Configure Price Quote:
Everything You Need to Know About CPQ

 

What is CPQ?

Configure Price Quote software, or CPQ, helps businesses selling complex products and services configure and quote the right product, at the right price, to the right customer, through any delivery channel.

CPQ is able to do this by harnessing the power of a company’s data, including product catalogues, transaction history, customer information, price books, and more. Once such data is sourced from disconnected systems across the organization, CPQ makes it actionable across all engagement points, including ecommerce and partner channels.

The History of CPQ

CPQ technology was born in the 1980s in the form of the “configurator,” a rules/logic-based system used to ensure customer specifications didn’t conflict with enterprise resource planning. Eventually, the use of the application shifted toward CRMs and became more of a front-office and sales application.

When ecommerce started to gain momentum, configurators became a part of interactive selling, and when a solution for the quote-to-cash problem was needed, a more modernized CPQ application started to come into its own.

It wasn’t until 2010, however, that the concept of and term CPQ was popularized after Gartner published a report defining it as:

Configure, price and quote (CPQ) application suites provide an integrated set of software applications supporting the configuration, pricing and quote generation activities that accompany solution and negotiated selling. CPQ application suites are also deployed to support self-service sales environments, including business-to-consumer (B2C) and B2B sales environments. CPQ systems typically include pricing engines, proposal generators, quoting systems, and rules or constraint engines, and are complemented by approval and authorization workflows.

Ever since, CPQ software has only gained more traction, from helping organizations scale sales processes to helping deliver personalized sales experiences across evolving networks of direct, indirect, and online sales channels.

The Future of CPQ

User Experience

As CPQ continues to evolve, it will only become more focused on User Experience (UX), enlisting the help of 3D modeling, drag-and-drop functionality, interactive demos, videos, AI, and more to allow prospects to digitally engage with products and services.

Connectivity

CPQ will source data from both front- and back-end systems (like the CRM and ERP) to act as a good citizen of a Digital Commerce Platform and create more intelligent buying and selling engagements for all users. 

Specialization

CPQ alignment with specific industry verticals (more on this later) will continue to evolve, with more tailored and specialized solutions according to industry type.

Mobile Functionality

CPQ will also increase its mobile functionality, allowing vendor partners, ecommerce users, and field sales alike to access quoting, pricing, configuration, and support capabilities on the go.

Sales people, partners, and customers cab utilize CPQ mobile functionality.

The Benefits of Modern CPQ

 Configure Price Quote Software can provide numerous benefits, solve a myriad of problems, and bring incredible value to both your business and your customers.

How It Helps Your Business

Let’s take a look at how CPQ can be a valuable asset to sales, operations, and ecommerce.

Sales

In today’s modern, digital-driven world, power has shifted from sales to the empowered customer. That’s because today’s prospects already have the information they need. In fact, Forrester reports that 74% of B2B buyers research at least half of their work-related purchases online.

What does this mean for sales? That reps need to leverage sales technology to connect with modern prospects and better map to the B2B customer journey. Having a CRM is no longer enough, organizations need to leverage CPQ so that both the back-office team’s ERP and the sales team’s CRM talk to each other. 

Additional perks of using CPQ for sales includes: 

  • Shortening the sales process
  • Offering guided buying and selling functionality
  • Improving margins
  • Affording users the ability to buy and sell through their preferred channels
  • Replacing outdated legacy systems, thereby simplifying the sales process
  • Empowering channel sales partner (dealers, resellers, distributors, etc.)
  • Aligning sales and marketing
  • Driving user adoption

Operations

CPQ helps source and translate customer and business data so that teams have a complete picture, making it possible to determine what’s working and what isn’t, as well as what customers do and don’t want.

ecommerce

Channel-shifting to ecommerce and omnichannel offerings means increased customer spending, greater spend per engagement, boosted customer loyalty and renewals, and lower cost to support customers. 

Add in the power of CPQ, and B2B businesses can offer their prospects and customers the same user-driven ecommerce experience they’ve grown accustomed to from B2C retailers. That’s because CPQ gives B2B buyers and sellers the ability to:

  • Easily configure orders
  • Seamlessly integrate with existing CRM platforms
  • Accurately validate all products and services in real-time
  • Generate instant, accurate quotes
  • Offer automated approvals and renewals
  • Leverage data to customize offerings for customers

How It Helps Your Customers

As we mentioned before, modern buyers are transforming the way companies are selling their products and services. In many ways, their B2C buying preferences have extended to the B2B space. 

CPQ is the "missing piece" that allows B2B companies to offer their complex products and services online, thereby creating the optimal experience for end-users/buyers. That’s how CPQ is able to provide such a personalized, pleasurable, and valuable buying experience. With the strong UX it provides, the right CPQ solution can ensure your prospects enjoy engaging with your business at every stage from discovery to renewal, thereby building customer loyalty, creating brand advocates, and resulting in repeat business.

Not to mention, they’ll appreciate how fast you’re able to configure a solution, provide a quote, and price customized solutions.

Today's customers need CPQ to buy complex products and services online via ecommerce.

Types of Companies that Need CPQ

Now that you know what CPQ is and how it can benefit businesses, let’s dive into the nitty gritty of what it can do for a few specific industries.

CPQ helps technology companies sell their complex products.

Technology

Both software and hardware developers require solutions that allow them, their customers, and partners to easily configure products and services. As we’ve mentioned, CPQ allows this type of independent yet cohesive configuration to happen.

What’s more, the need to maximize profitability potential via renewal management, guided buying and selling, multi-channel pricing, and upsell and cross-sell opportunities is only increasing as numerous retail and enterprise software providers make the transition to subscription-based models. This is a need that mature CPQ applications can satisfy.

Manufacturing 

Both industrial and discrete manufacturing organizations, including those producing furniture, automobiles, tech devices, aircraft, and more can benefit from CPQ’s ability to bring order to a vast number of business rules and data. 

Whether the organization produces low volume with high complexity or high volume with low complexity, a CPQ solution can connect front end sales and/or vendors with back-end systems, thereby:

  • Eliminating order and manufacturing errors
  • Speeding time to market
  • Profitably servicing smaller customers
  • Lowering training and support costsManufacturers use CPQ applications to sell complex products online via ecommerce.
  • Increasing quote, order, and sales rates
  • Speeding conversion cycles 

CPQ is also a perfect fit for the medical device manufacturing (MedTech) space, allowing organizations to: 

  • Take their complex, configurable product and service offerings online
  • Sell directly to customers
  • Use dynamic document generation to include spec sheets, instructions, etc.
  • Source and manage a wealth of data in order to better manage contracts
  • Avoid unnecessary rebates or disputes
  • Utilize dynamic pricing and margin analysis
  • Provide accurate pricing in multiple currencies
  • Protect against noncompliance 

Aerospace + Automotive 

CPQ simplifies buying and selling processes for aerospace and automotive manufacturers.Seeing how complex the aerospace and automotive industries are, CPQ is the perfect solution to handle the millions of parts and innumerable services.

For example, the myriad products, parts, and design configurations can make it difficult to ensure manufacturers have the necessary rules to build accurate products (including engineer-to-order products) or services. However, the right CPQ solution allows businesses, their partners, and manufacturers to manage data from a single source, thereby reducing costs and speeding time to market.

Moreover, while disconnected ERPs and other legacy systems might lead to latency in critical decision making, poor end-to-end supply chain visibility, and inefficiency in supply chain operations, CPQ allows data to be shared across the organization in real time, ensuring accuracy, improving visibility, and better managing pricing, product development, capacity, and inventory.

Healthcare providers and financial service providers use CPQ to improve sales and contract renewal processes.Healthcare

The healthcare industry is rapidly changing, which means that having the ability to quickly and accurately generate insurance quotes, proposals, bundles, and cross-sell and upsell opportunities for policies is increasingly important.

Not only can CPQ service the evolving healthcare world in this way, it also offers features like renewal and contract management, making it easier for both providers and policyholders to manage policies and maintain compliance.
CPQ helps companies from a variety of industry verticals facilitate buying and selling experiences across direct sales, indirect sales and ecommerce.

Software Integrations

A common misperception among companies looking for a CPQ vendor is that applications native to their existing CRM platform are usually the best option. This simply isn’t always the case.

First and foremost, it’s important that you keep in mind how changes to your business will impact your CPQ solution. For example, if you change ERP, CRM or ecommerce vendors, will your CPQ solution be able to support it? How will your native CPQ application connect with competing systems?

Your best bet is to consider high-performing vendors that aren’t tied exclusively to any one particular system, but instead offer pre-built integrations to multiple, major systems.

So how can CPQ work with the systems you already use? Here’s a look at how it integrates with SAP, Salesforce, and Microsoft.

SAP

FPX is one of the select number of CPQ vendors featured on the SAP App Center and offers a pre-built integration with SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer (C4C), SAP Hybris, SAP Variant Configuration, and SAP ECC (via both YaaS and Data Hub frameworks). This allows our CPQ solution to be an easily deployable aftermarket solution for existing SAP platforms, extending the capabilities of SAP systems to source, govern, and syndicate data from diverse service and product offerings. 

Salesforce

FPX CPQ was one of the first CPQ solutions offered on the AppExchange. Being tightly integrated into the Salesforce CRM allows businesses to leverage valuable customer data, enabling sales teams to operate more intelligently and efficiently. Even the newest sales person can seem like a seasoned rep using the guided selling, upsell and cross-sell and automated renewal features. What’s more, CPQ can connect Salesforce in the front office with the back office ERP system, ensuring accurate configuration and up-to-date pricing information.

Microsoft

FPX enterprise CPQ is built on Microsoft Azure, providing efficiency, flexibility, security, and speed to businesses selling complex products and services. Our solution goes beyond configure, price, and quote capabilities, supporting indirect, direct, and ecommerce channels with guided buying and selling. This, in addition to a powerful proprietary engine, means data can be sourced, governed, and distributed across the organization.
FPX CPQ is platform agnostic and integrates with leading technology vendors like Salesforce, SAP, and Microsoft.

Infrastructure

At FPX, we’re able to help customers regardless of whether they want cloud, on-site, or hybrid infrastructure—we’re flexible. However, the cloud is the future, and we’re here to take you there.

Cloud

Our CPQ cloud infrastructure provides on-demand pricing, configuration, and quoting capabilities that easily integrate with whatever software solution you’re already using. 

Use the cloud to streamline your entire process with your familiar CRM and easily integrate with your ERP system(s). You’ll be able to retrieve and send data, like quote numbers and totals, product line items, subscription and renewal information, opportunity value, and more between solutions.

This will in turn help you drive 100% quote accuracy, ensure compliance, improve forecasts, close bigger deals, and ultimately improve your margin.

On-Site

On-site or on-prem infrastructure allows businesses to host and manage their software on computers on the organization’s physical premises. But this is usually the more expensive option, especially with hardware and support staff costs. What’s more, on-site can only offer so much value, as the cloud can provide unlimited storage space now and in the future.

Hybrid

A hybrid infrastructure offer organizations the opportunity to use the cloud while still retaining some of their data on-site. Having your data completely cloud-based, however, means businesses can forego installing software on local hardware and circumvent IT costs.
Reach out to us at FPX to learn more about CPQ for ecommerce.

Glossary of Terms

Batch Quantity: Allows for products or services to be dynamically priced by batches or lots.

Business to Business (B2B): A transaction that exists between businesses (e.g. manufacturer and wholesaler, wholesaler and retailer, etc.).

Business to Customer (B2C): A transaction conducted between a company and consumers/end-users.

Configuration Attribute: Attributes mapped to fields on the product option object; allows users to enter information on the quote line that’ specific to certain products.

Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ): Software that helps businesses configure, price, and quote goods and services across an often complex spectrum of variables.

Content Management System (CMS): An application used to create and manage digital content.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM): Contract Lifecycle Management is a tool that uses AI to make the contract process more effective.

Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM): The measurement of multiple customer metrics which, in turn, can indicate business performance.

Customer Resource Management (CRM): The strategies, practices, and technologies that businesses use to manage and analyze customer data and interactions throughout the customer lifecycle.

Distributor Discount: A discount applied to the partner price and therefore reflected in the net price.

Engineer-to-Order: This term is used when referring to verticals like manufacturing, automotive, and/or transportation.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
: A process by which companies integrate and manage important parts of its business such as inventory, sales, purchasing, planning, etc.

Guided Selling: The ability to provide a series of questions or options that narrow down a buyer’s selection or a product configuration that best aligns with a buyer’s needs and extends through cross-sell or upsell product recommendations

Multi-Tiered Pricing/Approvals: The capability for many layers of approvals and discounts to route workflows to the appropriate approval parties.

Native: Product-built on the same underlying code as the CRM or platform.

Non-Native: Independently built to integrate with any code related to CRM, ERP or other platform(s).

Partner Discount: Partner discounts apply on quotes or individual product line items on quotes.

Price Rule: Provides a flexible way to automate price calculations and update quote line fields. Can be used to automatically discount items when specific conditions are met.

Product Bundle: A product that contains other products that may need to be offered together.

Product Configuration Rule: A rule that ties a product rule to one or several product bundles.

Product Features: Groups or categories of product options within a bundle.

Product Options: These are components of a bundle (made up of products) and can be associated with features.

Product Selection Rules: These rules allow automation of a bundle configuration by containing a set of conditions and actions.

Product Validation Rules: Used to ensure a configured bundle is valid by ensuring data selected by a user meets certain standards.

Quote: Includes details of the prices and products quoted for any opportunity, includes many quote line items.

Quote Product Rules: Verifies that there are no invalid product combinations for quote line items.

Quote-to-Order: The end-to-end business processes that makes it possible to deliver goods and services and receive payment in return.

Renewal(s): The process by which subscription products are renewed for an additional term.

Software as a Service (SaaS): A software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It’s sometimes referred to as “on-demand software.”

Subscription Pricing: A price based on a fixed price or a percentage of the total.

User Interface (UI): The means by which a user and a computer system interact.

User Experience (UX): The overall experience of a person using an online interface like a computer application or website.

Volume Discount: Allows discounts to be specified using the quantity purchased by amount or percentage to be taken off the market price.