Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What do you look for in a Configure Price and Quote Solution?

iQ / CPQ, Salesforce

Written by admin admin

Through countless consulting engagements in the manufacturing space over the years Luxent has been able to gather a long list of requirements specific to Configure Price and Quote solutions.  After some careful research and analysis we were able to categorize the requirements into four common themes – the solution had to be fast (in many ways), needed to be simple (despite the complexities of manufacturers), social (well, because what’s not social these days?), and smart (who wants to use something dumb?).  Which theme is most important to you?

Speed:

We heard time after time how the solution needed to be quick to install and configure.  There is a lot of pain felt by long CPQ implementations including countless hours of setup and configuration of product catalogs, configuration and pricing rules, etc.  Our customers demanded something that could be installed and configured in days, and trained on in hours!  But not only that, once things were up and running they needed to be able to quickly log into the system from any device and turn around a quote in as few clicks as possible.  Speed from start to finish!

Simplicity:

The complexity facing manufacturers with respect to quoting is high, to say the least.  Everyone we have talked to believe that they have a product catalog with kits, custom products, and pricing rules more complex than everyone else – and unfortunately, a lot of those customers were right!  This complexity is something that needs to be handled in the backend while the front end remains clean, crisp, and intuitive.  For some reason customers didn’t seem to want to navigate across hundreds of tabs and thousands of fields, waiting for what seemed like minutes for pages to refresh, to build their quotes.

Social:

Everything seems to be “social” these days – which is probably how you even found this blog in the first place.  It’s become a world where everything is powered to be collaborative from a technology perspective and people are expecting answers and information real-time.  When people want information they turn to all different social media channels for the answers.  This same demand is true of CPQ solutions, especially in manufacturing.  There are multiple stakeholders in the process and they all want answers!  These are sales reps looking for advice on the best product to complete a quote, a manager approving a discount, or the end customer providing feedback on the quote – everyone wants an answer immediately and the solution needs real-time chat functionality to support that.

Smart:

We heard a lot of requirements from end users over the years, and many of those fell into the themes listed above.  For sales management however, the requirement was simple  – give me a “smart” solution.  In this context it means a solution that provides the right insight into the quoting process.  This could be the margin on a quote line, the overall margin on the quote, or some detailed reporting and dashboarding related to the quotes.  There needs to be data, it needs to be presented, digestible and it needs to be actionable.  Every manager wants that “dashboard of information they have never had before”.

CPQ Theme
Which theme is most important to you as you evaluate configure price and quote solutions?
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