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What Niche CPQ Means—and How It Can Make All the Difference

By now you’re probably familiar with Gartner’s famous Magic Quadrant report. If not, it looks like this:

magic quadrantSolution providers are usually plotted within the quadrant based on their “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision”, landing them in the “niche players,” “challengers,” “visionaries,” or “leaders” buckets.

However, when it comes to some solutions, there’s a problem with this quadrant: those “niche players” often outperform the “leaders” and better serve their customers.

One such example? CPQ.


Whereas many IT solutions are more generic and work just fine across different industries, CPQ solutions are different because they get to the heart of a company’s business model.

That heart consists of two parts:

  1. What a company sells (product composition)
  2. How they sell it (direct sales, distribution reps, end user/customer)

In other words, CPQ has to be specific to the business model of a particular company, meaning you don't want a market leader; you need a niche leader.

A CPQ Solution that Works for Everyone Does NOT Work for Your Business

If a CPQ solution isn’t purpose-built for your business model, it will cost you both up front and to maintain it into perpetuity.

Let’s take for example a mechanical equipment company shopping for a CPQ solution. This particular company sells pumps—but before configuration can even begin, the correct pump needs to be selected.

When selling something like pumps, a lot of factors go into the sales process, including meeting conditions of service, optimizing the selection based on specialized parameters, developing dynamic performance curves, and providing users complete technical and commercial documentation.

Generic “Leader” Tool

The generic tools that fall into the “leaders” quadrant simply don’t understand the intricate information (e.g. performance curves, selection optimization) and processes associated with this industry out of the box. What does this mean? That you’ll have to build your own knowledge base and learning system to understand such things on top of the CPQ tool you’ve already purchased.

Furthermore, while these generic tools are built to integrate with CRM platforms, they aren’t built for the sales channel strategies OEMs pursue, such as driving team-based selling across different roles spanning the OEM, distributor, rep and specifier. This leaves it up to the CPQ customer to build these relationships on top of the leading generic CPQ platform.

In other words, you’ll have to reinvent the wheel, costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars more in the long run. You’ll either have to build out an in-house team or spend money on yet another vendor to do all of this for you.

Niche Tool

On the other hand, a “niche player’s” tool understands industry-specific information like a purpose-built selector or performance curves out of the box. There’s no need to add headcount or have an expert make the generic “leading” solution understand your business model.

CPQ solutions like the one offered by FPX are built to work with and understand the relationship between OEMs, distributors, specifiers and end-buyers. We understand:

  • Price delegation and authority
  • Price controls
  • Bids
  • Project-specific requirements

In short, we understand the commercial relationships that go into and selling dynamics of mechanical equipment sales—and how they’re different between niches—all of which is offered out of the box.

Which is exactly why the real leading solution is the solution that's built for your niche. 

Don’t fit your business model into a “leading” solution; find a vendor that fits your business model’s niche.

Russell Scherwin

Russell Scherwin

Leading commerce sales, marketing, strategy, and consulting teams for over 20 years, Russell has worked with hundreds of organizations in shaping go-to-market strategies and execution plans.

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