across your channel partner ecosystem access to your CRM system, and it’s difficult to quickly and efficiently provide them with accurate back-office information. These systems paint a wonderful picture of who the salesperson is selling to and what they can sell, but ultimately fall short of actually helping the salesperson complete the sale.

CPQ Extends the Front and Back Office

Many companies find that they need more than just the capabilities that their CRM and ERP systems provide. This is because the most vital business operations, including the entire sales cycle, flow between the front and back office.

Sales teams are still left to conduct sales manually – often turning to spreadsheets, word documents, or outdated legacy systems containing the product and pricing information they need to create quotes for their prospective customers. This outdated way of doing business is prone to inefficiencies, leading to quoting errors, inaccurate product or pricing information, and overdrawn sales-cycle times, keeping your business from achieving full revenue potential.

Leading businesses must find ways to extend their front and back office solutions and automate their complex sales processes in the middle office. Modern CPQ applications are emerging as the technology of choice to do exactly that.

Establish a Master Commercial Definition of your Business

In his Gartner research report, “Best Practices for a Successful Configure, Price and Quote Implementation” (available for free to Gartner subscribers), Mark David Lewis confirms that “CPQ is the key integration point between front-office, sales-related applications and back-office fulfillment and invoicing processes.” 

Sourcing relevant data from the front and back office, and anything in between, CPQ can help establish a Master Commercial Definition of your business that can be leveraged by all end users across all channels.

What do we mean? Think of all the information we’ve been talking about that resides in your front and back-office systems – your company’s unique customer data, product catalogs, price books, business attributes, etc. CPQ allows your business to leverage this information from a central location, extending it to end-users in your direct sales teams and partner networks as well as end-buyers through your ecommerce solution.

By extending systems in the front and back-office, and establishing a Master Commercial Definition of your business, enterprise CPQ solutions can truly deliver on their promise of simplifying complex sales processes, guiding sales teams through every engagement, and enabling them to create accurate quotes and proposals, eliminate errors and inefficiencies, and improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

FPX Enterprise CPQ is the Solution to Carry Your Business Forward

At FPX, we take you further than any other CPQ vendor on your journey towards establishing a Master Commercial Definition. Because our technology is platform-agnostic, meaning we can plug into diverse systems across your organization regardless of brand, we can fully bridge the two bookends of your business, giving you the agility to deliver your products and services across an ever-changing buying and selling landscape.

To learn more about CPQ and how it connects the front and back office, download our complimentary whitepaper: CPQ and the Experience Management Revolution.

View the CPQ White Paper

Jake Brown

Jake Brown

Jake is Digital Marketing Manager at FPX and works to establish FPX as a thought leader and enabler of experience-driven business strategies for B2B organizations.

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